Time for Socialism by Thomas Piketty: This is an essential thinker but not an essential collection

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe on the economist’s rather slight new collection of essays

French economist Thomas Piketty. Photograph: Sander Koning/ANP/AFP via Getty

French economist Thomas Piketty. Photograph: Sander Koning/ANP/AFP via Getty

The winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, Esther Duflo, argued that economists should adopt the mindset of plumbers. This suggests placing a higher value on the detail of policies and on how their adjustment can create change. 

Thomas Piketty is an architect of cathedrals, not a plumber of pipes. He constructs huge structures of argument based on vast amounts of data, social history and cultural insight. His landmark works are Capital in the Twenty-First Century and Capital and Ideology. The first of these books was a publishing and academic phenomenon, selling more than two million copies.

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