Capital in the Twenty-First Century

  • by Thomas Piketty, Arthur Goldhammer (translator)
  • Narrated by L. J. Ganser
  • 25 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from 20 countries, ranging as far back as the 18th century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
Piketty shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality--the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth--today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, Piketty says, and may do so again.
A work of extraordinary ambition, originality, and rigor, Capital in the Twenty-First Century reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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What the Critics Say

"L.J. Ganser's voice and accents are superb, and emphasis is well placed." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The most talked about non-fiction book this year

This is a mega-work - both in length and impact. The most detailed study of the distribution of wealth for decades - a monumental work of scholarship - and a powerful polemic for the effective global taxation of wealth. It's not the ideal Audible Book because you need to print off loads of PDF charts to really make sense of it, which, since I was listening to it at the gym, was a bit of a problem. Also because it has provoked a lot of debate, including over the accuracy of some of the data, you may prefer to spend your time tuning into the debate on-line; unless you are a professional economist, in which case you will have already read it and have an annotated hard-back copy on your shelf. I committed to the twenty plus hours of listening and learnt a lot. I especially like some of the incidental historical detail and the sections where he goes off-piste and gives us his views on the Euro crisis. I was convinced by both the analysis and the polemic. He is open enough to put all his data on-line. The critique by the FT's economics editor casts doubt on some of it, but Piketty's response is strong, and the fundamental argument that inequality is growing because the returns to capital are growing at a faster rate than the standard of living of the majority of the population survives intact.
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- David

Great book - pity about the editing of the reading

Would you consider the audio edition of Capital in the Twenty-First Century to be better than the print version?

It was great to have them both, and to be able to switch between then with WhisperSync, but there were so many glitches in the reading that it was often difficult to understand the point Piketty was making.

The text was translated from the French, and the sentences were long - very long - and very complex. Ganser would start a sentence with a particular intonation, and then realise half way through the sentence that it wasn't going to end quite as he thought, so he would either change his intonation, which made it difficult to follow, as the two halves of the sentence no longer 'belonged' together, or he wouldn't change his intonation, which would make it almost impossible to understand the grammar of the sentence.

I have every sympathy with his predicament, as it is a long and complicated book, and it is impossible to get everything right the first time - but if the audio publisher had been prepared to re-record and splice in more coherent narration at significant points in the text, it would have made such a difference.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Capital in the Twenty-First Century?

Realising that economics is not just an objective science, but depends on your point of view and what you think is important about human life.


Who might you have cast as narrator instead of L. J. Ganser?

His voice was great, and the performance full of enthusiasm, so if the audio publisher had done a bit more work on the editing of the recording, I would think him ideal.


If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Not sure it would make a very good film!


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- Jeannie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 22-05-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios