2014年5月24日 星期六

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”,《21世紀的資本》 Errors Found in Piketty's Bestseller, Capital




The Economist explains

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs


IT IS the economics book taking the world by storm. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, was published in French last year and in English in March of this year. The English version quickly became an unlikely bestseller, and it has prompted a broad and energetic debate on the book’s subject: the outlook for global inequality. Some reckon it heralds or may itself cause a pronounced shift in the focus of economic policy, toward distributional questions. This newspaper has hailed Mr Piketty as "the modern Marx" (Karl, that is). But what’s it all about?
"Capital" is built on more than a decade of research by Mr Piketty and a handful of other economists, detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth. This pile of data allows Mr Piketty to sketch out the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of the rich families who sat atop a relatively rigid class structure. This system persisted even as industrialisation slowly contributed to rising wages for workers. Only the chaos of the first and second world wars and the Depression disrupted this pattern. High taxes, inflation, bankruptcies, and the growth of sprawling welfare states caused wealth to shrink dramatically, and ushered in a period in which both income and wealth were distributed in relatively egalitarian fashion. But the shocks of the early 20th century have faded and wealth is now reasserting itself. On many measures, Mr Piketty reckons, the importance of wealth in modern economies is approaching levels last seen before the first world war.
From this history, Mr Piketty derives a grand theory of capital and inequality. As a general rule wealth grows faster than economic output, he explains, a concept he captures in the expression r > g (where r is the rate of return to wealth and g is the economic growth rate). Other things being equal, faster economic growth will diminish the importance of wealth in a society, whereas slower growth will increase it (and demographic change that slows global growth will make capital more dominant). But there are no natural forces pushing against the steady concentration of wealth. Only a burst of rapid growth (from technological progress or rising population) or government intervention can be counted on to keep economies from returning to the “patrimonial capitalism” that worried Karl Marx. Mr Piketty closes the book by recommending that governments step in now, by adopting a global tax on wealth, to prevent soaring inequality contributing to economic or political instability down the road.
The book has unsurprisingly attracted plenty of criticism. Some wonder whether Mr Piketty is right to think the future will look like the past. Theory argues that it should become ever harder to earn a good return on wealth the more there is of it. And today’s super-rich mostly come by their wealth through work, rather than via inheritance. Others argue that Mr Piketty’s policy recommendations are more ideologically than economically driven and could do more harm than good. But many of the sceptics nonetheless have kind words for the book’s contributions, in terms of data and analysis. Whether or not Mr Piketty succeeds in changing policy, he will have influenced the way thousands of readers and plenty of economists think about these issues.
Dig deeper:
"Capital" is a great piece of scholarship, but a poor guide to policy (May 2014)
Why did the French version of "Capital" not make the same splash? (April 2014)
Revisiting an old argument about the impact of capitalism (January 2014)
- See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/05/economist-explains?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/ee/thomaspikettycapital#sthash.uwASGxfp.dpuf


The Economist explains Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs May 4th 2014, 23:50 by R.A.      Timekeeper

