Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will appear at an event later this month in Boston with French economist Thomas Piketty, bringing together the authors of two books on economic inequality that have both vaulted to the top of the Amazon and New York Times best-seller lists.
The conversation between Warren and Piketty, to be aired on HuffPost Live, will take place at Boston's Old South Meeting House on May 31. To get an email when the interview goes live, click here and then click "alert me when this goes live."
Warren's recent book, A Fighting Chance, has been on The New York Times best-seller list since its release, and nearly hit number 1 on Amazon's list, coming in second just behind Piketty's Capital In The 21st Century.
That Warren and Piketty's books have been topping the charts has fueled a sense that a new economic populism may be gaining broad public support in the face of a flagging economy and yawning economic inequality.
In particular, the success of Capital -- a 700-page economics book translated from the French -- has taken the publishing industry by storm and reshaped the political conversation around inequality. Piketty and other collaborators spent more than a decade putting together the most comprehensive data on income and wealth, going back more than 200 years. What Piketty found has shaken up the economics profession, which has argued for decades that capitalism naturally leads to reduced inequality at some undefined stage of development. Piketty argues to the contrary that the period of declining inequality in the middle of the 20th century was an anomaly rather than the norm, and that over the past two centuries, the return that the wealthy have earned on capital has been significantly larger than the growth of the overall economy. In short, the rich get richer.
Warren's book, meanwhile, was initially to be titled "Rigged," but she ultimately chose a more hopeful title, and her assertion that she will continue to do everything in her power to level the playing field on behalf of the middle class has only fueled speculation that she may make a bid for the White House in 2016. She has repeatedly said that she is not running for president, though couches her refusals in the present tense.
Warren praised Piketty's book at a reading in Boston. "The data don't lie on this. He's got good historical data, and boy, what it shows is trickle down doesn't work. Never did, doesn't work. Just so we're all clear on the baseline. I just saved you 1,100 pages of reading," she joked, before adding: "Here's the hopeful part in Piketty's book: Piketty makes the point that although the data keep documenting this happening, it's not like an act of nature. It's not like gravity and you can't fix it," Warren said. "Piketty's book makes the point that how much equality there is ... is a matter of the policies you choose to follow and that, for example, progressive taxation and investment in everyone's education helps to level the playing field."
The Old South Meeting House, where the event will be held, is known as the birthplace of the American Revolution, from where the (actual, historical) tea party was launched.
The conversation will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be moderated by this reporter. It is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. To submit a question for Warren and/or Piketty, email ryan-at-huffingtonpost.com or tweet @ryangrim.
The event is being sponsored by Patriotic Millionaires, a group of high-net-worth people advocating for higher taxes on themselves. Piketty proposes drastically hiking taxes on the rich as one of the means of reducing inequality.
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Watch Piketty's previous interview with HuffPost Live.