Beaverstock Jonathan V. - The struggle to belong

Author : Beaverstock Jonathan V.
Title : The struggle to belong : Dealing with diversity in 21st Century urban settings The privileged world city: Private banking, wealth management and the bespoke servicing of the global super-rich
Year : 2011

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Abstract. At the beginning of the Millennium, the richest 1% of the world population (about 50 million) received as much as the bottom 57% (2.7 billion) (UNDP, 2002), and during the mid-2000s, about 2% of the world‟s adult population possessed more than 50% of total global wealth (Davies, 2008). In the United States of America and the United Kingdom, on the back of the roaring bull market, a wave of neo-liberalism and muted income redistributive policies, the „super-rich‟ have swelled their numbers as never before (Haseler, 1999; Irvin, 2008; Lundberg, 1988; Smith, 2001; Thorndike, 1980; Wolff, 1996). Publications like the Forbes Rich and Billionaire Lists and The Sunday Times Rich List, have made transparent the once secretive worlds of the rich. Importantly, the „super-rich‟ are now an identifiable market in their own right. Those wealthy individuals with investable assets greater than US$1 million are now labelled as „high net worth individuals‟ and these totalled 10 million in 2009, with accumulated wealth approximating US$39.0 trillion (Merrill Lynch CapGemini, 2010). Given the global market value of this segment of the population, servicing the billionaire, multi-millionaire and „meagre‟ millionaire has become a multi-billion US$ industry. Just as world cities are the „basing points‟ for international capital (Friedmann, 1986), they are the places where the „super-rich‟ connect with a bespoke, exclusive and privileged circuit of economic relations in the form of private banking and wealth management. The rest of this paper will be organised in four main sections: first, conceptualising the identifiable traits of the super-rich; second, defining, quantifying and locating the „super-rich‟ in global society; third, introducing the privileged world city economies of private banking and wealth management; and finally, several conclusions which muses about the super-rich being the super-class in global society. ...

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