The dreaded “network of corporate control,” or When Mutual Funds Rule the World

Some fans of the Occupy movement, such as Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing, have been hyping a research paper alleging that 150 companies control the world economy through interlocking ownership shares. Turns out most of the leading positions in the supposed “control” network are held by… mutual fund operators and other managers of collective investment vehicles. Tyler Cowen, Yves Smith and Tim Worstall offer debunking assistance.


  • If “the corporations” actually ran the government, there would be no SEC, FCC, FDA, NLRB or any other alphabet regulars.

  • And yet Dahlia Lithwick at Slate regards “corporate control of government” as so well established that it can be simply be asserted as fact with no supporting evidence:

  • Sounds like the Global Warming BS all over again Walter.

    On the other hand all of these “Occupy X ” protests can be shown to be connected “through interlocking” organizations to a few people, if you follow the money.

  • Noah

    Actually, there might even be more of them. Big business LOVES regulation (up to a point). It keeps the more nimble, smaller competitors at bay.

    In aerospace (my knothole) there are things like ITAR, EAR, a blizzard of contracting regulations, etc. I sit in the same area where there are people solely responsible for keeping track of US Govt property used on various defense contracts (you do the math on how much that costs) – mom and pop shop or even 100-200 person enterprise has zero chance of complying with this mountain of regulation, hence has zero chance of threatening the big companies that can afford to pass along this overhead.

  • There are plenty of companies who don’t want to compete in a free market. Regulation up to a point certainly helps that. Consider the New York taxi medallions. I don’t believe anyone could argue that holding a small number of medallions benefits the customer, but it certainly keeps the competition out.

    Walter Williams wrote an article a few days ago that mentions how government helps maintain inefficient business. Ironically, the two companies he mentions also have a strong union presence.

  • Taxi medallions, BTW, are now going for a million bucks a pop in NYC…