Who Said It: Russell Brand or Badly Translated Thomas Piketty?

Comparing excerpts from Revolution with sentences from Capital in the 21st Century, interpreted by Google


In Russell Brand's new book, Revolution, the comedian and activist calls for the total restructuring of society, initiated by the peaceful dismantling of capitalism and the forgiveness of all debt. In his 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century, economist Thomas Piketty argues that unrestrained capitalism by its nature causes inequality and threatens democracy.

Brand dedicates a chapter of his book, at least in name, to Piketty, whom he refers to as "'ol Pikkety, Licketty, Rollity, Flicketty," and describes as "a capitalist, just not a full-on evil one." Both books, although distinctive in tone, deal with the unwieldy history of capitalism in an ambitious and occasionally irreverent way. To compare and contrast them, we first took excerpts from Piketty's original French publication, Le Capital au XXIe siècle, and translated them with the help of Google. Can you tell which author wrote each particular passage?