Thu Nov 1, 2012, 08:09 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich by Chrystia Freeland review
Splashing the cash: The money-laden elite are nearly all men, sacrificing family life in their search for a fortune. Photograph: Juan Silva/Getty Images
Who is the richest person to have lived? Given the impossibility of comparing chariots with private jets, this is an absurd question. But it is still one economists have sought to answer, with perhaps the best measure as defined by Adam Smith based on annual income as a multiple of the average wage of fellow citizens.
Their answer is not Marcus Crassus, whose fortune was the same size as the entire government treasury of the Roman Empire. His annual return was paltry for a plutocrat, equating to the average yearly income of 32,000 Romans. Nor was it those robber barons of the Gilded Age Andrew Carnegie, whose wealth peaked in 1901, took home the same as 48,000 typical Americans while John D Rockefeller's vast riches yielded an annual income equal to 116,000 of his countrymen.
The wealth of these figures from history pales in comparison with the strutting financiers of Wall Street, the geeky billionaires of Silicon Valley and the grisly oligarchs who plundered Russia. Trumping them all is Carlos Slim, the telecoms tycoon whose £53bn fortune is equal to that of an incredible 400,000 of his fellow Mexicans.
There has always been a gap between rich and poor but this is just one sign of how the gulf has widened into a chasm over the past few decades. Creaming off more and more wealth is a new elite, a transglobal class of mainly self-made men carving out unimaginable fortunes. They are the subject of this timely and absorbing analysis by former Financial Times deputy editor Chrystia Freeland.
8 replies, 1704 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich by Chrystia Freeland review (Original post)
|woo me with science||Nov 2012||#6|
|Uncle Joe||Nov 2012||#8|
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Sun Nov 4, 2012, 08:48 PM
woo me with science (32,139 posts)
6. Marvelous interview with her and Matt Taibbi on Moyers:
K&R ..........Thanks for posting this.