 IT IS the economics book taking the world by storm. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, was published in French last year and in English in March of this year. The English version quickly became an unlikely bestseller, and it has prompted a broad and energetic debate on the book’s subject: the outlook for global inequality. Some reckon it heralds or may itself cause a pronounced shift in the focus of economic policy, toward distributional questions. This newspaper has hailed Mr Piketty as "the modern Marx" (Karl, that is). But what’s it all about?  "Capital" is built on more than a decade of research by Mr Piketty and a handful of other economists, detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth. This pile of data allows Mr Piketty to sketch out the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of the rich families who sat atop a relatively rigid class structure. This system persisted even as industrialisation slowly contributed to rising wages for workers. Only the chaos of the first and second world wars and the Depression disrupted this pattern. High taxes, inflation, bankruptcies, and the growth of sprawling welfare states caused wealth to shrink dramatically, and ushered in a period in which both income and wealth were distributed in relatively egalitarian fashion. But the shocks of the early 20th century have faded and wealth is now reasserting itself. On many measures, Mr Piketty reckons, the importance of wealth in modern economies is approaching levels last seen before the first world war.  From this history, Mr Piketty derives a grand theory of capital and inequality. As a general rule wealth grows faster than economic output, he explains, a concept he captures in the expression r > g (where r is the rate of return to wealth and g is the economic growth rate). Other things being equal, faster economic growth will diminish the importance of wealth in a society, whereas slower growth will increase it (and demographic change that slows global growth will make capital more dominant). But there are no natural forces pushing against the steady concentration of wealth. Only a burst of rapid growth (from technological progress or rising population) or government intervention can be counted on to keep economies from returning to the “patrimonial capitalism” that worried Karl Marx. Mr Piketty closes the book by recommending that governments step in now, by adopting a global tax on wealth, to prevent soaring inequality contributing to economic or political instability down the road.  The book has unsurprisingly attracted plenty of criticism. Some wonder whether Mr Piketty is right to think the future will look like the past. Theory argues that it should become ever harder to earn a good return on wealth the more there is of it. And today’s super-rich mostly come by their wealth through work, rather than via inheritance. Others argue that Mr Piketty’s policy recommendations are more ideologically than economically driven and could do more harm than good. But many of the sceptics nonetheless have kind words for the book’s contributions, in terms of data and analysis. Whether or not Mr Piketty succeeds in changing policy, he will have influenced the way thousands of readers and plenty of economists think about these issues.  Dig deeper: "Capital" is a great piece of scholarship, but a poor guide to policy (May 2014) Why did the French version of "Capital" not make the same splash? (April 2014) Revisiting an old argument about the impact of capitalism (January 2014) -

See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/05/economist-explains?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/ee/thomaspikettycapital#sthash.uwASGxfp.dpuf




