On the 17th June 2020, De Balie welcomed Thomas Piketty and Lodewijk Asscher to discuss concrete measures for a more equal society.
Images for this page courtesy of the Government of Chile and De Balie.
The current global crisis is expected to exacerbate existing inequalities worldwide. In his influential work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty advocates a more equal society. As the leader of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), Lodewijk Asscher seeks to work towards similar goals within the political arena. This De Balie debate brings the two men together and asks how governments should redistribute wealth and what needs to be done to organise society more fairly, both in the Netherlands and at an international level.
During the course of the evening, the discussion seeks to make the connection between academic theory and political practice. What is Lodewijk Asscher’s take on the ideas proposed by Thomas Piketty and what does Piketty think about the ways in which politicians should put his own theories into practice? How feasible is the creation of more effective forms of wealth and corporate taxation in the current political environment and what roles are the European Commission and the European Parliament likely to play in the implementation of any far-reaching new measures?
Thomas Piketty – French Economist
Thomas Piketty is a French economist who is best known for his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
Piketty has a Ph.D. in economics from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the London School of Economics' European doctoral programme. He has taught and/or worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the EHESS and the Paris School of Economics. In addition to his teaching and research work, he was the founding director of the Paris School of Economics and has been the author of numerous other books and articles; in collaboration with Emmanuel Saez, Anthony B. Atkinson and Facundo Alvaredo he also put together the World Top Incomes Database.
The English publication of Capital in the Twenty-first Century brought forth a lively debate about economic inequality, the distribution of wealth and the future of capitalism. In the book, Piketty states that inherited wealth will grow faster than earnt wealth, leading to unsustainable levels of economic inequality that could threaten democracy. He proposes that this development is countered by the a change in taxation policies, with an implementation of progressive taxes on financial assets and regional wealth taxes.
Lodewijk Asscher – Leader of the Dutch Labour Party
Lodewijk Asscher is the current leader of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and a jurist.
Before moving into politics, Asscher worked as a researcher and associate professor of law at the University of Amsterdam. In 2004, he became the parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in Amsterdam's municipal council, moving on to became the deputy mayor of the city in 2006. While a local politican in Amsterdam, Asscher held responsibility for various aspects of the city's economy and finances.
After a brief spell as the acting mayor of Amsterdam, Asscher then moved onto the national stage, becoming the deputy prime minister of the Netherlands and the minister for Social Affairs and Employment following the elections of 2012. During his time in these roles, Asscher also won the leadership contest within the Dutch Labour Party, replacing Diederik Samsom in December 2016.
Anne-Marijn Epker – De Balie Programmer
Anne-Marijn Epker works for De Balie as a programme designer in the fields of Europe & human rights.
Epker studied political science at the University of Amsterdam, specialising in international relations, international law and human rights, before joining De Balie in 2015.
Notable projects that Anne-Marijn Epker has been involved in organising at De Balie include the Forum on European Culture, the annual Human Rights Weekend and The Freedom Lecture.
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This session was organised by: