A Swiss study appears to have uncovered what anti-capitalist activists have been claiming for years — that the global economy is controlled by a small group of deeply interconnected entities.
But don’t grab a pitchfork and head to the nearest Occupy protest just yet. Systems researchers say this isn’t the result of an Illuminati-type global conspiracy, but rather a natural force to be expected.
“Such structures are common in nature,” complex systems expert George Sudihara told NewScientist.
According to the study’s authors — a trio of systems researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology — the research isn’t ideologically motivated. Instead, they say, it’s the first attempt at mapping the power structure of the global economy, an effort that may help to prevent future financial crises.
The study is the first to look at all 43,060 transnational corporations and the web of ownership between them - and created a ‘map’ of 1,318 companies at the heart of the global economy.
147 companies formed a ‘super entity’ within this, controlling 40 per cent of its wealth. All own part or all of one another. Most are banks - the top 20 includes Barclays and Goldman Sachs. But the close connections mean that the network could be vulnerable to collapse.