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French economist Thomas Pikkety, whose blockbuster book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" has spent weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers List, shared his insights at a Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government seminar on April 18th.
In his book, Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. Many have claimed that his findings will transform the national debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
In his introduction, Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard University and M-RCBG director, lauded the author for raising some very important questions during a time of rising income inequality in America and elsewhere.
"It reflects an extraordinarily sustained 20-year research program on distributional questions and especially distributional questions around the tough end of societies, and it seeks to do what the most important economic contributions always do, which is to embrace a vast web of information and experience around a small number of quite simple laws," Summers commented.
Pikkety remarked that "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" is laden with data on the evolution of both income and wealth, but "in some ways this book is trying to shift attention from rising top incomes to the dynamics of wealth concentration."
Pikkety showed several slides during the presentation and took several questions from the audience.