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Posted by: Doug Henwood | June 2, 2014

Plutonomy revisited

Business Insider has a write-up of a BoA Merrill Lynch report that declares that, the FT’s quibbles aside, Thomas Piketty is essentially right, and the super-rich is where the action is, so invest accordingly. (Never mind that Piketty utterly destroyed, in the most gracious manner imaginable, the newspaper’s economics editor Chris Giles’ half-assed critique.) The BoA Merrill report was written by Ajay Kapur, who is quoted by BI as saying:

When wealth and income are as concentrated as they are, and expected (a la Piketty) to get even more so, examining the ‘average’ consumer or ‘average’ investor makes little sense. Examining the fat tail – the behavior of the plutonomists, rather than that of the multitudinous many – is more advantageous to investors. Plutonomists determine and dominate spending and investment decisions and their magnitudes. Any analysis that does not tease out the skewed global income and wealth distribution, but focuses on the average is flawed from the start and is incomplete, as we step into its deeper extremes.

The word “plutonomy” rang a bell, and sure enough we’ve been here before. Back in 2005 and 2006, in the bubbly days before the financial crisis and Great Recession, Kapur wrote a series of reports for Citigroup, his then-employer, on the topic. Citi did its best to stem the circulation of the reports, demanding that websites that posted them take them down.

As a public service, lbo-news is reposting them. Evidently, the worst crisis in 80 years is not enough to keep the plutocrats down.

Here are the links (all PDFs—and I changed them since my first posting to confuse Citi’s plutonomy sniffer):

Plutonomy 1 (October 16, 2005)
Plutonomy 2 (March 5, 2006)
Plutonomy 3 (September 29, 2006)

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Responses

  1. Which I will gladly download and save off the net for posterity. Just like the Chomsky-foucault debates, and flappy bird.

  2. Wait, I thought the market was democratic ?


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