UC San Diego News Center


Economist Thomas Piketty to Discuss Groundbreaking Book on Income Inequality

Image: Economist Thomas Piketty

Economist Thomas Piketty

Income inequality and the “one percent” are more than mere catch phrases. They are the cornerstone of noted economist Thomas Piketty’s groundbreaking book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

Through exhaustive research that spans centuries of tax records, Piketty has established the historic trajectory of income inequality, outlining both its origins as well as the implications of our growing economic disparities.

His work has earned him comparisons to such influential economists as Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx, and Esquire deemed his book the most important work of the twenty-first century. Paul Krugman, a Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist, said “Piketty has transformed our economic discourse; we’ll never talk about wealth and inequality the same way we used to.”

To continue that dialogue, UC San Diego is hosting Piketty on Oct. 22 for a daylong scholarly symposium and an evening public talk that will explore the causes of income inequality and what the increased concentration of wealth means for our economy and society.

For the evening program, Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, will be joined by Peter Gourevitch, founding dean of UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy and distinguished professor emeritus of political science. The program will include a lively conversation about Piketty’s research and his recommendations on how best to address income inequality. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at Mandeville Auditorium on the UC San Diego campus and will be followed by a book signing.

Mary Walshok, dean of UC San Diego Extension, which is sponsoring the evening event as part of its Helen Edison Lecture series, said Piketty’s visit is part of the university’s mission to contribute to the civic discourse.

“Income inequality is a real issue that Americans across the political spectrum acknowledge. The question now is: How do we address it? Dr. Piketty’s visit should inform how we as a region think about this issue moving forward,” Walshok said.

Piketty’s evening talk is preceded by a daylong symposium with scholars from UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, Cal Tech and Harvard who assisted Piketty in his research. The schedule of events is as follows:

  • The Causes of Inequality: Political, Social and Economic, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Multipurpose Room, Student Services Center, UC San Diego
  • Inside Inequality: The Making of the Book with Piketty and his Collaborators, noon to 2 p.m. at the Multipurpose Room, Student Services Center, UC San Diego
  • The Consequences of Inequality: Why Does it Matter and How, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Student Services Center, UC San Diego
  • Lecture and Book Signing, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Mandeville Auditorium, UC San Diego

The Piketty Symposium is co-sponsored by UC San Diego Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research; UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy and its Center on Global Transformation; the UC San Diego departments of Economics, Sociology and Political Science; and with the support of UC San Diego Extension and the Helen Edison Lecture Series.

For more information or to register for tickets, please click here.