Newspaper article International New York Times

You Want to Honor Me? I Refuse!

Newspaper article International New York Times

You Want to Honor Me? I Refuse!

Article excerpt

Why Thomas Piketty doesn't want an award from the French government.

Sometimes an award means more to the giver than the recipient. That is probably the case with the French government's decision to give the Legion of Honor to Thomas Piketty, the economist and author of the critically acclaimed book about inequality, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," who says he doesn't want the award.

While he is not the first person to refuse the honor, his decision is notable because it comes at a time when the government of President Francois Hollande has been struggling to revive the slow-growing French economy. Mr. Piketty says it is not "the government's role to decide who is honorable." He went on to add insult to injury by saying the award givers "would do better to concentrate on reviving growth in France and Europe."

It is not hard to see why the French government would want to honor Mr. Piketty. His nearly 700-page book, first published in France in 2013, became a sensation in the world of economics and politics. …

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