Money

Famous economist: Government should give all French citizens $132,000 in cash when they turn 25

Thomas Piketty
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

What if you came into $132,000 in cash when you turned 25?

If it seems a pie-in-the-sky question, it's not completely fantastical.

Thursday, famous French economist and professor Thomas Piketty released his book, "Capital and Ideology" (in French; the English version comes out in early 2020).

In the 1,232 page tome, Piketty suggests all French citizens should receive a lump-sum cash payment of 120,000 euros ($132,000) from the government when they turn 25, according to Bloomberg. He calls this payment, "inheritance for all," the site reported.

The cash payment is part of Piketty's proposal for fixing wealth inequality.

It's not clear from the Bloomberg story how the "inheritance for all" payment would be funded and Piketty did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for clarification. However, Bloomberg reports that in the book Piketty does suggest taxes as high as 90% on France's super wealthy.

"[T]hose with several hundred million euros, or several billion, will have to share power," Piketty told French magazine L'Obs, according to Bloomberg.

The idea of the government distributing cash — via a universal basic income (UBI) — in order to combat wealth inequality has been gaining attention in the United States.

Elon Musk, for example, has suggested UBI will become necessary as automation eliminates jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg sees it as a way to give people a safety net to support entrepreneurship.

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Here's what universal basic income could mean for Americans

Further, presidential candidate Andrew Yang is campaigning to win the Democratic nomination on a platform that includes giving American adults $12,000 per year, or $1,000 a month.

The wealthy paying higher taxes is also a solution to wealth inequality that Americans are talking about. Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have said that while capitalism is a good system, they are in favor of the rich paying higher taxes.

As another way to democratize wealth and its associated power, Piketty also suggests in his book that no shareholder should have more than 10% of voting rights at a company, and employees should have 50% of the seats on the board of a company, according to The Guardian.

See also:

Bill Gates: Taxes on rich should be 'much higher' but capitalism still works — here's why

Ocasio-Cortez's 70% tax plan gets fierce response, but even Warren Buffett says rich should pay more

Billionaire Warren Buffett says 'the real problem' with the US economy is people like him

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Bank of America: Closing gender wealth gap could take 200 years

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Thomas Piketty
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
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