Home > Plutonomy, Politics and the economy, upward income redistribution > Plutonomy and its 12-point manifesto

Plutonomy and its 12-point manifesto

from Edward Fullbrook

This appeared on my screen last night.

                                               The Plutonomist Manifesto

  1. Because democracy is our worst enemy, we must work to convert every democracy in the world to a fake democracy.
  2. We, The One-percent, achieve these conversions of the system of government through three forms of targeted ownership.
    a. Owning mass media, the internet and the Web.
    b. Owning all major political parties. We achieve this ownership by making the electoral process extremely expensive, thereby making election dependent on our financial support.
    c. Owning economists. In today’s world the economics profession determines what the electorate sees and does not see regarding the economy. Therefore it is imperative that we control it.  We achieve this by maintaining remunerative revolving doors, by financing think tanks and university economics departments, by funding Trojan Horse organizations to co-opt non-One-percent economists, and by our Nobel Prize.
  3. In countries with real democratic traditions, plutonomy revolutions are achievable only by using Trojan Horse Methods (THMs). Subversion rather than violence or open campaigning is our means of conquest.
  4. The use of THMs means that sometimes we must be seen to give support to our opponents.
  5. We must be vigilant against leakages (for example, the Citigroup documents) of the existence of our program.
  6. When approached always give lip-service in support of democracy.
  7. The middleclass is both our means to success and our ultimate obstacle. It is they, not the poor, who have what we want. Hence the necessity of THMs.
  8. Ridicule all suggestions of our existence as the work of conspiracy theorists, and label people who support middleclass interests over ours as “leftists”.
  9. Channel funds to the emerging neo-fascists parties in the US and EU countries because their shenanigans camouflage our redistributions.
  10. We must work to expand and refine our armoury of redistribution mechanisms.
  11. The success we have had in the USA and the UK in redistributing middle-class income and wealth to ourselves must now in the next 15 years be duplicated across Western Europe, most especially in France and Germany.
  12. Our goal of receiving forty percent of income and owning 80 percent of wealth is achievable in most countries of the world my mid-century.

REDISTRIBUTION    –      REDISTRIBUTION    –     REDISTRIBUTION

This and this explain the reference in #5 to “Citigroup documents”.

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  1. June 2, 2014 at 8:19 am

    What an intelligent screen you have Edward.

  2. Ack Nice
    June 2, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Mr. Fullbrook? You have no idea how much I hope I’m wrong about this, but I think nothing less than the fate of humanity – be it survival in a blissful golden age of fairpay justice for all or be it extinction via continued love of the chance to possess other-earned wealth – hinges upon whether or not the non-one-percent economists can turn economics into what it should have been from its inception.

    Economics should always have been the science of finding the principles of justice that allow people to determine the line between fair wealth and foul wealth, it should always have been the science of establishing the line past which fairpay crosses over into foulpay.

    You “renegade” economists must BEGIN by defining pay justice. How are people ever going to be able to say: “This far and no further. This is the line between right and wrong, between fairpay and robbery, between fairpay and overpay-underpay”, if no one ever gets down to earth enough to get around to defining pay justice? How can anybody know how much income and wealth people should have and how much people should pay in wages and taxes unless we have sound, fundamental ideas of pay justice? The state – make that the world – built on injustice cannot stand, so to be democratic, that is, for the people to do their job of ruling themselves, to save the state and make it responsive to the citizens, to love your country, to love yourSELF, to pursue happiness (of which pay justice is a vitally important part), you need to be able to locate pay justice; we need to be able to name a figure and articulate the logic and reasoning that enabled us to arrive at that number.

    At the moment, many people are saying: “These people should have less, these others should have more.”

    But how much should they, everyone, have? How do we know how much? What are the principles of pay justice, of paying just amounts?

    Happiness is Everyone’s Everything. Happiness, safety, security, survival, peace, order, satisfaction – all depend on justice. Those are ‘pretty important’ things, yet we search in vain for thoughtful study of where pay justice is! It should have been the focus of all education, from young age right through. People should have long ago been very sophisticated about pay justice, able to pinpoint it by good principles. Instead, all the debate we hear boils down to: they should have less, no they shouldn’t have less, they should have more, no they shouldn’t have more.

    Pay justice is the greatest neverdanced wallflower, waiting to give us the world average pay per hour, which is approximately US $40 per hour including paying housewives and students. Pay justice waits to give us peace and plenty – and give us our future back.

