The .01 Percent

My Facebook and Twitterfeed was full of bile at the young and super-rich people featured in this New York Times article. They are rich and COOL, gushes the Times. One woman wears her sweatpants to Barneys. Rebel Alert!

Other residents of 471 Washington include two young brothers who each own large apartments and a stylish 30-something couple, Harsh and Purvi Padia. The Padias — he runs a hedge fund and she has an interior-design business — paid more than $17 million for the penthouse. The couple, who have a child, were featured in an episode of “Million Dollar Listing,” a reality show on Bravo, expressing concern that the 4,200-square-foot unit, which comes with 4,000 square feet of outdoor space and a rooftop pool, was too small for the family of three. They ended up combining the apartment with the unit below, creating a 7,200-square-foot home.

So, who are these rich people? Derek Thompson has some nice data on the .01%. You think that the 1% is doing well? Well, not so much compared ot the .01%. Their wealth is tied to the stock market, which is doing quite well, even if the rest of the economy is sluggish.

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As income inequality increases, we’ll get more of the sweatpants in Barney stores. But we’ll also get more Food Stamp stories.


6 thoughts on “The .01 Percent

  1. “They have a completely different DNA from the rest of us,”

    Ugh. I know my share of under 40 multimillionaires, though most of them are an order of magnitude less than those profiled in the NYT article (people who pay 3M in cash for houses rather than 20M). They certainly do not have different DNA from the rest of us and they would cringe at the statement.

    Also, in my neck of the woods, the folks in this category are likely to have created something of value, something you might actually use and benefit from. That doesn’t make me think they are more special than many others who have also created something of value but not made millions off of it (and some of them recognize that). They are not, in Paul Krugman’s quote “men who push money around and get rich by skimming some off the top as it sloshes by”. So I can’t really serve up much anger. I try to concentrate on helping them avoid the kind of back-patting self-contentment personified in that article (A lot of the back-patting is coming from the agents who are skimming money off the top of those big deals, who clearly have incentives to sell the “you are special” argument.)

  2. Sasha Bikoff inherited her money: her father is Darius Bikoff, a soft drink entrepreneur. So her money doesn’t come from “pushing money around”; it doesn’t come from anything she did. The sort of nostalgie de la boue she expresses is fairly common among the heirs to great wealth, I think.

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