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Book review: Piketty, Thomas (2021), Time for socialism

Faculty Advisor




inequality, economics

Abstract (summary)

Blanchard and Rodrik (2021) edited a collection of articles in their book Combating Inequality that featured the voices of cutting-edge scholars like Lucas Chancel, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, amongst others. The editors expressed that economists should be at the forefront of tackling 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’. Conspicuously absent was the voice of Thomas Piketty, whose book Capital in the Twenty-First Century brought the topic of inequality into mainstream public discourse. His seminal work has been challenged in mainstream newspapers through arguments including that ‘inequality did not rise’ and that ‘inequality does not matter’ (Grisold/Theine 2020: 1082). Therefore, it is heartening to see his latest book, which is a collection of his newspaper articles from 2016 to 2021. Piketty’s book transcends the mainstream naysaying that is stuck on ‘why is economic inequality bad; how is it harmful?’ to offer a vision for the future based on socialism. His book reflects his academic research on inequality, which he has carefully presented to the broader public over the years. This is significant especially for ECON 101 students, who are either not taught about inequality or indoctrinated with the mainstream neoclassical perspective that the whole issue is moot or simply based on envy. Thus, assigning articles, which he has collected in one place in this book, is a welcome approach towards teaching undergraduate economics students about one of the most pressing issues of our times after climate change.

Publication Information

Jahangir, J. B. (2022). Book review: Piketty, Thomas (2021): Time for Socialism. Dispatches from a World on Fire, 2016–2021, New Haven and London (360 pages, Yale University Press, hardcover, ISBN 978-0300259667), European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies, 19(3), 415-418.


Item Type




Attribution (CC BY)