In his essay on what he termed ‘Conspicuous Leisure’, economist Thorstein Veblen observed that “In order to gain and hold the esteem of men it is not sufficient merely to possess wealth or power. The wealth or power must be put to evidence, for esteem is only awarded on evidence. And not only does the evidence of wealth serve to impress one’s importance on others and to keep their sense of his importance alive and alert, but it is scarcely less use in building up and preserving one’s self-complacency.”
In contemporary society the wealthy and powerful hang out in offshore tax havens, places like Singapore, Monaco, Zurich and London, where they can safely indulge their conspicuous consumption and leisure among their own class without fear of pesky journalists (and tax inspectors) who might enquire into the background of their wealth.
Paolo Woods and Gabrielle Galimberti spent two years photographing the world of tax havens, and their work is now published in a new book, with an accompanying essay by my favourite author (details below).
The photos are quite stunning. And the text condenses and updates many things from Treasure Islands, and adds plenty of new detail. My big new book: order it now!
THE HEAVENS: ANNUAL REPORT
PAOLO WOODS & GABRIELE GALIMBERTI
Essay: Nicholas Shaxson
Art Direction: Ramon Pez
Slip-cased hardback, in an edition of 1200 copies
310mm x 246mm, 218 pages,
84 colour plates & extensive illustrations
A Dewi Lewis Media title