    Pay ranges widely while no one asks how widely it should range. What hope have we to decide whether or not the rich deserve the wealth they possess if we never get around to defining pay justice? Children should all grow up knowing that overpay-underpay is the cause of shaking societies to pieces. People should worry about their society being shaken to pieces. People should know that every empire so far has been shaken to pieces by pay injustice. There is no subject closer to civic responsibility and pursuit of happiness – no subject more worth our care and mental labour – and it is utterly neglected! Vigilance is the price of liberty – but vigilance about what? Very few can answer that question. Who is going to become vigilant about pay justice first, if not those of you right here in this house?

    Proper pay is what a person’s work would win them in a state of nature, plus an equal share of the benefits of division of labour. An equal share, since division of labour is a community effort, with equal contribution, so everyone should reap the benefits equally.

    Pay justice is no-pay for no-work, pay only for work [= sacrifice], equal pay for equal sacrifice of time made to work. Pay justice is taking out of the social pool of work as much as you put in, as your work puts in. [We pool the workproducts because of division of labour, and trade is ideally the exchange of items of equal workvalue, in order to remix goods separated by division of labour, job specialisation, to get the mix of goods everyone wants and needs.] The variety of goods we take out is ideally of equal workvalue to the workproducts we produced in our job. Anything more or less than this is overpay or underpay, and overpay-underpay is unjust, causing tensions which escalate endlessly as people try to get justice and people tug to and fro, causing violence, war, crime, weaponry growth – which has grown for 3000 years – and brought us to superextreme pay injustice and danger, and corruption, tyranny, slavery, wageslavery, disorder, undemocracy, falling states – all our gigantic problems.

    What things are there, that justify unequal pay per unit of work, unequal pay/hr, unequal pay/yr? Are there any? Provided society pays students for studying, there are NO reasons for unequal pay per hour. Close scrutiny of the usual “reasons” given for unequal pay do not, as far as I can see, stand up to rational examination. (I’m open to rational discussion.) One common, universally accepted reason given for payment is personal gifts – he’s really smart, she’s especially talented – but reason says that these gifts are work done by mother nature. It doesn’t take any work, any sacrifice, by anyone, to have these gifts, and using them doesn’t mean the gifted person is sacrificing any more than a lesser gifted person does who uses the gifts he got. No one got to choose greater or lesser gifts. No one who has lower intellect or more fragile health or lesser innate abilities chose that for themselves, so it is no part of justice to force the lesser-gifted to give up equal pay in order to give overpay to those who won greater gifts. Rationally, [as distinct from the irrational invalid fallacious argument to the authority of irrational but accepted ideas, in which people put such great reliance] pay for natural gifts is as irrational as payment for receiving birthday gifts, which has not received the fallacious support of custom.

    Personal sacrifice of time and effort spent developing one’s gifts is different. Pay for developing gifts [of commercial value] is just, because developing gifts is work. There is no *reason* anyone can give for payment for natural gifts, and no reason anyone can give for others having to fund this payment, and because the pool of wealth is finite, it is the underpaid who must take less for their sacrifice in order for there to be more to give the better-gifted. Everyone loves being paid for gifts, because they hope to benefit by them, but it hasn’t worked out like that and it never will work out like that. 99% are paid less than the world average pay per hour. The downside of funding this payment is, for 99% of people, much greater than the benefit, but few are aware of this – of how they rob themselves by supporting this payment, of how they con themselves out of money by this, of how they open the floodgates of limitless overpay-underpay [and consequent violence and misery] by this support.

    Again, and similarly, people support pay for experience – but cold, hard sense says that experience is gained at no extra sacrifice of time and effort beyond that made in doing the paid work that provided the experience. Again, people support it, defend it, although for 99%, the costs of funding this exceed the financial benefit to them. They con themselves out of their full rightful pay by mis-thinking that pay for experience gives them more money, and they thus, again, open the floodgates to unlimited uncontrollable growth of overpay-underpay and consequent unlimited uncontrollable violence, war, crime, weaponry ever-growing. People don’t want to look at justice because they fear it will mean less money – they never suspect that justice will mean more money and the destruction of violence.

    How could stopping myself from getting pay for things like gifts and experience give me *more* money? It doesn’t make sense to people – it doesn’t make sense to people because they are looking at a tiny part of the picture – themselves only. Not being paid yourself for non-work things gives you more money because it stops others being paid for these things at your expense. Overpay, pay for nonwork, is funded by work for no pay, underpay, by others. The overpay buys things other people have worked to make. Your participation in this injustice prevents you stopping others benefiting from this leak – the line is crossed, erased, and there are no principles of justice left to limit pay, to prevent unlimited pay/hr, hence we have pay per hour, after 3000 years’ growth of inequality, from $10,000,000 to 1cent – an inequality violence misery war crime weaponry tyranny slavery undemocracy unliberty unfraternity corruption brutality torture state-terrorism private-terrorism warmongering cannonfoddering disinformation rights-trampling factor of one billion, and rising – to extinction soon, thanks to e=mc2. Happy people have no history. We have heaps of history – and history is now accelerating exponentially.

