Book review: For understanding the problem of inequality  

"It is a monumental work. In more than 600 words, divided into 4 parts and 16 chapters, Thomas Piketty explains the complex problem of inequality in the world."
Por Antonio López
Jul 13, 2022

One of the main current world problems is inequality, which is diverse and structural. This means that inequality is not only related to income, but also to gender and race. Likewise, this inequality is reflected in all areas of society; in politics, in education, in the family, etc.

This problem can have very negative effects on society. Contrary to what many people (especially with (neo)liberal ideologies) think, that inequality is necessary and must exist without restrictions, this is a condition of society that can translate into problems of violence and ungovernability.

Being a problem that affects us daily, it is important that all citizens get involved in this debate.

To do so, today I would like to recommend you to read “Capital in the 21st Century”, written by the French economist, Thomas Piketty. Here you can read an article we wrote about this author.

Thomas Piketty became famous around the world through this book. From there he became a world “rockstar”. It is worth mentioning that it was through this book that I met Thomas Piketty in 2015.

It is a monumental work. In more than 600 words, divided into 4 parts and 16 chapters, Thomas Piketty explains the complex problem of inequality in the world. The first two parts explain the dynamic that exists between income and capital, and how it’s that capital, historically, grows more and faster. Unlike the economic growth of countries and, therefore, the per capita incomes.

Subsequently, in the last two sections, Piketty explains how this unequal dynamic (of income and capital) has translated into physical inequality (of property) that causes us to live in societies with unequal opportunities, with high levels of wealth concentration in few people and with a large proportion of people living in miserable conditions, without the hope that their condition could improve in time.

At the end, Thomas Piketty proposes to (re)think the Social State for the 21st century, that could face this problem through a State that takes the reins of society and the economy, which could translate into progressive taxes and a well planned  public investment.

At the time there were some criticisms of this book, such as its Western bias.

However, Piketty has argued that, when he was working on the book, he only had access to information from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada (among other countries). This is  because many countries do not have or do not share their tax historical information. This is a defect that he has been improving with his other works, in which he has included more non-Western countries, making his books more representative.

Without a doubt, I highly recommend reading this book. It is not easy to read since it contains a lot of information and sometimes it can be difficult to process it. However, it’s worth delving into this reading since you will better understand the dynamics of inequality, one of the main problems of our time, after climate change, which our generation will have to fix.

Antonio López

Antonio López

Founder of The Bookish Man.
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