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Forum Post: Global Power Project, Part 1: Exposing the Transnational Capitalist Class

Posted 1 year ago on June 14, 2013, 3:42 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5854)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Global Power Project, Part 1: Exposing the Transnational Capitalist Class

Friday, 14 June 2013 09:14 By Andrew Gavin Marshall, Occupy.com | News Analysis


The Global Power Project, an investigative series produced by Occupy.com, aims to identify and connect the worldwide institutions and individuals who comprise today's global power oligarchy. By studying the relationships and varying levels of leadership that govern our planet's most influential institutions — from banks, corporations and financial institutions to think tanks, foundations and universities — this project seeks to expose the complex, highly integrated network of influence wielded by relatively few individuals on a national and transnational basis. This is not a study of wealth, but a study of power.

Many now know the rhetoric of the 1% very well: the imagery of a small elite owning most of the wealth while the 99% take the table scraps. This rhetoric and imagery was made popular by the growth of the Occupy movement, so it seems appropriate that a project of Occupy.com should expand on this understanding and bring the activities of the global elite further to light.

In 2006, a UN report revealed that the world’s richest 1% own 40% of the world’s wealth, with those in the financial and internet sectors comprising the “super rich.” More than a third of the world’s super-rich live in the U.S., with roughly 27% in Japan, 6% in the U.K., and 5% in France. The world’s richest 10% accounted for roughly 85% of the planet's total assets, while the bottom half of the population – more than 3 billion people – owned less than 1% of the world’s wealth.

Looking specifically at the United States, the top 1% own more than 36% of the national wealth and more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%. Almost all of the wealth gains over the previous decade went to the top 1%. In the mid-1970s, the top 1% earned 8% of all national income; this number rose to 21% by 2010. At the highest sliver at the top, the 400 wealthiest individuals in America have more wealth than the bottom 150 million.

A 2005 report from Citigroup coined the term “plutonomy” to describe countries “where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few.” The report specifically identified the U.K., Canada, Australia and the United States as four plutonomies. Published three years before the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the Citigroup report stated: “Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper and become a greater share of the economy in the plutonomy countries.”

"The rich," said the report, "are in great shape, financially.” In early 2013, Oxfam reported that the fortunes made by the world’s 100 richest people over the course of 2012 – roughly $240 billion – would be enough to lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty four times over. In the Oxfam report, "The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All," the international charity noted that in the past 20 years, the richest 1% had increased their incomes by 60%. Barbara Stocking, an Oxfam executive, noted that this type of extreme wealth is “economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive...We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.”

The report added: “In the UK, inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens. In China the top 10% now take home nearly 60% of the income. Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa, which is now the most unequal country on Earth and significantly more unequal than at the end of apartheid.” In the United States, the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled from 10 to 20% since 1980, and for the top 0.01% in the United States, “the share of national income is above levels last seen in the 1920s.”

Previously, in July of 2012, James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey, a major global consultancy, published a major report on tax havens for the Tax Justice Network which compiled data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the IMF and other private sector entities to reveal that the world’s super-rich have hidden between $21 and $32 trillion offshore to avoid taxation.

Henry stated: “This offshore economy is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and – most importantly – to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of ‘source’ countries.” John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network further commented that “Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people... This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich.”

With roughly half of the world’s offshore wealth, or some $10 trillion, belonging to 92,000 of the planet's richest individuals —representing not the top 1% but the top 0.001% — we see a far more extreme global disparity taking shape than the one invoked by the Occupy movement. Henry commented: “The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy.”

In his 2008 book, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making, David Rothkopf, a man firmly entrenched within the institutions of global power and the elites which run them, compiled a census of roughly 6,000 individuals whom he referred to as the “superclass.” They were defined not simply by their wealth, he said, but by the influence they exercised within the realms of business, finance, politics, military, culture, the arts and beyond. Rothkopf noted: “Each member is set apart by his ability to regularly influence the lives of millions of people in multiple countries worldwide. Each actively exercises this power and often amplifies it through the development of relationships with other superclass members.”

