The New Scientist ran a piece on the economic relationships between the 43,060 transnational corporations in the world as of 2007. It turns out that 147 of 'em are thick as thieves, which each of those 147 entirely owned by one or more of the others within that clique.
Naturally some anti-capitalists have decided that this proliferation of tight interconnections constitutes the proof that not buying what someone's selling will fail to put that seller out of business.
John Driffill of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, says the value of the analysis is not just to see if a small number of people controls the global economy, but rather its insights into economic stability.
Concentration of power is not good or bad in itself, says the Zurich team, but the core’s tight interconnections could be. As the world learned in 2008, such networks are unstable. “If one [company] suffers distress,” says Glattfelder, “this propagates.”
“It’s disconcerting to see how connected things really are,” agrees George Sugihara of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, a complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank.
But even this is not tempered enough;
Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), warns that the analysis assumes ownership equates to control, which is not always true. Most company shares are held by fund managers who may or may not control what the companies they part-own actually do. The impact of this on the system’s behaviour, he says, requires more analysis.