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Revealed: the capitalist network that runs the world AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.
The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.
The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York's Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world's transnational corporations (TNCs). (New Scientist)
keywords: Affiliated Managers Group, Allianz Se, Aviva, Axa, Bank Of America, Bank Of New York Mellon, Barclays, Bnp Paribas, Brandes Investment Partners, California, Capital Group Companies, Capital Group International, China Petrochemical Group Company, Cnce, Credit Suisse, Deposit Insurance Corporation Of Japan, Deutsche Bank, Dodge & Cox, Fmr Corporation, Franklin Resources Inc, George Sugihara, Goldman Sachs, Ing Groep NV, Invesco, James Glattfelder, John Driffill, Jpmorgan Chase, LA Jolla, Legal & General Group, Legg Mason, Lehman Brothers, Lloyds Tsb Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Merrill Lynch, Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Group, Morgan Stanley, Natixis, New England Complex Systems Institute, New Scientist, Nomura Holdings, Northern Trust Corporation, Occupy Wall Street, Old Mutual Public Limited Company, Plos One, Resona Holdings, Schroders, Scripps Institution Of Oceanography, Société Générale, Standard Life, State Street Corporation, Sun Life Financial, Swiss Federal Institute Of Technology, Switzerland, T Rowe Price Group, The Depository Trust Company, Tiaa, Ubs, Unicredito Italiano Spa, United States, University Of London, Vanguard Group, Vereniging Aegon, Walton Enterprises, Wellington Management CO, Yaneer Bar-yam, Zurich
One last chance to save mankind Carbon trading, with its huge government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It’s not going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it’ll make a lot of money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning. I am not against renewable energy, but to spoil all the decent countryside in the UK with wind farms is driving me mad. It’s absolutely unnecessary, and it takes 2500 square kilometres to produce a gigawatt – that’s an awful lot of countryside. (New Scientist)
Handheld terahertz wand to unmask terrorists TeraView has just begun working with Smiths Detection of Bushey, Hertfordshire, one of the world's largest manufacturers of X-ray security scanners, to develop a hand-held terahertz security wand that will scan passengers. But to avoid privacy concerns, it will not be used to generate an image on a screen. (New Scientist)
All-seeing scan spares your blushes But the crucial difference may be the change in public opinion since the attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 September last year. "The increased interest in security is likely to speed up the process for commercialising this technology," says Koller. (New Scientist)
Edible HIV vaccine breakthrough Maize genetically modified to contain a key protein found on the surface of the monkey form of HIV has been created by US company ProdiGene. This development brings an edible, more effective, HIV vaccine for people a step closer, says the US National Institutes of Health.
The protein - SIV gp120 - is the simian form of a protein that will be used in an HIV vaccine trial on people in Thailand later in 2002. Researchers will inject a canarypox virus modified to contain HIV genes and then a booster shot of HIV gp120. Both the trial and ProdiGene's SIV maize research are being funded by the NIH.
But the injected HIV gp120 is not expected to provoke a strong immune response in the mucosal layers of the body, whereas an ingested vaccine would. "For AIDS, a mucosal vaccine is important in two respects," says Stuart Shapiro, of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, US. (New Scientist)
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