“This is one hood and we have one common enemy”


Cf. the latest indi­ca­tors on total inequal­ity and total con­cen­tra­tion of wealth and corporate power:

The work, to be published in PloS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with inter­lock­ing own­er­ships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What’s more, although they rep­re­sented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to col­lec­tively own through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and man­u­fac­tur­ing firms — the “real” economy — rep­re­sent­ing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies — all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity — that con­trolled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glat­tfelder. Most were financial insti­tu­tions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

Not only are companies which increase their stock-market cap­i­tal­iza­tion and create profits chiefly on the basis of financial manip­u­la­tion amongst the largest con­glom­er­ates in the world, they are the ones which own most of the other companies. We have moved from a world in which capital con­trolled labor by first hiring it, and then extract­ing value from it at the physical point of pro­duc­tion, at the factory or in the field, to a very different world. In this world, capital accu­mu­lates in large part through debt payments, extracted on a monthly basis, and various other ways of reducing the value of people’s holdings and effective income – for example, the manip­u­la­tion of the price of oil and other com­modi­ties, or through spiking the inflation rate, so that incomes no longer keep pace with inflation.

Another way of re-distributing social power in the form of capital has been inflating a housing bubble such that many people in the United States and elsewhere now have mortgages that are larger than the value of their homes. They will be in debt forever. What this amounts to in sum is a return to feudalism: taking income directly, or at a close remove, from workers or the lower-class and giving it to capital. Feudalism had its peasant wars. We have the global occupations.

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