Monday, November 14, 2005

The Corporate Elite

Many people (including me) throw around the term "corporate elite." So who are the coroprate elite? What does the term really mean?

The corporate elite are those at the heads of the world's major corporations. Last year, 294 executives of area companies received packages worth $1 million or more. Check out what the top 100 CEOs earned in 2004. Many of these people sit on not just one, but several corporate boards. The network amongst these people is deep and wide.

I just found an excellent Web site that consists of a database that lists the corporate boards of all of the top US companies, (www.theyrule.net) and links them together. For instance, the May Department Stores Company (which owns Filene's, Kaufmann's, Lord & Taylor, and several other chains) has both Joyce M. Roche and Helene L. Kaplan on its corporate board. Roche also sits on the corporate boards of both SBC Communications and Anheuser-Bush. Kaplan also sits on the corporate boards of Met Life, Exxon Mobil, and J.P. Morgan Chase. On the corporate board of Exxon Mobil sits William R. Howell. Howell sits on the boards of Haliburton, American Electric Power, Pfizer, and Williams Companies, Inc.

So I've listed three people--namely Joyce M. Roche, Helene L. Kaplan, and William R. Howell--and we see that among them they sit on the corporate boards of 10 companies that are responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars moving around in the world economy. Three people--with influence over hundreds of billions of dollars. Safe to say that they are members of the corporate elite.

TheyRule allows you to enter two companies and see how the members of their corporate boards are linked. And one of the most interesting features is the saving and loading of "maps." A "map" in this context is a connection of corporate directors to the boards they sit on and to each other. Individuals have created hundreds of maps and saved them on this site that show strong connections between everything from G. H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton, to Big Oil and the Military Industrial Complex, right down to Coke and Pepsi... The links also extend into the cabinets of both Bush and Clinton, educational institutions, the stock markets...

Big business is united with Democrats and Republicans, colleges and universities, banks, the news media, and even armies... Virtually nothing stands in their way. The only thing that can is the united will of the people. Unfortunately, politics and business (in the form of the media) stand firmly opposed to the unity of the people, because they realize it would mean the end of their hegemony. Who else besides me thinks it's time we saw right through the propeganda of divisiveness and united to fight the common enemy of the people?

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Count me in. But I'm not going to be a leader in this battle. Loyal soldier for sure, but it's your generation that has to lead.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous PJ said...

Your observations here fit right in with an article in the 10/31/05 issue of Time entitled "The Broken Promise" (copies of which are on the way via USPS to close relatives). Anyone in the 20-40 age range should read this article. The "broken promise" in the title refers to the way in which Congress has allowed corporations to simply slough off pension obligations to millions of older workers (like me). Sad, scary and disgusting.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Bucher said...

While I think this overstates the levels of collusion just a bit (realize that these people are as much or more in competition with one another than with the lower classes), no doubt anyone in this world is willing to help and work with the person they know over the millions they don't. We certainly live in a world that, top to bottom, readily engages in nepotism and patronage, and as history has proven time and time again, even a change in class power doesn’t change this.

Rather than pointing the finger at the certain class of people in power at the moment, shouldn’t we figure out what it is about human nature that causes this, and how and where to compensate for it?

As an aside, there's an article in this weeks (or maybe last weeks at this point) Time magazine about ambition... I've not read it yet, but it appears to discuss those people at the top, and what about them is different from the rest of us. Hopefully it addresses at least part of the question.

4:58 PM  
Blogger and i said...

how to compensate for greed and power-lust? i would almost say "christianity" but in practice that doesn't often help... ok that was a low blow...

my personal disdain for the corporate elite not withstanding... i point my finger more at the resource which is www.theyrule.net rather than the people on these corporate boards. as in "hey people! check this out! you can do your own research as to which people serve on which corporate boards." i point the finger to this resource to help people debunk things like the myth of the liberal media...

7:24 PM  
Blogger Bucher said...

Just because there are links, doesn't mean there's collusion. Clinton and GHW Bush have worked together on tsunami relief - it doesn't mean they agree, or are chummy. As a more personal example... I grew up in the South, went to a conservative university, and worked for a Republican on the Hill... does this make ME conservative? Of course not, but it would appear that way.

I guess my point is that while I acknowledge the existance of a power class, and that undoubtedly they're interested in maintaining that status, I think it's dangerous to make the jump that it's some orchestrated effort. Eventually people are going to start clamoring for proof...

6:55 AM  
Blogger Bucher said...

I must admit, though... the website is pretty fascinating...

6:56 AM  
Blogger and i said...

dude why are you up so early on a saturday?!?

i think of it not in terms of collusion, but in terms of "how many phone calls away is this person from this company?" not collusion, but access...

9:00 AM  
Blogger Bucher said...

Who was up early?

12:09 AM  

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