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It’s hard to think of a work of economics—certainly not one published in the past 30 years—that has had as extraordinary an impact outside the guild of professional economists as Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Its thesis is that capitalist economies have a natural tendency to incubate highly unequal distributions of income and wealth.

The book struck a nerve, but has also met with strong criticism. The Financial Times accused Piketty of serious statistical errors that undermined his conclusions. (Piketty responded at…

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