They never really left their perch in the first place, but rich people are definitely on top of the world again. Pick your evidence: setting a record price on a painting purchase, flipping your Gulf Stream jet, buying a flat in London for a price rivaling the GDP of a small country, or turning down a $US3 billion offer for your photo-taking mobile app.
Now the global 1 Per cent is investing in another new toy — but you may not notice it at first.
The Economist recently reported on the existence of an unassuming warehouse outside Luxembourg’s main airport that’s been under construction.
But this is no ordinary hangar. Instead, it is a “freeport,” designed to house the collectibles, like art or gold, of the 1%, shielding them from the taxman and offering layers of anonymity not available at other high-end storage facilities. As the Economist explains:
“[Freeports’] attractions are similar to those offered by offshore financial centres: security and confidentiality, not much scrutiny, the ability for owners to hide behind nominees, and an array of tax advantages. This special treatment is possible because goods in freeports are technically in transit, even if in reality the ports are used more and more as permanent homes for accumulated wealth. If anyone knows how to game the rules, it is the super-rich and their advisers.”
Here’s the thing: the place is awesome — way more awesome than it should be for just a warehouse. Remember the village in the movie “Gattaca” where genetically superior beings prepared to launch into space? It looks like like that, but with a way more ludicrous soundtrack.