Maybe every economist, pundit, and historian who writes a book on income inequality should dedicate his or her work to the Occupy Wall Street movement. If those protestors hadn't given us the elegant and powerful framework of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent, the scholarship of wealth disparities could have forever remained in the dark recesses of academia. Instead, there are thousands of books on the widening wealth gap. Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Reich, Arianna Huffington, Michael Sandel are just a handful of the big names and big brains who have recently taken on economic inequities.
The latest book to hit the shelves is Thomas Picketty's Capital in the 21st Century. It's been described as a more rigorously researched and updated analysis of Karl Marx's theory of capitalism. However, there's a huge departure between Marx's assessment of capitalism's demise and Picketty's. Here's How Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein puts it in his recent review:
Where Marx foresaw capitalism collapse leading to a utopian proletariat paradise, Picketty sees a future of slow growth and Gilded Age disparities in which the wealthy — owners of capital — capture a steadily larger share of global wealth and income.
Today on Open Mic, Harvard Historian Nancy Koehn gives us her take on Picketty and income inequality. The good news is that Koehn doesn't think the one percent want to create another gilded age. What we don't know is what percent of that one percent think that life for the remaining 99 is a cakewalk.
To get 100 percent of Nancy Koehn on Thomas Picketty, listen here: