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Piketty e lo spirito del tempo

PRINCETON – In questi giorni, ovunque mi trovi e con chiunque mi capiti di parlare, mi viene chiesta un’opinione su Thomas Piketty, e questo per sapere, in realtà, cosa pensi del suo libro e del fenomeno Piketty in generale.

Rispondere alla prima domanda è per me più facile. Per pura coincidenza, sono stato uno dei primi lettori della versione inglese del libro di Piketty, intitolata Capital in the Twenty-First Century, il capitale nel ventunesimo secolo. Il suo editore, la Harvard University Press, mi aveva mandato le bozze con la speranza che firmassi la fascetta di copertina, cosa che ho fatto con piacere, avendo trovato il testo di una portata, una profondità e un'ambizione davvero impressionanti.

Naturalmente, conoscevo già lo studio empirico di Piketty sulla distribuzione del reddito, realizzato in collaborazione con Emmanuel Saez, Anthony Atkinson e altri economisti. Questo lavoro ha tratto conclusioni sorprendenti sull’aumento del reddito dei super ricchi, e ha dimostrato che in molte economie avanzate la disuguaglianza ha raggiunto livelli che non si vedevano dall’inizio del ventesimo secolo. Un grande risultato già di per sé.

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