Thomas Piketty

Walter Scheidel’s The Great Leveler says that it is – almost.

This column is an exploration of the recently published The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century. But first I need to attend to a couple of analytic points.

Another French economist contributes an uncommonly good book.

Not long ago around half my friends were reading Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries and another half Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Few had the time to read both blockbusters.

One per cent of the world's population now control half its wealth. 

The concentration of more and more resources in fewer and fewer hands has actually accelerated since the global financial crisis. This is no accident. It is the outcome of policy decisions made – or avoided – by political leaders either unable to learn the lessons of the crisis or unwilling to act on them.  

Since 2008, “middle-class wealth has grown at a slower pace than wealth at the top end. This has reversed the pre-crisis trend, which saw the share of middle-class wealth remaining fairly stable over time.”

Recent publications suggest that the children who live at the bottom in economies with high inequality have reduced life chances.

The grandfather of modern distributional research is Tony Atkinson, a British economist who began in the 1960s a lifetime career studying the British and world income distributions and other related ones.

If a large majority of us are worried about inequality and National is making the problem worse, not better, why isn’t the Left doing better politically?


A recent UMR poll found 50% of us are 'very concerned' about growing inequality, 37% are 'somewhat concerned', and only 13% 'not concerned at all'. 

Seven out of ten of us believe the gap between rich and poor is widening.