Capital In The 21st Century



This film, Capital In The 21st Century is based on the international bestseller by rock-star economist Thomas Piketty (which sold over three million copies worldwide and landed Piketty on  Time Magazine‘s list of most influential people).

This captivating documentary is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, a film that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, and shines a new light on today’s growing inequalities. Traveling through time, the film assembles accessible pop-culture references coupled with interviews of some of the world’s most influential experts delivering an insightful and empowering journey through the past and into our future.


Directed by Justin Pemberton; Script: Thomas Piketty, Matthew Metcalfe, Justin Pemberton.

Gillian Tett Gillian Tett  U.S. Managing Editor, The Financial Times
Ian Bremmer Ian Bremmer President and Founder, Eurasia Group
Rana Foroohar Rana Foroohar Associate Editor, Financial Times
Kate Williams Kate Williams Professor of History, University of Reading
Francis Fukuyama Francis Fukuyama Political Scientist
Faisa Shaheen Faisa Shaheen Director of Labor and Social Research Center
Joseph Stiglitz Joseph Stiglitz Professor of Economics, Columbia University
Suresh Naidu Suresh Naidu Professor of Economics, Columbia University
Simon Johnson Simon Johnson Former IMF Chief Economist (2007-2008)
Paul Piff Paul Piff Social Psychologist, University of California, Berkeley
Gabriel Zucman Gabriel Zucman Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
Paul Mason Paul Mason British Journalist
Lucas Chancel Lucas Chancel Co-Director of World Disparity Research Institute
Bryce Edwards Bryce Edwards Political Scientist


The 2013 book Capital In The 21st Century by French economist Thomas Piketty focuses on wealth and income inequality in Europe and the United States since the 18th century. The central thesis of the book is that inequality is not an accident, but rather a feature of capitalism, and can only be reversed through state interventionism.

Capiital vs Income Rate of Return

Capiital vs Income Rate of Return

The book thus argues that, unless capitalism is reformed, the very democratic order will be threatened.  One important indicator of wealth inequality is the ratio of the rate of return on capital (r) versus the rate of economic growth (g) calculated over the long term which historically has been 5% vs .5% over the past 200 years, resulting in an extreme concentration of wealth, and this unequal distribution of wealth causes social and economic instability. Piketty proposes a global system of progressive wealth taxes to help reduce inequality and avoid the vast majority of wealth coming under the control of a tiny minority.

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