Which is why those clients can call the MacGeachy brothers and make a request—any request. “They’ve done some pretty cool things,” says Michael Stuart, 37, a Mint client and commercial-real-estate broker in Las Vegas. “They got my new Rover, which was unobtainable at the time, and they got it without any add-on costs, and they had somebody deliver it to my door. Steven says he’ll do anything as long as it’s not illegal.” Want a private tour of the Vatican? The MacGeachy brothers can set it up. Want an F430 Spyder? They can track down and inspect one for you. A few days back, Steven got a call asking whether he could, in a couple of hours, arrange for an obscure Iranian television program to be patched in, via satellite, to an office in New York City. “It was totally seamless,” Steven says. In short, he says, “we’re managing your life.”

And should you remain unconvinced that the managed life is one of enviable ease, call your college classmate and rustle up an invitation to the Core Club. Located on East 55th Street in New York, the Core Club is a one-stop cloister of elite pampering and networking. Whereas an older club might come across as stuffy, says Anthony Scaramucci, a venture capitalist and one of Core’s founding members, the Core Club “is a forward-moving entertainment and cultural center.” It has a spa, a bar, a gym, a video-conferencing nook, a pristine and elegant library curated by a former Paris Review publisher. It has a screening room with a curtain designed by art star David Salle and a restaurant with a chef, Dan Kluger, who has manned the stoves at Tabla and Union Square Cafe. “Our members don’t even have to order,” says the Core Club’s founder, Jennie Saunders, “because Dan can cook anything for them, and Dan knows what they like.” Everywhere you turn you see works by Hirst and Warhol and Koons and Basquiat—along with members and invited guests like Kenneth Cole and William Lauder and Jay-Z. In fact, all these sights and services are accessible to about 500 people who are deemed pioneering leaders in 13 industries, and who are hand-picked by a special panel, and who are happy to pay the $60,000 initiation fee—“people who are transforming our world,” as Saunders puts it. Here, she says, they can meet, bond, and “optimize time” in a club whose database is programmed to know each customer—his workout schedule, his peanut allergy, his fondness for a rare brand of tequila. “Our members deserve to live in a no-compromise zone,” Saunders says.

An influential man, an adviser to four presidents, recently gazed upon the Core Club and made an intriguing declaration. “This,” he said, “is all about our future.”

AND WHAT A GLORIOUS FUTURE IT WILL surely be, you think, this no-compromise zone of amenities and optimized time and bypassed hassles . . . until it happens to dawn on you that you will never have access to it. If the nineties boom felt sunny and democratic, backlit by a perception that a rising stock market would fatten all 401(k)s, this, the latest chapter in American growth, comes across as creepily aristocratic. Private planes, private chefs, private clubs, private islands—is this nothing more than a flukey societal fad, or are we witnessing the reassertion of long-dormant feudal hierarchies, a fresh, modern way to make sure that the lords don’t have to mix it up with the vassals and serfs? Privacy, after all, implies that someone’s getting shut out.