Capital in the 21st Century, by French economist Thomas Piketty, is currently the top seller on Amazon and the hottest economics book in many, many years.
So hot that last Sunday's lead article in the New York Times style and fashion section was about Piketty.
I did manage to slog through it.
But my advice is skip the book and instead read Justin Fox's excellent summary over at the Harvard Business Review site.
I'm going to go a step further and summarize Fox's summary:
The book's thesis: Capital (which by Piketty’s definition is pretty much the same thing as wealth) has tended over time to grow faster than the overall economy. Income from capital is invariably much less evenly distributed than labor income. Together these amount to a powerful force that's increasing economic inequality.
Picketty argues that income inequality is both unfair and bad for overall economic growth.
The book's suggested solution: a global wealth tax on rich people.
This is obviously not practical and the book even describes it as utopian. But increasing income and wealth taxes on a country by country basis is doable and suggested.
The book's impact: It's helping to drive a global debate about economic inequality.
We'll leave it the reader to decide whether they agree or disagree with Picketty.
But whether or not you agree with Picketty's solutions, it's clear economic inequality is growing. This is leading to major social, economic and consumer shifts. We're covering these under the topic Economic Uncertainty.