ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Capitalist Dynamics and the Plutocrats

Capitalist Dynamics and the Plutocrats

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press), 2014; pp 696, $39.95.

Let me start with a disclosure. I have known Piketty since he was a 24-year-old whiz-kid on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became a member of an international research group on inequality that I co-directed for more than 10 years, starting in the mid-1990. Our group funded his early work in the collection of historical data on income and wealth from the tax archives in France. But none of us was prepared (neither, I presume, was he) for the big splash that his book has now made in the international world of academics and opinion-makers and changed the discourse on issues of economic inequality and redistributive policy.

Since the book, deservedly, has been widely commented upon and reviewed, I will stick to only a brief synopsis of the by now familiar main message, and go on in this short review to dwell particularly on the implications for further study it has for a developing country like India. This may be worthwhile as there is very little on developing countries in this large book of nearly 700 pages (of dense small print).

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