Table of Contents

Handbook on Wealth and the Super-Rich

Handbook on Wealth and the Super-Rich

Edited by Iain Hay and Jonathan V. Beaverstock

Fewer than 100 people own and control more wealth than 50 per cent of the world’s population. The Handbook on Wealth and the Super-Rich is a unique examination of both the lives and lifestyles of the super-rich, as well as the processes that underpin super-wealth generation and its unequal distribution. Drawing on a multiplicity of international examples, leading experts from across the social sciences offer a landmark multidisciplinary contribution to emerging analyses of the global super-rich and their astonishing wealth. The book’s 22 accessible and coherently organised chapters cover a range of captivating topics from biographies of illicit super-wealth, to tax footprint reduction, to the environmental consequences of super-rich lives and their conspicuous consumption.

Chapter 1: They’ve ‘never had it so good’: the rise and rise of the super-rich and wealth inequality

Jonathan V. Beaverstock and Iain Hay

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, geography, economic geography, human geography, urban and regional studies, regional economics, regional studies


Perhaps one silver lining on the storm clouds of the recent global financial crisis, particularly in Europe and North America, has been the growing attention given to ‘super-rich capitalism’, igniting debates in both the public sphere and academy about inequitable levels of prosperity and wealth in global society. Public commentators and journalists like Chrystia Freeland (2012), Robert Frank (2007) and John Kampfner (2014) have presented informative and popular writings on the rise of the global super-rich, and how they occupy the most exclusive places and networks on the planet, distanced far from the rest of us. Even public and private television broadcasters have got in on the act, illuminating the prosperous lifestyles and conspicuous consumption of the super-rich, from multimillionaire celebrities to the more outgoing and publicly available of the world’s billionaires (e.g., see the British Broadcasting Corporation’s The Super-Rich and Us, broadcast in 2015, and CNBC’s 2014 series Secret Lives of the Super Rich). Thankfully, beyond the perspective on glitzy lifestyles and super-rich consumption offered through the lens of popular culture, members of the social sciences community, from economists to urban studies specialists, have begun to look critically at the excessive growth and consumption, political economy and inequitable wealth creation of the super-rich in global society.