Summary of Capital and Ideology

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Capital and Ideology book summary

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  • Comprehensive
  • Eye Opening
  • Visionary


In this thought-provoking sequel to his bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century, economist Thomas Piketty expands his focus on inequality to the prodigious “political-ideological repertoire” that constitutes the economic narratives of major nations. This description helps explain the book’s length of more than 1,000 pages, but even the more ponderous sections of Piketty’s tome reward the reader with refreshing and singular slants on history and ideology. Echoing the truism that change is the only inevitability, Piketty calls for more circumspection and greater discussion of the wider causes and remedies of inequality.

About the Author

Thomas Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, is the author of the best-selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century.


Throughout history, political systems have justified economic inequality in different ways.

To study different civilizations across time is to realize that nearly every major society produces economic inequality. And because inequality is inherently controversial, leaders always strive to construct narratives that legitimize the factors, systems or rules that generate the inequity. Ideologies – or the collections of beliefs and theories that together rationalize the trade-offs and compromises societies make – play a crucial role. An ideology shapes the way a society is organized and therefore informs the arguments for an “inequality regime.”

Those who benefit from a specific structure contend that inequality arises organically. But history attests that societies adopt inequality regimes through the competition of interests among their politically and economically powerful members. For example, in the feudal society of medieval Europe, regional nobles held sway over both the land they owned and the peasants who lived and worked on their properties. The tithes paid to the church, plus the large amounts ...

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    M. E. 1 year ago
    To the casual reader, the arguments make sense, not because they are sound, but because they appeal to our basic feelings of justice and fairness. <br> <br>Unfortunately Piketty is a very idealist left wing propagandist. <br> <br>His arguments assume way to much without offering proof, and use "equality" as an ideal, to appeal to our irrational feelings, combined with the always fashionable environmental theme, neglecting the fact that what matters to the poor of the world is not really inequality, but the capacity to actually produce wealth by their own means.
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      chase 10 months ago
      Couldn't agree more!
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      Razi Siddiqui 8 months ago
      Poor don't "produce wealth", state does (Stephanie Kelton). Inequality may not be the biggest problem with the current system, precarity is by far worse and affects everybody (Albena Azmanova) which makes Piketty a bit dated already.

      I haven't read this book yet (it sits on my shelf waiting), but after reading his previous book 'Capital in the 21st Century', I can't believe that Piketty would just pull things out of the air as his first book is all about data, going back decades and even centuries. I am sure a summary might not be able to do justice to an economist whose works pivots on solid data.

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Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Economic Growth in the US
Global Inequality
The Triumph of Injustice
Radical Markets
Progress and Poverty
Capitalism, Alone
The Economic Consequences of Major Tax Cuts for the Rich

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