Author and Activist
Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the 21st Century, belatedly lands in South Africa to the rapturous applause of the socialists. Not since Keynes has an economist had such a rapport with the "guardians of the poor". The idea that you can improve the world by taking away resources from the productive and giving it to the non productive, who will then "spend" us to a bright new future, has always had universal appeal to the 99%. Piketty is their 21st Century Poster Boy.
Inequality is inevitably looked at from the economic eye of the beholder. Each view is dominated by the financial circumstances of the commentator. Most economists (Well the ones that get heard) are in the 1%, most sociologists are in the 10%. Piketty would have been in the 10% when he wrote his book. Even though his royalties will subsequently have pushed him into the1%, his audience demands that he speaks for the 10%. And so he does ...
Piketty speaks on behalf of the 10% of Europeans that have been out-competed by Western Capitalists and Eastern Labor. The globalization of Capitalism may have sidelined European labor and made their incomes stagnant, but the lower labor of Asia and Africa has benefited substantially over the last 30 years. In my youth, T-shirts cost R 200 and poor people wore maize sacks. Today poor people have cellphones as strong as NASA used to get people to the moon.
Piketty's policies are crafted to help an aging European labor force get a handout from the more productive users of Capital.