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Liberty, Piketty, Fraternity

John Rentoul

We are agreed. Thomas Piketty has been on Channel 4 News and accepted that there has been “only a limited rise in wealth inequality in Europe” in recent decades, whereas it has risen greatly in America. This is what I said. (Video below thanks to Guido Fawkes.)

The situation in America is quite different. Indeed, Piketty says that recent data suggests that wealth inequality has increased by even more in the US than he recorded in his book.

Piketty accepts that the growth of inequality is “not a central problem in Europe right now”, unlike in America, but that “we should not wait for it to become a problem”.

I could not agree more, and I agree with him that we should replace stamp duty (a tax on the purchase of houses) with an annual revalued council tax including higher bands that would raise the equivalent sum.

Only on two minor questions do I now differ from my friend M Piketty, and that is his advocacy of a financial transactions tax and of higher rates of marginal income tax than 50 per cent.

Previous posts on Thomas Piketty and his Capital in the 21st Century here.

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  • Pacificweather

    What is your issue with a transaction tax? With careful setting it could raise revenue and help to channel money away from gambling towards value added investment.

  • Pacificweather

    I watched the Channel 4 news item with Pickety and it was clear that he was not allowed to express his views fully. It was laudable that Channel 4 to feature him but depressing that they woul not hear him speak.

  • bill40

    It has been hilarious watching intellectual pygmies trying to pick hole in Pikettys’ work and failing dismally. He has published his data or all to see and it is nearly flawless. Argue the policy impliations by all means but his work is remarkable.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    Perhaps if some folks did not have 2 jobs it would decrease the dole queue? How is Queen Mary’s?

  • porkfright

    Can’t have anything approaching truth or common sense infecting the mass media, can we?


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