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Piketty e o Zeitgeist

PRINCETON – Ultimamente, onde quer que vá e com quem quer que me encontre, sou invariavelmente abordado com a mesma questão: O que pensa de Thomas Piketty? Na realidade são duas questões numa só: O que pensa de Piketty, o livro, e o que pensa de Piketty, o fenómeno?

É muito mais fácil responder à primeira questão. Por pura sorte, fui um dos primeiros leitores da versão inglesa do Capital in the Twenty-First Century("Capital no Século XXI", NdT.). A editora de Piketty, a Harvard University Press, enviara-me uma pré-publicação do livro, na esperança de que eu contribuísse com uma sinopse para a contracapa. Fi-lo de bom grado, uma vez que considerei o âmbito, a profundidade e a ambição do livro impressionantes.

É claro que eu conhecia o trabalho empírico sobre distribuição dos rendimentos que Piketty realizara em conjunto com Emmanuel Saez, Anthony Atkinson e outros. Este trabalho já havia originado novas conclusões alarmantes sobre o aumento dos rendimentos dos super-ricos. Demonstrara que a desigualdade em muitas economias avançadas tinha atingido níveis não observados desde o início do século XX. Era em si um verdadeiro tour de force.

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