Edited by Iain Hay and Jonathan V. Beaverstock
Chapter 12: The residential spaces of the super-rich
The study of the super-rich – especially the billionaire ‘stars’ – is somewhat different from other areas of social scientific enquiry because we are considering rare but often identifiable individuals whose anonymity cannot be guaranteed through generalizations about aggregated large-scale survey or census data. Unlike the vast bulk of humanity, we can name and show pictures of most of the world’s richest people and their homes. The annual Forbes list of billionaires recorded a new peak of 1645 in 2014, up by over 25 per cent since 2011. The 2014 Sunday Times Rich List showed that the wealth of the super-rich in the UK had doubled over five years so that assets of £85 million were needed to be in the top 1000. This is good news for people whose incomes derive from servicing the needs and desires of the super-rich, including the global residential real estate industry, but not so good for the rest of us, as inequalities in income and wealth have increased at all spatial scales and the richest 1 per cent of people are said to own more than the poorest 50 per cent (Oxfam, 2014).
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