Andy Coghlan and Debora MacKenzie report for New Scientist:
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. 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).
"Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it's conspiracy theories or free-market," says James Glattfelder. "Our analysis is reality-based."
Previous studies have found that a few TNCs own large chunks of the world's economy, but they included only a limited number of companies and omitted indirect ownerships, so could not say how this affected the global economy - whether it made it more or less stable, for instance.
The Zurich team can. From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, they pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.~ more... ~ Also... 'One super-corporation runs the global economy'... and it could be terrifyingly unstable ~
HOLY BAILOUT - Federal Reserve Now Backstopping $75 Trillion Of Bank Of America's Derivatives Trades
This story from Bloomberg just hit the wires this morning. Bank of America is shifting derivatives in its Merrill investment banking unit to its depository arm, which has access to the Fed discount window and is protected by the FDIC.
This means that the investment bank's European derivatives exposure is now backstopped by U.S. taxpayers. Bank of America didn't get regulatory approval to do this, they just did it at the request of frightened counterparties. Now the Fed and the FDIC are fighting as to whether this was sound. The Fed wants to "give relief" to the bank holding company, which is under heavy pressure.
This is a direct transfer of risk to the taxpayer done by the bank without approval by regulators and without public input. You will also read below that JP Morgan is apparently doing the same thing with $79 trillion of notional derivatives guaranteed by the FDIC and Federal Reserve.
What this means for you is that when Europe finally implodes and banks fail, U.S. taxpayers will hold the bag for trillions in CDS insurance contracts sold by Bank of America and JP Morgan. Even worse, the total exposure is unknown because Wall Street successfully lobbied during Dodd-Frank passage so that no central exchange would exist keeping track of net derivative exposure.
This is a recipe for Armageddon. Bernanke is absolutely insane. No wonder Geithner has been hopping all over Europe begging and cajoling leaders to put together a massive bailout of troubled banks. His worst nightmare is Eurozone bank defaults leading to the collapse of the large U.S. banks who have been happily selling default insurance on European banks since the crisis began...
Oct 20: Athens Protests – Live Blogging in English-News, Pcts, Videos
Live updates from the General Strike, day 2 – October 20
The Occupy movement has lit a fire for real change
In just a few weeks the Occupy movement has helped bust open the political class veto on the scale of change demanded by the crisis – and now that opportunity needs to be seized.
An Occupy Wall Street Challenge to the "Professional Left"
The time for lip service is OVER. That's why people are camped out in a park.
Occupy Sydney trio charged with crate theft
Propaganda 2.0 and the Rise of ‘Narrative Networks’
DARPA, the Pentagon’s advanced concepts think-tank, is looking to take propaganda to the next level, and they’re hoping to do so by controlling the very way their targets perceive and interpret the flow of incoming information.
Darpa Wants to Master the Science of Propaganda
Mark Twain once tried to distinguish between the storyteller’s art and tales that a machine could generate. He observed that stringing “incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities,” was the province of the American storyteller. A machine might imitate simple formulas behind yarns, but never quite master them.
Birth of 7th Military Information Support Battalion is a special event
The 7th is the final battalion to be activated as part of the growth of military information support operations, formerly known as psychological operations.
Those soldiers' job is to convey selected information to foreign audiences to influence emotions, reasoning and behavior.
The battalion will work for the special operations commander of Africa Command, which has headquarters in Germany and oversees U.S. military activity in Africa.
Euro-Parliament opens its own propaganda centre: and you're paying for it
Parlamentarium eu siteToday was the first open day of the new 'Parlamentarium' at the European Parliament here in Brussels. The thing is billed as a visitors' centre, but in fact it is a propaganda centre, a multi-million pound way for the MEPs to stroke their own egos.
Project Hostile Intent (FAST)
The US Department of Homeland Security is developing a system designed to detect "hostile thoughts" in people walking through border posts, airports and public places. The DHS says recent tests prove it works.
roject Hostile Intent as it was called, is aimed to help security staff choose who to pull over for a gently probing interview - "or more".
