Best Quotes by Thomas Piketty (Top 10)

  1. When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based.
  2. Over a long period of time, the main force in favor of greater equality has been the diffusion of knowledge and skills.
  3. What was the good of industrial development, what was the good of all the technological innovations, toil, and population movements if, after half a century of industrial growth, the condition of the masses was still just as miserable as before, and all lawmakers could do was prohibit factory labor by children under the age of eight?
  4. ...the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences.
  5. Indeed, the distribution of wealth is too important an issue to be left to economists, sociologists, historians, and philosophers.
  6. At the heart of every major political upheaval lies a fiscal revolution.
  7. Contrary to a tenacious myth, France is not owned by California pension funds or the Bank of China, any more than the United States belongs to Japanese and German investors. The fear of getting into such a predicament is so strong today that fantasy often outstrips reality. The reality is that inequality with respect to capital is a far greater domestic issue than it is an international one.
  8. Refusing to deal with numbers rarely serves the interests of the least well-off.
  9. There is one great advantage to being an academic economist in France: here, economists are not highly respected in the academic and intellectual world or by political and financial elites. Hence they must set aside their contempt for other disciplines and their absurd claim to greater scientific legitimacy, despite the fact that they know almost nothing about anything.
  10. The principal mechanism for convergence at the international as well as the domestic level is the diffusion of knowledge.