Posted by: stillironic | November 21, 2010

Nightmare on Plutonomy Street

In the movie Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Krueger is one POS. An unconvicted killer, he’s burned alive.

Freddy Krueger

Unconvicted POS

He takes his revenge by invading the dreams of people enjoying the trite amenities of Elm Street. His MO is killing characters who appear in these dreams. Which turns the dreams into nightmares. Plus—and this seems more than a little gratuitous—the characters turn up dead in real life. Or as real as life gets in the movies.

In nightmare under plutonomy, Freddy Krueger is played by Ajay Kapur, a superstar global strategist at Deutsche Bank. He’s an as-yet unconvicted douchebag. Freddy/Ajay made a name for himself at Citigroup, owner of a bank that screws the American public for a living. (Hence, the need for a douchebag, presumably.)

Freddy/Ajay wrote two cheeky memos* to super wealthy Citigroup clients that said in so many words: the world of the super wealthy is the only world that matters. And if the super wealthy play their cards right, they won’t have to interact with anyone who isn’t as super wealthy as they are.

According to Freddy/Ajay, US economic growth is controlled by only 100K people. A cup of water in the Great Lakes. The economic growth is largely consumed by them, too. And this will continue, indefinitely. At least until the people who don’t count—the remaining 99+% of us nonsuper wealthy, evidently barely conscious most of the time—wake up and decide to revolt. Most likely using violence.

Ajay Kapur

Unconvicted Douchebag

Not much difference between life on Elm or under plutonomy. Which is the economic form of plutocracy, illustrated in these pages some weeks back. To recap, take Pluto the dwarf-planet-that-once-was and Pluto the Disney dog with boomerang ears, put them in a bag, and shake them up good. Don’t forget to add in the passionate Pluto-is-so-a-planet folks and the folks that now insist Neptune’s not a planet either.

What you have when everything shakes out is rule by imaginary-dwarf-and-probably-rabid canines. Or, as the dictionary so mulishly maintains, rule by the rich.

Is plutonomy on the tips of everyone’s tongue? Are the media discussing this issue? Have people stopped holding tea parties and blaming imaginary demons and started confronting extreme income inequality, a danger to our democracy that’s actually real?

Citigroup sign

In the business of screwing the American public

In fact, there are some alert citizens out there.** Including Bill Moyers who recently delivered his “Welcome to the Plutocracy” speech. But few of us have been paying much attention to what plutonomy signifies. Freddy/Ajay makes this point: our ignorance is key. The great unwashed must remain blind to the ever-increasing national wealth. And especially to how almost none of this wealth lands in our bank accounts. Even if our labor produces it. You can almost hear the whooshing of dead Franklins passing us by. And landing in the bank accounts of the super wealthy. To pay for luxury goods and services. These, Freddy/Ajay says, are the growth industries of the future.

And what consumes our attention: Looking for work. Finding a second job to pay for the kids’ education. Stretching the food budget. Putting off dental care. Figuring out how to pay off a mortgage that outstrips the value of the house. And my personal favorite, deciding which bills to stuff in the old desk drawer.

~~~

*Memo, part 1 http://www.scribd.com/doc/6674234/Citigroup-Oct-16-2005-Plutonomy-Report-Part-1

Memo, part 2 CitigroupPlutonony Part 2

** Three things characterize a plutonomy, which the Wall Street Journal’s Robert Frank explains in his “The Wealth Report” blog at http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2007/01/08/plutonomics/

The entire blog is worth reading, but the 3 characterizations of plutonomies, according to Frank, are:

1. They are all created by “disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist friendly cooperative governments, immigrants…the rule of law and patenting inventions. Often these wealth waves involve great complexity exploited best by the rich and educated of the time.”

2. There is no “average” consumer in Plutonomies. There is only the rich “and everyone else.” The rich account for a disproportionate chunk of the economy, while the non-rich account for “surprisingly small bites of the national pie.” Kapur estimates that in 2005, the richest 20% may have been responsible for 60% of total spending.

3. Plutonomies are likely to grow in the future, fed by capitalist-friendly governments, more technology-driven productivity and globalization.

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Responses

  1. Well, this passionate Pluto is a planet girl will not lend any of my passion to these crooks who are destroying the Earth. They are like the first class passengers in the Titanic, thinking somehow they can escape when the ship is sinking. As a proud revolutionary, I will fight them to my dying breath and will inspire as many people as possible to join me. To bring in some mythology, Pluto is the name of the god of the underworld, to whom all go when their lives are over. He administers justice based on people’s deeds and himself the lord of wealth, cannot be swayed by those who were hoarders and thieves in their lives. Everyone comes to him naked, unable to take anything from their life on Earth. For these so-called super-wealthy scumbags, Cerberus, the three-headed dog, is lying in wait.

    • Couldn’t have put it any better myself. I hope we don’t have to wait for the afterlife for some justice.

      • No need to wait for the afterlife. Myths are symbolic and representational. We should draw strength, motivation, and inspiration from the mythical characters to fight injustice, here and now.

      • Appreciate your comment. Thanks for visiting!

      • Appreciate your comment, Laurel. Thanks for visiting!

  2. I’ve been reading lately about the Gilded Age in this country when many of the same types of conditions existed. We managed to throw off that one, but I’m not feeling hopeful this time around. I’m grateful to be 60. In 20 years, the world will be experiencing water wars the way we now experience oil wars. Not only that, there will be a shortage of chocolate that will drive its price to that of caviar, which is the absolute last straw for me. I will blessedly be 80 and more than ready to have my ticket punched.

    Another thoughtful post. I’m glad I didn’t read it right before bedtime.

  3. I hear you about the water wars. We have lots more water here on the East Coast, but who knows what climate change may do to our rainfall.

    I’m reading this interesting book, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” Climate change (whether or not man made) and ignoring the environment are two of the factors that all failed societies share.

    Not being able to afford chocolate IS the last straw, says the woman hiding a box of chocolate creme Oreos in her exercise clothes drawer. (Sad thing is, I have such a poor short-term memory I’ve already forgotten twice they were there. But on the plus side, what a nice surprise when I open the drawer!)

  4. Here’s one for you–Nightmare at Safeway. Our son Keil was in Safeway on Saturday when Jared Loughner shot Gabby Giffords and then shot and killed 6 people and wounded 13 more. That store is seven miles from my house, and I have shopped there often. It is only one mile from my son’s house and he is there weekly.
    Please read my post on the incident and read the comments from others. In this country we seem to take one step forward and two steps back. I am heartsick.

    • Somehow missed your comment till now, Judie. I have a vague sense of reading it in while I was caring for my mother back home. Have also taken a hiatus from blogging. Have to EARN money, unfortunately. Re your son being at THE Safeway: holy fuck. What a horror show our country is becoming. That somehow people have the right to bear submachine guns. Why not grenades and napalm? Yes, it’s sickening. But I’m sure glad you and your son are safe and sound.

  5. I miss you, Ginny. Hope you’ll come back and post again one day soon.

    Happy New Year!

    • Jayne, How sweet of you! I’ve missed blogging, but it was taking up all my time. And I need to earn money, most especially if the effing Republicans take over and try to start dismantling Medicare and SS (which I think they’d fail at)! I would like to get back to blogging, maybe doing shorter postings. BTW, I’m the Virginia who bought your book for my Kindle.

      Happy New Year to you too!

      • I hope you enjoyed the book. It was fun to put it out there. I totally understand the need to make some $$. Still, I hope you do come back with even some shorter posts on this crazy election year. I’ve never seen such a bunch of asshats!

      • “Asshats” is putting it nicely!

        Sent from my iPhone


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