... [Let] me ask you to look at the most recent (September 2013) Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. From Bill Gates at the top to Nicholas Woodman at the bottom, all are billionaires. Yet 261 of these people are self-made.
That is, nearly two-thirds earned their fortunes through creative entrepreneurial effort and risk-taking - people such as Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar, and entertainer Oprah Winfrey. These people’s efforts enrich not only themselves but also you, me, and hundreds of millions of other people. I’m aware that Piketty dismisses such claims as being crude apologetics, but I challenge you – and him – to explain how, say, Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy amassed a large fortune if the countless people who voluntarily dine at his restaurants do not benefit from doing so.
Don Boudreaux, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, responds to a correspondent regarding Piketty's book:
Author of Economics: The Remarkable Story of How the Economy Works