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Leonid Bershidsky

Piketty Should Take Off That Yellow Vest

Higher taxes for the not-so-rich won’t “save Europe from itself.”

No easy fixes.

No easy fixes.

Photographer: Anita Puchard Serra/Bloomberg

Thomas Piketty, the rock-star economist, doesn’t burn cars or deface the Arc de Triomphe, yet his “Manifesto for the Democratization of Europe” has some striking similarities with the demands of the French protesters. Trying to appease the Yellow Vests by adopting parts of his manifesto would be a mistake.

The reforms proposed by Piketty and a group of intellectuals and politicians — notably Pablo Iglesias, leader of Spain’s leftist Podemos party — include the creation of a European Assembly. It would have the power to shape a common budget and impose common taxes, something that at present requires the unanimous agreement of EU member states.