林博文專欄-哈佛空前熱賣的一本書


43歲的法國經濟學家湯瑪斯皮克迪(圖左,美聯社資料照片)與其經濟學著作:《21世紀的資本》書封(圖右,取自網路)
43歲的法國經濟學家湯瑪斯皮克迪(圖左,美聯社資料照片)與其經濟學著作:《21世紀的資本》書封(圖右,取自網路)
哈佛大學出版社成立101年以來,從來沒有一本書在面世第一年即賣到10萬冊的紀錄,這項紀錄最近被打破了。有一本書 在今年2月出版後現已賣了將近30萬冊。這本書不是輕鬆易讀的通俗歷史,更非小說,而是一本充斥統計數字和分析的經濟學著作:《21世紀的資本》,作者是 43歲的法國經濟學家湯瑪斯.皮克迪(Thomas Piketty)。
富者愈富已成定理
22 歲即拿到法國經濟學院博士學位的皮克迪,曾在麻省理工學院經濟系當助理教授,現在巴黎母校執教,妻子也是經濟學家,他們有3個女兒。皮克迪說,他在麻省理工教書時,發現同事很熱中經濟理論的研究,但他卻對數學和經濟史料最感興趣。他花了15年的時間埋首法國檔案館和圖書館,大量閱讀19、20世紀英、法、 德、美和日本的納稅紀錄,法國的地產稅從18世紀開始即有詳盡紀錄。皮氏說,他看了大批納稅史料的感觸是,有錢人越來越有錢,已成一項定理,舉世皆然。
剛結束在美國「明星式」訪問的皮克迪強調,極端的收入不均所造成的經濟不平等,將損害民主價值。他很悲觀地表示,收入不均的情況只會更加惡化,1%的美國人 在2012年掌控了全美22.5%的收入。皮克迪主張徵收富人稅,越有錢徵稅越多,最多可徵到80%的個人所得稅!收入差距太大所造成的貧富不均現象,早 已引起美國總統歐巴馬、羅馬教宗、自由派經濟學家和占領華爾街群眾的關切。皮克迪說他不是馬克思主義者,亦非革命家,只是一個實用主義者,他的父母親在 1968年5月曾參加巴黎學運。
皮克迪訪美時,受到美國自由派經濟學家的熱烈歡迎,特別是今秋將辭掉普林斯頓大學教職而轉赴紐約市立大學研 究中心任教的《紐約時報》專欄作家、諾貝爾經濟獎得主保羅.克魯曼,不但在《紐時》和《紐約書評》雜誌上發表長文介紹皮克迪的新著,同時和另一諾貝爾經濟獎得主、哥大講座教授約瑟夫.史蒂格利茨等人共同主持座談會,與皮克迪對談。克魯曼表示,《21世紀的資本》將改變我們對社會與經濟的看法。保守派經濟學 家對皮克迪的新著則多所抨擊,認為他是個左翼學者,看問題只從左派的觀點出發,與馬克思沒有兩樣,而皮氏所建議的徵收富人稅的作法,非但無法緩和問題,更 會深化貧富對立的困局。
稅收政策偏袒富人
不愛穿西裝打領帶的皮克迪,喜歡穿襯衫,上面兩個鈕扣不扣,雖以經濟學為專業,但熱 愛文學,尤喜巴爾札克、珍.奧斯汀的小說。他在《21世紀的資本》中引述了巴爾札克等小說家,對當時社會經濟與個人收入的描述。皮克迪指出,當年卡爾.馬 克思在英國圖書館埋首撰寫《資本論》時,如多花點時間看一般平民的收入與財富分配史料,他的分析會更有說服力,亦會少一點教條思想。
皮克迪 是用法文撰寫《21世紀的資本》,去年在巴黎出版後由亞瑟.戈哈默爾英譯(中譯本版權已由台北衛城出版社獲得)。這本書在西方讀書界引起熱烈反響,顯示愛 讀書、愛思考和關心社會現狀的知識人,對收入不均、貧富懸殊的嚴重關切。同時,亦反映了有內容、有見解的「硬性」著作,儘管充斥乏味的數學,還是會受到知 識群眾的歡迎。《紐時》言論版曾在4月25日破例同時刊出兩篇評論《21世紀的資本》的專欄,克魯曼代表左的觀點,大衛.布魯克斯則代表右的立場。左右對 壘,蔚為知識界一大盛事。
皮克迪對過去30年的美國經濟政策(特別是稅收政策),非常不以為然,他認為是偏袒富人、忽視中產階級的政策。很少經濟學家的著作會引發旋風,《21世紀的資本》則是例外。這本書也許不會改變世界或改變歷史,但是它卻創造了出版史上的空前紀錄!


Errors Found in Piketty's Bestseller, Capital


Thomas Piketty
Photograph by Magali Delporte/Eyevine/Redux
Thomas Piketty
The Financial Times says French economist Thomas Piketty “appears to have gotten his sums wrong” in his best-selling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which argues that inequality is rising and calls for a global wealth tax.
“The FT found mistakes and unexplained entries in his spreadsheets, similar to those which last year undermined the work on public debt and growth of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff,” writes FT economics editor Chris Giles.
If Giles is right, he has a blockbuster story on his hands, because Piketty’s book has been the economic publishing sensation of the season. As Giles notes, Piketty has given presentations on the book to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that it’s safe to say Capital “will be the most important economics book of the year—and maybe of the decade.”
Writes Giles: “Prof Piketty, 43, provides detailed sourcing for his estimates of wealth inequality in Europe and the US over the past 200 years. In his spreadsheets, however, there are transcription errors from the original sources and incorrect formulas. It also appears that some of the data are cherry-picked or constructed without an original source.”
Giles writes that according to the newspaper’s analysis “the European numbers do not show any tendency towards rising wealth inequality after 1970.” It says an independent specialist shared the FT’s concerns.
He makes his case by posting excerpts from his spreadsheets on the FT’s Money Supply blog. At my request, Giles also sent me a copy of the full spreadsheet to review.
Piketty stands by his conclusions. In a long response posted on FT’s blog, he wrote that he used “a very diverse and heterogeneous set of data sources … [on which] one needs to make a number of adjustments to the raw data sources.” Added Piketty: “I have no doubt that my historical data series can be improved and will be improved in the future … but I would be very surprised if any of the substantive conclusion about the long-run evolution of wealth distributions was much affected by these improvements.” Piketty also told the FT that more recent data not in his work showed “the rise in top wealth shares in the US in recent decades has been even larger than what I show in my book.”





