Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B55, P1, P16, Z13

Key Words

Capital, Accumulation, Picketty, Wallerstein


This inquiry considers, compares, and contrasts two different theoretical explanations of processes leading towards capital accumulation and also inequality. First considered is Immanuel Wallerstein’s Historical Capitalism. In this book he advances and stresses that processes leading towards capital accumulation are inherently unequal, as these processes are based upon commodification, proletarization, and jurisdiction. The second part considers the views advanced by Thomas Picketty. In his Capital in the Twenty First Century, Picketty offers a fundamentally different understanding of what drives and leads towards capital accumulation and income inequality. In contrasts to Wallerstein, Picketty explains that the dynamic generating capital accumulation simultaneously generates income inequality, as the returns to holders of capital prove greater than the economic growth contributing towards wage increases for labor.


© Matthew Perez

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