Thomas Piketty

  • Aired:  06/02/14
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"Capital in the Twenty-First Century" author Thomas Piketty argues that rising income inequality is harmful to the global economy. (5:52)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY,

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS A NEWBOOK THAT BLOWS THE LID OFF

INCOME INEQUALITY. BUT DON'TWORRY, IT'S 40 BUCKS, POOR

PEOPLE WILL NEVER KNOW.

PLEASE WELCOME THOMASPIKETTY.

HEY, MR. PIKETTY, THANKS SOMUCH FOR COMING ON.

MONSUIER PIKETTY, BIENVENUE.

JESUIS COLBERT.

ALL RIGHT, YOU'RE KING MAYOROF ECONOMICS RIGHT NOW.

YOU GOT THIS NEW BOOK CALLEDCAPITAL IN THE 21st CENTURY.

WHY ARE YOU TRYINGTO TEAR DOWN THE WESTERN

ECONOMIC SYSTEM AND REPLACEIT WITH SOCIALIST

REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH?

>> I'M NOT TRYING TO DO THAT.

>> YOUR ACCENT SOUNDS LIKEYOU ARE.

(LAUGHTER)>> YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, I

TURNED 18 WHEN THE BERLINWALL FELL, SO I HAVE NEVER HAD

AN INTEREST IN COMMUNISM. I AMJUST TRYING TO SEE HOW WE CAN

ENSURE THAT EVERYONE BENEFITS FROM

GLOBALIZATION.

>> BENEFITS HOW, LIKE TAKEMY MONEY AND GIVE IT TO A

POOR PERSON.

>> NO, NO.

(LAUGHTER)>> HOW DO WE BENEFIT

EVERYBODY.

>> WE WANT ALL TO HAVEACCESS TO EDUCATION, GOOD

PAYING JOBS.

RIGHT NOW THE MINIMUM WAGEIN THIS COUNTRY IS LOWER THAN

IT WAS IN THE 60s.

WHICH IS HALF A CENTURY AGO AND

MAYBE THAT IS NOT THE BESTWE CAN DO.

I'M NOT SAYING YOU CANMULTIPLY IT BY THREE BUT HALF A

CENTURY IS A BIT LONG FORSTAGNATION

>> MAYBE WE SHOULD INSTEAD OFTRIPLE IT MAYBE WE SHOULD JUST

DOUBLE IT AND WORK 30 HOURWORKWEEKS LIKE THEY DO OVER

IN PARIS, RIGHT, THEN THEFARMERS CAN BRING THEIR

TRACTORS IN AND STOP THETRAFFIC AND WE'LL ALL TAKE

TWO MONTHS OFF IN THESUMMERTIME AND HAVE MISTRESSES

MAYBE THAT'S-- (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> YOU KNOW, YET IN EUROPE,MANY BELIEVE THAT ONE OF

THE PURPOSES OF CIVILIZATION ISTO WORK LESS, HAVE MORE VACATION

AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR FRIENDSAND FAMILY BUT YOU CAN MAKE A

DIFFERENT CHOICE AND THAT'SFINE.

>> YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENTCHOICE.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENTCHOICE AND BE A WORLD

SUPERPOWER, OKAY.

UNITED STATES SITTING ON TOPOF THE PILE HERE.

DON'T WE HAVE THE RIGHT TOHAVE OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM

BENEFIT US AND MAYBE NOT THEREST OF THE WORLD.

>> SURE, AS LONG AS ITBENEFITS YOU.

>> BENEFITS ME.

BENEFITS ME.

>> I WAS TALKING OF THECOUNTRY IN GENERAL.

>> I AM AMERICA.

>> GO AHEAD.

SO HOW IS-- LET'S TALK ABOUT RIS GREATER THAN G. HOW DOES THAT

AFFECT SAY MEMBERS MOVE MYAUDIENCE, THE AVERAGE AMERICAN,

WHAT DOES R IS GREATER THAN GHOW DOES THAT AFFECT OUR LIVES.

