Chapter 1: Establishing geographies of the super-rich: axes for analysis of abundance
This book sets out to give and encourage geographical attention to the super-rich. There is perhaps a misguided sense among geographers that work on the super-rich constitutes a frivolous focus of passing interest and little real significance. Or there may be a sentiment abroad that instead of wasting time looking at the lifestyles of the rich and famous, we should – as serious social scientists – devote our attention to much more solemn social justice, cultural and economic issues that command social intervention (see, for example, Shaw 1997). And so our focus as geographers has typically been on the lives and challenges of the disenfranchised, the dislocated and the poor majority. Yet, other social scientists and commentators have not ignored the super-rich. For instance, in the past decade or so, a number of economists (Kopczuk and Saez 2004; Saez 2009), historians (Hunt 2003; Rubinstein 2004), political scientists (Hacker and Pierson 2010; Irvin 2008) and political activists (Nader 2009), psychologists (Druyen 2011), sociologists (Gilding 1999, 2002), and journalists (Bernstein and Swan 2007; Frank 2007) have seen fit to give specific attention to the super-rich.