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Capital and Ideology

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  991 ratings  ·  196 reviews
The epic successor to one of the most important books of the century: at once a retelling of global history, a scathing critique of contemporary politics, and a bold proposal for a new and fairer economic system.

Thomas Piketty's bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century galvanized global debate about inequality. In this audacious follow-up, Piketty challenges us to r
Hardcover, 1104 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Belknap Press (first published September 12th 2019)
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Collinrs You can but you don't remotely have to. It's a very different book that stands perfectly fine on its own. …moreYou can but you don't remotely have to. It's a very different book that stands perfectly fine on its own. (less)

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Laurent Franckx
No one would dare to suggest that Thomas Piketty lacks ambition.
Just a few years after he wrote an unexpected bestseller on inequality which was largely filled with dry discussions of data and graphs, he's back with another work that most people would see as the result of a lifetime's work.
"Capital et idéologie" is not just voluminous (just under 1200 pages). It is also wide ranging in its scope, and is actually composed of several parts that could easily have been published as separate books: a
May 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
Bailed, halfway through the third part. Piketty’s love of stats, charts, and graphs shines in this follow-up to his hit 2013 release Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which was one of the last decade’s most influential books and far more cohesive. Here, drawing upon research into many economic databases, he tries to do a lot at once: recount the history of inequality across European and colonized, pre-capitalist and modern, societies; explain the rise of the middle class in the wake of WWII; ...more
Richard Derus
Reading this behemoth is not easy...physically for me, psychically for more reactionary folk...but this article provides an interesting précis of the book's developing themes. Author Katharina Pistor makes the clearest possible statement of the central problem we-the-people face in wresting control of the future away from toxic right-wing radicals:
Still, for Piketty, as for many progressives, a state that is capable of social ordering and of redistributin
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I feel like I should get a cookie or a medal for finishing this MASSIVE book. Especially because some parts of it were so dry! He really does not need to go into so much detail to make his point, which is that ideology has been used in various countries across time to uphold systems of inequality. The details and the history were great and I am here for the thesis, but we really do not need to know so many details.
Daniel KML
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an impressive work and comparable in quality of research and ambition to Piketty’s previous work - Capital in the 21st Century. Its political impact will probably be even greater than his last book and it will shape many discussions on the global left for the years to come.

While Piketty, in his previous book, leveraged an astounding amount of research to bring forth one big bold idea (i.e., "r>g" as driver of inequality and one of the central contradictions of capitalism), he now combine
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, you are locked up at home and strongly encouraged/ordered to go nowhere for the foreseeable future. What should you be reading? To keep plowing through one’s normal queue seems questionable - these are not normal times and what is going to be waiting at the end when we eventually go back to normal? There is only so much to watch on Netflix.

So I started in on ‘Capital and Ideology’ by Thomas Piketty. This was officially out in early March and I had been hoping to have the time to work through
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
For this book, the author lost sight of his own narrative and muddles his story telling by wandering away from what his real message was meant to be. I really enjoyed his other book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, and I noticed one of the things I wrote about that book in my notes on it was how the author had an overriding narrative while frequently saying ‘the data says…’ and always connecting the pieces to the whole, but, unfortunately for this book the author’s coherence never infiltra ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Thomas Piketty’s previous book, Capital in the 21st Century, was (for this reader) one of the most important books of our age. In it, he marshaled a staggering array of quantitative and qualitative data to show how economic inequality developed and changed in Western Europe and the United states over the past ~250 years.

