It's time for a global wealth tax

Piketty does not treat worker ownership as a solution, and he is generally dismissive of small-bore reforms, arguing that they will have only modest effects on economic growth worldwide, which he believes is very likely to be stuck at 1 to 1.5 percent through the rest of this century.

Piketty joins a number of scholars raising significant questions about how the global economic system will deal with such phenomena as robotics, the hollowing out of the job market, outsourcing and global competition.

His prognosis is extremely bleak. Without what he acknowledges is a politically unrealistic global wealth tax, he sees the United States and the developed world on a path toward a degree of inequality that will reach levels likely to cause severe social disruption.

Final judgment on Piketty’s work will come with time – a problem in and of itself, because if he is right, inequality will worsen, making it all the more difficult to take preemptive action.