Acesse a sua conta getAbstract para obter o resumo!

A Brief History of Equality

Acesse a sua conta getAbstract para obter o resumo!

A Brief History of Equality

Belknap Press,

15 min. de leitura
8 Ideias Fundamentais
Áudio & Texto

Sobre o que é?

Radical changes in the 20th century led to rising inequality – but 21st-century remedies can address it.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Bold
  • Engaging


Followers of all economic schools of thought can appreciate the academic depth and color that economist Thomas Piketty brings to the subject of inequality. His latest work, however, is a focused call for policies that address inequality, including wealth taxes, guaranteed employment and worker participation in company decisions. Piketty argues that his proposals are no more radical than the shifts that occurred in the 20th century. But his most salient point may be that the climate crisis could finally spur economic reform, just as wars and depressions have throughout history.


Between 1914 and 1980, inequality within Western countries declined due to the impacts of two world wars and an economic depression.

In the years leading up to World War I in France and Britain, an extremely rich upper class lived on the returns of its capital. Two world wars helped to drain away a large part of this wealth: High taxes justified by the conflicts required that foreign holdings be liquidated, while other assets were nationalized and rent freezes were mandated. The wealthy were also encouraged to lend to their governments by buying bonds to support war spending; inflation and later devaluations turned those bonds into poor investments. The destruction of physical assets such as buildings and factories also delivered a major blow to the rich. The 1930s Great Depression had more of an impact on the United States, which had been less economically affected by World War I than Europe. America saw the financial assets and businesses owned by the wealthy lose value and even fail on a massive scale.

This “great redistribution” was the first time ...

About the Author

Thomas Piketty is a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and at the Paris School of Economics. His previous books include New York Times bestsellers Capital in the Twenty-First Century and Capital and Ideology.

Comment on this summary