Who controls the world economy?
Short answer: A shockingly small number of individuals and companies.
In the fascinating TED Talk below, James Glattfelder uses complexity theory to study how control flows through the interconnected global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable. His model analyzed the ownership of over 600,000 shareholders and found that :
Only 737 shareholders (or a mere 0.1%) control 80% of the total value of all global corporations.
Of these only 146 control 40 percent of the total value of all global corporations.
And they are mostly financial institutions in the USA and UK.
Clearly, the high-degree of interconnectivity and concentration of power in a few hundred players, makes the system highly vulnerable and fragile. This is precisely what brought the entire global economy to the brink of collapse in 2008 – and it could easily happen again.
As Nassim Taleb says in his latest book Antifragile – the entire system is highly fragile and susceptible to black swan events.
Link to earlier post on Taleb’s book :