I don’t want to be picky, but Piketty often ignores data that contradicts his theory of growing inequality. For instance, he selectively chooses a few members of the Forbes billionaires list to show that wealth somehow grows automatically faster than the average income earner. He repeatedly refers to the growing fortunes of Bill Gates in the United States and Liliane Bettencourt, heiress of L’Oreal, the cosmetics firm. “Once a fortune is established,” he claims, “the capital grows according to a dynamic of its own, and it can continue to grow at a rapid pace for decades simply because of its size.”
I guess he hasn’t heard of the dozens of millionaires and billionaires who lost their fortunes, like the Vanderbilts or the Hunts, or to use a recent example, Eike Batista, the Brazilian businessman who just two years ago was the seventh-wealthiest man in the world, worth $30 billion, and now is almost bankrupt.