Piketty, T., & Goldhammer, A. (2014). Capital in the twenty-first century.
What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In this work, the author analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality. He shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality–the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth–today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values if political action is not taken. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, the author says, and may do so again. This original work reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.
Thomas Piketty Discusses, “Capital In The 21st Century” with Ryan Grim and Alexis Goldstein, Hufington post (45 minutes)
Capital in the Twenty-First Century [Video] London School of Economics (86 minutes)
Sir Tony Atkinson, Oxford and LSE “Inequality: What can be done?” (35 minutes)
Increasing inequality is a salient issue in public discourse, but debate often centres on the causes rather than any possible solutions. Introducing his new book, Inequality: what can be done? Professor Atkinson argues we can do much more about inequality than the skeptics might imagine.
Reich, R. B. (2013). Inequality for All: Aftershock: Movie Tie-In Edition. Random House Inc.
When the nation’s economy foundered in 2008, blame was directed almost universally at Wall Street bankers. But Robert B. Reich, one of our most experienced and trusted voices on public policy, suggests another reason for the meltdown. Our real problem, he argues, lies in the increasing concentration of income at the top, robbing the vast middle class of the purchasing power it needs to keep the economy going. This thoughtful and detailed account of the American economy—and how we can fix it—is a practical, humane, and much-needed blueprint for rebuilding our society.
The Politics and Economics of Inequality (54 minutes)
Stiglitz, J. (2013)The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future
This work examines how the wealthy classes have contributed to growing inequality in society and explains how the quest to increase wealth has hindered the country’s economic growth as well as its efforts to solve its most pressing economic problems. In it the author, a Nobel Prize-winning economist puts forth a forceful argument against America’s vicious circle of growing inequality. America currently has the most inequality, and the least equality of opportunity, among the advanced countries. While market forces play a role in this stark picture, politics has shaped those market forces. Here the author exposes the efforts of well-heeled interests to compound their wealth in ways that have stifled true, dynamic capitalism. Along the way he examines the effect of inequality on our economy, our democracy, and our system of justice. He explains how inequality affects and is affected by every aspect of national policy, and offers a vision for a more just and prosperous future, supported by a concrete program to achieve that vision.
Authors@Google: Joseph Stiglitz (60 Minutes)