Recently we have been discussing Thomas Picketty: Captial in the 21st Century. A French Economist, his work was adapted into English and quickly became a bestseller in the U.S. His theories are new and the evidence he gathered remarkable. Picketty looked as far back as the 18th century and recorded patterns in the distribution of wealth across Europe. He tracked its changes as time went on and made connections between notable events such as Industrialization, the Gilded Age, The Great Wars, and into the twenty first century.
He argues that the return on wealth is naturally greater than GDP growth, and with no dramatic disruptions in the economy, he is afraid the world will return to its prior stratification. There are many critics of his work, arguing that much wealth today is derived not from inheritance but work, and that general theory states it is harder to return on wealth the more there is of it. Regardless, the numbers and statistics he gathered are a huge contribution to economic policy today and are unanimously applauded.