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Anu Kantola, Hanna Kuusela

Wealth Elite Moralities: Wealthy Entrepreneurs’ Moral Boundaries

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This article examines the moral boundary work of wealthy Finnish entrepreneurs belonging to the country’s top 0.1 per cent of earners. Through 28 semi-structured interviews, we show how these members of the wealth elite construct moral boundaries to legitimise their growing distance from other income groups in a Nordic welfare society. The super-rich entrepreneurs construct self-identities based on hard work, persistence and normality, draw moral boundaries between lazy and hard-working people and create moral distance between themselves and wage earners, the unemployed and public-sector workers. At the same time, these wealthy elite entrepreneurs challenge the moralities of Nordic welfare society. We thus posit that moral boundaries and boundary work should be explored as legitimising discourses embedded in the relations of economic and political power.