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Piketty y el Zeitgeist

PRINCETON – Últimamente, donde sea que vaya todos me preguntan lo mismo: ¿qué piensa de Thomas Piketty? En realidad, son dos preguntas en una: ¿qué piensa de Piketty, el libro, y qué piensa de Piketty, el fenómeno?

La primera pregunta es mucho más fácil de responder. Quiso la suerte que yo fuera uno de los primeros lectores de la versión en inglés de Capital in the Twenty-First Century[El capital en el siglo XXI]. La editorial que lo publicó, Harvard University Press, me envió las galeradas del libro con la esperanza de que yo escribiera un comentario elogioso para la contratapa. Cosa que hice con agrado, ya que el alcance, la profundidad y la ambición del libro me parecieron impresionantes.

Desde luego que ya conocía el trabajo empírico que Piketty y otros colegas (entre ellos Emmanuel Saez y Anthony Atkinson) hicieron en relación con la distribución del ingreso. Ya antes de la publicación del libro, esta investigación entregó hallazgos sorprendentes sobre el aumento de ingresos de los súper ricos y demostró que en muchas economías avanzadas, la desigualdad alcanzó niveles que no se veían desde principios del siglo XX. Fue un auténtico tour de force.

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