When a book about economics rises to the No. 1 spot on the bestseller list, it says as much about society as it does about the book. That’s why the explosive rise of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” by Thomas Piketty, is so revealing and why the book will become a self-reinforcing phenomenon likely to carve a deep mark in the political landscape.
Piketty’s work, on its own, is an important and impressive accomplishment. But the fact that it has been welcomed so enthusiastically by such a wide spectrum of the population proves that it has hit a nerve.
Because of the book’s success, its subject matter—the sharp rise of economic inequality—will receive even more attention from policymakers and economists. The topic will grow in importance in a variety of forums and will very likely become a major subject of discussion on the campaign circuit as America’s mid-term elections unfold. It could gain even more traction over the coming two years, as the 2016 presidential campaign gets underway.