Howard Davies at Literary Review:
Setting aside these internecine disputes, after the very long durée of his historical exegesis, what is Piketty’s main thesis? It is that the sharp growth in inequality of income and, especially, wealth we have seen in most Western societies in recent years is unsustainable. Furthermore, our traditional political parties find it impossible to engage with the problem. Taking the UK as an example, he argues that the two main parties are now led by the ‘Brahmin Left’, with Labour having become the party of the highly educated, its working-class roots withered, and the ‘Merchant Right’, who cling to the belief that loosely regulated free markets will deliver prosperity for all, one day. He argues that the trickle-down theory on which that latter assumption is based has given way to a trickle-up phenomenon, with the rich getting richer and the incomes of the middling sort stagnating.