4.2.2 Capital in the Twenty-First Century
In 2014 French economist Thomas Piketty caused quite a storm with the publication of his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
Piketty’s vast data analysis is based around a certain equation. That R (the rate of return to capital) exceeds G (economic growth). Piketty argues that inequality of income and wealth is not a problem per se. It’s a question of degree. Now inequality is extreme and we are drifting back to levels of inequality within some countries last seen in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. And this extreme inequality, says Piketty, really matters because it is bad for economic growth, it’s bad for social and economic mobility and it’s bad for democracy.
Piketty opens out the debate to include some highly controversial tactics to tackle inequality such as greater transparency of national and international banking organisations, and redistribution of wealth through taxation and a global wealth tax.
Next, hear Danny Dorling’s observations on one of the most unequal countries in Europe, the UK.