The Economist explains

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs


IT IS the economics book taking the world by storm. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, was published in French last year and in English in March of this year. The English version quickly became an unlikely bestseller, and it has prompted a broad and energetic debate on the book’s subject: the outlook for global inequality. Some reckon it heralds or may itself cause a pronounced shift in the focus of economic policy, toward distributional questions. This newspaper has hailed Mr Piketty as "the modern Marx" (Karl, that is). But what’s it all about?
"Capital" is built on more than a decade of research by Mr Piketty and a handful of other economists, detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth. This pile of data allows Mr Piketty to sketch out the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of the rich families who sat atop a relatively rigid class structure. This system persisted even as industrialisation slowly contributed to rising wages for workers. Only the chaos of the first and second world wars and the Depression disrupted this pattern. High taxes, inflation, bankruptcies, and the growth of sprawling welfare states caused wealth to shrink dramatically, and ushered in a period in which both income and wealth were distributed in relatively egalitarian fashion. But the shocks of the early 20th century have faded and wealth is now reasserting itself. On many measures, Mr Piketty reckons, the importance of wealth in modern economies is approaching levels last seen before the first world war.
From this history, Mr Piketty derives a grand theory of capital and inequality. As a general rule wealth grows faster than economic output, he explains, a concept he captures in the expression r > g (where r is the rate of return to wealth and g is the economic growth rate). Other things being equal, faster economic growth will diminish the importance of wealth in a society, whereas slower growth will increase it (and demographic change that slows global growth will make capital more dominant). But there are no natural forces pushing against the steady concentration of wealth. Only a burst of rapid growth (from technological progress or rising population) or government intervention can be counted on to keep economies from returning to the “patrimonial capitalism” that worried Karl Marx. Mr Piketty closes the book by recommending that governments step in now, by adopting a global tax on wealth, to prevent soaring inequality contributing to economic or political instability down the road.
The book has unsurprisingly attracted plenty of criticism. Some wonder whether Mr Piketty is right to think the future will look like the past. Theory argues that it should become ever harder to earn a good return on wealth the more there is of it. And today’s super-rich mostly come by their wealth through work, rather than via inheritance. Others argue that Mr Piketty’s policy recommendations are more ideologically than economically driven and could do more harm than good. But many of the sceptics nonetheless have kind words for the book’s contributions, in terms of data and analysis. Whether or not Mr Piketty succeeds in changing policy, he will have influenced the way thousands of readers and plenty of economists think about these issues.
Dig deeper:
"Capital" is a great piece of scholarship, but a poor guide to policy (May 2014)
Why did the French version of "Capital" not make the same splash? (April 2014)
Revisiting an old argument about the impact of capitalism (January 2014)
- See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/05/economist-explains?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/ee/thomaspikettycapital#sthash.uwASGxfp.dpuf




