chapter
6 Pages

Ways In to the Text

Thomas Piketty was born in France in 1971 and is one of the world's leading young economists, best known for his work on wealth and income inequality—the gap between the rich and the poor. His academic output since the early 2000s has focused on measuring wealth and income inequality in several countries over the past three centuries. In Capital, Piketty extends Kuznets' data to the early twenty-first century. He then divides that historical stretch into three periods. The first period—dating from 1871 to the beginning of World War I—was known as the Belle Epoque for its peace and artistic flourishing. In some cases, notably the United States and France, Piketty explores in-depth the sociological and political factors that shaped how wealth has spread. Capital is a good entry point for students with little experience in data analysis, as Piketty's techniques are not complex but lead to strong conclusions.