Piketty's concerns are relevant to the growing inequality in China that has resulted from adopting the neo-liberal capitalist model from the West. Hence, Piketty's reflection on mainstream Western economics indirectly treads a delicate ground in China. It fits right into the current raging debate over which path China's reformers should take in the next stage of "structural reform."
For the rest of the world, much of which has experienced the truly heinous inequalities associated with the colonialism that so enriched the West, the discussion is old hat. Many countries are only recently recovering from the effects of plundering, destruction of social and cultural institutions and resource extraction. Ironically, the realm of finance now labels these nations as "emerging markets." And yet Piketty's analysis is framed exclusively by western historical experience and thus unfortunately ignores the context in which western wealth creation occurred, despite the fact that many seek to perpetuate and emulate it today.
The intellectual terrain that the Catholic Church now navigates is far different from now than it was even a few short years ago. Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" is on the top of Amazon's best-seller lists, and Francis is on his way to becoming one of the most popular popes in history.