Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Network of Global Corporate Control

To go along with the preceding post, here is a fascinating scholarly paper brought to my attention by my colleague Greg Leffel. The article offers a very detailed accounting of how a very small number of transnational corporations exert tremendous control over the sum total of decision making capacity in the global economy. The bulk of the article is very highly technical, but has enough plain text to convey the central points. So, just try to look past all the mathematics (as I did!), and focus on the text. Here is a short excerpt from the beginning of the paper:

"The structure of the control network of transnational corporations affects global market competition and financial stability. So far, only small national samples were studied and there was no appropriate methodology to assess control globally. We present the first investigation of the architecture of the international ownership network, along with the computation of the control held by each global player. We find that transnational corporations form 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 researchers and policy makers."

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