Virtual Event: Martin SandbuThe Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All

The IHSS Annual Symposium seeks to recognise and bring to Queen Mary each year a scholar who has recently contributed a ground-breaking piece of work in the humanities and social sciences. The inaugural IHSS Annual Symposium will be made by Professor Thomas Piketty on his 2020 release, Capital and Ideology, followed by a response from Heather Boushey and Martin Sandbu.

About Capital and Ideology

In this follow-up to Thomas Piketty’s bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014), Capital and Ideology (2020) challenges us to revolutionize how we think about politics, ideology, and history. He exposes the ideas that have sustained inequality for the past millennium, reveals why the shallow politics of right and left are failing us today, and outlines the structure of a fairer economic system.


Thomas Piketty is Professor at EHESS and at the Paris School of Economics and Co-director, World Inequality Lab/World Inequality Database. His work addresses the interplay between economic development, the distribution of income and wealth, and political conflict. These works have led to emphasize the role of political, social and fiscal institutions in the historical evolution of income and wealth distribution.


Heather Boushey is President and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and author of Unbound: How Inequality Constricts our Economy and What We Can Do about It (2019)

Martin Sandbu is European Economics Editor for the Financial Times and author of the forthcoming The Economics of Belonging (2020)


Dr Simon Reid-Henry, Director of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences

About the Book

Fueled by populism and the frustrations of the disenfranchised, the past few years have witnessed the widespread rejection of the economic and political order that Western countries built up after 1945. Political debates have turned into violent clashes between those who want to “take their country back” and those viewed as defending an elitist, broken, and unpatriotic social contract. There seems to be an increasing polarization of values. The Economics of Belonging argues that we should step back and take a fresh look at the root causes of our current challenges. In this original, engaging book, Martin Sandbu argues that economics remains at the heart of our widening inequality and it is only by focusing on the right policies that we can address it. He proposes a detailed, radical plan for creating a just economy where everyone can belong.

Sandbu demonstrates that the rising numbers of the left behind are not due to globalization gone too far. Rather, technological change and flawed but avoidable domestic policies have eroded the foundations of an economy in which everyone can participate—and would have done so even with a much less globalized economy. Sandbu contends that we have to double down on economic openness while pursuing dramatic reforms involving productivity, regional development, support for small- and medium-sized businesses, and increased worker representation. He discusses how a more active macroeconomic policy, education for all, universal basic income, and better taxation of capital could work together for society’s benefit.

Offering real answers, not invective, for facing our most serious political issues, The Economics of Belonging shows how a better economic system can work for all.

Martin Sandbu has been writing about economics for the Financial Times since 2009. Having started out as the newspaper’s economics leader writer, he is currently FT’s European economics commentator and writes its Free Lunch premium economics newsletter. Previously, he was a senior research fellow at the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Just Business and Europe’s Orphan (Princeton). Twitter @MESandbu