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How one French economist’s unlikely blockbuster set the world’s leaders spinning.
It’s not often that a 685-page economics tome almost overnight captivates Main Street, Wall Street and the cream of Washington’s trend-minded policymakers and think tankers. But that is what’s happened with Capital in the Twenty-First Century and its 43-year-old author, Thomas Piketty. The book analyzes hundreds of years of tax records from France, the U.K., the U.S., Germany and Japan to prove a simple idea: The rich really are getting richer. And their wealth doesn’t trickle down. It trickles up. Without tax policy reform, that inequality gap may only widen in the coming years. Piketty believes there’s a strong possibility that some kind of global revolution is coming—even if it’s just a revolution in how we think about wealth.