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back to article Crowd-pleasing study in capitalism conspiracy controversy

In what many took to be fodder for the capitalism-is-a-conspiracy theorists, boffins have claimed that about 150 companies, mostly banks, are controlling the majority of the economic power. It's the sort of statement that many have made in the wake of the global financial crisis and during the ongoing anti-capitalist protests in …

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Headmaster

@"banks ruled a lot of the world"

"I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire, ... The man that controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire. And I control the money supply." --Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild (1777-1836)

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Mushroom

sssshhhh

Don't tell the sheeple or they might lynch the right people like Paulson, Geitner and especially Chief Bubble himself Greenspan.

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Thumb Down

You mean you are saying bankers don't wield an inordinate amount of power in society? That doesn't seem plausible, even when dismissed as "capitalism-as-conspiracy". But then again, this is the Register, home of those who love computer scientists but hate climate scientists and global-warming-is-a-conspiracy theorists.

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Stop

Criticism of criticism

I cannot see that the Apple/Jobs example is a legitimate criticism of this study. Pointing outside the 147 identified controlling companies and saying "Look, they have some power too!" is merely sleight-of-hand. Firstly, you need to define "power" (which the author of the study does), and then look to see if there are a significant number of controlling companies that are *not* wielding the power that comes with control. Only then is there a legitimate criticism.

I'd bet that you wouldn't find one, let alone a significant number, because the whole point of ownership is control.

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So?

"A lot of people would dispute the premise that ownership is the same thing as power. A recent obvious example of the influence one company can have without owning lots of others is Apple. When Steve Jobs died, people from all over the world – including world leaders, politicians, celebs and the media, as well as the fans – reacted strongly, simply on the basis of the products his company made."

And...so what?

People reacted strongly. Fine. What does that actually mean, on any practical level? It means they liked the toys Apple made. Nothing more. Apple had/has little actual _power_ over anything very important: maybe some small degree of power over certain aspects of how people use their recreational time, and that's about it.

Also, if financial institutions hold the power, they're hardly likely to interfere with something that's making them money hand over fist like Apple, are they? Why mess with a good thing? So Apple doesn't seem like a particularly useful example from any angle. It might be more interesting to look at what happens when a tech company stops making money, or more precisely, when its share price drops. Viz, interestingly, Microsoft - which continues to make money hand over fist, yet due to a _perception_ in financial circles that it's old-fashioned, not cool any more, etc, etc, subject to substantial pressure from certain of its shareholders to change course.

(I'm hardly a Microsoft fan, note. But it is a more interesting example than Apple.)

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Trollface

probing with scientific methods

I find probing with unscientific methods far more satisfying.

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Anonymous Coward

Also

"Banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies." -- Thomas Jefferson

"There is no more powerful force in the universe than compound interest." -- Alfred Einstein

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but then...

https://www.xkcd.com/947/

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Anonymous Coward

Months old news.

I saw this on Zero Hedge and other financial websites months ago!

Financial corporations (not just banks) have grown so inflated (like a puffer fish) because government corruption gives corporations rights, protection and funding they should never have had; this bias has crippled and blocked much vital competition and creative destruction, thus resulted in corporatist crony-capitalist markets rather than genuine capitalist markets, thus economic cannibalism.

Corporations should never have been given any of the rights reserved for natural humans because they are businesses not people and giving them person rights just turns them into undead psychopaths; the fraud of given them these rights is why we have ridiculous amounts of debt, thus wage slavery.

Socialism doesn't work, it makes parasites of us all; it causes Ponzi schemes, bankrupts states and economies, corrupts markets and causes empires to fall; at its core is the root of all evil, the love of money, actually debt based factional reserve currency, with none of the insight that real money represents units of value (Capital), not fraud and other waste.

A unit of value can be a fixed unit of a useful resource, good or work time, but is always finite with typically slow variation in amount, unlike our current fraudulent fiat 'money' system.

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Paris Hilton

Conspiracy theory?

Must any criticism of capitalism be labelled a conspiracy theory?

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@metaspective

No, but please make sure you're actually criticizing capitalism and not the quasi-socialist mess that is the current U.S. (and majority of the world's) economic system.

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