Why Save the Bankers? by Thomas Piketty

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Thomas Piketty is a French economist and professor born in 1971 in Clichy. Why Save the Bankers? is an economics essay published in 2016. He is a professor (directeur d’études) at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), professor at the Paris School of Economics and Centennial professor at the London School of Economics new International Inequalities Institute.

Thomas Piketty works on wealth and income inequality. His essay Capital in the XXIst Century was a bestseller in France in 2013 (Le Capital du XXIe siècle). It will be adapted to the big screen in Summer 2017. He is also a columnist for the French newspaper Libération, and occasionally writes op-eds for Le Monde.

Piketty gained a C-stream (scientific) Baccalauréat, and after taking scientific preparatory classes, he entered the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) at the age of 18, where he studied mathematics and economics.

At the age of 22, he was awarded his PhD for a thesis on wealth redistribution, which he wrote at the London School of Economics (LSE) and EHESS under Roger Guesnerie and winning the French Economics Association’s award for the best thesis of the year.

He taught from 1993 to 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1995, he joined the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) as a researcher, and in 2000 he became a professor (directeur d’études) at EHESS.

Thomas Piketty won the 2002 prize for the best young economist in France. In 2013, he won the biennial Yrjö Jahnsson Award, for the economist under age 45 who has “made a contribution in theoretical and applied research that is significant to the study of economics in Europe.”

On 2 October 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg and on 3 October 2015 he delivered the 13th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the University of Johannesburg.

His book Why Save the Bankers? is his latest essay translated into English (2016).


Incisive commentary on the financial meltdown and its aftermath, from the author of the bestselling global phenomenon Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Piketty’s work has proved that unfettered markets lead to increasing inequality. Without meaningful regulation, capitalist economies will concentrate wealth in an ever smaller number of hands. Armed with this knowledge, democratic societies face a defining challenge: fending off a new aristocracy.

For years, Piketty has wrestled with this problem in his monthly newspaper column, which pierces the surface of current events to reveal the economic forces underneath. Why Save the Bankers? brings together selected columns, now translated and annotated, from the period book-ended by the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers and the Paris attacks of November 2015. In between, writing from the vantage point of his native France, Piketty brilliantly decodes the European sovereign debt crisis, an urgent struggle against the tyranny of markets that bears lessons for the world at large. And along the way, he weighs in on oligarchy in the United States, wonders whether debts actually need to be paid back, and discovers surprising lessons about inequality by examining the career of Steve Jobs.

Coursing with insight and flashes of wit, these brief essays offer a view of recent history through the eyes of one of the most influential economic thinkers of our time.

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