Welcome to Richistan, USA | World | The Observer
The American Dream of riches for all is turning into a nightmare of inequality. But a backlash is brewing, reports Paul Harris in New York
Sunday July 22, 2007
On the surface, Mark Cain works for a time-share company. Members pay a one-off sum to join and an annual fee. They then get to book holiday time in various destinations around the globe.
But Solstice clients are not ordinary people. They are America’s super-rich and a brief glance at its operations reveal the vast and still widening gulf between them and the rest of America.
Solstice has only about 80 members. Platinum membership costs them $875,000 to join and then a $42,000 annual fee. In return they get access to 10 homes from London to California and a private yacht in the Caribbean, all fully staffed with cooks, cleaners and ‘lifestyle managers’ ready to satisfy any whim from helicopter-skiing to audiences with local celebrities. As the firm’s marketing manager, Cain knows what Solstice’s clientele want. ‘We are trying to feed and manage this insatiable appetite for luxury,’ Cain said with pride.