Harvard University Press has signed a book called Inequality by Sir Anthony B Atkinson, a fellow at Oxford's Nuffield College. Atkinson is also a Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, where he was a mentor to Thomas Piketty, author of the bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which was also published by HUP, received widespread attention when it was released earlier this year, and worldwide sales now top 500,000, which is remarkable for an economics text.
While Piketty asked, in his book, why the rich are getting richer, Atkinson examines why the poor are stuck in poverty, and how to get them out. Inequality will feature a jacket that echoes Capital, and publication is planned for the run-up to next year's general election.
The book's editor, Ian Malcolm, based at HUP's London office, said the title it would consist of 12 chapters of around 10,000 words each. Where Piketty examined the problems, Atkinson--who mentored the French author when he was studying at LSE--will offer fixes, including specific policy ideas.
Malcolm said it would be "a hopeful book," and one that suggests realistic possibilities rather than advocates Marxist revolution. Both author and publisher hope that the title will become "part of the debate," and that it will "start a conversation" at a crucial time.
An academic economist focused on issues of social justice, Atkinson published his first book in the 1960s; it was an examination of poverty in Britain. His second book looked at inequality. He is currently contributing to the World Top Incomes Database, and is monitoring rising inequality across the world. He has addressed poverty in Europe and the consequences of rolling back the welfare state. Atkinson has sat on Royal Commissions, holds honorary doctorates from a score of international universities and is the recipient of numerous awards.
HUP has world rights in the project, and the publisher confirmed that it received a number of foreign rights offers at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair. .
NOTE: A version of this story originally ran in PW's U.K. partner publication, BookBrunch.