France's rock star economist Thomas Piketty has turned down France's highest state honour because, in his view, it is not the role of the government to dispense these kinds of awards.
The economist made waves in 2014 and topped the Amazon bestseller list with his book Capital in the 21st Century, which postulated that inequality will soar under capitalism's current trajectory because the rate of return on capital (r) tends to be higher than the growth rate of the economy (g).
According to Agence France-Presse, Piketty said:
I just found out that I have been proposed for the Legion of Honour. I refuse this nomination because I do not think it is the government's role to decide who is honourable.
They would do better to concentrate on reviving (economic) growth in France and Europe.
Piketty's native France has been beset by economic woes with high unemployment, poor growth and failure to meet its deficit targets. France was recently overtaken by Britain to become the world's fifth largest economy and recently abandoned its much ridiculed 75 per cent tax rate on the rich.
Piketty was at one time close to President Hollande's Socialist government but has since distanced himself from the administration.
In Britain, the Queen's New Year Honours list was recently revealed, which included Esther Rantzen and Sheridan Smith.