The Economist explains

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs


IT IS the economics book taking the world by storm. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, was published in French last year and in English in March of this year. The English version quickly became an unlikely bestseller, and it has prompted a broad and energetic debate on the book’s subject: the outlook for global inequality. Some reckon it heralds or may itself cause a pronounced shift in the focus of economic policy, toward distributional questions. This newspaper has hailed Mr Piketty as "the modern Marx" (Karl, that is). But what’s it all about?
"Capital" is built on more than a decade of research by Mr Piketty and a handful of other economists, detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth. This pile of data allows Mr Piketty to sketch out the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of the rich families who sat atop a relatively rigid class structure. This system persisted even as industrialisation slowly contributed to rising wages for workers. Only the chaos of the first and second world wars and the Depression disrupted this pattern. High taxes, inflation, bankruptcies, and the growth of sprawling welfare states caused wealth to shrink dramatically, and ushered in a period in which both income and wealth were distributed in relatively egalitarian fashion. But the shocks of the early 20th century have faded and wealth is now reasserting itself. On many measures, Mr Piketty reckons, the importance of wealth in modern economies is approaching levels last seen before the first world war.
From this history, Mr Piketty derives a grand theory of capital and inequality. As a general rule wealth grows faster than economic output, he explains, a concept he captures in the expression r > g (where r is the rate of return to wealth and g is the economic growth rate). Other things being equal, faster economic growth will diminish the importance of wealth in a society, whereas slower growth will increase it (and demographic change that slows global growth will make capital more dominant). But there are no natural forces pushing against the steady concentration of wealth. Only a burst of rapid growth (from technological progress or rising population) or government intervention can be counted on to keep economies from returning to the “patrimonial capitalism” that worried Karl Marx. Mr Piketty closes the book by recommending that governments step in now, by adopting a global tax on wealth, to prevent soaring inequality contributing to economic or political instability down the road.
The book has unsurprisingly attracted plenty of criticism. Some wonder whether Mr Piketty is right to think the future will look like the past. Theory argues that it should become ever harder to earn a good return on wealth the more there is of it. And today’s super-rich mostly come by their wealth through work, rather than via inheritance. Others argue that Mr Piketty’s policy recommendations are more ideologically than economically driven and could do more harm than good. But many of the sceptics nonetheless have kind words for the book’s contributions, in terms of data and analysis. Whether or not Mr Piketty succeeds in changing policy, he will have influenced the way thousands of readers and plenty of economists think about these issues.
Dig deeper:
"Capital" is a great piece of scholarship, but a poor guide to policy (May 2014)
Why did the French version of "Capital" not make the same splash? (April 2014)
Revisiting an old argument about the impact of capitalism (January 2014)
- See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/05/economist-explains?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/ee/thomaspikettycapital#sthash.uwASGxfp.dpuf




The Economist explains

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs


IT IS the economics book taking the world by storm. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, was published in French last year and in English in March of this year. The English version quickly became an unlikely bestseller, and it has prompted a broad and energetic debate on the book’s subject: the outlook for global inequality. Some reckon it heralds or may itself cause a pronounced shift in the focus of economic policy, toward distributional questions. This newspaper has hailed Mr Piketty as "the modern Marx" (Karl, that is). But what’s it all about?
"Capital" is built on more than a decade of research by Mr Piketty and a handful of other economists, detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth. This pile of data allows Mr Piketty to sketch out the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of the rich families who sat atop a relatively rigid class structure. This system persisted even as industrialisation slowly contributed to rising wages for workers. Only the chaos of the first and second world wars and the Depression disrupted this pattern. High taxes, inflation, bankruptcies, and the growth of sprawling welfare states caused wealth to shrink dramatically, and ushered in a period in which both income and wealth were distributed in relatively egalitarian fashion. But the shocks of the early 20th century have faded and wealth is now reasserting itself. On many measures, Mr Piketty reckons, the importance of wealth in modern economies is approaching levels last seen before the first world war.
From this history, Mr Piketty derives a grand theory of capital and inequality. As a general rule wealth grows faster than economic output, he explains, a concept he captures in the expression r > g (where r is the rate of return to wealth and g is the economic growth rate). Other things being equal, faster economic growth will diminish the importance of wealth in a society, whereas slower growth will increase it (and demographic change that slows global growth will make capital more dominant). But there are no natural forces pushing against the steady concentration of wealth. Only a burst of rapid growth (from technological progress or rising population) or government intervention can be counted on to keep economies from returning to the “patrimonial capitalism” that worried Karl Marx. Mr Piketty closes the book by recommending that governments step in now, by adopting a global tax on wealth, to prevent soaring inequality contributing to economic or political instability down the road.
The book has unsurprisingly attracted plenty of criticism. Some wonder whether Mr Piketty is right to think the future will look like the past. Theory argues that it should become ever harder to earn a good return on wealth the more there is of it. And today’s super-rich mostly come by their wealth through work, rather than via inheritance. Others argue that Mr Piketty’s policy recommendations are more ideologically than economically driven and could do more harm than good. But many of the sceptics nonetheless have kind words for the book’s contributions, in terms of data and analysis. Whether or not Mr Piketty succeeds in changing policy, he will have influenced the way thousands of readers and plenty of economists think about these issues.
Dig deeper:
"Capital" is a great piece of scholarship, but a poor guide to policy (May 2014)
Why did the French version of "Capital" not make the same splash? (April 2014)
Revisiting an old argument about the impact of capitalism (January 2014)
- See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/05/economist-explains?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/ee/thomaspikettycapital#sthash.uwASGxfp.dpuf




