Infographics expose the Davos class: their wealth, their connections and their interests

23 January 2013
Press release

TNI launches insightful infographics at start of World Economic Forum that unveil shocking reality and dangers of concentrated corporate power.

Programmes

As the World Economic Forum opens in Davos, Netherlands-based research institute, the Transnational Institute, has launched a series of compelling infographics that expose an extreme and unprecedented concentration of economic and corporate power that threatens to undermine democracy.  

The infographics, State of Power 2013, drawing on publicly-available data, show that:
 

  • 7 out of 10 of the richest corporations are oil and energy companies
  • Less than 1% of corporations, mainly banks, control the shares of 40% of global businesses
  • More than half of the top publicly held banks and oil companies sit on each others' boards
  • 40 of the top 100 largest economies in the world are corporations
  • 0.001% of the world's population, only 100,000 people, have assets of $14.6 trillion dollars, more than a fifth of the world's GDP
  • The assets of the world's millionaires could cancel the debts of EU crisis countries (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain) ten times
  • just the increase in wealth in 2011 of 25 of the world's richest billionaires would pay for the entire student university costs in the UK eleven times
  • The total wealth of these 25 billionnaires would pay for the entire cost of universal primary & secondary education in developing world almost four times.


Acclaimed author and President of TNI's Board, Susan George, in an introduction to the State of Power 2013 infographics said:

“The interconnected nature of the world’s most powerful corporations; interchangeable individuals with common interests and goals unveils a genuine international, nomadic social class – that I call the  Davos class. Its members do not belong to a conspiracy and its modus operandi can be readily observed and identified.Why bother with conspiracies when the study of power and interests will do the job? ”

“Yet despite their nice manners and well-tailored clothes, this Davos class is predatory. Their programme since the 1970s, usually called ‘neoliberalism’, is based on freedom for financial innovation, no matter where it may lead, on privatization, deregulation, and unlimited growth; on the supposedly free, self-regulating market and free trade that gave birth to the casino economy.  This economy has failed spectacularly and is now thoroughly discredited, at least in the public mind." 

“Our task as the 99% is to build a vast coalition of all those who agree with the diagnosis, all those who want to fight for their future but also for a fairer society, a better world, a healthier planet.”