12 November 2011

Plutonomies and the Rest

Citigroup Plutonomy Report, 2005, Excerpts
The World is dividing into two blocs - the plutonomies, where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, and the rest. In a plutonomy, there are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie. At the heart of plutonomy is income inequality. Societies that are willing to tolerate/endorse income inequality are willing to tolerate/endorse plutonomy. Society and governments need to be amenable to disproportionately.

The U.S., UK, and Canada are world leaders in plutonomy. Eastern Europe is embracing many of these attributes, as are China, India, and Russia. Countries and regions that are not plutonomies: Scandinavia, France, Germany, other continental Europe [except Italy], and Japan.

There are 1,011 billionaires in the world this year. These titans control entire swaths of the global economy, from energy and steel to fashion and telecom.

Photograph: Jimmy Sime, 1937, Toffs and Toughs

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