    Get the idea of pay justice, and we get a history-free golden age. Keep faith with pay injustice, and we get oblivion. The bombs are global. Global means every house. Culture is based on ideas. Our idea for 3000 years has been wrong – it has produced underpay misery for 99%, overpay misery for 1%, and violence for everyone.

    And nobody seems to think about this point, but thinking that overpay delivers happiness to the overpaid is shown to be error by every history book. Overpay is necessarily always happiness-negative, because 1. satisfaction waits on desire, overpay is just 3000 pairs of shoes for two feet, 1000 rooms for one body, etc., and 2. erosion of overpay [individual, national and imperial] [by both underpaid and overpaid] is myriad and relentless, so the labour of keeping it is constant and danger-fraught: the sense of justice is indestructible. Overfortunes are eroded to nothing eventually by the enormous costs of defending one.

    The same “logic whoopsie” governs the universal support for private inheritance. The heir has done nothing to deserve that money, done nothing to earn/create that wealth. People see themselves getting money from private inheritance, they don’t see themselves funding this gift, impoverishing themselves, and they don’t see they are thereby starting the evergrowth of inequality violence misery.

    The same logical error governs the universal support of profits above fairpay for work. By definition, the owners have done nothing to earn profits above fairpay for work – others fund that gift. For various reasons, it is not good to interfere directly with this injustice. It can be controlled at the macro-macro level by making everyone equal heirs of large deceased estates. Everyone has done the work that the overfortunes represent and buy, so overfortunes belong to everyone.

    And the same logical error [seeing only part of the picture, imagining themselves gaining, not seeing themselves losing by funding the bigger gains for others, not seeing themselves opening the gates to ever-growing inequality violence misery, which gets to everyone, overpaid and underpaid] governs the support of capital gains. People do the work that builds cities or other infrastructure, but only landowners get the added value – and get it in proportion to their fortunes – for no work, for no sacrifice of personal time and effort to working.

    We only have to see the reality, we only have to see the real enormous badness of pay injustice, and the real enormous goodness of pay justice, and human culture is changed forever, violence dies forever – [war is not human nature - human nature is unchanging and violence has grown for 3000 years - no correlation, therefore no causality. And so-called religious and racial wars are pay-injustice wars along religious or racial lines; where there are religious or racial differences without pay injustice, there are no wars - again, no correlation, so no causality.] Culture is ideas. A change of ideas is change of culture. And the ideas are not hard to see – are they?

    No force is needed to switch humanity from unlimited personal fortunes capitalism to fairpay capitalism, just education, just epiphany – but what if even the renegades in economics never have the epiphany? Who else is ever going to be better suited than y’all right here to become the bellwethers the human species so desperately needs to lead us to safe pasture, to lead us to justice in wealth via establishment of crucial essential principles by which to find at last that line between fair wealth and foul??

    We need no evergrowing bureaucracy, no economic upheaval, no restriction of ambition, no big social shocks – just efficient prevention of evergrowth of pay injustice. If the wealthpower giants can grab 80% of worldwealth, what makes anybody think they’ll stop there?

    Pay justice is not just another issue – it’s the Mother of all issues, it’s the issue that cuts across all other issues. The lack of pay justice is the root cause of 99% of unnecessary, eradicable human suffering. Pay justice is the vital justice, because money is the joker good, good for most things, including social power.

    Justice causes happiness. We can secure far, far greater happiness for this whole planet, but not by pretending to believe in justice but by knowing the reality: pay injustice is theft, theft is injury, injury ricochets untiringly as atoms. As doormats, people are totally unreliable – every plutocracy has fallen. Where is Spanish Inca gold today? Honey attracts bears. The Golden Rule is ironclad: hurt people and they hurt back. Other-injury is self-injury – ask Hitler, Marie Antoinette, Ceausescu, Nero, Richard III.

    Justice is not a cost, it is happiness out of the vast quagmire, at the cost of objective, patient examination of a new expression of an ancient idea, at the cost of ditching idols that have hurt us enormously, that are set to kill us – is the price too high? Do we humans have any survival sense left in us? Are we just sub-rational animals who never should have left the treetops, or are we capable to at last make a profound promethean mastery of money – led by the non-one-percent economists?

