February 2011

Touring Richistan

Author Robert Frank coined the word "Richistan" as the name of the virtual country inhabited by the super-rich in his 2008 book Richistan: A Journey Through The American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich. Richistan is a very private country, with heavily guarded borders, and most of us will only catch the briefest glance of what life is like there.

America's class system is perennially the elephant in the room. The subject of class was last tackled best by Paul Fussell in his book Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. But that book was released in 1983, and things have changed a lot since then.

Frank begins his book with a chapter focusing on the people most of us will find most relatable throughout the book: butlers and personal assistants. A butler school in Colorado trains its students in the exacting art of butlery (butlering?) and household management. New graduates of the school typically land jobs that start at between $80,000 and $120,000 per year.

Saving Money: Sexy Again

Saving is the New Spending

In the years leading up to the economic disaster spending money was so SEXY and everyone was doing it. In music videos you would see rappers setting fire to "Benjamins" ($100 bills) just for the fun of it, entire new companies were built on "use it once and throw it away (such as Swiffer in '99)", and the economy was building itself up, ironically, to be a "money pit". If you miss those years of waste then this article - and in fact, this new country of ours - is not for you.