Thomas Piketty

Economist

Born: 7 May 1971
Birthplace: Clichy, France
Best known as:

The author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Piketty is a French economist who became a best-selling author in the United States after his 2013 book Capital in the Twenty-First Century was translated into English in 2014. Piketty studied mathematics and economics at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, or EHESS), and earned his PhD. in 1993. He taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1993 to 1995, then returned to France and made his name as a rising star in the world of academic economics. From 1996 to 2012 he was a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, and he's been a professor at EHESS since 2000. He also teaches at the Paris School of Economics. His best-selling book examines historical changes of wealth accumulation and economic growth since the Industrial Revolution, concluding that capitalism inevitably causes wealth inequality unless checked by regulation or, in the case of the 20th century, the chaos of two world wars. His dire prediction of more economic inequality to come resonated with the political left (in France he's been an advisor to the Socialist Party), as did his proposed remedy: a global tax increase on wealth. Predictably, he's been criticized from the political right for being an unrealistic or confused Marxist. Politics aside, there's been general agreement that his important and hefty tome is a respectable analysis of data, if not a thrilling page-turner.

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