The battle to increase the minimum wage is everywhere, from global fast food worker protests and new local minimum wage laws to executive orders and passionate speeches from President Obama. It's worth considering whether minimum wage policies are sufficient to substantively address rising inequality and the broad decline of the middle class.
Crowdfunding, depicted graphically, resemble nothing so much as the trajectory of space vehicles obtaining escape velocity from the earth's atmosphere. But for those with boots on the ground, the impact of these trends more likely resembles displacement associated with the cracking of tectonic plates.
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.
Right now Thomas Piketty's book, and all the others that have exposed, analyzed and offered prescriptions for our economic inequality, are powerful ideas in search of a movement. Income equality is not like the weather. Rather than just complaining about it, we can actually do something to make it better.