The book that's the talk of academia and the media world isn't a political or celebrity tell-all or the work of a self-help guru. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, is an exhaustive study of the history and future of capitalism that confirms what many have believed for a long time - that we have returned to a Gilded Age of extreme income inequality in which vast wealth is more and more concentrated in the hands of a very few, while wages remain stagnant for those workers still managing to hold onto a job. This week on Moyers & Company (check local listings), Bill Moyers talks with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who has described Capital in the Twenty-First Century as "a magnificent, sweeping meditation on inequality... that will change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics." In the latest issue of The New York Review of Books, Krugman writes, "At a time when the concentration of wealth and income in the hands of a few has resurfaced as a central political issue, Piketty doesn't just offer invaluable documentation of what is happening, with unmatched historical depth. He also offers what amounts to a unified field theory of inequality." But, Krugman notes, the book "makes it clear that public policy can make an enormous difference, that even if the underlying economic conditions point toward extreme inequality, what Piketty calls 'a drift toward oligarchy' can be halted and even reversed if the body politic so chooses." Paul Krugman teaches economics and international affairs at Princeton, and will become a professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center and a distinguished scholar at CUNY's Luxembourg Income Study Center.
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