A new and gripping investigation into the rise of the virtual velvet rope economy.
In nearly every realm of daily life there is an invisible velvet rope that divides how we live. On one side, appointments are secured, queues are skipped and doors are opened. On the other, people fight for an empty seat on the plane, a place in line at a theme park or even a hospital bed.
Schwartz shows how business innovators have stepped in to exploit the gap between the rich and everyone else, shifting services away from the masses and finding new ways to profit by serving the privileged. The frictionless world of VIP experiences seems like good business, but as this model expands, the costs are mounting. Schwartz's gripping account takes us on a glittering, behind-the-scenes tour of this new reality - and shows the toll the velvet rope divide is taking on society.
Nelson Schwartz has been a writer at the New York Times for a decade and covers economics. Before that, he wrote about Wall Street and banking for The Times, and also served as European economic correspondent in Paris.
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