Scientists have discovered that 147 companies, each regarded by the US government as a person under the Constitution, exert effective control over 37,000,000 companies.
Transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie struc- ture 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.
From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37,000,000 companies and investors worldwide, the researchers pulled out all 43,060 Trans-National Corporations and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.
The analysis shows that the global market is dominated by an economic "super-entity" - a cabal of companies whose ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the global financial network.
In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network [...]
Our results show that, globally, top holders are at least in the position to exert considerable control, either formally (e.g., voting in shareholder and board meetings) or via informal negotiations