Who Rules the World?
Edited by Georgina Murray and John Scott
Chapter 11: Corporate Futures and the Consequences from the Top End of Town
Georgina Murray On a cold and blustery Chicago autumn day the Occupy movement protestors huddled together in their cold tents outside the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). The CBOT is a large and imposing building built in 1848 and now the world’s oldest futures and options exchange. Occasionally the protestors broke their monotony by helping themselves to keep warm banging drums, stopping people entering the CBOT to explain their cause, writing placards and calling out their mantra ‘We are the 99 per cent who have only 1 per cent of the wealth!’ By 6 October 2011 they had already been there two weeks when suddenly their eyes fixed on something new emblazoned across the eighth-floor windows of the CBOT. Spelt out mockingly were the words ‘We are the 1%’ written by traders sitting warmly cuddled into their desks. What did the protestors do when they read this message? They photographed it and immediately broadcast the photos on social media networked sites across the world. And subsequently, though obviously not directly attributable to it, Occupy protests spread across 82 countries worldwide. These two sets of people – traders and protestors – encapsulate the problem that this book addresses. The traders who wrote ‘We are the 1%’ are largely peripheral (see Peetz and Murray, Chapter 2) to large-scale corporate power and ownership, and the real 1 per cent, whose ideology they identify with, showed them in 2007–09 how easily disposable they were by walking them unceremoniously out into unemployment queues. The people...
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