Technological advances and historically unprecedented income inequalities have raised living standards while enabling a new global elite to enjoy lifestyles more lavish in energy consumption and environmental impact than those enjoyed by any aristocracy in the past.
Real-life illustrations of elites show the excesses afoot. In one instance, a businessman oversees his economic activities across several Central Asian, Middle Eastern and North African countries from a base in Dubai. He largely evades tax through an intricate tax-haven/residence arrangement concocted by his wealth advisor, giving him leeway to engage in the pleasures of modernity: frequent jet travel, the consumption of imported goods, and the ability to use as his playground a country whose extreme climate requires energy-intensive technology for much of the year.
In another instance, a civil servant for the United Nations lives in the diplomatic district of the capital of a developing nation. Despite her strong commitment to improving the world, …
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