The global elite are of course not defined by their wealth alone, but through the institutional, ideological and individual connections and networks in which they wield their influence. The most obvious example of these types of institutions are the multinational banks and corporations which dominate the global economy. In the first scientific study of its kind, Swiss researchers analyzed the relationship between 43,000 transnational corporations and “identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.”

In their report, "The Network of Global Corporate Control", researchers noted that this network – which they defined as "ownership" by a person or firm over another firm, whether partially or entirely – “is much more unequally distributed than wealth” and that “the top ranked actors hold a control ten times bigger than what could be expected based on their wealth.” The “core” of this network – which consists of the world's top 737 corporations – control 80% of all transnational corporations (TNCs). Even more extreme, the top 147 transnational corporations control roughly 40% of the entire economic value of the world’s TNCs, forming their own network known as the “super-entity.” The super-entity conglomerates all control each other, and thus control a significant portion of the rest of the world’s corporations with the “core” of the global corporate network consisting primarily of financial corporations and intermediaries.

In December of 2011, the former deputy secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, Roger Altman, wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he described financial markets as “a global supra-government” which can “oust entrenched regimes... force austerity, banking bail-outs and other major policy changes.” Altman said bluntly that the influence of this entity “dwarfs multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund” as “they have become the most powerful force on earth.”

With the formation of this “super-entity” – a veritable global supra-government – made up of the world’s largest banks and corporations exerting immense influence over all other corporations, a new global class structure has evolved. It is this rarefied group of individuals and firms, and the relations they hold with one another, that we wish to further understand.

According to the 2012 report, "Corporate Clout Distributed: The Influence of the World’s Largest 100 Economic Entities," of the world’s 100 largest economic entities in 2010, 42% were corporations while the rest were governments. Among the largest 150 economic entities, 58% were corporations. Wal-Mart was the largest corporation in 2010 and the 25th largest economic entity on earth, with greater revenue than the GDPs of no less than 171 countries.

According to the Fortune Global 500 list of corporations for 2011, Royal Dutch Shell next became the largest conglomerate on earth, followed by Exxon, Wal-Mart, and BP. The Global 500 made record revenue in 2011 totaling some $29.5 trillion — more than a 13% increase from 2010.



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[-] 7 points by shadz66 (19936) 1 year ago

''The influence wielded by banks and corporations is not simply through their direct wealth or operations, but through the affiliations, interactions & the integration by those who run the institutions with political and social elites, both nationally and globally. While we can (possibly) identify a global elite as a wealth percentage (the top 1% or, more accurately, the top 0.001%), this does not (fully) account for the more indirect and institutionalized influence that corporate and financial leaders exert over politics and society as a whole.''

Yes. The US-MIC ; IMF ; World Bank ; the whole 'Washington Model Neoliberal Concensus' ; The Arms Manufacturers ; Corporate Banks ; The Davos / Bilderberg Cliques et al are some of the visible aspects of this nexus. I ditto the other posters in commending this article and thanx for this great forum-post. I read some of it on http://truth-out.org/ earlier but the whole of it only here. Again, thanx very much Leo.

There are ways and means to resist. Norway & Sweden's high levels of freedom & their broadly-shared prosperity began when workers and farmers, along with middle class allies, waged a non-violent struggle that empowered the people to govern for their common good and thus in compliment to your great post :

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5854) 1 year ago

Windyacres has directed my attention to this

History Teaches That We Have the Power to Transform the Nation


which I think is much more thorough in its treatment of the subject of ways and means to resist. What happened in Norway had been a moment in history that had involved the extreme conditions of the Depression plus a fear of the growing militancy that had facilitated the political compromise of the political parties. Neither that nor the general strike that took place in Sweden are likely to take place here anytime soon. However, the elements for facilitating the favorable conditions here are discussed in the article above.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19936) 1 year ago

Both your points are sound Leo. I appended the article by George Lakey from a historical perspective but windyacres' recommended article is from a far more current and relevant and I've read it and have been appending it on some of my posts too. Thanx very much for the above and the excellent forum-post and I'll echo your recommendation and also fyi : "Surviving Progress". It's a rather brilliant 2011 Canadian documentary film loosely based upon the excellent short book 'A Short History of Progress', by Ronald Wright and it will simply speak for itself, although I am not at all sure how long it will be available for :

fiat lux ...

