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Resurgence of Capital or rise of the Working Rich? On Piketty’s Capital in the 21st century
Stratification sociale, Piketty Thomas (1971- ), Transformations des inégalités
Capital in the Twenty-First Century was a classic as soon as it was published.1 It deserves a place on bookshelves beside its illustrious namesake of the 19th century. Capital, in Capital, is the wealth of nations. It extends beyond firms’ traditional productive capital to encompass the entire public and private patrimony that can be sold on a market (thus excluding non-transferable forms of capital such as human, cultural and social capital). The book is the culmination of fifteen years of individual and collective research on the evolution of income and wealth inequalities. Thanks to data based on the collection of income tax, Thomas Piketty and his colleagues had already widely explored income inequality in France, the United-States, India, China, and more generally in the world by the early 2000s, fuelling a unique and remarkable dataset: the World Top Incomes Database. However, this work focused on income rather than wealth, and hence provided an incomplete account of economic inequality. This new book fills in this gap in a very timely fashion.