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Return of the Gilded Age

August 13th, 2014

NYTimes, Aug 11,2014:

Better Than First Class, an Entire Suite in the Air

LOS ANGELES — AIR travel in coach being more uncomfortable than ever, I was receptive when a woman with Etihad Airways flagged me down on the trade show floor at the Global Business Travel Association convention here recently and led me to a display of the newest example of luxury in commercial flying.

That was “The Residence,” a three-room suite that Etihad will install in first-class sections of its A380 superjumbo airplanes, the first one scheduled for service on Dec. 27. The 125-square-foot suite has a living room with two couches, a 32-inch television set and a refrigerator, a bathroom with a shower, a bedroom with a double bed, and a private butler.

Harper’s Magazine, Aug. 13, 21014

Phony Capitalism

Americans are finally beginning to appreciate the magnitude of the inequalities in income and wealth that mark our society. Lately, this realization has been helped along by an unexpected source: the French economist Thomas Piketty, whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the surprise bestseller of the year. Piketty has collected the most extensive evidence available of the increases in economic inequality and inherited wealth over the past forty years, which are creating a new plutocracy.

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