Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty : Book Club Discussion Questions

Please be aware that our book club discussion questions contain spoilers

Synopsis

This book has been surprising in how little controversy it has evoked, with even mainstream journals of economics noting its depth of research and persuasive arguments. Piketty’s basic thesis is that global society has the choice between a progressive capital tax or the continual concentration of money and influence into the hands of a tiny elite, He manages to develop this thesis in several different ways, and surveys the history of the concentration of capital.

Discussion Questions

  • Do you think Piketty’s main argument is correct?
  • Does it matter if capital pools to the richest, if even the poorest are also getting slightly wealthier?
  • What did you learn from the book, unrelated to the accumulation of capital, which most surprised you?
  • Piketty uses examples from fiction, like Austen and Balzac, to bolster his case. Did his argument change how you now see those works?
  • Piketty’s work became a surprise bestseller. What cultural events and social pressures helped lead to this?
  • In the Australian context, do you feel that his thesis, that the pooling of wealth limits democracy, is true? Why?

Useful Links

The Library Service has copies of this book available.