>> IF YOUR WAGE IS STAGNATING TMEANS THAT YOUR G IS CLOSE TO

ZERO. YOU HAVE NO GROWTH SOIT'S STAGNANT AND SO IT IS

DIFFICULT TO START ACCUMULATINGWEALTH FROM NOTHING. WHEREAS IF

YOU START WITH SOME INITIALWEALTH IT MAKES IT EASIER --

>> IT SOUNDS LIKE YOURARGUMENT IS THAT CAPITALISM

BENEFITS CAPITALISTS.

>> WELL, WHEN YOU HAVE ALOW-GROWTH RATE THEN INDEED

IT BENEFITS OWNERS MORE THANIT OUGHT TO.

>> WAIT A SECOND.

WHO GETS TO SAY HOW MUCH ITOUGHT TO.

I'M THE ONE THAT TOOK THERISK.

I'M THE JOB CREATOR.

>> RIGHT, ARE YOU THE JOBCREATOR BUT YOU WANT MOBILITY,

AND NEW GROUPS OF PEOPLE TO BEABLE TO ENTER THE ECONOMIC GAME.

INEQUALITY IS FINE UP TO A POINTBUT IF IT GETS TOO EXTREME IT'S

NOT GOOD YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT GOODBECAUSE YOU SOME MOBILITY IN

SOCIETY -->> LET'S TAKE THAT FOR A

SECOND.

>> PLEASE, PLEASE, WE'RETRYING TO HAVE A

CONVERSATION, DO NOT APPLAUDMY FACIAL HAIR WHILE THE MAN

IS TALKING.

OKAY, LET'S TALK ABOUT THATIDEA.

THAT YOU WANT MOBILITY.

YOU WANT MOBILITY.

INEQUALITY IS BAD BECAUSEYOU WANT MOBILITY.

BUT IF I AM ALREADY MOBILEDUP TO THE PLACE I WANT TO BE,

ISN'T IT BETTER FOR ME TOPULL UP THE LADDER BEHIND

ME.

AND IT MAKES THINGS BETTERBECAUSE THEN I CAN BE

CHARITABLE WITH MONEY THAT IDON'T EVEN MISS TO ALL THE

POOR PEOPLE I CAN EASILYFIND.

>> NO, IT IS BETTER TO CHOOSEYOUR TAX RATE THAN LET OTHERS

CHOOSE IT>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU

>> OF COURSE.

>> IN FACT, THIS COUNTRYINVENTED PROGRESSIVE TAXATION OF

INCOME AND INHERITED WEALTH.

AND SOMEHOW WE'VE FORGOTTEN THATSINCE THE 1980s BECAUSE THE

COUNTRY HAS MOVED IN ACOMPLETELY DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

>> BECAUSE REAGAN CAME INAND IT WAS MORNING IN

AMERICA.

>> IT WAS MORNING IN AMERICAEXCEPT THAT THE GROWTH

PERFORMANCE OF AMERICA WASACTUALLY BETTER IN THE 50s 60s

AND 70s THAN IN THE 1980s. SO IFYOU LOOK AT THE PAST 30 YEARS

YOU HAVE RISING INEQUALITYEVERYWHERE

EXCEPT IN THE GROWTH STATISTICS.

IF YOU TAKE THE GROWTHPERFORMANCE OF THE U.S. OVER THE

PAST 30 YEARS, YOU HAVE 1.5PERCENT GROWTH RATE.

SO YOU KNOW, IT'S GOING TO THETOP PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

>> THIS IS NOT A GOOD DEALFOR THE REST OF THE

POPULATION.

>> REALLY -->> WELL.

>> THEY SHOULD GET THEIR OWNTV SHOW.

THOMAS, THANK YOU SO MUCHFOR JOINING ME.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> THOMAS PIKETTY, CAPITAL

IN THE 21st CENTURY.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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