No 2363 Posted by fw, August 30, 2018
NOTE — To access my other posts related to Prof. Phillips’ book and video, click on the Tab in the top left margin, titled Giants: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips ~ Links to All Posts.
“Capital power needs to exist around the world. The globalization of trade and capital brings the world elites into increasingly interconnected relationships to the point that scholars for the past few decades have begun to talk about the development of a transnational capitalist class. … globalization has elevated transnational corporations to more influential international roles, with a result of nation states being less significant than international agreements developed through the World Trade Organization and other international institutions. … Emerging from these multinational corporations is a transnational capitalist class whose loyalties and interests are still rooted in their corporations but are increasingly international in scope. … People at the absolute peak of the global power pyramid. They are predominately white, mostly from North America and Europe, and they are the ones that set the agendas in the G20, the G7, NATO, the World Bank and the WTO, World Trade Organization.” —Prof. Peter Phillips
Today’s post is Part 2 in my series of transcripts of a one-hour video of Prof. Peter Phillips’ talk about his 240-page book Giants: The Global Power Elite. Peter Phillips is a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University.
Yesterday’s post, Part 1 of the series, included: 1) a brief explanation of why Phillips chose a Diego Rivera mural for the book’s cover; 2) a numerical summary of global wealth inequality; and 3) a brief overview of the members, structure and primary function of the American Ruling Class.
Today’s post, Part 2 of the series of transcripts, presents a profile of the transnational capitalist class (TCC), including: its emergence stemming from the globalization of trade and capital; how the rising influence of transnational corporations has gradually eroded the role of sovereign states in negotiating international agreements; the influence of the TCC on the agendas of the G20, G7, and other international organizations; the structure of the financial core of the TTC; the TTC’s 17 “Giants”, managing over a trillion dollars in 2017; Phillips’ contention that Western governments work in the interest of the Giants’ financial core; the fact that the combined wealth of the “Giants” and “Near Giants” totals a quarter of the world’s wealth; how Phillips helps readers to grasp the size of a trillion dollars; and lastly, every government institution, US and EU presidents, and intelligent agencies want to protect that wealth.
To facilitate selective access to the video’s content, my transcript, which appears below the video, is chronologically indexed, and edited, as necessary, to enhance text readability of Phillip’s talk. In addition, to enable skimming, I have added my own headings and subheadings in [square brackets] and, as well, text highlighting to bring important text to the fore.
The transcript for Part 2 starts at 10:30 and ends at 17:10.
TRANSCRIPT (From 10:29 to 17:10)
[PROFILE OF THE TRANSNATIONAL CAPITALIST CLASS]
[Globalization of trade and capital triggers development of transnational capitalist class]
10:29 — Capital power elites exist around the world. The globalization of trade and capital brings the world elites into increasingly interconnected relationships to the point that scholars for the past few decades have begun to talk about the development of a transnational capitalist class.
[Rising influence of transnational corporations erodes role of sovereign states in negotiating international agreements]
One of the earliest works on this topic is the book The Transnational Capitalist Class (Dec. 2000) by Leslie Sklar, economist in London. [He] argued that globalization has elevated transnational corporations to more influential international roles, with a result of nation states being less significant than international agreements developed through the World Trade Organization and other international institutions.
[Powerful transnational capitalist class influences agendas of G20, G7 and other international organizations]
Emerging from these multinational corporations is a transnational capitalist class whose loyalties and interests are still rooted in their corporations but are increasingly international in scope. Deep inside the transnational class is what David Rothkopt calls, in his book The Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making (Mar. 2009) – he is the one that talks about the one thousandth of 1%, the six to seven thousand people who are the Davos-attending-private-jet-flying-mega-corporation-interlocked-policy-planning-elites of the world. People at the absolute peak of the global power pyramid. They are predominately white, mostly from North America and Europe, and they are the ones that set the agendas in the G20, the G7, NATO, the World Bank and the WTO, World Trade Organization.
[199 directors on boards of 17 asset management firms are financial core of transnational capitalist class]
12:16 – In our research, we identify the people on the boards of directors of the top 17 asset management firms of the world. These firms have in excess of one trillion dollars in management. These 17 firms collectively have 199 directors on their boards. We think that this group of 199 individuals represents the financial core of the world’s transnational capitalist class.
[Chart of the 17 GIANTS — managed over one trillion dollars in 2017] —
If you look at the chart on the back of the picture I gave you – that’s the back of the cover image – there’s a chart there that shows you what we call the “Giants”. When I say “Giants”, these are the corporations that managed in excess of one trillion dollars in 2017. Many of them are far in excess – they’re four or five trillion, three trillion dollars. And the total for those 17 firms is $41.1 trillion. They’re managed by only 199 people. So a room twice this size, they could all fit in and have cocktails. It’s not very many.
[Western governments work in the interests of Giants’ financial core]
What’s interesting about these, Western governments and policy boards work in the interests of this financial core to protect the free flow of capital investment anywhere in the world, and the continuing returns needed for capital growth. The financial core of the transnational class are the directors of banks and asset firms that control this $41 trillion. In addition, they also serve many other smaller asset management firms, adding traditional trillions of dollars and more.
So, if you look at the chart I gave you – the one with all the squiggly lines — those are the 17 [Giants] and they control 41 trillion – and they’re all invested in each other. So the 41 trillion, 403 billion is invested in each other. They’re all collectively invested, in that this 41 trillion dollars becomes one large super-connected global capital structure managed by less than 200 people. And that’s the power of elites today.
[Chart of Near Giants – Giants + Near Giants wealth is a quarter of world’s wealth]
14:49 – If you look at the backside of that chart, you’ll see that the 17 trillion-dollar companies, there’s three more new giants that by 2018 have been added into the trillionaires. And then there’s nine near giants who are all in excess of 800 billion. So if you put those all together, we’re talking about 30 big companies that control in excess of 50 trillion dollars [unintelligible]. So we’re talking about a quarter of all the wealth in the world concentrated in one place.
[Here’s one way to grasp the size of a trillion dollars — $1,000,000,000,000,000,000]
15:28 – If you tried to think about a trillion dollars, I mean it’s really kind of an amazing thing to even think about. The entire US Military Empire and NATO together – all the bases around the world, all the military wars and things we’re doing – does NOT exceed a trillion.
[Every government institution, US and EU presidents, and intelligent agencies want to protect that wealth]
So, when you talk about 50 times that, managed by just a few hundred people, that’s a massive amount of very solid consolidated wealth that every government institution, every president, every president of European countries, all the intelligence agencies want to protect.
That’s what American capitalism is about; it’s about protecting that wealth.
[The interlocked capital of top asset firms is closer to two to three trillion]
16:25 – The top asset firms tend to invest in each other – JP Morgan, Chase, and Blackrock – they have this $403 billion invested collectively in each other. The interlocked capital is likely much higher. It’s probably closer to two to three trillion because that $400 billion that we’ve discovered was only about 25% that NASDAQ publicly lists in terms of co-investments. So 75% of these investments are held privately and we don’t know where they are.
END OF PART 2 OF TRANSCRIPT
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