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Response or Comment

Publication Title

Emory L. J. Online


Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century, citing to a vast array of data, demonstrates that over the long haul capital grows more rapidly than income or the economy generally'his formula is r > g. When I read Piketty's book, I thought he had presented a tremendously important new way to discuss and decide public policy questions. Shi-Ling Hsu in The Rise and Rise of the One Percent: Considering Legal Causes of Wealth Inequality, accepts Piketty's data that capital grows faster than the economy, but he also criticizes and develops Piketty's thesis. Hsu's main criticism is that Piketty fails to understand the role law plays in distributing wealth and in protecting the growth of capital. I want to take the question of economic inequality a step beyond where Piketty and Hsu have gone. The study of law for its effect on increasing economic inequality can allow us insights into why some social groups have been, and continue to be, economically disadvantaged. A brief look shows how long-standing laws and legal policies have helped keep members of minority groups economically unequal.

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