How do the rich get rich?

I’m stunned we know so little about the rich. Why not?

I think we should know every detail not to harm but to help assure democracy. And to help advance our prosperity.

How do the rich get rich? I think the answers should be front page, on television, at the movies, and courses in school.

…the richest rich are doing very, very well. The top 0.01 percent of the income distribution, those now making more than $5 million a year, have increased their take of the income distribution (before taxes) from 0.86 percent in 1980 to 3.19 percent in 2004, the most recent year available. (It peaked in 2000 at 3.44 percent.)

Who is this group? They make up about 14,000 USA taxpayers. Some of them are CEOs, but the Fortune 500 has only about 500 of them. The group includes some athletes, actors, media personalities, hedge fund managers, and trial lawyers. Some of the richest rich start and run their own businesses. Some are authors…

“What kind of work are they doing to earn all this extra income?”, asks Harvard economics professor Greg Minkow.

Here’s a snippet from the comments at Minkiw’s post.

Please note the assertive belief inherent in this comment.

Please note there is length and breadth and, oh yes, deep science, but nothing about rich.

The squillionaire lifestyle redistributes income via the extended staff it accumulates; maids, housekeepers, cooks obviously, but also lawyers accountants, money managers, yacht crew, pilots, hairdressers, jewellers, interior designers and personal trainers. The market adapts to provide ways to seperate them from their income. Alternatively you could tax them and then the government could employ the cooks, maids, chauffeurs pilots etc to look after the politicians. Probably not jewellers, but policy advisers, campaign managers etc. This is not to say that the amount they are paid is “fair” but then the definition of fair reflects the eye of the beholder.

So much to say, but nothing about rich.