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Capital in the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; 3rd edition (2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8937834693
  • ISBN-13: 978-8937834691
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George Deverges on September 15, 2014
Capital in the Twenty-First Century is an unusual experience for those used to the more frenetic and visibly argumentative policy-driven books of the recent past. Professor Piketty addresses the issues relative to the accumulation of wealth by the holders of capital with a serene air, and while his conclusions are intriguing, there are two points he makes that are, to me, worth repeating:

1. Economics, if it is a science, is a social science, related to and informed by history. A profusion of equations does not worthwhile precision in policy make, and Professor Piketty's references to novels of Balzac and Austen remind us that the views and observations of novelists hundreds of years ago are still meaningful and relevant now; and

2. It is foolish to assume that capitalism and neo-liberalism automatically guarantee al cure all mankind's ills, or at least guarantee that none proliferate. Finding a social order acceptable to all and dealing with the rights and duties of every member of society to every other member is not likely to occur by accident, nor is it the assured by-product of liberalism, or any other political or economic theory.

I recommend this, even (especially) to those who find his conclusions and recommendations unappealing or wrong-headed. Professor Piketty's policy recommendation, a tax on capital, and his clear-eyed analysis deserves to be considered, even by those who find the recommendation dangerous or foolish. His research is available to all, and those with other inclinations and policy recommendations should see this book as a challenge to sharpen arguments and test positions.
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‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ written by Thomas Piketty who is a Professor at the Paris School of Economics is a well-made evaluation of trends in the world economy until the 21st century. This is a translation of a book that was last year originally published in French, which I read on the original, but in English is much more understandable and therefore more accessible to a wider group of readers what with its quality certainly deserves.

The Piketty’s book is quite extensive, so take some solid amount of time for its nearly 700 pages that will definitely not disappoint you, but do not expect to read them as some light novel. ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ is divided into four major units – ‘Income and Capital’, ‘The Dynamics of the Capital/Income Ratio’, ‘The Structure of Inequality’ and ‘Regulating Capital in the Twenty-First century’- and as good add-on that is for such a book mandatory supplement, the author at the end of the text added Index, his notes, contents in detail and list of book tables and illustrations.

At the very beginning Thomas Piketty raises significant questions which answer why he decided to write his book – “…But what do we really know about the distribution of wealth over the long term? Do the dynamics of private capital accumulation inevitably lead to the concentration of wealth in ever fewer hands, as Karl Marx believed in the nineteenth century? Or do the balancing forces of growth, competition, and technological progress lead in later stages of development to reduced inequality and greater harmony among the classes, as Simon Kuznets thought in the twentieth century? What do we really know… and what lessons can we derive from that knowledge for the century now under way?
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A very oportune and superbly documented study on the characteristics of the capitalist economic system and its problems with the present cincumstances of global economy. In the First World countries economic growth is slowing down because demographic increase is almost zero and very high "consumism" has reached such levels that are damaging the environment . When capital rate of interest is higher than economic growth, rich people grow richer and poor people gets poorer, so there appears the peril of social stratification. Piketty signales the cures for those ills: Progressive taxes on capital gains and world-wide mandatory accords to combat planetary problems, as global warming, environmental conservation measures and fossil fuel massive production and consumption.- JVG
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Voluminous and well-researched. Piketty spends the first third of the book on background statistics, history and explanation. This is NOT opinion, although the interpretations of the data are flavored by French and British information. As he repeats about every page, the available information is all relative, and the conclusions are stated in ranges, like 3-5% or 4-7years. The political and social context is also explored, as this is actually a history of corporate capitalism.
Very dense, and obscure for the non-academic, this is not a fast weekend read.
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I am surprised that so many people take an interest in this extensive view of "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Tomas Piketty.

If I start out repeating or commenting on this approximately 700 page book the review will end up a 1400 page review.

I came to this book after reading hundreds of reviews (some just soapbox rants.) Some of the reviews are quite profound. But now it is time to look at the source and not opinions; that is other than mine.

This capital book is not really a book about "Capital" as much as how to keep capital in line with entities such as democracy vs. oligarchy.

So Tomas Piketty really puts his foot in it when it comes to people that do not want to hear about this and spend time arguing about methods of taxation and distribution without addressing the actual premise.

I think the value in this book is by bringing out old and new information and observations by the author's extrapolation thus creating a dialog among readers on the possible futures and whether intervention or insight will have any effect for better or worse.
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