So much for starving artists in the big city. Everyone knows that the world's major cities—New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and all the rest—were gentrifying and pushing out the working class. But now it seems that the market is pushing prices even higher, leading to "plutocratization" and pricing out even the upper middle class. What does this mean? For one, the sequestration of the world's top earners: in 2009, the top 1 percent of New York City's earners received 44 percent of all compensation paid. If only the characters in Rent could see us now.