Bringing politics back in : Piketty and economic inequality in the United States

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


French economist Thomas Piketty’s bestseller, Capital in the TwentyFirst Century, provocatively claims that the widening income inequalities in the advanced economies (indeed, widening income inequality worldwide), is fundamentally rooted in the exigencies of the capitalist system. Specifically, capitalism operates according to inexorable laws – in Piketty’s succinct formulation as r>g. That is, “r” is the rate of return on capital whereas “g” is the rate of economic growth. However, “the central contradiction of capitalism” is that the rate of return on capital (r) will always exceed the rate of economic growth (g). Because the rate of return on capital is higher than the economy’s overall rate of growth, widening income inequality is inherent to capitalism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-134
Number of pages14
JournalLiberal Studies Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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