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Keywords:

  • super-rich;
  • wealth;
  • critical geography;
  • philanthropy;
  • inequality

Abstract

This paper exhorts geographers to give critical attention to the super-rich, defined as individuals with investable assets in excess of $1 million. The super-rich currently number almost 11 million globally (2011) and have collective wealth in excess of $42 trillion. We argue that as a result of our discipline's typical, and not unjustifiable, focus on the poor and middle class, and our neglect of the super-rich, geographers may both be overlooking potentially valuable insights to the institutions, practices, and cultural values of our society and gaining only a partial view of global capitalism. We point to prospectively useful work in areas that embrace relationships between the super-rich, place, and mobility; links between wealth and (geo)politics; new philanthropy; and the social and environmental consequences of ‘luxury fever’. We also speculate as to some of the reasons for geographers’ apparent reluctance to engage with the super-rich, responding to some of the critical methodological challenges associated with such work.