[-] 6 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

Beautiful post, Leo!!! You find the coolest stuff!!

This forum post ties in perfectly with what I think is the most important current headline, which, in my opinion is being buried because it threatens to expose the very corporations and 'Globocrats' at the core of the world's exploitative and power wielding forces.

Karen Hudes is in the uniquely qualified position to provide information in an expose of the “global supra-government” that David Rothkopf speaks of in your very important forum post.

This is Prioirity #1, in my humble opinion. Identifying and naming the 0.001%, then the 0.01% for good measure! The 1%, not so much, they're minions at best...and they know not what they do.

We need to rally for Karen Hudes and David Rothkopf, and others like them who are taking serious risk to help save their fellow human beings from untold tyranny. There should be an Occupy global march against these 147 corporations and the 'globocrats' that run them. Stop them, and we have a world we can reshape in the healthy loving way, it should always have been.

Karen Hudes: http://occupywallst.org/forum/world-bank-revolving-door-of-corruption-with-whist/

Hitting the fascigarchs from every angle is good strategy...such as getting money out of politics, etc. However, I don't think any effort will be allowed to work long term, until these companies and more importantly...their owners, are named. How do we fight an enemy if we don't know who they are?

Expose The Oligarchs!!!

Occupy Global March Against The 'Globocrats' !!!

[-] 2 points by windyacres (1002) 1 year ago

Proof of the conglomerate Karen Hudes learned about in her quest to correct illegal accounting practices at the World Bank. The "Watershed Moment" when the world awakes to a sensible, very believable story that a small group of people have reached the top of capitalism's evolution. This power that tries to bury the truth should see the power of universal justice.

I agree that karen hudes is uniquely qualified for this...exposure, but more importantly for the reality that money has too much power. Money corrupts politics, but also justice, and is apparently the root of all evil.

Count me in on a global march, it's priority #1 to me also.

[-] 6 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

Priority #1 it is! The Gods have spoken!! Hahahahah!

Seriously though...I wish there was a place on this site to democratically vote on what the forum members' and indeed any person's priorities are, so we could work as a team and be more goal oriented.

The uncovered information in Leo's post and in Karen Hudes testimony is the reason I came to OWS in the first place. Quite frankly, I wondered if I would ever see the day. Thank goodness for conscientious and tenacious people, who work so tirelessly to fight tyranny.

I thought the information was going to end with Karen Hudes, but to see it corroborated this way through David Rothkopf and others is absolute...elation.

I think this kind of evidence would be enough to keep Karen Hudes out of jail...as I'm sure you already know, that is what they are trying to do to her.

Lets make this "Watershed Moment", into a cascading Waterfall and not let these headlines fall into the background among more hyped ones.

"Money, as the root of all evil", I don't think there is a better example than this.

[-] 4 points by windyacres (1002) 1 year ago

Like you, this is the reason I came to OWS in the first place. It was the same for the locals that I joined in the protest march on 10/15/2011. The spirit of Occupy was a realization that money had become the most important thing in the world and was continuing to increase in importance.

I was aware that Eric Holder had Karen Hudes arrested, but didn't know they intended to put her in jail. My thoughts were they would, "by any means necessary", keep this story from becoming public knowledge. The corroboration is fantastic, but Karen Hudes being interviewed on a major media show would be devastating to them. They have had time to plan how to discredit her if necessary, but they are probably very concerned.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

True - as stated before:

Greed the #1 cause of disease death and destruction in the world.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

Ahh, yes... disease, death & destruction = Democide = profits for the 'Globocrats'.

I'm loving the latest headlines DKA! Looks like many, MANY more people will be seeing the truth of the above equation!

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Hey Renneye,

Even the deaf dumb and blind should be sensitive enough to feel the shit that is going on around them.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

As of last week, I would have said that I had my doubts...but, since learning about Karen Hudes and David Rothkopf, I have renewed hope, and though I would not ever like to let our guard down, I think this calls for a celebration of a victory of sorts.

How about a street party, during a 'Global March on the 0.001% Globocrats"? I'll bring the signs and the drinks!

