June 15, 2011
In January of this year I wrote a third post on Citigroup’s Plutonomy reports which they wrote in 2005 and 2006. Copies of those reports were on several sites across the Internet. I also provide a copy at CPS News. In my post I said that Citigroup was going to great efforts to remove those two reports from the Internet, and that I would not be surprised if we were threatened with legal action if the reports were not removed. Today I received such notice.
Instead of notifying me directly, Citigroup contacted my web host. My host notified me via email with a copy of the letter they had received from Citigroup, and had no option except to require me to take the reports down. I have complied with the directive; therefore the reports are no longer available at CPS News.
With the financial crash of 2008 of which Citigroup was a big part of and required a taxpayer bailout to the tune of $45 billion-plus in order to survive, you can understand why Citigroup wants them off the Internet. It’s all about trying to rewrite their history.
If you’re not familiar with the reports, they are easily summed up. One was called “Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer” and the other was “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances”. From other reports it appears that Citigroup wrote those two documents for their investors, bragging about how well things were going and implying that the US was no longer a Democracy but a Plutonomy.
“Economic growth that is powered and consumed by the wealthiest upper class of society. Plutonomy refers to a society where the majority of the wealth is controlled by an ever-shrinking minority; as such, the economic growth of that society becomes dependent on the fortunes of that same wealthy minority.”
The following two paragraphs are included in Citigroup’s reports which, as you can see, is why they don’t want them running around the Internet:
Back in October, we coined the term ‘Plutonomy’ (The Global Investigator, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, October 14, 2005). Our thesis is that the rich are the dominant drivers of demand in many economies around the world (the US, UK, Canada and Australia). These economies have seen the rich take an increasing share of income and wealth over the last 20 years, to the extent that the rich now dominate income, wealth and spending in these countries. Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper and become a greater share of the economy in plutonomy countries. . . . [T]he lawyers and bankers who intermediate globalization and productivity, the CEOs who lead the charge in converting globalization and technology to increase the profit share of the economy at the expense of labor . . . contribute to plutonomy.
[W]e think that global capitalists are going to be getting an even greater share of the wealth pie over the next few years, as capitalists benefit disproportionately from globalization and the productivity boom, at the expense of labor.
From the definition you can see why Citigroup doesn’t want those documents read by the general public. When they wrote them the country had already made the transition to Plutonomy. That was common knowledge and the industry felt free to not only brag about it but felt comfortable in knowing there was nothing anyone could do about it: until they went broke and needed the common taxpayers to bail them out.
Never underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs [with] facts.
Economist Henry Rosovsky