Today’s Must Read isn’t a fun one, but it’s vitally important. The New York Times features a write-up of economist Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” The takeaway: The rising gap between the very wealthy and everyone else will continue widening, will not “self-correct,” and will require bold action from policymakers to address the crisis.
What if inequality were to continue growing years or decades into the future? Say the richest 1 percent of the population amassed a quarter of the nation’s income, up from about a fifth today. What about half?
To believe Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, this future is not just possible. It is likely.
In his bracing “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which hit bookstores on Monday, Professor Piketty provides a fresh and sweeping analysis of the world’s economic history that puts into question many of our core beliefs about the organization of market economies.
The effects of this widening gap can be felt by people in their everyday lives, Piketty says, but it took economic thinkers much of the past century to catch up, in large part due to outdated models of how the world works.
Really, go read the whole thing. It’s depressing, but further underscores that repairing our broken economy in a way that protects workers and struggling families can’t be left to chance. It will require action from elected leaders.
As a wonky bonus, the NYT Economix blog has an in-depth Q&A with Piketty that you should read when you can.