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I would love to be there - put it out for any supporter to join - send it in to the forum site and see if they will share/circulate it. Celebrations as we move forward - I think - Are a necessity.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

Yes, good idea, DKA. Thanks.

This reminds me of a post kind of along the same lines, of 'LeoYo' that I saw earlier today regarding using humour as one of the tools during political movements. Its quite refreshing.


And a quote, I saw recently...

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

~ Victor Borge

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Laughter is healthy - to the body - as well as to the spirit - as well as to people just meeting.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

Victor Borge. What a classic! I remember watching many a Borge show with mom. He was hilarious, on par with Chico Marx on the piano, if not funnier. Thanks for that 'blast from the past,' Renneye.

RIP Victor (and mom).

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

That's great, Renneye.

"Joe Green to you." Then he plays a lick that sounded suspiciously like the Stooges theme song, heheheh. I love that guy!

Thanks, Ren. Mom would've liked it, too.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

"Love of money," Renneye. I think it's important to make that distinction. Money's just a tool.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

Heheh...you are so correct, 'g'! Thanks for the reminder. Much good can be done with money in the proper hands, with fairness in the heart.

Look what OWS did with the 'Rolling Jubilee', for instance.

Although, I may have voted to utilize that money toward a different application...it was used for genuine good, and with pure intentions.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Wow - what if a rolling jubilee was used to buy foreclosed homes for pennies on the dollar? And buyers were found to buy those homes at cost. Signing a contract to live in the home for like ten years. Or default - and another family that lost a home through this mess could have a chance at it.

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

Yes it was, but just out of curiosity, what would you have rather seen the money go for?

[-] 4 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

In my mind, there seems to be several things we could be focusing on and putting Rolling Jubilee funds towards. Which one the priority is, would be up for a democratic vote.

Just off the top of my head, here are a few. Oh, to have 'Middleaged', here to help out. ;-)

  1. a People's/OWS human rights tribunal

  2. a foundation

  3. co-operatives (bank, agriculture, insurance, health, etc)

  4. class-action law suits

It kind of strikes me as hypocritical and antithetical to give Rolling Jubilee funds to the very corporations that we are protesting against. Those funds, in my view should be going towards building OWS and/or building a 'People's Society'.

[-] 1 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

I'm not sure why you think the way the Rolling Jubilee funds are used should be up for democratic vote. The Rolling Jubilee is an offshoot of Occupy, it's not Occupy. It was created by people with a particular goal in mind. It's part of the Strike Debt project. They collect funds for their particular project, they don't use Occupy funds. A person donating money to the Rolling Jubilee expects that money to be used to squash debt. The Rolling Jubilee is not a project that uses direct democracy to make its decisions. It's run by a handful of people.

Occupy doesn't exist anymore in the sense that there are no longer any general assemblies. What's left are offshoot groups who do specific things. If you like what they do, you donate. If you don't, you can create your own group, etc...

You have great ideas. But, it's not for the Rolling Jubilee to make them happen. It's for you and others. That's why I wrote this post:


BTW - The Rolling Jubilee buys debts from big companies at pennies on the dollar. This puts the control back in the hands of the population, instead of the hands of collectors trying to make more money off our backs.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

Thanks for the reminder about the origins of the Rolling Jubilee. But, it is certainly a strategy that OWS could and should adapt, and used for various projects, to build community, using democratic voting to prioritize.

I don't agree that paying off debt to any institution that is a part of how we got in this mess, is a good idea. Regardless of what institution it is. They are, but yet, another cog in the corporate wheel.

OWS should emulate the model of the Rolling Jubilee and fine-tune it to suit OWS needs.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep - not a one trick pony by any means.


[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

Interesting reply. All four are damn good ideas, I think. And I don't recall right off, but the Rolling Jubilee money might have went to collection agencies, rather than hospitals or doctors. That makes it a bit more palatable, I think. And it's good P.R. for OWS. That's a definite positive.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3328) 1 year ago

Yes, I agree, 'g'...I won't second guess what the Rolling Jubilee was initially created for. I'm just saying that as we go along and Occupy evolves, funds could be used for any number of things.

Definitely though, there should be a democratic vote. Lets use the website to 'build' the society that many here claim they want.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

Agreed. There are any number of issues we could get involved with using the Rolling Jubilee as a model.