    I have only been poking you economists in here with a sharp pointy stick because I really do fear you are humanity’s last best hope…

    from somebody who has done her best whenever she was let to be a campaign for fairpay justice for all – somebody who signed up to PAE newsletter many years ago, the minute I learned of your existence…

    • June 2, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      ““This far and no further. This is the line between right and wrong, between fairpay and robbery, ”

      Why not go with “inquality monetarism”? As long as there is a trade deficit, tariffs ratchet slightly up in the next fiscal cycle across the board and as long as inequality is too high, taxes ratchet up to slightly more progressive in the next fiscal cycle.

      This way, the 1% can be free to target their real enemies in the quest for world dominion (each other) while maintaining the middle class as a renewable resource capable of consuming the next round of innovation and driving the next round of the Great Game..

    • June 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      “One common, universally accepted reason given for payment is personal gifts – he’s really smart, she’s especially talented – but reason says that these gifts are work done by mother nature.”

      By the way, pure socialism has an even worse record than pure capitalism at improving human welfare. The most effective system by far has been a pragmatic management that can pull from the tools of Mercantism, Capitalism, and Socialism depending on the problem at hand.

      • June 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

        Doh! Mercantilism…

      • Ack Nice
        June 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm

        The right calls me a socialist or communist while socialists and communists call me an apologist for capitalism. Apparently, nobody knows what to do with somebody who believes and maintains that A) capitalism is a good workhorse for society being worked badly, being rode hard and put up wet as my people say, being turned into unlimited personal fortunes capitalism when we could have fairpay justice capitalism if only the majority general human consensus wants it – and B) the wealth produced no more belongs in the hands of the State than it belongs in the private hands of a few wealthpower giants.

        My position is that A) people should be paid for what they lose to working, which is time, and only for what they lose, because only work produces wealth/workproducts – and B) the wealth belongs in the hands of the person who sacrificed their own irreplaceable time and renewable energies to creating the wealth, in proportion to the individual’s sacrifice/hours worked.

        I self-identify as Egalitarian. My belief in the equality of humans does not go AWOL just because the arena is economics. I think one thing people forget is that the question is not ‘what form the government takes’, because at top of every form of government is a WHO. If you concentrate all the wealthpower in the State you have manufactured a convenient target for the least scrupulous people to go after, which they do if allowed to. I do make a distinction between ‘soft’ socialism (your local fire department) and ‘hard’ socialism (centrally planned economy). If you want to know what is really going on in the world, find yourself an average man-on-the-street socialist – he’ll be happy to bring you up to speed with what is really being done to the world’s working families. If you want to keep the profits privatized while the costs are socialized, find yourself one of the superrich socialists to get an explanation of how they do that. You can find them on Wall Street, In Washington DC, and in the City of London pretty easily. For some inexplicable reason they are allowed to walk around in plain sight on a planet where children are being starved right round the clock.

  3. June 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Surprisingly, Google has not indexed the wikipedia-entry on plutonomy, yet, six weeks after it was created, but is still directing searches for “plutonomy wikipedia” to plutocracy. However, Bing and Yahoo do provide the plutonomy entry as the first result for this search. Strange.

    • Rhonda Kovac
      June 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Interestingly, if you search Google with “plutonomy site:wikipedia.org”, a link to the Wikipedia Plutonomy article does appear, and is positioned at the head of the search results list. This proves that the link is indeed indexed by Google. This is furthermore strong evidence that some special deliberate action was taken by Google to keep it out of the general search results.

      • June 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm

        It seems to be search result #6 if I’m not mistaken…

  4. June 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    We need higher interest rates, a stock market crash, a flight of capital to real investments, increase in economic production, increase in employment, higher wages and a collapse in wealth inequality. This is exactly opposite to what the US Fed and central banks have been doing. They are now even engineering negative nominal interest rates to accelerate the wealth transfer to the rich. End the US Fed and the system of central banks – they are the real plutonomists!

    • June 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      What is it, exactly that you think interest rates are? They are the amount you have to pay to borrow money. Simple supply and demand says that when there are a lot of dollars available to loan and few opportunities that can be effectively pursued by borrowing money, then the cost to borrow money goes down until enough new borrowing demand hits the market to reach equilibrium.

      The lowered interest rates in the face of demand scarcity and a savings glut is the only thing that has kept us out of great depression II so far.

