That’s the finding of a new study published in July 2011 by researchers at Switzerland’s ETH Zürich, based on an analysis of 43,060 transnational corporations (TNCs) located in 116 countries. Just 737 firms account for 80% of the value of all TNCs.
According to the authors: The interest of this ranking is not that it exposes unsuspected powerful players. Instead, it shows that many of the top actors belong to the core. This means that they do not carry out their business in isolation but, on the contrary, they are tied together in an extremely entangled web of control. This finding is extremely important since there was no prior economic theory or empirical evidence regarding whether and how top players are connected. The top holders within the core can thus be thought of as an economic ‘super-entity’ in the global network of corporations. A relevant additional fact at this point is that 3/4 of the core are financial intermediaries.2 (Financial intermediaries include, for example, investment banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, etc.)