The Economist explains

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs


IT IS the economics book taking the world by storm. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, was published in French last year and in English in March of this year. The English version quickly became an unlikely bestseller, and it has prompted a broad and energetic debate on the book’s subject: the outlook for global inequality. Some reckon it heralds or may itself cause a pronounced shift in the focus of economic policy, toward distributional questions. This newspaper has hailed Mr Piketty as "the modern Marx" (Karl, that is). But what’s it all about?
"Capital" is built on more than a decade of research by Mr Piketty and a handful of other economists, detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth. This pile of data allows Mr Piketty to sketch out the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of the rich families who sat atop a relatively rigid class structure. This system persisted even as industrialisation slowly contributed to rising wages for workers. Only the chaos of the first and second world wars and the Depression disrupted this pattern. High taxes, inflation, bankruptcies, and the growth of sprawling welfare states caused wealth to shrink dramatically, and ushered in a period in which both income and wealth were distributed in relatively egalitarian fashion. But the shocks of the early 20th century have faded and wealth is now reasserting itself. On many measures, Mr Piketty reckons, the importance of wealth in modern economies is approaching levels last seen before the first world war.
From this history, Mr Piketty derives a grand theory of capital and inequality. As a general rule wealth grows faster than economic output, he explains, a concept he captures in the expression r > g (where r is the rate of return to wealth and g is the economic growth rate). Other things being equal, faster economic growth will diminish the importance of wealth in a society, whereas slower growth will increase it (and demographic change that slows global growth will make capital more dominant). But there are no natural forces pushing against the steady concentration of wealth. Only a burst of rapid growth (from technological progress or rising population) or government intervention can be counted on to keep economies from returning to the “patrimonial capitalism” that worried Karl Marx. Mr Piketty closes the book by recommending that governments step in now, by adopting a global tax on wealth, to prevent soaring inequality contributing to economic or political instability down the road.
The book has unsurprisingly attracted plenty of criticism. Some wonder whether Mr Piketty is right to think the future will look like the past. Theory argues that it should become ever harder to earn a good return on wealth the more there is of it. And today’s super-rich mostly come by their wealth through work, rather than via inheritance. Others argue that Mr Piketty’s policy recommendations are more ideologically than economically driven and could do more harm than good. But many of the sceptics nonetheless have kind words for the book’s contributions, in terms of data and analysis. Whether or not Mr Piketty succeeds in changing policy, he will have influenced the way thousands of readers and plenty of economists think about these issues.
Dig deeper:
"Capital" is a great piece of scholarship, but a poor guide to policy (May 2014)
Why did the French version of "Capital" not make the same splash? (April 2014)
Revisiting an old argument about the impact of capitalism (January 2014)
- See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/05/economist-explains?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/ee/thomaspikettycapital#sthash.uwASGxfp.dpuf

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