The ultra-rich have practically bought themselves out of the normal economy, Bloomberg reports, while the rest of the top 10% (those making between $150,000 and $250,000) exhibits the same anxiety and trepidation as the rest of the country.
But why shouldn't the rich have their own economy? For many reasons -- economics of superstars, global capital markets, financial innovation, and so on -- the wealth of the top 0.X% increasingly has nothing to do with the wealth of everybody else.* In April, Scott Winship presented this awesome chart explaining the incredible wealth of the world's billionaires by plotting them along Dubai's Burj Khalifa. The upshot is that the world's 0.01% are so much richer than the 1% that, in the big picture, Mitt Romney joins the rest of the 99.9% in the lobby.
The Atlantic's Matt O'Brien graphed this phenomenon a few months ago when he calculated how the 0.1% were breaking away, not only from GDP-per-capita, but also from the 1%.
*This isn't even a new phenomenon. From Don Peck's cover story last year comes this finding in a 2005 Citi paper:
In a plutonomy, Kapur and his co-authors wrote, "economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few." America had been in this state twice before, they noted--during the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties. In each case, the concentration of wealth was the result of rapid technological change, global integration, laissez-faire government policy, and "creative financial innovation."
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