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The deadly corporate world empire

05/01/2014

Good wishes for a happy new year are ritual. They are no more than simple wishes, because they do not change the course of the world, where the super powerful continue their strategy of global domination. We need to think and even pray about this, because its economic, social, cultural, spiritual consequences and implications for the future of the species and nature can be dreadful.

Many people, such as Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, hoped that the legacy of the 2008 crisis would be a great debate about the type of society we want to build. They were totally wrong. That debate never happened. To the contrary, the logic that caused the crisis has been retaken with a vengeance. Richard Wilkinson, one of the main specialists on the theme of inequality, was more attentive and said a while back in an interview with the German newspaper, Die Zeit, that “the fundamental question is this: do we or do we not really want to live according to the principle that the strongest appropriates almost everything and the weakest falls behind?”

The super-rich and super-powerful decided that they want to live according to the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest, and that the weakest have to put up with it. But, Wilkinson comments: «I believe we all need greater cooperation and reciprocity, because people desire greater social equality». This desire is intentionally suppressed by the wealthy.

In general, capitalist logic is ferocious: one enterprise consumes another, (euphemistically, it is said that they have merged). When the point is reached where only a few big enterprises remain, they change the logic: instead of warring with each other, they make an alliance of wolves among themselves, and together behave as sheep. Arranged this way, they have more power, they can accumulate with more security for themselves and for their stockholders, without having to worry at all for the well being of society.

The political and economic influence they exert over governments, most of which are weaker than they, is extremely coercive, interfering in the price of the commodities, and reducing social investments, in health, education, transportation and security. The thousands of people who occupy the streets around the world and in Brazil, recognize through intuition this domination by a new type of empire, whose mottos are: «greed is good» and «let’s devour as much as we can».

There are excellent studies about the domination of the world by the great multilateral corporations. David Korten’s When the Corporations rule the World is well known. But a synthesizing study was needed, and this was done by the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School, (ETH), in Zurich, in 2011, one of the most respected centers of investigation, rivaling the Northamerican Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT. The document is short, no more than 10 pages long, with another 26 pages on its methodology, to show the absolute transparency of its results. It has been reviewed by the professor of economy, Ladislau Dowbor, of the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, PUC-SP, Brazil, in his web page, <<http://dowbor.org>&gt;. We will base ourselves on that document.

From the 30 million existing corporations, ETH selected 43 thousand to better study their functioning logic. Thus is articulated the simplified scheme: there is a small central financial nucleus with two aspects: on one side are the corporations that constitute the nucleus, and on the other, those that are controlled by the nucleus. This framework creates a network of global corporative control. The small nucleus, (core), constitutes a super entity. From that nucleus emanates the control of the network, that facilitates cost reduction, risk protection, the increase in confidence and, what is most important, the determination of what lines of the global economy must be fortified, and where.

That small nucleus, mainly comprised of large banks, holds the majority of the stock in the other corporations. The cupola controls 80% of the entire network of corporations. They are only 737 actors, in 147 big enterprises. These include the Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, UBS, Santander, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas (among many others). In the end, less than 1% of enterprises control 40% of all the network.

This data lets us understand the indignation of the Occupiers and others who denounce the 1% of enterprises that do what they want with the resources coming from the sweat of the other 99% of the population. They neither work nor produce anything. They only make more money with the money put into the speculative markets.

It was this absurd voracity of accumulating without limit that caused the 2008 systemic crisis. This logic deepens inequality more and more, and makes it more difficult to overcome the crisis.  How much inequality can the peoples of the world tolerate? Everything has its limits and the economy is not everything. But now we have been allowed to see the entrails of the monster. As Dowbor says: «The truth is that we have ignored the elephant in the middle of the living room». The elephant is breaking everything, the crystal, the dishes, and trampling the people. But…  for how long? The world’s ethical sensibility assures us that a society cannot subsist very long if it is based on super exploitation, deceit and death.

Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, alfaro_melina@yahoo.com.ar,
done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.

3 Comentários leave one →
  1. 06/01/2014 8:30

    Reblogged this on PASO A LA UTOPÍA.

  2. Matheus permalink
    07/01/2014 17:41

    Prezado Leonardo,

    Se possível, gostaria de solicitar a referência sobre o estudo do ETH citado no texto, procurei mas não consegui encontrá-lo. Tenho grande interesse no assunto. Um abraço.

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