Watson Institute at Brown University
Stone Inequality Initiative

Extreme Wealth in the News

A selection of news reports and longform articles on the New Gilded Age. Whereas the bibliography offers more academic-facing works, the pieces here have a broader audience in mind.

Laying Claim to Salted Earth

Brown Political Review October 29, 2023
By: Gus Lafave

The Myth of the American Dream: De Jure Segregation and Memphis

Brown Political Review October 31, 2023
By: Sophia Cheng

Let's Make Clear Communication About Our Finances and Boundaries Sexy

The Brown Daily Herald October 25, 2023
By: Anusha Gupta

Wealth, Love and Relationships—Bigger Than Cosmo?


One of the core aims of the Stone Inequality Initiative is to track the way that the presence of wealth is hidden in society. This week Brown Daily Herald is taking on that challenge in its sex and relationships column. 


While it may seem an unusual place for a scholarly reflection on the state of wealth and inequality,  the Herald’s article, penned by Anusha Gupta, takes a thoughtful and practical approach to demystifying wealth inequality between students on campus.


This topic is especially salient on ivy league campuses like Brown University. While these campuses create a potential space for bridging socioeconomic gaps, Ivy League institutions, including Brown, have repeatedly been critiqued for reinforcing socioeconomic enclaves among students. 


The article written by the Herald takes seriously the possibility of creating bonds across socioeconomic divides in ways that are promising for democracy. Perhaps breaking down the secrecy around wealth inequality in romantic relationships is another fruitful starting point for addressing the secrecy around wealth in society writ large.

We Can't Fix Wealth Inequality at Brown Until We're Willing to Talk About It

The Brown Daily Herald October 18, 2023
By: Paulie Malherbe

The Selling of America's Most Controversial Gun

The New York Times September 22, 2023
By: Cameron McWhirter & Zusha Elinson

What Happens When Wall Street Buys Most of the Homes on Your Block?

The New York Times September 16, 2023
By: Ronda Kaysen & Ella Koeze

When Private Equity Came for Toddler Gyms

The New York Times January 28, 2023
By: Lydia DePillis & Michael Corkery

Farmland Values Hit Record Highs, Pricing Out Farmers
The New York Times November 13, 2022
By: Linda Qiu

How a Secretive Billionaire Handed his Fortune to the Architect of the Right-Wing Takeover of the Courts
ProPublica August 22, 2022
By: Andrew Perez, Andy Kroll, and Justin Elliott

The fabulously wealthy are fueling a booming luxury ranch market out West
The Washington Post August 16, 2022
By: Karen Heller

The Haves and the Have-Yachts
The New Yorker July 18, 2022
By: Evan Osnos

Buck Ellison's Great White Society
The New York Times June 24, 2022
By: Travis Diehl

Modern Capitalism is Weirder Than You Think

New York Magazine March 15, 2022
By: Eric Levitz

The Great Inheritors: How Three Families Shielded Their Fortunes From Taxes for Generations
ProPublica December 15, 2021
By: Patricia Callahan, James Bandler, Justin Elliott, Doris Burke, Jeff Ernsthausen

U.S. Wealth Gap Rises With Jackson Hole Coming at the Top
Bloomberg August 18, 2021
By: Augusta Saravia

Beyond 'food deserts': America needs a new approach to mapping food insecurity
The Brookings Institution August 17, 2021
By: Caroline George & Adie Tomer

Why Buy a Yacht When You Can Buy a Newspaper?
The New York Times April 10, 2021
By: Nicholas Kulish

When Wall Street Controls the Housing Market
Planetizen April 7, 2021
By: James Brasuell

If You Sell a House These Days, the Buyer Might Be a Pension Fund
The Wall Street Journal April 4, 2021
By: Ryan Dezember

What Happens When Investment Firms Acquire Trailer Parks
The New Yorker March 8, 2021
By: Sheelah Kolhatkar 

How Private-Equity Firms Squeeze Hospital Patients for Profit
The New Yorker April 9, 2020
By: Sheelah Kolhatkar 

Private Equity Buyouts in Healthcare: Who Wins, Who Loses?
Institute for New Economic Thinking March 25, 2020
By: Eileen Appelbaum & Rosemary Batt

A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street
The New York Times March 4, 2020
By: Francesca Mari

US private equity moves into trailer parks
Financial Times May 19, 2019
By: Rana Foroohar

A billion-dollar empire made of mobile homes
The Washington Post February 14, 2019
By: Peter Whoriskey

When Wall Street is Your Landlord
The Atlantic February 13, 2019
By: Alana Semuels

Super-tall, super-skinny, super-expensive: the 'pencil towers' of New York's super-rich
The Guardian February 5, 2019
By: Oliver Wainwright

How did Members of Congress Get so Wealthy?
The Atlantic September 9, 2014
By: Noah Gordon