In his sweeping new history, the economist systematically demolishes the conceit that extreme inequality is our destiny, rather than our choice.

MARSHALL STEINBAUM, Boston Review, 2020/3/25

The dominant narrative in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis portrayed dysfunction in Washington as the result of political polarization—a clash between the well-meaning liberalism of Barack Obama’s administration and Republican obstructionism in Congress. Piketty suggested a counter-narrative: everything happening in Washington, on both sides of the political aisle, was part of the same elite agenda—to roll back the New Deal and give capital free rein to go wherever it wanted without fear of taxes or regulation.

“The market and competition, profits and wages, capital and debt, skilled and unskilled workers, natives and aliens, tax havens and competitiveness—none of these things exist as such,” Piketty insists. “All are social and historical constructs” that “depend entirely” on the “systems that people choose to adopt and the conceptual definitions they choose to work with.”