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Inequality, Sustainability and Piketty’s Capital

Listed author(s):
  • Nuno Ornelas Martins

    ()

    (Centro de Estudos em Gestão e Economia da Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

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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File URL: http://www.feg.porto.ucp.pt/docentes/repec/WP/052014_Martins_Inequality_Sustainability.pdf
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Paper provided by Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa in its series Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) with number 05.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2014
Handle: RePEc:cap:wpaper:052014
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  1. Harcourt,G. C., 1972. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720, December.
  2. Nuno Martins, 2011. "Can neuroscience inform economics? Rationality, emotions and preference formation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 251-267.
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