Piketty’s Advice for Progressives

June 16, 2023

And the policies we need to fight inequality.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

Capital in the 2020s

Almost a decade ago, economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century changed the way many people understood capitalism and inequality.

In the years since, his research and ideas have helped jolt our politics out of autopilot and elevate solutions like a wealth tax into the mainstream.

This week’s episode of How to Save a Country—recorded in Paris following a panel discussion Piketty and host Felicia Wong participated in with historian Gary Gerstle—is about what comes next.

“I think it’s important that progressives . . . start thinking again not only about next week, but also about next decade and next century,” Piketty tells Wong.

He talks about the possibility of a universal basic inheritance, the battle for progressive taxation, and what he sees as the key to prosperity: “much more investment in education, human capital, public infrastructure.”

Listen now, and follow for new podcast episodes every Thursday.


A Government That Builds

“Intellectually, productivism is a major new economic worldview. It puts government at the center of the story of how we make economies serve the public good,” Felicia Wong and K. Sabeel Rahman write in a new Democracy Journal symposium.

“[M]any among this generation of policymakers are rediscovering the virtues of muscular government. But now that possibility needs to be made into reality, and the policy battles of the months ahead will be about what kind of industrial policy we pursue.”

Read more of the series:


Juneteenth and the Promise of Freedom

On Juneteenth, we commemorate the abolition of chattel slavery and celebrate the liberation of Black Americans.

And we remind ourselves that liberation remains incomplete.

Racial justice requires more than symbolism. It requires real commitments to protecting Black lives, to dismantling the root causes of the racial wealth gap, and to forging a politics and policymaking of repair.

As Roosevelt Senior Fellow William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen have written, “Black reparations are not a matter of personal or individual institutional guilt . . . [but] a matter of national responsibility.”

True equality means reckoning with that responsibility and resurrecting the promise of 40 acres.


What We’re Reading

How Biden’s Big Investments Spurred a Factory BoomThe Hill

Biden’s Unused Clean Energy AuthorityThe American Prospect

Big Pharma’s Legal Fight to Stop Cheaper Medicare Drugs, Explained – Vox

How the Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Campaign Reshaped the Economy – Axios