NewsThe Science of Inequality

Tax man's gloomy message: the rich will get richer

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Science  23 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6186, pp. 826-827
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6186.826

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For decades, experts have assumed that as capitalist economies grow, they reduce the income gap between rich and poor. That view has dominated academic thinking for 6 decades—but it's a "fairy tale," claims French economist Thomas Piketty. A group of researchers led by Piketty has put together a unique resource on income flows in more than 20 nations, called the World Top Incomes Database. Piketty says it demonstrates that over the long term, owners of capital inevitably acquire an outsize share of national income and wealth.