Repository logo

Book review: Thomas Picketty, A brief history of equality

Faculty Advisor




economic inequality, exploitation, tax rates

Abstract (summary)

The issue of inequality has received attention from top economists, whose voices have been projected through the book edited by Blanchard and Rodrik (2021). The editors make a strong case by arguing that economists should be at the forefront of combating inequality instead of making the usual naysaying arguments that "we can't afford it", "we don't have enough evidence" or that "incentives will be distorted" (p. xx). In a Canadian context, Osberg (2018) emphasizes addressing inequality as a pressing issue, stating that the Top 1% instigate narratives in their favour through think tanks and policy institutes. He proposes policies to combat inequality including guaranteed annual income, raising the top tax rates, and supporting higher wages. However, Piketty seems to have had the greatest impact on highlighting the issue of inequality, especially in mainstream newspapers, where his work has been challenged through arguments including that "inequality did not rise" and that "inequality does not matter" (Grisold and Theine, 2020). Piketty (2021) counters the mainstream, arguing that if we keep stating that it is impossible to make the richest individuals pay, we run the risk of future rebellions. In making this stand, he expresses that "there is no universal law of economics" and that everyone must "draw there own conclusions without allowing themselves to be intimidated by the well-argued opinions of others" (p. 42).

Publication Information

Jahangir, J. (2023) Book review: Thomas Picketty, A brief history of equality. real-world economics review, 103, 128-131.



Item Type




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)