The world's richest city

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Grandluxe, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. WSJ.MONEY March 7, 2013, 10:07 a.m. ET
    Wealth Over the Edge: Singapore

    $26,000 cocktails. Traffic jams freckled with Ferraris. The world's sternest city is now the richest. Why?

    It's midnight on a Saturday night at the Marina Bay Sands resort near the sparkling Singapore River, and all the boutiques are shut. Dozens of hopefuls are clamoring to get in to what is billed as the world's most expensive club, Pangaea. Michael Ault, Pangaea's founder, sits at the club's most prestigious table by the bar, on cushions covered in exotic African ostrich skins. It may seem counterintuitive, but a dance club does not need a dance floor if you are Michael Ault. A veteran of Manhattan nightlife and descendant of blue-blooded socialites—he is the son of a Van Cleef from the Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry family and the stepson of Wall Street's famed Dean Witter—Ault, 49, prides himself on one thing above all others: the ability to throw a good party. He could have brought this extravagance to just about anywhere in the world. London, with its collection of royals and a party scene that attracts Europe's glitterati. Dubai, too, the land of if-you-want-an-island-you-just-build-one. And of course, his hometown and former playground, Manhattan.

    But Ault, who moved to Singapore three years ago, says he "no longer feels the magic" in Gotham, which still bears the scars of a financial crisis that knocked the wind out of much of its most extravagant party culture. Singapore, he says, is another matter. This is where he says the rich feel, well, rich, and unusually secure. "One night, there were these kids here—literally kids in their 20s—who all had their own private jets," Ault recalls during another meeting, on a Thursday morning, leaning back on a leather couch in his club wearing bright-blue fuzzy slippers embroidered with a pink skull. "Serious jets, too. There was an A380 which was converted to include a pool and basketball court—it was ridiculous."

    What I see here is what I imagined must have happened in the U.S. in the 1880s, in the Gilded Age, when it first took over England in terms of wealth," he says. "It is truly shocking how much wealth there is—and how willing people are to spend it."

    When most people think of Singapore, if they do at all, they think of an order-obsessed Asian version of Wall Street or London's Canary Wharf, only with implausibly clean, sterile streets and no crime. But over the past decade, Singapore has undergone a dramatic makeover, as the rich and famous from Asia and beyond debark on its shores in search of a glamorous new home—and one of the safest places to park their wealth.

    Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin gave up his American citizenship in favor of permanent residence there, choosing to live on and invest from the island while squiring around town in a Bentley. Australian mining tycoon Nathan Tinkler, that country's second wealthiest man under 40, whose fortune is pegged at $825 million by Forbes, also chose to move to Singapore last year. As well as New Zealand billionaire Richard Chandler, who relocated in 2008, and famed U.S. investor Jim Rogers, who set up shop there in 2007. Gina Rinehart, one of the world's richest women, slapped down $46.3 million for a pair of Singapore condominium units last year.

    And then there are, of course, your average millionaires—more of whom can be found among Singapore's resident population than anywhere in the world.

    According to Boston Consulting Group, the island had 188,000 millionaire households in 2011—slightly more than 17 percent of its resident households—which effectively means one in six homes has disposable private wealth of at least $1 million, excluding property, business and luxury goods. Add in property, with Singapore real estate among the most expensive in the world, and this number would be even higher.

    The onetime British trading post's ascent into the stratosphere of the world's ultra-wealthy cities in recent years reflects a momentous shift in the global economy, as wealth settles in Asia after more than a decade of booming emerging-market growth. It doesn't hurt that Singapore has some of the lowest taxes in the world, including none on capital gains and most foreign dividends. But it also has relatively secretive private banking laws and zero harassment from paparazzi or protesters.

    Danny Quah, professor of economics and international development at the London School of Economics, has calculated that the world's economic center of gravity—measured by looking at income averages across more than 700 places worldwide—has shifted east over the past 30 years, from the Transatlantic Axis to somewhere across the Arabian Peninsula. If current growth trends continue, this center will move in another three decades to a resting point between India and China—just about where Singapore is, meaning its potential as the world's economic center may not even be fully realized.

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  2. pspr


    That could be America again if government would ever get out of the way.
  3. Never again. The liberal disease has dug it's roots too deep.

    America will "progress" towards what the former Soviet Union was before its collapse... and at some point there will be a revolution... armed and bloody! After which, something new... and unfortunately it's likely to be some form of dictatorship.

    THAT'S WHAT STUPID, GREEDY ODUMBO SUPPORTERS HAVE ENDORSED AND ENABLED FOR THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. One day they will wake up and wonder... "what have I done"? And of course it will long ago be too late.

    :mad: :mad:
  5. It never seems to work that way, time to move on...