That book’s central conclusion: that economic inequality in our time is growing unabated towards levels not seen since the gilded age, is a powerful, dire forecast. All the more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was amazing. Thomas Piketty explains in vivid details how throughout history that everybody makes excuses to keep the poor...poor, and the He calls for an end to the Billionaire Class, the fact that they need to pay their fair share. For example, a few Billionaires in the USA make more money than the bottom half of America combined. Millions of Americans are barely getting by, paycheck by paycheck, while these guys get incredibly rich. He asks for a fair tax on the super-rich.
Capital and Ideology, by Thomas Piketty, is a magisterial look at inequality and its ideological tolerances in societies throughout history. The book starts with a long examination of the history of inequality touching on numerous subjects; trifunctional societies based on clergy, nobility and peasant are examined thoughtfully due to the influence these societies had on the development of economic and political systems. These class societies were based on principles of stability, keeping each cl ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
As for a book of such magisterial dimensions, there is shockingly little content. The 1095 pages of my edition could be easily squeezed into no more than 250. And, no, there are no notes, Piketty refers readers to a website where references and bibliography may be found (for your convenience, suspicious reader!). The book has so many flaws that I do not know where to start. First of all, just like the first book by the author, it's dramatically franco-centric. I kept rolling my eyes for over 150 ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sophomore slumps are the bane of writers with a prominent debut. Apparently some reviewers seem to think Piketty’s second major work falls under this category. This scattered unfair reception should come under scrutiny given the simple thought experiment of asking what the response would have been had this not been preceded by Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Had this been the case Capital & Ideology would have been hailed as the important major work that it is.

Most of the criticism hones in
Every human society must justify its inequalities.
- Out of the clash of contradictory discourses comes a dominant narrative or narratives—a clash that is at once economic, social and political— which bolster the existing inequality regime.
- Oratores: those who pray, the clergy; bellatores , those who fight, the nobility; and laboratores , those who work by tilling the soil, the third estate.
- Nineteenth century European ownership societies were born of a promise of individual emancipation an
Tuncer Şengöz
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
Only 6 years after his magnum opus, Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty is back with another massive book of 1105 pages: Capital and Ideology.

The book starts with a striking statement: "Every human society must justify its inequalities." Then comes a grand tour from pre-modern terniary societies to "neo-proprietarian" socities, from social democrasies to hyper-capitalism, from segregationism in USA to caste sistem in India. And finally, Piketty proposes a society based on social federal
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I consider myself very fortunate to have found this book and to have been able to read it. It is beyond any doubt, the best book I have ever read.

Piketty gives me hope for a better world. In that sense, he inspires me, as the speeches and legacy of Martin Luther King have inspired me since my childhood.

This book is chock-full of information in the form of data and graphs. It explains how and in what form inequality has always existed throughout the ages. It also explains how the growing inequal
Nov 25, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Part I:
Unequal Regimes in History
1. Ternary societies: trifunctional inequality
2. Societies of the European order: power and propriety
3. The invention of property societies
4. Ownership societies: The case of France
5. Ownership societies: European trajectories

Part II:
Slave Societies and Colonial Societies
6. Slave societies: Extreme inequality
7. Colonial societies: Diversity and domination
8. Ternary societies and colonialism: The case of India
9. Ternary societies and colonialism: Eurasian trajecto
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A thundering follow up to Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century (2014), his era-defining examination of the growth of national inequalities. Whereas the first book examines what actually happened to inequality levels over time, particularly in the rich countries of the first wave of industrialization, this new book is a world tour of how different societies have ideologically justified inequality over time, particularly during moments of transition from one “inequality regime” to another
Dec 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
The imam of the current Socialism asks for the annulment of private property. Somehow TP is not a criminal conspiring to robbery, but someone who is so valuable to the society that taxes have to be collected in order to pay him and his family.
Craig Bellamy
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most productive things that I have done during Melbourne’s lockdown is read Thomas Piketty’s latest work, Capital and Ideology (Harvard University Press, 2020). It is undoubtedly not the leisurely book to read, at 1150 pages, dense with footnotes, appendices, and graphs, spanning a three-hundred-year period, multiple countries, and the fields of economics and history. It is a monumental work of scholarship, and along with his last significant work Capital in the 21st Century (Harvard ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The definitive economic history. This book has made me feel comfortable talking and reading about politics and economics in a way I never before have. It's the missing context for the last 300 years. It's a long read but I'm very grateful for it. ...more
Rahul  Adusumilli
“Today’s meritocratic ideology glorifies entrepreneurs and billionaires. At times this glorification seems to know no bounds. Some people seem to believe that Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg single-handedly invented computers, books, and friends. One can get the impression that they can never be rich enough and that the humble people of the earth can never thank them enough for all the benefits they have brought. To defend them, sharp lines are drawn between the wicked Russian oligar ...more
Stefan Bruun
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, economics
A lot of intriguing ideas and concepts. While I will probably never agree fully with Piketty, understanding the history and trajectory of countries and regions does indeed help explain the current political environments.

