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Social ethnographers are now beginning to study the super-rich with the same alacrity that they study the dregs of society. Listen to BBC Radio's Thinking Aloud (stream and podcast) as the super rich and their effects on society — society that they try to avoid as much as possible — are discussed.



Among the preferred means of staying within their own social bubbles: being shuttled between "safe" areas of capital cities by bodyguards; flying by helicopter; holidaying on €50 million "super-yachts"; and building both up and down, towards the clouds and extending their basements into subterranean mansions.

The super-rich are serviced by the merely rich, who manage their money and property for them. Previous haunts of the rich, such as Berkeley Square in London, are being hollowed out and are now inhabited by the server farms of the financial services, existing only to move around money for the elite.

The existence of the super-rich distorts the lives of those around them, to the extent that in the city with the highest concentration of super-rich, London (deemed the most stable of cities by them), even the merely rich are finding it hard to survive.

Study has also revealed that in the age of Big Data, the super-rich can be studied as easily as any other group; perhaps more easily, since there are so few of them, and they leave such large disturbances in their wake.

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