When the gods dance...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Corporate power: exposing the global 1%

Posted: 29 Jan 2013 11:29 AM PST

In these infographics, the Transnational Institute offers a visual insight into who dominates our planet at a time of economic and ecological crisis.

Did you know that less than 1% of the world’s transnational corporations, mostly banks, control the share of 40% of global businesses? Did you know that 0.001% of the world’s population (corresponding to roughly one pixel on your computer screen) controls assets worth $14.6 trillion — or over 20% of global annual GDP? In its State of Power 2013 report, the Transnational Institute breaks down the concentration of wealth and power of the world’s plutocracy into a series of powerful infographics.

TNI President and scholar-activist Susan George provides this introduction:

Towards the end of 2011, three young, very smart and tenacious mathematicians specialising in complexity theory at the Zurich Polytechnic published the paper the rest of us had been waiting for—except, to be truthful, we didn’t even know we’d been waiting for it. Nobody had ever assumed it might be possible to put the powerful structures of corporate control in an unarguably rigorous scientific framework.

That is what Stefano Battiston, James Glattfelder and Stefania Vitali, or BG&V, did with their Network of Global Corporate Control and TNI is gratefully borrowing from them in this pamphlet. Naturally we had good sources for our infographics series before and we’re using them again—lots of lists of the Biggest and the Richest had been published earlier from reliable sources such as the UN or major corporations themselves (e.g. Merrill-Lynch) or magazines serving that very clientele like Forbes.

But BG&V skewered the Davos Class—my name for those who personify the interconnected nature of the world’s most powerful corporations; interchangeable individuals with common interests and goals that make them a genuine international, nomadic social class.

The mathematicians did it by mapping the topography of the corporate universe just as astronomers map the suns, planets, constellations and supernovae of the night sky and they demonstrated how they are interconnected through direct and indirect ownership.

> View TNI’s report: State of Power 2013

Coordinator: Nick Buxton
Research: George Draffan
Design: Ricardo Santos


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