From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Plutonomy)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Thomas Theodor Heine's Die Herren der Welt ("The Masters of the World) (1922)
Oh no, they're talking about
Icon politics.svg
As usual
Country sections
United States politics British politics Canadian politics Chinese politics French politics Indian politics Iranian politics Israeli politics Japanese politics South Korean politics
The dismal science
Icon economics.svg
Economic Systems

  $  Market Economy
  €  Mixed Economy
  ☭ Socialist Economy

Major Concepts
The Worldly Philosophers
The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.
—Attributed to Vladimir Lenin[1]

Plutocracy is a form of government designed by smart (but un-named) social engineers to make the rich (the plutocrats) who control said government even richer.

Plutocracy has been a phenomenon since ancient Greeks coined the term, but a modern variant, whose cornerstone policies include government deregulation and reduced taxes on the rich, is now often referred to as a plutonomy. In order to sell the idea of plutonomy to the citizens of a democracy, plutocrats must convince average citizens that trickle-down economics will not only work, but ultimately make it possible for them to get rich, too. Plutonomies tend to be unpopular and unstable, because they place too much burden on and provide too little reward to those who actually do the work of the economic system (the non-plutocrats).[citation needed] Honestly, just a modern day pump and dump scheme, expanded to a nation-wide scale.

Ajay Kapur's view[edit]

Ajay Kapur, a global strategist at Citigroup, coined the term plutonomy,[2] which became public knowledge on 16 October 2005 when Citigroup published a large memo defining the meaning and the scope of the term.[3] Some points of the memo:

While all of this sounds like Citigroup is preaching a New World Order philosophy, it's probably nothing more than an attempt to make an appealing sales pitch to rich sociopaths.

In government[edit]

Big business blackmails the taxpayer. They can't be made to comply with the law, because it would necessitate big layoffs and increase the cost of goods. They need permanent tax cuts, tax loopholes, and perpetually low-cost labor because they had it in previous quarters, and they're counting on it to maintain their projections going forward. Right-wing parties, in both the US and elsewhere, are commercial interests hijacking conservative values to gain a non-critical voting pool. They mouth pleasantries to keep the "values" voters happy, but the real agenda is to eliminate government interference in business, be it by regulation or taxation, so that they can enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. Everything else is a smoke screen (e.g. they don't actually care about budget deficits).

There's only two options available to lawmakers when it comes to big business. Force them to comply with the law, address externalities in the cost of their products, and cut off your own nose to spite your face[4] ...or allow them carte blanche over policy[5] and exacerbate social problems like the artificially-inflated labor supply, minimal tax revenue from a strangled middle class, eroding confidence in the justice system, etc. Neither option is particularly palatable, though it seems that at least some politicians strongly lean towards one or the other.

In the energy sector[edit]

In resource-driven economies, the "energy superpower" rhetoric is a way of justifying anti-democratic policies and electoral fraud. "Developing" or otherwise resource-rich/technology-poor nations that wish to thrive in a system dominated by plutonomy often choose to serve it. Thus they gain access to technological and professional resources that aid them with electoral frauds, mass media propaganda, celebrity endorsements, and other surety of retaining power.

Alliances or pacts with governments to control aboriginal or other locally-owned resources, so as to consolidate monopolistic control over those and exclude hostile or independent economic activity, is an essential part of this doctrine. Putin's Russia and Canada, both self-described energy superpowers, exercise extraordinary control over native or minority populations that could legally and legitimately oppose the plutonomy's control of assets. Demonizing these and seeking pacts to ally with ultimate consumers of those resources (i.e. customers of the plutonomy) has been a feature of both governments.[6] So, too, has electoral fraud, as came to light in Russia 2012 and in Canada 2011.

In Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada has often sought and received the direct support of US GOP operatives, advisors, technologists, and lobbyists. This has resulted in the import of US-style campaign attack ads (even between elections) and intense corporate lobbying by nominally government diplomats, leading to disruption of US Congressional business (the Keystone XL debate was revived multiple times simply to force the Obama administration to formally refuse a specific route that Nebraska had already ruled out). Strong alliances exist between pro-Putin parties in Ukraine and pro-Republican parties in Canada, which not coincidentally follow corporate lines rather than national ones.

The Koch Brothers, for instance, have intervened intensely in both US and Canadian politics and stand to gain from expanded Alberta Tar Sands projects and lax environmental regulation.

In religious doctrine[edit]

Religious doctrines justifying plutonomy and hegemony by existing corporate interests also inevitably pop up to provide a thin religious rationale for unjust actions and central control of "misguided" persons. The Alliance Church, for instance, essentially an Alberta Tar Sands justification vehicle thinly disguised as a religious order, counts Stephen Harper as a member [2]. Similarly, Rich Santorum's doctrine varies sharply from orthodox Catholicism, notably on death penalty, climate/biodiversity, and environmental stewardship generally, war, and peace. It is not actually Catholicism, but a fringe element similar to such evangelical churches as Harper belongs to. Notably, both wear sweater vests in campaign appearances as a sort of symbol of normality and harmlessness, and even have nearly identical haircuts and suit color choices. These are signals of corporate reliability as well.

Dr. David Gushee, a distinguished professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, a Holocaust scholar and evangelical Christian, studying the Cornwall Alliance, a coalition of right-wing scholars, economists, and evangelicals, concluded that they oppose mainstream science, doubt climate change, view environmentalists as a "native evil", champion fossil fuels, and support libertarian economics. For instance, denying that carbon dioxide "is a pollutant" and claiming that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming." Moreover, any reduction in emissions would "greatly increase the price of energy and harm economies." A separate Cornwall declaration describes environmental regulation as an impediment to God's will:

"We aspire to a world in which liberty as a condition of moral action is preferred over government-initiated management of the environment as a means to common goals."

A book published by the Alliance called "Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion not Death" even portrays environmental groups as "one of the greatest threats to society and the church today."[note 1] One passage reads that, "The Green Dragon must die... [There] is no excuse to become befuddled by the noxious Green odors and doctrines emanating from the foul beast..."

Gushee has detailed the basic tenets of "evangelical climate skepticism." He said there were seven main points and argued that they had poisoned the Republican Party. These tenets not only explain startling developments in Canada, but should raise the hair on the neck of every thinking citizen regardless of their faith:

  1. Disdain for the environmental movement
  2. Distrust of mainstream science in general
  3. Distrust of the mainstream media
  4. Loyalty to the party
  5. Libertarian economics as God's will (apparently, God is opposed to government regulation or taxation)
  6. Misunderstanding of divine sovereignty (God won't allow us to ruin creation)
  7. Unreconstructed Dominion theology (God calls on humans to subdue and rule creation)

Gushee summarized the purpose of this new evangelical Republicanism: "God is sovereign over creation and therefore humans can do no permanent damage... God established government for limited purposes and government should not intervene much in the workings of a free market economy... The media is overplaying climate change worries... The environmental movement is secular/pagan and has always been a threat to American liberties..." [3]

See also[edit]


  1. This is a paraphrasing of Karl Marx's manifesto, "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers."
  2. Frank, Robert. "Plutonomics", Wall Street Journal website, 8 January 2007, accessed 1 May 2010.
  3. "Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances" Citigroup memo, 16 October 2005, accessed 1 May 2010.
  4. Marle, Renae, "Obama criticizes companies that leave U.S. for lower taxes", WaPo 4.5.16.
  5. Eilperin, Juliet, "Koch Industries, White House work to keep criminal justice reform viable", WaPo 12.15.15.
  6. [1]


  1. Oh, and literally wrecking the planet somehow isn't a threat to humanity's continued existence? Intelligent minds boggle at such doublethink…