By Thomas Piketty
The most driving force of inequality—returns on capital that exceed the speed of monetary growth—is back threatening to generate severe discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty's findings during this bold, unique, rigorous paintings will remodel debate and set the time table for the following iteration of considered wealth and inequality.
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Extra resources for Capital in the Twenty-First Century
The history of inequality is shaped by the way economic, social, and political actors view what is just and what is not, as well as by the relative power of those actors and the collective choices that result. It is the joint product of all relevant actors combined. 20 Introduction The second conclusion, which is the heart of the book, is that the dynamics of wealth distribution reveal powerful mechanisms pushing alternately toward convergence and divergence. Furthermore, there is no natural, spontaneous process to prevent destabilizing, inegalitarian forces from prevailing permanently.
This is a key difference from other forms of capital. One can of course put one’s labor ser vices up for hire under a labor contract of some sort. In all modern legal systems, however, such an arrangement has to be limited in both time and scope. In slave societies, of course, this is obviously not true: there, a slaveholder can fully and completely own the human capital of another person and even of that person’s offspring. In such societies, slaves can be bought and sold on the market and conveyed by inheritance, and it is common to include slaves in calculating a slaveholder’s wealth.
To recapitulate: regardless of whether we are looking at the accounts of a company, a nation, or the global economy, the associated output and income can be decomposed as the sum of income to capital and income to labor: National income = capital income + labor income 45 Income and Capital But what is capital? What are its limits? What forms does it take? How has its composition changed over time? This question, central to this investigation, will be examined in greater detail in subsequent chapters.