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Piketty's Latest Charge

By offering a comprehensive history of "inequality regimes" around the world, French economist Thomas Piketty offers a deeply informative and rewarding overview of one of today's most pressing economic issues. But his own historical narrative suggests that his vision of global participatory socialism is a non-starter.

NEW YORK – French economist Thomas Piketty’s latest doorstop tome tries to fuse two distinct research efforts. The first is a history of inequality since around 1700, with occasional excursions into earlier periods. Upon reaching the nineteenth century and the industrial era, the analysis deepens and grows more detailed, taking us up to the present. Unlike Piketty’s previous opus, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which focused on the United States and just a few European countries, Capital and Ideology expands the scope to cover India, China, Brazil, and much of the postcolonial world.