The 147 Companies that Control Everything
Three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich
have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors
worldwide and analyzed all 43,060 transnational corporations and share
ownerships linking them. They built a model of who owns what and what their revenues are and mapped the whole edifice of economic power.
They discovered that global corporate control has a distinct bow-tie
shape, with a dominant core of 147 firms radiating out from the middle.
Each of these 147 own interlocking stakes of one another and together
they control 40% of the wealth in the network. A total of 737 control
80% of it all. The top 20 are at the bottom of the post. This is, say
the paper’s authors, the first map of the structure of global corporate
The #occupy movement will eat this up as evidence for massive redistribution of wealth. The New Scientist talked
to one systems theorist who is “disconcerted” at the level of
interconnectedness, but not surprised. Such structures occur commonly in
biology, things like fungus, lichen and weeds. Economists say the
danger comes when you combine hyperconnection with the concentration of power. The Swiss scientists warn that this can lead to an unstable environment. No Scheisse, Sherlock.