Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Plutonomy, Ponziconomy, and Capitalism

"According to new research from Moody’s Analytics, the top 5% of Americans by income account for 37% of all consumer outlays.

By contrast, the bottom 80% by income account for 39.5% of all consumer outlays.

In the third quarter of 1990, the top 5% accounted for 25% of consumer outlays. That held relatively steady until the mid-1990s, when it started inching up past 30%. It dipped in 2003 and again in 2008, but started surging in 2009 amid the greatest bull market rally in history, with the Dow Jones Industry Average rising nearly 50% in the last nine months of the year.

The data may be a further sign that the U.S. is becoming a Plutonomy–an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. And Plutonomies are far less stable than economies built on more evenly distributed income and mass consumption."

From a fantastic post by Robert Frank. Plutonomy is another word for Ponziconomy, of course--because, to use a crude example, if the richest 5 people in society capture 99 percent of the gains, well, the work you're doing isn't really enriching you, your family, your community, etc. In fact, just as the words "feudal economy" are a bit of an oxymoron, so is Plutonomy--there's no real economy at work there, just the brutal, whirling mechanisms of violence, expropriation, and appropriation.

So I'd go further than Frank, and argue that global economy's a Plutonomy--and therein lie the real reasons for the depression we're in.

-- umair // 10:58 AM // 0 comments


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