plutonomy
n. An economy that is driven by or that disproportionately benefits wealthy people, or one where the creation of wealth is the principal goal. [Blend of pluto- (wealth) and economy.]

Example Citations:
Wealthy business people and families from the Middle East, China and India, many of whose personal fortunes have been swelled by the current boom in commodity stocks, are among the biggest spenders.

Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian-born steel magnate and one of Britain's wealthiest residents, whose company is bidding for Europe's Arcelor, is a prime example. But for every Abramovich, Mittal, Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson, there are thousands of others who never make it into the headlines but who all contribute to the plutonomy. While some of this wealth is being spent on high-profile corporate acquisitions, the bulk of it is being channelled into up-market property, private equity investments, hedge funds and art.

The plutonomy thesis helps to explain why high oil prices haven't slowed the global economy, why consumer confidence might be low yet consumption remains robust in the United States, and why the depreciation of the dollar hasn't done much for the U.S. trade deficit.
—Sylvia Pfeifer, "We're living in a plutonomy," The Sunday Telegraph, April 2, 2006

Citigroup Global Markets says it is time to binge on bling. That is, load up again on plutonomy stocks. For the uninitiated, those are the stocks that stand to benefit from spending by the uber-rich.

In a report called "The Plutonomy Symposium Rising Tides Lifting Yachts," Ajay Kapur, Citigroup's global strategist, says the balance sheets of the rich are "in great shape, and will get much better," which is why he recommends going out and buying stocks of companies that cater to that very select market.

Spending by the uber-rich overwhelms that of the average consumer and helps explain why the U.S. economy has continued to do well and the U.S. dollar hasn't collapsed even in the face of the current federal budget deficit, a negative savings rate, global imbalances and high energy prices, he says. The United States is one of the plutonomy countries countries whose economies are powered by a relatively small number of rich people.
—Angela Barnes, "Want wealth? Invest in the uber-rich," The Globe and Mail, October 2, 2006

Earliest Citation:
There are ideal economic systems which alone can help every individual to pursue the good in itself. The Kantian kingdom of ends can often be obliterated in a wealth-seeking, material welfare-seeking, society. Hicks characterised modern economics as plutonomy, a science dealing with individuals and societies primarily seeking wealth and, through wealth, material welfare. There is no scope for the kingdom of higher ends in a plutonomy.
—"Internalising Kantian ethics," Business Line, July 3, 1999

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