Beaverstock Jonathan V. - Faulconbridge James R. - Wealth segmentation and the mobilities of the super-rich

Authors : Beaverstock Jonathan V. - Faulconbridge James R.
Title : Wealth segmentation and the mobilities of the super-rich : A conceptual framework
Year : 2014

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Introduction. Running parallel to everyday mobilities in society exist a privileged circuit of capital accumulation which is bespoke to the normal lives of the so called, ‘super-rich’ or ‘plutocrats’: the multi-millionaires and billionaires of the world (Beaverstock et al., 2004; Beaverstock, 2011; Elliott and Urry, 2010; Freeland, 2012). From private jets, first class and luxurious limousine travel, to super-yachts, collections of prestige cars and concierge services, the mobilities of the super-rich, whose number reached over 10 million worldwide from 2009 (Capgemini Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management (CMLGWM), 2010; 2011), occupy an intriguing juxtaposition in the mobilities discourse. On the one hand, super-rich mobilities are often invisible, like for example in the fleets of private jets or helicopters that ferry the Forbes rich-list individuals, company C.E.O.’s and celebrities on business trips. But, on the other hand, the super-rich display in very overt and opulent ways their luxurious mobilities (see, Kaplan, 2007), like for example Roman Abramovich’s world’s biggest (and most expensive at £740million) super-yacht, Eclipse (The Sunday Times, 2010), which has become ‘fair-game’ for the global press and paparazzi (see, McNamara, 2009). The purpose of this chapter is to provide the first conceptual framework which unpicks the wealth segments of the super-rich, starting at liquid assets of US$1 million (high net worth individuals) and up to the ‘top-tier’ billionaires like Carlos Slim Helu – Telecoms (US$69bn), Bill Gates III - Microsoft (US$61.0bn) and Warren Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway (US$44bn) (Forbes World Billionaires List, 2012). ...

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