Home > Political Economy > from November 2010: Citigroup attempts to disappear its Plutonomy Report #2

from November 2010: Citigroup attempts to disappear its Plutonomy Report #2

Because this post from November 2010 on this blog has been viewed 8,000 times this morning, I am reposting it here.  I was told a few minutes ago that the reports are available (for the time being) here and here.

Citigroup attempts to disappear its Plutonomy Report #2
November 11, 2010 

from Edward Fullbrook

In 2005 and 2006 Citigroup issued two now notorious but highly significant reports for the exclusive use of its richest clients.  The first, from October 16, 2005, was “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalance”. This 35 page report begins: 

The World is dividing into two blocs – the Plutonomy and the rest. The U.S., UK, and Canada are the key Plutonomies – economies powered by the wealthy. Continental Europe (ex-Italy) and Japan are in the egalitarian bloc.

Equity risk premium embedded in “global imbalances” are unwarranted. In plutonomies the rich absorb a disproportionate chunk of the economy and have a massive impact on reported aggregate numbers like savings rates, current account deficits, consumption levels, etc. This imbalance in inequality expresses itself in the standard scary “global imbalances”. We worry less.

There is no “average consumer” in a Plutonomy. Consensus analyses focusing on the “average” consumer are flawed from the start.

And it continued:

We project that the plutonomies (the U.S., UK, and Canada) will likely see even more income inequality, disproportionately feeding off a further rise in the profit share in their economies, capitalist-friendly governments, more technology-driven productivity, and globalization.

The full report is available here http://www.scribd.com/doc/23321255/Citigroup-Mar-5-2006-Plutonomy-Report-Leaked-Citigroup-Memo-Part1

Citigroup’s second Plutonomy report, titled “Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer”, was issued on March 5, 2006 and began:

The latest Survey of Consumer Finance data was released Friday 24th of February. It shows that the rich in the US continue to be in great shape. We thought this was good time to bang the drum on plutonomy.

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 favourable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper and become a greater share of the economy in the plutonomy countries. Also, new media dissemination technologies like internet downloading, cable and satellite TV, have disproportionately increased the audiences, and hence gains to “superstars” – think golf, soccer, and baseball players, music/TV and movie icons, fashion models, designers, celebrity chefs etc. These “content” providers, the tech whizzes who own the pipes and distribution, the 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, all contribute to plutonomy. Indeed, David Gordon and Ian Dew-Becker of the NBER demonstrate that the top 10%, particularly the top 1% of the US – the plutonomists in our parlance – have benefited disproportionately from the recent productivity surge in the US.


Both reports were leaked and made available on the WEB. Michael Moore referred to them in Capitalism: a love story, and the now retired US newscaster Bill Moyers has called attention to them.  But they seem to have been largely ignored by scholars. They should be required reading.  But now Citibank is trying to suppress “Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer”.  They have succeeded in getting the second plutonomy report removed from Scrib.  Where it used to be, it now reads “This content was removed at the request of Citigroup, Inc.”  It is still available here http://www.mygreencard.com/downloads.php?file=CitigroupPlutonony_October2009.pdf  Scholars should download both Plutonomy Reports while they are still available.

  1. June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    it seems now to have disappeared. Although able to download it, I’m told that the pdf file hasbeen damaged – or is not a supported tpye (!!)

  2. Alan Nasser
    June 22, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Neither report is available at the 2 URLs provided. Is there some way to access these reports, perhaps through someone in possession of the reports making them available at a website, or upon individual request? (The latter may impose a forbidding schedule on the provider.)

  3. Alice
    June 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I have a copy – Im just not sure how to send it to anyone…I thought they would disappear. Citgroup has run around the net trying to make them disappear but they are out there now and Citi is too late.

    • June 28, 2011 at 6:58 am

      hi – if it is a pdf can you please send an attached copy to praxidental.tourist@gmail.com – i will in turn send it to other academics in my mailing list – ta

      • June 28, 2011 at 6:59 am

        and I have the first one (pdf) if anyone wants it sent to them.

  4. Alice
    June 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

    No there is no average consumer and its true. The average consumer is struggling but the wealthiest who account for a huge amount of comsumption, even though they are a minority are being advised by citibank to invest in the companies that other wealthy people like, seeing as they account for most of the consumption
    eg Vuitton loggage

    Yes, its rather sad. There is no average consumer in a grossly unequal economy like the US. There are only the poor and those slipping down and the main drivers of consumption are those who have too much to spend already. The only think I liked about these plutonomy reports is that it shows the game will be over soon when all the rich have left to gamble on is the consumption habits of other rich. Let the rich gamble the other rich out of business too.Why not?

  5. Georg R. Baumann
    June 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm
  6. Georg R. Baumann
    June 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    OK, 2009 report PDF is damaged…. can someone who has it put it up?

  7. Georg R. Baumann
    June 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Actually, the link in Edwards thread is a zero kb download.

  8. Georg R. Baumann
    June 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Alice, if you have the 2009…send me the copy to gblaughingbear at gmail dot com and I put it in my dropbox and link here.

    • Alice
      June 23, 2011 at 8:55 am

      georg – Ive got the 2005 and 2006 versions of Plut 1 and plut 2. I didnt know there was a 2009. Id like it too?
      Does anyone have functioning copy of 2009 version?

  9. Alice
    June 23, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Ill send what I have

  10. June 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Simply make a torrent with them. Once the pdfs are out, they are unstoppable.

  11. June 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Anyway, I´m not sure if the conclusions of this guys are correct, the concept of “Plutonomy” and the Citi report appears lots of times in a Google search, so it is far from being obscure.

    • June 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      But it seems that some of the sites that appear in the results link back to THIS site! So good job lads. Thank you.

  12. July 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Hello, I’d like to the 2009 version as well … garrett at ferrocement dot com

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