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Caderno CRH

Print version ISSN 0103-4979

Abstract

CATTANI, Antonio David. Wealth and inequalities. Cad. CRH [online]. 2009, vol.22, n.57, pp. 547-561. ISSN 0103-4979.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-49792009000300009.

In this paper the main characteristics and meanings of a specific segment of the holders of high fortunes coming from extraction of wealth in the globalized economy are analyzed. Millionaires and billionaires are designated by the financial managers as High net worth individuals (HNWIs). They don't constitute a social class presupposing identity, cohesion and collective mobilization from homogeneous and articulate interests. But, as components of the internationalized dominant sectors they possess high economical and political power with significant impacts on social reality. HNWIs are in the center of the process of acutization of the social and economic inequalities in the last 20 years and they are characterized by three aspects: the) desvinculation of physical dimensions of the capital and absence of national roots; b) personification of fortunes; c) ostentatious standard of living contrasting in a marked way to the remaining of the population.The central argument of this paper is that analyzing the social structure, it is necessary to consider it as an whole, integrated and articulate, the extremes wealth and poverty not being self-explanatory and even less autonomous. Considering the importance of the scale in the wealth ownership, it is possible to understand how it her assures impunity, privileges and power for specific minorities, enlarging the inequalities and the production of the poverty.

Keywords : wealth; power; social classes; social and economic inequalities.

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