For readers of Michael Lewis comes a story of global financial inequality—intertwined with the story of Brazil’s wealthiest citizen, Eike Batista—that begins to answer the question: Who exactly are our new hyperwealthy plutocrats, and should we welcome or fear them?
When Bloomberg News invited the young American journalist Alex Cuadros to report on Brazil’s emerging class of billionaires at the height of the historic Brazilian boom, he was poised to cover two of the biggest business stories of our time: how the giants of the developing world were triumphantly taking their place at the center of global capitalism, and how wealth inequality was changing societies everywhere. The billionaires of Brazil and their massive fortunes resided at the very top of their country’s economic pyramid, and whether they quietly accumulated exceptional power or extravagantly displayed their decadence like peacocks, they formed a potent microcosm of this stratum of the world.
Over the four years Cuadros was on the billionaire beat, he reported on media moguls and televangelists, energy barons and shadowy figures from the years of military dictatorship who’d reinvented themselves as the country’s economic stewards, soy barons who lived on the outskirts of the Amazon, and new-economy billionaires spinning money from speculation. He learned just how deeply they all reached into Brazilian life. They held sway over the economy, government, media, and stewardship of the environment; they determined the spiritual fates and populated the imaginations of their countrymen. Cuadros’s zealous reporting takes us from penthouses to courtrooms, from favelas to extravagant art fairs, from scenes of unimaginable wealth to desperate, massive street protests. Within a business narrative that deftly explains and dramatizes the volatility of the global economy, Cuadros offers us literary journalism with a grand sweep: a universal story of hubris and tragedy that uncovers the deeper meaning of this era of billionaires for us all. Download and start listening now!