Quelle surprise, eh?
Ajay Kapur, global strategist at Citigroup, and his research team came up with the term “Plutonomy” in 2005 to describe a country that is defined by massive income and wealth inequality. According to their definition, the U.S. is a Plutonomy, along with the U.K., Canada and Australia.
In a series of research notes over the past year, Kapur and his team explained that Plutonomies have three basic characteristics.
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.”
That\’s the description from the WSJ of what \”Plutonomy\” means.
So, we\’ve now got a description of what causes inequality. \”disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist friendly cooperative governments, immigrants…the rule of law and patenting inventions.\”
Note that there\’s nothing there about Thatcher, neo-liberalism, greed, inadequate Christianity or any of the other things that Ritchie blames inequality upon. Simply that liberal capitalism (the liberal is that rule of law bit plus the immigration: a society which doesn\’t have either can fairly be called illiberal) (the capitalist bit being patents, innovation etc), in a time of disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, produces inequality.
It’s almopst laughable but for three things.
It’s what these people think.
Their wealth has recovered even if no one else’s has.
So the opprtunity for the game to start again already exists.
Eh? What connection is there between Ritchie\’s comments and the diagnosis of why inequality has risen? We are in a time of great technological change (globalisation being just one such) and therefore we have rising inequality.
And further, if Ritchie buys this explanation (which I myself do) for rising inequality why in buggery doesn\’t he start advocating the only thing that will reduce it? A restriction on technology-driven productivity gains?