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Bernie Sanders will be good for American economy, top economist says

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Bernie Sanders’ economic policies would be good for the American economy, according to a new book by a renowned economist.

French economist Thomas Piketty said history has many examples of extreme inequality fostering healthy social democracies. His comments come days after a former Goldman Sachs chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, said on Twitter that Sanders would “ruin our economy.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, Piketty cited Sweden as an example. At the start of the 20th century, Sweden — now held up as an egalitarian country — was entirely controlled by wealthy elites and voting rights were determined by property. Within a very short space of time, and with little economic disruption, it became the social democratic nation that we now know.

This precedent bodes well for Mr Sanders' policy goals of reforming American capitalism, Piketty suggested.

In his new book Capital and Ideology, Piketty examines the relationship between inequality and ideology, and how they shape each other.

The Sanders campaign has promised systemic change through economic policy to tackle inequality — higher taxes of the rich, a wealth tax, a minimum wage, and “workplace democracy”.

Piketty, like Mr Sanders, advocates a progressive tax on wealth. “Remember that the US is actually the country that invented progressive taxation of income and wealth in the 20th century,” he said.