Capital book coverA 700-page economics book is taking the world by storm.

Capital in the 21st Century by French political economist Thomas Piketty, a detailed historical analysis of economic development over the last three centuries, has become a number 1 bestselling book.

The ideas will be explored in South Brisbane next month, at the  ETU Auditorium, 41 Peel St, South Brisbane at 7 pm on Thursday the 11th of September. Guest speakers, Dr Michael Beggs and Professor John Quiggan, will lead the meeting to explore the ideas of Piketty and provide an opportunity to debate the political implications.

Piketty sets out to uncover the fundamental dynamics driving capital accumulation and distribution.

Looking at extensive historical economic data, he establishes that the decades of economic prosperity and the flattening of inequality following World War Two were an aberration.

Instead of being “a rising tide that floats all boats”, modern capitalism with its inherent contradictions is generating extreme inequalities. A tiny minority in society is amassing incredible wealth.

With the wave of austerity measures unleashed in the aftermath of the GFC, Piketty’s ideas have hit a global nerve. At the same time, the popularity of his book has sent the rightwing in to a frenzy.

Piketty’s assumptions, formulations and conlusions may be challenged. But he has shown up the prevailing free market economics which dominate formal politics as “the emporer with no clothes”.

And he has made the study of economics as a key element of understanding our society sexy again.

Instead of blind faith that the market will deliver, he says we need to look at the evidence and the historical trends.