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Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Richby Robert Frank
Synopses & Reviews
The rich have always been different from you and me, but this revealing and funny journey through “Richistan” entertainingly shows that they are more different than ever. Richistanis have 400-foot-yachts, 30,000-square-foot homes, house staffs of more than 100, and their own “arborists.” They’re also different from Old Money, and have torn down blue-blood institutions to build their own shining empire.
Richistan is like the best travel writing, full of colorful and interesting stories providing insights into exotic locales. Robert Frank has been loitering on the docks of yacht marinas, pestering his way into charity balls, and schmoozing with real estate agents selling mega-houses to capture the story of the twenty-first century’s nouveau riche:
House-training the rich. People with new wealth have to be taught how to act like, well, proper rich people. Just in the nick of time, there’s been a boom in the number of newly trained butlers—“household managers”—who will serve just the right cabernet when a Richistani’s new buddies from Palm Beach stop by.
“My boat is bigger than your boat.” Only in Richistan would a 100-foot-boat be considered a dinghy. Personal pleasure craft have started to rival navy destroyers in size and speed. Richistan is also a place where friends make fun of those misers who buy the new girlfriend a mere Mercedes SLK.
“You want my money? Prove that you’re helping the needy!” Richistanis are not only consuming like crazy, they’re also shaking up the establishment’s bureaucratic, slow-moving charity network, making lean, results-oriented philanthropy an important new driving force.
Move over, Christian Coalition. Richistanis are more Democratic than Republican, “fed up and not going to take it anymore,” and willing to spend millions to get progressive-oriented politicians elected.
“My name is Mike and I’m rich.” Think that money is the answer? Think again as Robert Frank explores the emotional complexities of wealth.
And, as Robert Frank reveals, there is not one Richistan but three: Lower, Middle, and Upper, each of which has its own levels and distinctions of wealth —the haves and the have-mores. The influence of Richistan and the Richistanis extends well beyond the almost ten million households that make up its population, as the nonstop quest for status and an insatiable demand for luxury goods reshapes the entire American economy.
From the Hardcover edition.
Full of captivating profiles and expert insights into the lives and lifestyles of the nouveau riche, "Richistan" looks beyond the glitz to find the real story behind new money and its impact on the richest nation in the world.
While the Occupy movement faces many strategic and organizational challenges, one of its major accomplishments has been to draw global attention to the massive disparity of income, wealth and privilege held by 1% of the population in nations across the world. In The 1% and the Rest of Us, Tim Di Muzio explores what it means to be part of a socio-economic order presided over by the super-rich and their political servants.
Incorporating provocative and original arguments about philanthropy, social wealth and the political role of the super-rich, Di Muzio reveals how the 1% are creating a world unto themselves in which the accumulation of ever more money is really a symbolic drive to control society and the natural environment.
A timely and innovative book that provides readers with the first global political economy of the 1%, whilst demonstrating how resistance can continue to challenge their rule.
One of the major accomplishments of the Occupy movement has been to draw global attention to the massive disparity of income, wealth, and privilege concentrated in one percent of the world’s population. In The 1% and the Rest of Us, Tim Di Muzio offers the first empirical and theoretical study of the culture, politics, built environments, and social behavior of this extremely wealthy minority. In doing so, he examines the fallout of this socio-economic order and its devastating consequences for the other ninety-nine percent of the population.
Drawing on case studies and incorporating provocative insights into the worldviews, politics, and lifestyles of the economic elite, Di Muzio reveals how the one percent is creating a world unto themselves in which the accumulation of wealth has become a powerful symbol of control over society and the natural environment. This timely and thought-provoking book offers the first in-depth analysis of the global political economy of the one percent, and, at the same time, demonstrates how unflagging resistance can continually challenge and call into question its power and dilute its influence.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
RICH-I-STAN n. 1. a new country located in the heart of America, populated entirely by millionaires, most of whom acquired their wealth during the new Gilded Age of the past twenty years. 2. a country with a population larger than Belgium and Denmark; typical citizens include “spud king” J. R. Simplot; hair stylist Sydell Miller, the new star of Palm Beach; and assorted oddball entrepreneurs. 3. A country that with a little luck and pluck, you, too, could be a citizen of.
The rich have always been different from you and me, but Robert Franks revealing and funny journey through “Richistan” entertainingly shows that they are truly another breed.
About the Author
ROBERT FRANK is a senior special writer at The Wall Street Journal, where he writes a weekly column and daily blog called The Wealth Report. He has been with The Journal for 13 years, with postings in Atlanta, London, Singapore and New York. He was part of a team of reporters that won an Overseas Press Club award in 1998 for its coverage of developing economies. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.
From the Hardcover edition.
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