The book of Thomas Piketty "Capital in the twenty-first century": the essence, main points


2019-01-09 07:00:30




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And according to what laws distributed capital? Why do some always remain poor, and the other – no matter what – rich? The author of the popular book “Capital in the twenty-first century” Thomas Piketty did my research and came to some interesting conclusions. In his opinion, 1914-1980 the years, the gap between strata was minimal.

capital in the xxi century

Fundamental contradiction

Life in modern society is subordinated to its laws. One of them – the equality, i.e., from an economic point of view, the ability to ensure their well-being only by their own abilities and desires. But the Professor at the Paris school of Economics Thomas Piketty (“Capital in the twenty-first century” is his best seller) argues that increasingly there is a relationship between personal success and financial situation and connections of his family. Of course, this contradicts the notion of equal opportunities.

Soon appeared, the book made a lot of noise, because the author has put her many questions about the validity of the postulates of the market economy. He does not exclude the right of Karl Marx, who claimed imminent death of capitalism.

Myths and realities

If in the XIX century, no one was surprised that a small group of people “rule the world”, in modern conditions, this fact is constantly a matter of controversy and doubt. Countries such as the United States, based on the proclamation of equal rights for all citizens, require a serious explanation of the gap between rich and poor.

Thomas piketty capital in the xxi century

For a long time economists have argued that overall economic growth brings prosperity to all. Many books (“Capital in the twenty-first century” is an exception), tell that individual efforts and workaholism allow people to achieve greater heights. And that society no longer rests on relations and inherited property. However, even the most primitive observations to the contrary.


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If during the XIX-XX centuries, the ratio of private capital and national income have remained approximately equal (regardless of the structure – first earth, then industrial assets, and finally, now - Finance), since the 70-ies of XX century, the first prevails. Over the last 50 years the gap is more than 600 %, i.e. national income 6 times less than that of private capital.

If There's a reasonable and logical explanation? Of course. A high savings rate gives a decent rent; the level of economic growth is quite small, and the privatization of state assets allows you to increase the size of private capital. In the former Soviet Union privatization enabled a small number of citizens significantly enriched.

 capital in the xxi century, Thomas piketty Russian

Historical background

The growth of the economy at all times was below the return on capital, argues Thomas Piketty. Capital in the twenty-first century, based on the received inheritance, only increases the gap. The fact that the beginning of the XX century 90 % of the wealth belonged to 10% of people. The rest, regardless of mental abilities and efforts, ownership was not. Consequently, earning them there is nothing.

The Proclamation of equality, permission to participate in voting and other achievements of a democratic society does not change the economic laws and the concentration of private capital have “a small group of people”.

It may sound terrible, but it was two world wars and the need for recovery have created an unprecedented situation, when the income from savings was lower economic growth. In the period 1914-1950 wealth increased only by 1-1,5 % per year. In addition, the introduction of progressive taxation helped to increase the growth rate of the economy. But capital in the twenty-first century are again becoming more important innovation and development of the industry.

book capital in the twenty-first century

Middle class

In the postwar period in Europe there were the so-called middle class. Again, this happened due to economic and political shocks, but not at the expense of equality of opportunity. But the enthusiasm did not last long. By the 1970s progressive years, experts have recorded a new growth of wealth inequality.

In his book “the Capital of the XXI century” Thomas Piketty (in Russian language the book is already published) suggests that, despite the emergence of the middle class, the poorest of the poor did not feel economic development. The gap between social strata is growing.

However, since the 1980s, he says, historical trends returns. If in the mid-60s it was really possible to escape to the top of the economic pyramid at the expense of their ability, to the end of the twentieth century, this path was closed. All their arguments Thomas Piketty confirm the figures. He cites the example of staff salaries senior managers and average workers. If top management increased their income by 8% per year, then all the rest - just 0.5 %.


American economists have explained this injustice to the wage special skills, experience, education and performance management companies. However, the economic literature confirms that in fact it is not. Moreover, the wage of a TOP Manager notdepends on the quality of its decisions. Here there is a so-called phenomenon of “fee-for-luck”: if under the influence of external factors the company is developing dynamically, automatically increase bonuses to employees.

Inheritance or earnings

Capital in the twenty-first century for the first time in the history of mankind could be gained at the expense of his mind and effort. This postulate is the author of the book brought with the caveat that such an option was only for people born in the period from 1910 to 1960.

The Implementation of their talents has allowed people to believe that inequality of origin (and, hence, economic well-being) remained far in the past. However, modern studies confirm the opposite: the dimensions of inherited capital significantly exceeds obtained in the course of redistribution of income from labor. In confirmation of his words the author gives statistical data, including not only economic, but also demographic indicators.

economic literature

The Book “Capital in the twenty-first century”, unfortunately, is not encouraging for those seeking to earn their own wealth. The author examined data for the three century development of the society and came to the conclusion that this economic inequality is the norm for humanity.

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