      • June 2, 2014 at 11:46 pm

        Your textbook answer: “The lowered interest rates in the face of demand scarcity and a savings glut” are not the facts that I know. Short term interest rates are set officially at zero. Money supply glut by QE (trillions) and enormous demand for borrowing to buyback shares. The “saving glut” is approaching a zero rate in the US.

  5. Thorfinnsson
    June 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Neo-fascist elements? Like the Euroskeptic parties which routed the EU establishment in the recent European Parliament elections? What’s fascist about wanting to end the EUSSR?

    • June 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      I think this is a reference to groups like “Golden Dawn” in Greece and the “Tea Party” here.

      • Thorfinnsson
        June 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        You might have a point with Golden Dawn, but the Tea Party? Last I checked the Tea Party was generally in favor of fiscal conservatism and small government, not exactly the stuff of the Third Reich.

        That said, the original article’s point was that a plutocratic elite is channeling funds into “neo-fascist” groups. It is true that the (not fascist) Tea Party has received such funds from some American elites (famously the Koch Brothers), but did any plutocratic elites channel funds into Golden Dawn? The reaction from most elites to Golden Dawn was fear and hysteria, leading to the group’s undemocratic proscription and the arrest of its leading members.

        I think that the nominally populist left has trouble accepting the success of the populist right.

  6. June 2, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    “In countries with real democratic traditions, plutonomy revolutions are achievable only by using Trojan Horse Methods (THMs). Subversion rather than violence or open campaigning is our means of conquest.”

    Not always. Remember September 11, 1973 Chili, for example. Also 2003 Iraq. After “Democracy won” and we had “purple thumb day”, we decided that Iraq “wasn’t ready for democracy” based on the fact that the Hoover-on-Steroids candidates we wanted only got 14% of the vote. After the initial Iraq war, the one to get Saddam Hussein out of power, ended and was winding down, a separate and completely different Iraq war started. This one was fought by people who previously had been hundreds of thousands of non-violent protesters when we first put into place our economic policies that took unemployment from the 10-15% range to the 30-50% range.

  7. davetaylor1
    June 2, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Says Geoff, “What an intelligent screen you have, Edward”. Yes, and full of moving, concise pointers to a shameful reality.

    Says Ack, “You have no idea how much I hope I’m wrong about this” moving but hardly concise outpouring on our only hope being “the non-one-percent economists [turning] economics into what it should have been since its inception … the science of establishing the line past which fairpay crosses over into foulpay”.

    Says I: Much as I admire your ability to express yourself so clearly and at such length, Ack (being pretty tongue-tied myself), be HOPEful: I think you ARE wrong. I think the only people who have the power to turn economics into what it should be are the money lenders and the one percent economists who have their ear, and the root problem is not injustice (which is a consequence) but the “logical whoopsie” of mistaking appearances for the reality: Fool’s Gold, which has precisely the effects on happiness and justice you describe. As Erich Fromm said of the ungrateful Israelites worshipping the Golden Calf after the Exodus from Egypt, the First Commandment of the Decalogue is the first commandment of logic: Thou shalt not mistake the image for the reality.

    People seek money because they think it valuable. But under the usurious system of reserve banking the pretty gold has long gone and virtually all money is an IOU promising to pay you another IOU. One is paid for work already done in IOUs; one pays for goods in IOU’s. The issue then is not the AMOUNT of fairpay and wealth, it is the SIGN of it, and in which DIRECTION it flows. Despite appearances, we have been able to accept that the earth goes round the sun rather than vice versa, making life for astronomers a whole lot simpler. Likewise with money. If we accept the truth, that to have money and possessions beyond our need is to be in debt to nature and society, that each generation shares what it already has and each generation earns its keep by regenerating the resources it has used, then everything else falls into place. No need for taxes, interest, pensions etc; so long as we have produced more than we need, prices can indicate availability of particular products, people, firms and government enterprises will want to borrow no more than they need, and who wants to show off or inherit a debt?

    By way of example, in my impecunious youth I often had to hitch-hike. Many who had cars and a spare seat earned my gratitude by giving me lifts, but justice did not demand that I pay THEM any more than it demanded they give me lifts. Imitiation is the sincerest form of gratitude. In my old age I am still happy, when I am able, to give lifts in my turn to those who need them.

    What I suggest we need, therefore, is the non-one-percent economists to grasp and preach the logic of the truth about money. Try applying it to Paul Davidson’s outline of Milton Friedman’s position at http://rwer.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/the-half-privatization-of-public-higher-education/#comment-73230. Once the truth outs as a new “Copernican Revolution”, the necessary change of heart of the money-lending one-percent will follow more or less as a matter of course. (Hopefully, in time to avoid our premature extinction).

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