[-] 1 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

No no. There shouldn't be a democratic vote concerning the Rolling Jubilee. It's not part of Occupy and doesn't use Occupy funds. It's a private project that was designed with a particular goal. The people who donate money for it expect that money to be used to squash debt, not for anything else. It's part of the Strike Debt initiative.



[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

It seems that you look to limit the positive actions of OWS/Occupy.

[-] 0 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

What makes you say that?

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

The people who donate money for it expect that money to be used to squash debt, not for anything else

R U really that slow? I think not - shill

[-] 1 points by mathewnice (1) 1 year ago

Go fuck Ur self trashy-can.

Your heart seems full of anger. Why? I was replying to your unfounded assumption that I wanted to limit the positive actions of Occupy. A unfounded assumption based on your incomprehension of the Rolling Jubilee. That's why I explained what it was. I didn't use insults. I used proper discourse, like any mature adult would. Why the name calling, profanity, etc... Are we not all adults here?

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Really. Go look in the mirror and talk about any fault or personal failing you can imagine - you will be talking to the correct audience.

[-] 1 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

6/15/2013 (? really? ) U would limit the full scope of what a jubilee could address/accomplish?

Nope. I never said that. I was talking about the Rolling Jubilee in particular, and the goal it has now. If it wants to broaden its goal that's fine, but it shouldn't use donations it got by advertizing to squash debt for something else. It could start collecting new donations for a new project.

I don't think the Rolling Jubilee will broaden its goals away from debt squashing. It's very particular in that respect, and falls under the umbrella of Strike Debt.

What could happen is that other people start other affinity groups with other goals. That's fine, and I encourage it in the following posting:


It seems to me you haven't been following what Occupy offshoots like the Rolling Jubilee do. I suggest you read the websites of Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee to get up to date.

And, there's no need for you to use name calling (like calling me slow, or shill). We can have an adult discussion using proper arguments.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Go fuck Ur self trashy-can.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

It seems to me that you are not new and have in fact been booted countless times. So - FUCK OFF.

[-] 1 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

The Rolling Jubilee has a very particular goal which is to buy off debts. When it asks for donations on its webpage, this is stated very precisely. Of course, if I donate to them, it's for that particular goal. If they used it for something else, it would be a problem, it would be false advertizement.

The Rolling Jubilee is a particular group that's part of the larger Strike Debt initiative. All donations to Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee will be used to squash debt. That's what it was made for.

Occupy donations are something else entirely. The Rolling Jubilee is not Occupy.

I'm all for people doing all types of offshoot groups from Occupy, to take care of all kinds of problems. That's why I created this forum topic:


You have to realize that Occupy itself is dead in the sense that there are no more general assemblies using direct democracy. No one is collecting donations to be used in general fashion for Occupy. Everything has split into very specific groups that do very specific things, and they all ask for donations individually.

It's normal that if you donate money to a group that fights debt, that you would expect that money to be used to fight debt.

I don't understand your point.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

6/15/2013 (? really? ) U would limit the full scope of what a jubilee could address/accomplish?


[-] 1 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

They buy debts off companies who are trying to sell them to collection agencies. They buy those debts at pennies on the dollar. If they didn't buy them, collection agencies would, and they would try to make more money off the back of those in debt. This is a way to put back the control in the hands of the populace. It's genius.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

I checked the Rolling Jubilee site a couple months ago, but didn't remember the details. Thanks, 'Matthew.'

[-] 1 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

You're welcome 'got no money'. You seem like a good chap. I hope you find a way to get money soon.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

Thanks, Matt, I appreciate that. I don't need much money, by the way, my monthly expenses are surprisingly low. But you can never have too much as long as you have a good head on your shoulders.

[-] 1 points by mathewrice (7) 1 year ago

If you ever have to much, you can always use it to create projects to help the unfortunate. I'd rather you have too much, then some corporate CEO using it to buy fancy cars, and trips to tropical islands.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6287) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

Exactly what I was thinking. If I ever came into a lot of money, I'd definitely be using part of it to help the less fortunate, especially the young.

