Gillian Tett has a great piece in this weekend’s FT (17/18 October, 2009). Its all about Michael Moore’s use in his latest movie, of a piece of research undertaken by Citigroup’s ‘global equity strategists” into today’s ‘plutonomies’ – economies powered by rich elites. The report (published in 2004) identified the US and the UK as ‘plutonomies’.
According to this report by Mr. Kapur and colleagues at Citi, there is no “average” consumer in Plutonomies such as the US or Britain. 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 in these economies.
Anyway, the point is that the report was aimed – not at Michael Moore and other lefties – but at rich investors who need help to select stocks and shares. So Mr. Kapur is annoyed at Michael Moore’s use of the research in his movie, which he calls “salacious”..and believes “takes liberties with the truth to inflame (his, Moore’s) polemics.”
Michael Moore is undeterred: “Someone from Citigroup discussing getting things right and wrong is like Bernie Madoff discussing ethics – their credibility ranges between zip and zero….this is a bank that played a major role in the economic meltdown that has hurt so many people, paid their executives enormous bonuses and taken billions in taxpayers’ dollars – nothing squeals as much as a banking pig caught in the poke.”
He does have a lovely turn of phrase.
PS for more on how the wealthy live in our plutonomy, visit the Financial Times’ “How to Spend it” page- “a website of worldly pleasures” – aimed at plutonomos…..