A quick update on avarice in America and beyond
The ultimate luxury? Daniel Hedaya, a realtor who helps global deep pockets buy getaways in Manhattan, has a ready answer: “to travel the world and always feel like you’re at home.” One Hedaya client takes that goal literally. He has homes in five watering holes for the mega rich. Each home comes outfitted with the exact same furniture, linens, coffee mugs, and toothbrushes. Where do high-enders like Hedaya’s client most often sit their mugs? Researchers at New World Wealth last week ranked the world’s most attractive cities for the super rich. At the summit: London. Some 9,700 swells worth at least $10 million maintain their primary residence in the city, and 22,300 other deca-millionaires maintain second (or third, fourth, or fifth) homes there. New York ranks second . . .
The next governor of Rhode Island may be a candidate who spent her term as the state’s treasurer cutting public employee pensions and using the proceeds to pay billionaire hedge fund managers fat fees for managing the state’s pension investments. Rhode Island treasurer Gina Raimondo, a former venture capitalist herself, owes her victory in the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary last Tuesday to massive Wall Street campaign contributions — and a split in her opposition. She had two opponents running against her, and together the pair picked up 58 percent of the primary vote. Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has dubbed Raimondo’s looting of Rhode Island’s public employee pension funds — “at the behest of powerful out-of-state financiers” — a “test case for the rest of the country.”
Some 70 percent of Harvard’s graduating seniors submit résumés to Wall Street banks and consulting firms, reports sociologist Lauren Rivera. Nearly a third of Harvard’s latest graduating class, 31 percent, ended up in Wall Street jobs. What makes Wall Street so irresistible to America’s purported “best and brightest”? The money helps, of course. New grads can start on Wall Street at $90,000 a year. But sociologist Amy Binder points as well to the unrelenting recruitment pressure Wall Street puts on students at Harvard and a other elite institutions. The Wall Street business model, Binder notes, relies “on the appearance of brainpower in order to win clients,” a strategy that puts “a premium on recruiting from a handful of universities with the highest worldwide brand equity.”