[-] 0 points by jollyholly (-15) 1 year ago

The oligarchy is already exposed. I don't really see much advantage to spending lots of efforts and energy to try to expose oligarchs. It's good to do so when possible, but it won't change much in the end. Sure, if these people did things which are illegal they should be punished, but that won't change the problem of capitalism. Most of the corporate people in America who are rich don't break laws. They just profit from the fact that America is a capitalist country.

I'd much rather focus our energy on going after the theater (capitalism), and not the actors. There's already a lot of proof that politics are corrupted. We should concentrate on that. On getting money out of politics. We could protest for transparency, and for disallowing big companies to make campaign contributions. There's so much to do in that area.

We could also focus on teaching about the problem of capitalism. As long as capitalism is the driving force of our economy, there will be people taking advantage of this to crush others and become rich at their expense. Picking at individuals will not make a difference in that regards. You remove one actor, and the one that steps in to take his place will be corrupt also, or will quickly become corrupted from capitalism.

[-] 6 points by LeoYo (5854) 1 year ago

With such massive wealth and power held by these institutions and "networks" of corporations, those individuals who sit on the boards, executive committees and advisory groups to the largest corporations and banks wield significant influence on their own. But their influence does not stand in isolation from other elites, nor do the institutions of banks and corporations function in isolation from other entities such as state, educational, cultural or media institutions. Largely facilitated by the cross-membership that exists between boards of corporations, think tanks, foundations, educational institutions and advisory groups — not to mention the continual "revolving door" between the state and corporate sectors — these elites become a highly integrated, organized and evolved social group. This is as true for the formation of national elites as it is for transnational, or global, elites.

The rise of corporations and banks to a truly global scale – what is popularly referred to as the process of “globalization” – was facilitated by the growth of other transnational networks and institutions such as think tanks and foundations, which sought to facilitate these ideological and institutional structures of globalization. A wealth of research and analysis has been undertaken in academic literature over the past couple of decades to understand the development of this phenomenon, examining the emergence of what is often referred to as the "Transnational Capitalist Class" (TCC). In various political science and sociology journals, researchers and academics reject a conspiratorial thesis and instead advance a social analysis of what is viewed as a powerful social system and group.

As Val Burris and Clifford L. Staples argued in an article for the International Journal of Comparative Sociology (Vol. 53, No. 4, 2012), “as transnational corporations become increasingly global in their operations, the elites who own and control those corporations will also cease to be organized or divided along national lines.” They added: “We are witnessing the formation of a ‘transnational capitalist class’ (TCC) whose social networks, affiliations, and identities will no longer be embedded primarily in the roles they occupy as citizens of specific nations.” To properly understand this TCC, it is necessary to study what the authors call “interlocking directorates,” defined as “the structure of interpersonal or interorganizational relations that is created whenever a director of one corporation sits on the governing board of another corporation.”

The growth of “interlocking directorates” is primarily confined to European and North American conglomerates, whereas those in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East largely remain “isolated from the global interlock network.” Thus, the “transnationalization” of corporate directorates and, ultimately, of global class structures “is more a manifestation of the process of European integration – or, perhaps, of the emergence of a North Atlantic ruling class.”

The conclusion of these researchers was that the ruling class is not “global” as such, but rather “a supra-national capitalist class that has gone a considerable way toward transcending national divisions,” notably in the industrialized countries of Western Europe and North America; in their words, "the regional locus of transnational class formation is more accurately described as the North Atlantic region.” However, with the rise of the "East" – notably the economic might of Japan, China, India, and other East Asian nations – the interlocks and interconnections among elites are likely to expand as various other networks of institutions seek to integrate these regions.

The influence wielded by banks and corporations is not simply through their direct wealth or operations, but through the affiliations, interactions and integration by those who run the institutions with political and social elites, both nationally and globally. While we can identify a global elite as a wealth percentage (the top 1% or, more accurately, the top 0.001%), this does not account for the more indirect and institutionalized influence that corporate and financial leaders exert over politics and society as a whole.

To further understand this, we must identify and explore the dominant institutions which facilitate the integration of these elites from an array of corporations, banks, academia, the media, military, intelligence, political and cultural spheres. This will be the subject of the second installment in the series, appearing next week.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

G-No-M ?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Forward to Avaaz.