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 19: Sovereign wealth and the nation-state

Adam D. Dixon

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


No comprehensive treatment of wealth and the super-rich would be complete without a presentation and analysis of sovereign wealth. Indeed, the great fortunes of high-tech entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers, and industrialists and their descendants, often pale in comparison to the assets controlled by some countries whose sovereignty is embodied by a single and often autocratic or quasi-autocratic ruling dynasty. For the most part, these great fortunes are found in the Gulf States of the Middle East and Saudi Arabia – the product of vast natural resource wealth that has ballooned almost exponentially in the last decade from booming world commodity prices. Although such fortunes have existed for more than a generation now – being recycled through international banks in the major financial centres of New York and London (Momani, 2008) – their organizational form and function have become more defined as established institutional investors, with a presence and self-awareness not seen previously. Even if much of the management of many of these great fortunes is still delegated to portfolio managers and private equity shops in the capitals of finance, these fortunes are not simply an accounting entry in the national treasury or a section of the central bank’s balance sheet. Keeping pace with the globalization of financial services, and all that brings in terms of common practices and organizational forms, these great fortunes are increasingly represented by state-sponsored institutional investment funds, or what are now commonly referred to as sovereign wealth funds (SWFs).

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