On December 10, New York Observer published an article on the “Second Gilded Age” in New York City, in which it describes recent increases in spending among the wealthiest New Yorkers. Research by Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short is extensively quoted in the article. The full excerpt is below:
“In the collection of essays, Geographies of the Super-Rich, published last year, John Rennie Short, a professor of public policy at the University Maryland Baltimore County, refers to this period as the ‘Second Gilded Age.’ Mr. Short estimates that 103,000 people worldwide have a net worth in excess of $30 million, and this upper, upper class owns about 40 percent of global assets. The holdings of the 66 New Yorkers on the most recent Forbes 400 list (led by David Koch with $42.9 billion) adds up to an astounding $390.67 billion dollars—more than the gross domestic product of Thailand, a nation with 67 million people.
Mr. Short detects similarities between the two eras. Striking inequality was seen as evidence of Social Darwinism. And it is again, he suggests. ‘Wealth is justified not simply as a result of luck or connections,’ he writes, ‘but as a ‘natural’ phenomenon and hence immune to political change and social debate.’
He also notices contrasts. It was de rigueur for elites in the late 19th century to live a life of leisure, but today’s captains of industry flaunt their industriousness. ‘The hardworking rich replace the idle rich,’ as Mr. Short puts it.”
To read the full article titled “Gilded Age 2.0: New York’s Richest CEOs, Artists, and Pro Athletes,” click here.