Who Rules the World – Ownership and Finance Capital

Published 2010

Publication Type: Conference Publications

Author(s): Murray, Georgina, Peetz, David Robert

This paper examines the relationship of a transnational capitalist class to the nation state through the control that is exercised by virtue of the ownership & direction of equity funds. We use cross-national data on corporate assets, turnover & shareholdings to investigate the direct & indirect ownership & hence control of the world’s 250 largest corporations. We identify key corporations that in turn hold ownership (through shareholdings) that crosses nation-state boundaries & establishes substantial power in relation to nation states. We find that the influence of finance capital extends far beyond the provision of loans to finance corporate expansion. Both directly & indirectly (through funds they administer), finance capital owns or at least controls the ownership of a substantial proportion of largest transnational corporations, to such an extent that the idea of distinguishing fractions of capital between ‘finance capital’, ‘manufacturing capital’ & other sectors of capital becomes increasingly problematic.

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