Fri, 16 Dec 2011 09:39 CST
Bankers rule the world. A new Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study says so. Written by Stefania Vitali, James Glattfelder and Stefano Battiston, it's titled "The network of global corporate control," saying:
"We find that transnational corporations from a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic 'super-entity' that raises new important issues both for researches and policy makers."
The study says 147 powerful companies control an inordinate amount of economic activity - about 40%. Among the top 50, 45 are financial firms. They include Barclays PLC (called most influential), JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and other familiar and less known names.
Twenty-four companies are US-based, followed by eight in Britain, five in France, four in Japan, and Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands with two each. Canada has one.
Moreover, "top ranked" companies "hold a control ten times bigger than what could be expected based on their wealth."
As a result, they have enormous influence over political, financial, and economic activity.
In his book titled, When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten said they're able to transfer enormous amounts of power, wealth and resources from public to private hands with government complicity. Money power and concentrated wealth in few hands especially harm humanity.
"These forces have transformed" financial institutions and other corporate predators "into instruments of a market tyranny that is extending its reach across the planet like a cancer, colonizing ever more of the planet's living spaces, destroying livelihoods, displacing people, rendering democratic institutions impotent, and feeding on life in an insatiable quest for money" and profits as a be and end all.
Only bottom line priorities and market dominance matter, not human welfare, environmental sanity, peace, equity and justice.
Transnational giants are the dominant institution of our time - especially financial ones with money power control of everything.
They decide who governs and how, who serves on courts, what laws are enacted, and whether or not wars are waged. Corporate dominance, especially financial power, and democratic values are incompatible.
They operate ruthlessly as private tyrannies. They're predators. We're prey, and every day we're eaten alive. They do it because they can, and in America by mandate.
Publicly owned US corporations, including financial ones, must serve shareholders by maximizing equity value through higher profits. They do it by exploiting nations, people and resources ruthlessly.
Social responsibility doesn't matter. Neither does being worker-friendly, a good citizen, or friend of the earth. Bottom line priorities alone matter. Failure to pursue fiduciary responsibilities means possible dismissal or shareholder lawsuits.
Yet nothing in America's Constitution or statute laws endow corporations with their rights. They usurped them by co-opting Washington, the nation's courts, state capitals, and city halls.
As a result, over half the world's largest economies are corporations. Financial ones controlling the power of money are most dominant.
Corporate personhood enhanced their power, yet imagine. Although corporations aren't human, they can live forever, change their identity, reside in many places globally, can't be imprisoned for wrongdoing, and can transform themselves into new entities for any reason.
They have the same rights and protections as people without the responsibilities. As a result, they operate freely unrestrained, especially financial giants controlling the power of money at the public's expense.
Beginning in the late 1960s, financialization grew more dominant. Economic control began shifting from industry to finance. Corporations are now seen as bundles of assets, the more liquid the better. A new monopoly finance capitalism developed to exploit it.
FIRE sector (finance, insurance, and real estate) predators capitalized. Casino capitalism gained prominence. Today it thrives. Major players took advantage, profiting hugely from speculation, chicanery and fraud.
A burgeoning financial superstructure gained a life of its own. Today it's omnipotent, especially in America and Europe. Their business model involves grabbing everything that smells money, no matter what harm is caused.
Money doesn't buy everything, but it buys enough influence to matter. The smartest guys in the room take advantage, buying politicians like toothpaste. Democracy's just a figure of speech.
Only wealth and power matter. Enough of them turned financial giants into monsters. Whatever they want, they get, including the right to operate freely outside the law, manipulate markets, bilk investors, strip-mine nations and people for profit, and get bailed out at public expense if overreach.