The DHS science unit gave an update on the project, now dubbed the less-hostile-sounding Future Attribute Screening Technologies (FAST) .
DHS Claims The FAST Program has been through stringent privacy controls and that the data is never matched to a name. It is only used to make decisions about whether to question someone, and then discarded.
Make no mistake, they have no intentions on discarding any data as DHS states that they have a Congressional Mandate to conduct data mining activities from almost all public and private sources. This has raised some very serious privacy concerns. DHS claims they respect our privacy and have tried to work that into their solution however, they police themselves as they have their own Chief Privacy Officer they consult on OUR privacy concerns.
DHS knows they walk a tight line when it comes to doing whatever the hell they wan't and breaking the law when it comes to projects such as FAST. In order to get around some restrictions they fly under the flag of "research and science"
For More Information On How They Plan To Use "research" to justify this privacy assult on you, be sure to read this 2008 document produced by DHS is quite the display of using the Delphi Technique to achieve consensus -
Skirmishes break out during largely peaceful Greece protest
Angry protesters vowed to bring Greece to a standstill on the second day of a general strike today while disgruntled lawmakers vote on the details of a deeply unpopular austerity package needed to stave off bankruptcy.
Athens night clashes as Greece fights austerity [RT]
Firefighters were called in late on Wednesday to extinguish piles of rubbish set ablaze by protesters in Athens after riots broke out during a demonstration by about 100-thousand people on the first of a two-day general strike. Violence spread across the centre of the city earlier in the day, following the massive anti-government rally against painful new austerity measures. Authorities said about 3,000 police were deployed on the capital's streets.
Special Lord Monckton Interview: Scientific Misconduct Needed to Push Nwo Objective 1/5
special interiview with Lord Christopher Monckton about Al Gore's climate gate hoax, and the hidden Nwo objective behind it all.
The Hamster Wheel: Lord Monckton
Craig Reucassel interviews comedy genius Sacha Baron Cohen in character as his latest creation: climate skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton.
Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
THE GLOBAL CHANGE - INDIGNADOS OCCUPY TOGETHER
Audiovisual project that shows the evolution of the indignant movement initiated in Spain and that has multiplied in different countries of the world crystallising in a world-wide demonstration on October 15, 2011 whose peculiarity is that finishes in Wall Street, the heart of the financial system and origin of the global crisis.
Facebook Is Building Shadow Profiles of Non-Users
An anonymous reader writes
"As noted previously, Max Schrems of Europe Versus Facebook has filed numerous complaints about Facebook's data collection practices. One complaint that has failed to draw much scrutiny regards Facebook's creation of Shadow Profiles. 'This is done by different functions that encourage users to hand personal data of other users and non-users to Facebook... (e.g. synchronizing mobile phones, importing personal data from e-mail providers, importing personal information from instant messaging services, sending invitations to friends or saving search queries when users search for other people on facebook.com). This means that even if you don't use it, you may already have a profile on Facebook.'"
Russian artists VOINA detained, harassed
Russian police pose as German journalists
Palestinian 'terrorist' takes aim at Sacha Baron Cohen
Man depicted as Lebanese terrorist in Cohen's film Bruno files suit against him for $115 million.
Art as a Weapon
Eric Drooker and the persistence of the committed artist
How nonviolence protects the state
This week's guest is Peter Gelderloos
Parasite Turns Wasps Into Outsider Zombie Queens
Even in a world where parasites routinely turn insects into zombies, radically altering their bodies and behavior to serve the parasites’ demands, the story of Polistes dominulus and Xenos vesparum stands out for its weirdness.
While there are many success stories that have been told by macrobiotic supporters, there are a number of strong exceptions. Aveline and Lilly Kushi (wife and daughter of the father of American macrobiotics) were lifelong, dedicated practitioners of the macrobiotic lifestyle but both passed away as a result of cancer. Renowned macrobiotics teacher Cecile Levin and macrobiotics speaker Dr. Anthony Sattilaro, both longtime macrobiotic practitioners, also passed away from cancer. Even Michio Kushi, the student of George Ohsawa who brought macrobiotics to America has undergone an operation to remove a tumor in his intestine.