Inequality, Sustainability and Piketty’s Capital
In the present article I address the implications of Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century for our understanding of inequality and sustainability. I argue that although Piketty’s contribution is a significant one which has the potential to lead economic analysis in a more fruitful direction, its potential is constrained by its reliance on marginalist theory. The difficulties in addressing adequately the themes of inequality and sustainability spring from the assumptions employed in marginalist theory, which have been proven inconsistent in several debates throughout the history of economic thought. Once the constraints posed by marginalist theory are removed from Piketty’s contribution, its potential becomes much greater when addressing inequality, and has also important implications for such topics as sustainability, justice, and the environment.
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