Many credit French economist Thomas Piketty for taking the topic of income inequality and making it mainstream. Though economists and scholars have long seen rising disparities and the effects of this rift on the lives of citizens, Piketty, in his 2014 book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, put the issue front and centre. His book became a best-seller, a laudable feat given its length and breadth, exploring capital and its impact on history and society, and suddenly economics was hip and Marx’s ideas were seen through new eyes.
In his latest book, Capital and Ideology, Piketty suggests that inequality, long seen as simply a natural extension of a capitalist system, is ideologically based, politically entrenched and very much a deliberate tactic by powerful economic agents in order to keep entire populations economically disadvantaged and powerless. Piketty explores how inequality has been utilized by various countries and powers in different historical eras to show not just the effects of inequality, but how power benefits from it in very obvious ways.
Piketty discusses inequality and its effects with BNN Bloomberg Canada anchor, Amanda Lang.