Financial Elites and Transnational Business

Financial Elites and Transnational Business

Who Rules the World?

Edited by Georgina Murray and John Scott

Several expert contributors focus on global issues, including the role of transnational finance, interlocking directorates, ownership and tax havens. Others examine how these issues at the global level interact with the regional or nation state level in the US, the UK, China, Australia and Mexico. The books scrutinizes globalization from a fresh, holistic perspective, examining the relationship between the national and transnational to uncover the most significant structures and agents of power. Possible policy futures are also considered.

Chapter 2: The Financialization of Global Corporate Ownership

David Peetz and Georgina Murray

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, international politics, political economy, public policy


David Peetz and Georgina Murray In this chapter we investigate how embedded finance capital is within very large global corporations. The global financial crisis exposed the frailties of the logic of the lending practices of finance capital. One noteworthy aspect of how the crisis has been interpreted is that finance capital appears to be perceived as a distinctive part of the global economy with practices quite separate from other industries. But is this really the case? Is finance capital just one part of the global economy, one amongst many industries, albeit a very distinct one? Or is it the core of global capitalism, as demonstrated by its role in the ownership of global corporations? The centralization of capital (and resultant polarization of wealth between rich and poor) has been the theme of sociological writers (Marx and Engels 1848; Scott 1979; Connell and Irving 1992; Gilding 1999; Domhoff 2006; Murray 2006) for a long time, but now there is a shift toward exploring the idea that globalization has brought new class relations (see Robinson and Harris 2000; Kentor and Jang 2004; Glattfelder and Battiston 2009; Carroll 2010; Robinson, 2010). These writers focus in some part on the possible emergence of a transnational class because capital has become more centralized and more actively involved in international trade and capital flows. Carroll, for example, talks about the role of financialization – and the move from ‘patient money’ to ‘agile money’ – in reshaping the behaviour of firms, with finance capital ‘exercis[ing] power not through...

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