Many of the analyses are based on views that are inherently subjective. The data doesn't prove the views right or wrong but describes a development objectively. The missing piece in the book is the human. What happens to the human if you tax him/her 100%? Will they contribute to
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first 50 pages of Capital & Ideology of Thomas Piketty (Harvard 2020) alone already present a wiser and better informed position and read than anything else I have read about contemporary politics the last year. This is historical writing and analysis with the capital 'H'. And just as Capitalism In The 20th Century a mind boggling read in the style of Braudel, Wallerstein, etc. Not economy, not philosophy and more history and literary analysis than his colleagues are going to be wiling to fo ...more
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Picketty’s previous book, ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, was an exhaustive study of the way in which capitalism has promoted growing inequalities of wealth and, consequently, power. In passing, it offered a critique of economics as a discipline, proposing a return to the broader concept of ‘political economy’, embracing history and sociology (Capital in the Twenty-First Century, pp. 32-3). Picketty’s arguments about inequality were supported, if not driven, by a mass of empirical data (a ...more
Gregg Wingo
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Piketty has done it again! But in a very different way. The first book in this series, "Capital in the Twentieth Century" was fascinating as both an economics book but also its utilization of literature to dissect the nature of capital accumulation upon the lives of human beings. This book relies chiefly on long-term data analysis of the world's experiment with Capitalism. It is full of useful charts on income, wealthy, education, and voting patterns across the world and history.

But it is much m
Tom Shannon
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the author to be this academically ambitious was an unexpected and a welcome surprise.
This book was long but as a truly energetic project of bringing to light historical socioeconomics and solutions for the future, it could have been much longer.

It was really refreshing to see a socialist economics that challenged the goal of pure state nationalization of industries. The idea of social ownership and redistribution was there but proposed with new solutions based on historical precedents.

It wa
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Piketty’s second book is even more ambitious than the first. It has taken me a long time to finish it.

1. Basically, inequality had always been around. The rich had to create justification so that the vast poor can tolerate the inequality. The warrior class and the priest class had used the mandate of God or even the direct descendent of God to justify their hold. Then in societies with systemic slavery, the enslaved must be described as less than human.

2. Throughout history, capital had always
No review I can write will do this massive tome justice. I see the world the way Piketty does and am very comfortable with his conclusions. They seem pretty obvious mostly - and very sound. It is the detail he provides that so impresses; the facts, polls, tables and statistics are incredibly comprehensive.

The changing role of education in forming political alignment was interesting to reflect on and his insight into the challenges for the "Brahmin left" who are no longer offering working class c
Peter A.  van Tilburg
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
It took me 5 months to read but it was worhwhile. The study reveals quite some eye openers for me. To name some:
. The French revolution had no impact on the division of wealth. The ownership was not affected. The new power was afraid to take away the property of the wealthy and divide it.
. After this period the concentration of wealth and income became more unequal untill WW1. After the world wars it became clear that the ordinary man who suffered so much was entitled to better circumstances. T
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is immensely ambitious, spanning the history of class and capitalism from the early modern era to the present day, in several European nations, the United States, India, and touching on several other Asian countries and post-communist societies. Piketty fits each nation into a pattern of a tripartite society that persists in some form even in today's neoliberal world order. There are lords/warriors/business and clerics/brahmins/intellectuals and workers/serfs. He tries to tie it all togethe ...more
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Thomas Piketty (French: [tɔma pikɛti]; born May 7, 1971) is a French economist who works on wealth and income inequality. He is the director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and professor at the Paris School of Economics. He is the author of the best selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013), which emphasizes the themes of his work on wealth conc ...more

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“We should not overestimate the extent of the diffusion of ownership that has taken place over the past two centuries: the egalitarian ownership society—or even, more modestly, a society in which the poorest half of the population owns more than a token share of the wealth—has yet to be invented.” 3 likes
“Paradoxically, the sources available today (in the era of big data) are less precise than those that were available a century ago due to the internationalization of wealth, the proliferation of tax havens, and above all, lack of political will to enforce financial transparency, so it is quite possible that we are underestimating the level of wealth inequality in recent decades.” 3 likes
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