All eyes are on Egypt now, and in particular the eyes of ruling elites of both Eastern and Western countries. Some of the leaders fear that if a revolution led by the masses happens/happened for the Egyptians, it could be repeated elsewhere. That ‘elsewhere’ includes Britain.
While the word ‘democracy’ has been widely misused and abused recently, not only in speeches and comments on the events in Egypt, plutonomy is the term we should be acquainted with. It was first used in 2005 by Citigroup strategists in a confidential report addressed to their most affluent clients. It comes from combining “plutocracy” and “economy” and means an economy run by the wealthiest few. (For a better outlook, please watch Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism: a love story’, 2009.) Key plutonomies named were USA, UK and Canada.
Amazingly, the Citigroup analysts only articulated the status quo which was already largely known or experienced by the listed nations – a status quo highlighted by the financial and economic crisis. Democracy has become an empty phrase. How else would you explain the fact that heads of banks which hugely contributed to (if not caused) the crisis, instead of being tried and jailed, left with enormous payouts and pensions? Why else would top level managers give themselves big fat bonuses while laying off thousands of workers? Why would the rich be allowed to use gaps in law and tax havens to avoid paying fiscal contributions while ‘normal’ people face all kinds of civil and criminal punishments as a result of tax evasion?
My eyes are back on Egypt. I am anxious about what might happen.