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"Is the unequal distribution of wealth among individuals and countries not only unjust but also inefficient, because it reproduces itself by limiting the ability of the poor to invest and thus close the gap between themselves and the rich? If so, how can capital be efficiently redistributed?"
-- Thomas Piketty, The Economics of Inequality
Piketty wrote this book ten years before (2004) Piketty wrote his famous book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014). In this book Piketty outlines many of the economic arguments concerning economic inequality (primarily income, wage, capital) and discusses many of the different potential approaches used to combat it. He also explores not just the moral challenges of a society with high levels of income inequality (stability, etc), but also explore ideas surrounding whether high levels of income inequality is efficient economically. Some of the ideas he explored heavily in Capital in the 21st Century are seen as seeds here (flat tax on capital, etc). He isn't looking to burn capitalism down, rather he is pointing to the need to "analyze the reasons for labor income inequality. The point of such analysis is to determine what kinds of redistributive instruments might combat it. The goal is no longer to abolish private ownership of capital, tax profits, or redistribute wealth. The instruments suitable for dealing with labor income inequality go by other names: taxation of top incomes and fiscal transfers to those with lower incomes; policies to improve education and training; minimum wages; and measures to prevent employment discrimination, strengthen unions, and establish wage schedules, to name of few."
His goal with this book is to determine which of those policies/taxes above are the most justifiable morally and economically, what arguments are used to justify them or reject them, and how do we evaluate those arguments.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful
This is a very tough listen. Especially without the graphics. It's a pretty deep (and boring) listen, not one I would recommend if you listen while you workout or commute.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful