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 Global Corporate Control graphic by New Scientist

The timing is exquisite, perfect even.  A new study has found that there is a vast network of Global Corporate Control existing in the capitalist system.  It is so pervasive that, according to its authors, 1% of worldwide companies own 40% of the world’s economy.  Finally global corporate control is revealed!

The paper is being given a review in the latest New Scientist and is by a trio of systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Stepfania Vitali, James Glattfelder and Stefano Battista and goes by the snappy title of “The Network of Global Corporate Control”. You can find the whole paper here.

Now previous studies have shown that transnational corporations have owned large chunks of the world’s economy, but this study goes much, much further.  It used a database of 37 million companies and analyzed them for links in their ownership. From this they pulled out 43,060 Transnational Companies with significant ownership links.

They also had a model in which company control of other companies could be assessed.  From this a core of 1318 interlocking companies emerged.  The picture above is their graphic of this.  Each of these 1318 companies has to link with at least 2 or more companies and most of them link to an average of 20.  This group represent 20% of global operating revenues.

This 1318 collectively own the majority of blue chip manufacturing firms, what you and I might call the “real economy”. This brings their holding of global revenues to 60%. The team also claim a super-entity exists within this core.  Here lurks the leviathan.  147 even more tightly knit companies form the nugget that owns 40% of global wealth. The team do try to calm the conspiracy theorists a little by suggesting that such bunching is what would be expected with natural phenomena and that this extraordinary study reveals what they might have expected.  They also stress that ownership does not always imply control.

But, right at this moment it is revealing at the very least to see that 1% of the companies control 40% and that most of these are financial instututions.

Bet you would love to know who these are eh? Well don’t say the Oligarch Kings isn’t good to you!

 The top 50 of the 147 superconnected companies

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
37. CNCE
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
41. ING Groep NV
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan
45. Vereniging Aegon
46. BNP Paribas
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc
48. Resona Holdings Inc
49. Capital Group International Inc
50. China Petrochemical Group Company

Lehman is included because it still existed in 2007 when the dataset was drawn up.

Copyright David Macadam 2011