There are no beggars, no factory workers, no coal miners, hospital nurses, outsourced office hands or middle school teachers who figure prominently in Plutocrats (Penguin Press, 336 pages, $27.95), Chrystia Freeland’s new book on rising income disparity. (Call-center workers at startup whiz Tony Hsieh’s Zappos do make a cameo.) That’s by design. It’s Ms. Freeland’s stated intent to examine the widening gap between the mega-rich and the rest of us through the lives and careers of the men—yes, men—at the top. (The book’s full, ominous title is Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.) That means, as her discussion of the distaste affluent Americans have for the word “rich” suggests, a study of the plutocrats on their own terms, and not, say, according to the 99/1 rhetoric posited by Occupy Wall Street.
And so the book is populated by financial, technological and emerging-market entrepreneurs peering down from their mountaintops, as well as the closest cousins of the fortunate few: the elite artists, artisans and thinkers who cater to, study or simply swim in the slipstream of the extremely rich.
sticks and stones
Wall Street, wounded by President Barack Obama’s anti-Wall Street rhetoric, responded with anti-Obama rhetoric: It’s not a new story, but Chrystia Freeland’s story on Leon Cooperman in The New Yorker today does a nice job of bringing it into focus.
Mr. Cooperman, child of the Bronx, alumnus of Goldman Sachs, founder of the hedge fund Read More
Who's got next?
We’ve been pondering that question after Reuters reported this morning that when Blackstone Group named Joe Baratta its new global head of private equity last month, it also added the 41-year-old deal maker to the firm’s succession plan. As such, Mr. Baratta joins five other Blackstone executives tapped as potential successors to founder and CEO Stephen Schwarzman.
There’s a lot of fuss at the moment about Mario Batali, who told Forbes that “the ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys.” But Mr. Batali is not the only man to bring Hitler into the debate about wealth inequality. Remember last year, when Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman, a billionaire, struck out against raising capital gains taxes? What was it that he said? Oh, that’s right, he compared Obama to Hitler. Don’t these people ever learn?
It’s October 2008, the middle of the global financial apocalypse, and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has kayaked to a private island. The most expensive government spending act in American history passed a day earlier, but now he’s hunting redfish. “I felt like myself for the first time in a long while,” he sighs in On Read More
The New York Public Library will rename its Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street branch after Wall Street financier Stephen A. Schwarzman, who will donate $100 million of his own money to aid the $1 billion expansion of the library system. The New York Times reports that the project aims to transform the Central Library Read More
Megalomaniacal Blackstone Group C.E.O. Stephen Schwarzman didn’t show up for his buyout firm’s big debut at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.
So TV crews covering Blackstone’s highly ballyhooed initial public offering of $4 billion in stock had to point their cameras at someone else.
Hey, you in the white suit!
“Hey, Zibby!” said Stephen Schwarzman.
The 60-year-old chairman and C.E.O. of global corporate buyout behemoth Blackstone Group had stopped the business before a standing-room-only crowd gathered last Thursday at the Pierre Hotel to hear “Wall Street’s Man of the Moment” (so dubbed recently by Fortune) lay out Blackstone’s public offering of more than $4 Read More
George W. Bush says he won’t raise taxes to pay for his war. “I strongly oppose that. If that’s the kind of sacrifice people are talking about, I’m not for it because raising taxes will hurt this growing economy,” he explained. “And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to Read More
The daughter of late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos is listing her father’s old apartment at 820 Fifth Avenue for upwards of $25 million. Mr. Niarchos, who spent decades engaged in a game of professional and personal one-upmanship with shipping rival Aristotle Onassis, died in 1996 from a stroke. His daughter, Maria, took possession of the Read More