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About Gabriel Zucman
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America’s runaway inequality has an engine: our unjust tax system.
Even as they became fabulously wealthy, the ultra-rich have had their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile, working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. The Triumph of Injustice presents a forensic investigation into this dramatic transformation, written by two economists who revolutionized the study of inequality. Eschewing anecdotes and case studies, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman offer a comprehensive view of America’s tax system, based on new statistics covering all taxes paid at all levels of government. Their conclusion? For the first time in more than a century, billionaires now pay lower tax rates than their secretaries.
Blending history and cutting-edge economic analysis, and writing in lively and jargon-free prose, Saez and Zucman dissect the deliberate choices (and sins of indecision) that have brought us to today: the gradual exemption of capital owners; the surge of a new tax avoidance industry, and the spiral of tax competition among nations. With clarity and concision, they explain how America turned away from the most progressive tax system in history to embrace policies that only serve to compound the wealth of a few.
But The Triumph of Injustice is much more than a laser-sharp analysis of one of the great political and intellectual failures of our time. Saez and Zucman propose a visionary, democratic, and practical reinvention of taxes, outlining reforms that can allow tax justice to triumph in today’s globalized world and democracy to prevail over concentrated wealth.
A pioneering companion website allows anyone to evaluate proposals made by the authors, and to develop their own alternative tax reform at taxjusticenow.org.
In The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Zucman offers an inventive and sophisticated approach to quantifying how big the problem is, how tax havens work and are organized, and how we can begin to approach a solution. His research reveals that tax havens are a quickly growing danger to the world economy. In the past five years, the amount of wealth in tax havens has increased over 25%—there has never been as much money held offshore as there is today. This hidden wealth accounts for at least $7.6 trillion, equivalent to 8% of the global financial assets of households. Fighting the notion that any attempts to vanquish tax havens are futile, since some countries will always offer more advantageous tax rates than others, as well the counter-argument that since the financial crisis tax havens have disappeared, Zucman shows how both sides are actually very wrong. In The Hidden Wealth of Nations he offers an ambitious agenda for reform, focused on ways in which countries can change the incentives of tax havens. Only by first understanding the enormity of the secret wealth can we begin to estimate the kind of actions that would force tax havens to give up their practices.
Zucman’s work has quickly become the gold standard for quantifying the amount of the world’s assets held in havens. In this concise book, he lays out in approachable language how the international banking system works and the dangerous extent to which the large-scale evasion of taxes is undermining the global market as a whole. If we are to find a way to solve the problem of increasing inequality, The Hidden Wealth of Nations is essential reading.
Inequality has taken center stage in public debate as the wealthiest people in most parts of the world have seen their share of the economy soar relative to that of others, many of whom, especially in the West, have experienced stagnation. The resulting political and social pressures have posed harsh new challenges for governments and created a pressing demand for reliable data. The World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics and the University of California, Berkeley, has answered this call by coordinating research into the latest trends in the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth on every continent. This inaugural report analyzes the Lab’s findings, which include data from major countries where information has traditionally been difficult to acquire, such as China, India, and Brazil. Among nations, inequality has been decreasing as traditionally poor countries’ economies have caught up with the West. The report shows, however, that inequality has been steadily deepening within almost every nation, though national trajectories vary, suggesting the importance of institutional and policy frameworks in shaping inequality.
The World Inequality Report: 2018 will be a key document for anyone concerned about one of the most imperative and contentious subjects in contemporary politics and economics.