Picking up on Piketty's ideas that the very structure of free-market capitalism insures the flow of wealth from the bottom to the top.
1.Free-market capitalism is one where taxes and government regulations play no significant part in the distribution of the wealth generated in commercial enterprises or through the use of inherited wealth.
2.All Enterprise, regardless of the shape of the overall economy (Mercantilism, Socialism, Capitalism, Silk Road trade) is composed of a symbiosis between two fundamental elements: Resources - land, money, camels, intellectual property and legal constructs; and Labor – individual human activity necessary to generate Value from a Resource. Absent either of these elements there is no commercial enterprise. The Inequality Piketty is speaking of is the result of a failure to reflect the Essentiality of both elements of a commercial enterprise in the distribution of the Wealth it generates. From the 1%'s perspective it is always: “Heads, we win. Tails, everyone else loses.”
3.The distribution of Wealth is positively impacted by Ownership in perpetuity – individual, public or corporate, whereas Labor's access to Wealth is negatively impacted by the very nature of work - that it always entails the expenditure of a diminishing resource based on the theory that every worker has a finite number of productive work-hours the demand for which is vulnerable to the market demand for any given skill set. Persons working at any job where showing up is essential to being paid ($500/hr corporate lawyers or $5/hr hamburger flipper) constitutes working without a net! One change in the overall economy, technological advance, age or health issue can mark the end of all productive employment. A major cost to Labor is the acquisition of a skill set: how to drive or fly a commercial vehicle, take a criminal case to court, become a military officer or replace a defective heart and there is no guarantee that one will be compensated proportionally to one's or society's investment in that education.
4.Wealth is the difference between the cost of production and the Monetary Value generated from the Market Demand for the item produced over the commercially useful life of the item. For example: in the building of a computer chip-making plant, Labor gets one bite of the apple, whereas, the Owners get all the rest of the Revenue from the productive life of the plant.
5.A Mixed-market economy (one with both socialistic and capitalistic elements) is one where Wealth is more equitably divided between the two essential elements of the means of production either through direct payment to workers in wages/pension benefits or quality family services and public infrastructure made available, as a public service, by some governmental agency and funded by high marginal tax rates, corporate and Estate taxes.
Given these definitions it is clear that if we are to reverse the upward flow of wealth (different only in degree since this is something that has been going on since Colonial days) we have to build a more robust public sector paid for with taxes on the Owner's or heir's share of Wealth and/or create greater access to corporate profits for workers and the general public through stock distribution as a part of their compensation or, for example, as part of one's Social Security benefits. [Why should a person's SS benefits end at death when their productivity keeps on benefiting others? Is there some morality in a generation, which owes its high status to the work of a preceding generation, pulling the ladder out from under that preceding generation?]
And for those who have a problem with welfare, there is no reason that government benefit programs cannot be phased out if we can devise a system where the future wealth of the nation is divided more nearly on the basis of the population than hereditary ownership by the 1% ...one where the fat cats get to keep all their toys in the short run but as we go forward in time, the skinny cats (the 99% of the population) can put on some weight while the fat ones slim down.