Menu Close

The concentration of wealth and power


The following extract is from a voxeu paper published on 8 December 2015 by Facundo Alvaredo, Tony Atkinson and Salvatore Morelli [1]:

“The concentration of personal wealth is now receiving a great deal of attention after having been neglected for many years. The much-discussed book by Thomas Piketty, Capital in the 21st Century, stirred up an astounding debate across the world due to his dystopic vision of a future world where wealth will be more and more concentrated within the hands of a small elite that will perpetuate its own power by passing on enormous fortunes and advantages to the select few of the following generation.

“Piketty urged governments to take steps to prevent this from happening. As argued by Ravi Kanbur and Joseph Stiglitz in a recent voxeu paper [2], the increase in wealth observed nowadays stems in part from the increase in rents which “once created will provide further resources for rentiers to lobby the political system to maintain and further increase rents”.

“The surge of interest in wealth distribution is additionally justified by the recognition that, in seeking to under- stand the determinants of rising income inequality, we need to look not only at wages and earned income but also at income from capital, particularly at the top of the distribution. ”


  1. Alvaredo, F., Atkinson, T. and Morelli, S: 8 Dec 2015
    The importance of wealth concentration and why it is so difficult to measure

  2. Kanbur, R. and Stiglitz, J: 18 Aug 2015
    Wealth and income distribution: New theories needed for a new era

Leave a Reply