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  • Published: 30 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241470923
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $55.00

Serious Money

Walking Plutocratic London




A sociologist uncovers the secret lives of London's wealthiest residents - and how their money shapes the city for the rest of us

London is a plutocrat's paradise, with more resident billionaires than New York, Hong Kong or Moscow. Far from trickling down, their wealth is burning up the environment and swallowing up the city. But what do we really know about London's super-rich, and the lives they lead?

To find out more, sociologist Caroline Knowles walks the streets of London from the City to suburban Surrey, via Kensington, Mayfair and elsewhere. Her walks reveal how the wealthy shape the capital in their image, creating a world of gated communities and luxury developments. A move behind closed doors takes us further into the dark heart of the plutocratic city, from multi-million-pound mansions to gentlemen's clubs. Along the way we meet a wide and wickedly entertaining cast of millionaires, billionaires and those who serve them: bankers, aristocrats, tech tycoons, Conservative Party donors, butlers, divorce lawyers and many more.

By turns jaw-dropping, enraging and enlightening, Serious Money explodes the fiction that wealth is a condition to aspire to, revealing the isolation and paranoia which accompany it when the plutocrat's recompense - a life of endless luxury - ultimately proves hollow. Yet it is not just the super-rich who get to make the city: we make it too, and could demand something different. Because serious money is good for no one - not even the rich.

  • Published: 30 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241470923
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $55.00

About the author

Caroline Knowles

Caroline Knowles is a professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Currently the Director of the British Academy's Cities and Infrastructure programme, she has carried out research in London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Fuzhou, Addis Ababa, Kuwait City and Seoul. Knowles is the author of Flip-Flop: A Journey through Globalisation's Backroads, and co-author of Hong Kong: Migrant Lives, Landscapes and Journeys.

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