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Famous Economist Thomas Piketty: America Is Headed For Wealth Redistribution

Famous Economist Thomas Piketty: America Is Headed For Wealth Redistribution

Piketty

Photo: A protester outside the British prime minister's home on Downing Street, April 2, 2022, by Alisdare Hickson.

Thomas Piketty, a French economist who is set to publish “A Brief History of Equality,” argues in his latest book that the U.S. is on its way to greater equality. 

“I am relatively optimistic about the fact that there is a long-run movement toward more equality, which goes beyond the little details of what happens within a specific decade,” he told The New York Times.

Piketty is a French economist who has been politically affiliated with the French Socialist Party. He is a professor of economics at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, associate chair at the Paris School of Economics and centennial professor of economics at the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics. 

He wrote an earlier bestseller, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” in 2013.

According to Piketty, a number of factors such as policies and social changes are moving the U.S. toward a redistribution of wealth. “We have become much more equal societies in terms of political equality, economic equality, social equality, as compared with 100 years ago, 200 years ago. This movement, which began with the French and U.S. revolutions, I think it is going to continue,” he pointed out.

Looking at the big picture, Americans want change, Piketty said.

“If you take the big picture, yes. But the other lesson from the big picture, from history, is that it takes major political mobilization to keep moving in the direction of equality,” he said. “In the United States today, the democratic institutions, the rules of the game, are set up in a manner that, indeed, the rich are entrenched. But if you look at opinion polls about a billionaire tax in the U.S. — among Democratic and also Republican voters — you have huge approval.


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When asked about structural or ideological changes that may be moving the U.S. in the direction of wealth redistribution, Piketty said, “Well, the dominant ideology has been moving toward the view that we’ve gone too far in terms of market liberalization, in terms of globalization without regulation and the superrich getting richer.

“The problem is that we’re still stuck with institutions that were set up in the ’80s and ’90s in terms of limited tax progressivity, free capital flows without any common collective regulation, without financial cadastre so that you can track who owns what where — which is a big problem when you want to impose sanctions on oligarchs.”

Photo: A protester outside the British prime minister’s home on Downing Street listens to speakers on a day of action over government complicity in inequality, poverty and the rising cost of living in the world’s fifth-richest country, April 2, 2022, by Alisdare Hickson, https://www.flickr.com/photos/alisdare/
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