Income Inequality: 11 Products And Services For The Super-Rich

Income Inequality Products Services Rich Wealthy

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 12/08/11 07:17 AM ET Updated: 12/08/11 07:17 AM ET

From first-class-only airlines to boutique banks to underwater hotels, it's never been better to be rich.

As the middle class shrinks, and with it the middle class consumer market, many companies are shifting their attention from traditional brand lines to discount items for the economically struggling and luxury items for the well-off.

Walmart Canada, for instance, is shifting gears to focus on low-end items -- but also launching a line of luxury products. The same is true for Procter & Gamble, the company behind brands such as Charmin, Old Spice and Tide. It's a reflection of the growing poverty at the bottom end of the income scale, and the much more pronounced explosion of wealth at the top end of the scale.

More on income inequality at Mind The Gap: OECD: Canada's Income Gap Highest On Record.. Which Cities Have The Fastest Ghettoization? Calgary's Energy Boom Masks A Growing Divide.. Full Coverage..

This trend seems to be more noticeable in the United States than in other parts of the developed world, but add to it the rapid rise of a super-rich class in Asia, and the development of ultra-cheap consumer products like cars and laptops, and you have arguably a new business model, built around the needs and wants of the poor -- and the super-rich.

Here we take a look at the top end of that equation -- the way the economy is reshaping itself around products and services for the rich.

Underwater Hotels
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The world's first undersea hotel, the Jules Undersea Lodge in Florida, opened in the 1970s, but the explosion of wealth in Asia and the Middle East has prompted plans for the construction of a stunning new generation of hotels with sub-surface vistas. Among these are the Poseidon Undersea Resort (pictured above), which opened in Fiji in 2010 and bills itself as aimed at "a select group of the world's adventure travelers." The bill will run you a cool $30,000 per couple per week.