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The Corporate Capture of Democracy [1]

Published: Ethical Markets Review

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Ladislau Dowbor
30 July 2016

Politics has changed place: globalization radically challenges
the political reference frameworks, in theory and in practice
Octavio Ianni [2]

Capture is more subtle and no longer requires a transfer of funds,
since the politician, academic or regulator has started to believe
that the world works in the way that bankers say it does.
Joris Luyendijk [3]

 

Corporate power has become systemic, capturing one by one the different dimensions of expression and exercise of power, and generating a new dynamic, or a new architecture of really existing power, political, economic and cultural. In this paper we will briefly cover a few basic mechanisms, sketching in a way what can be the emerging shape of the system.Deeply distorted ground rules continue being be presented as the result of a democratic and legitimate process, and indeed our Constitution states that all power emanates from the people. But rescuing the democratic processes of control and resource allocation today is a key challenge. Boaventura de Souza Santos speaks quite rightly of the need to strengthen democracy. But what we really need is to rescue it from the caricature it has become.

 

The overall power structure that emerged in the 21st century does not fit very well in the theoretical framework we have inherited. When we consider the world economy, we still tend to view basically economic interests and market mechanisms. Politics, formal power, the public sector in general, would represent another dimension. The breakup of these boundaries, the penetration of private economic groups’ interests in the public sphere is nothing new. What is new is the scale, depth and level of organization in the process. What were once fragmented deformations, occasional penetrations through lobbying, corruption and “revolving doors” between the private and the public sector swelled to the point of creating a beast of another color.

The converging trends of takeover through different mechanisms have generated an articulated political power system in which the public interest, which is supposed to be at the center of politics, seldom emerges. When it does emerge, it is only in spaces where it is synergic with dominant corporate interests, or when scandalous behavior reaches a point where people take to the streets – and even then the results are seldom attained. We do have public demonstration here and there, a burgeoning information system through alternative media, heroic individuals in politics who stand out by their independence. But corporate power has become systemic, capturing one by one the different dimensions of expression and exercise of power, and generating a new dynamic, or a new architecture of really existing power, political, economic and cultural. In this paper we will briefly cover a few basic mechanisms, sketching in a way what can be the emerging shape of the system.

Lobbying has obviously been one of the main instruments, and perhaps the best known. But its scale is new. Google, for example, now has eight lobbying companies in Europe alone, in addition to direct financing of congressmen and members of the European Commission. Most probably it will have to pay 6 billion Euros for illegalities committed in the Old Continent. Google’s expenditures in this area are already similar to those of Microsoft. Google mobilized US congressmen to press the Commission: “The effort coordinated by senators and members of Congress, as well as a committee of congressmen, was part of a sophisticated effort, with many millions of pounds in Brussels that enabled Google to set up an attack to halt the resistance against its domination in Europe.”[4]

While lobbies can still be presented as external forms of pressure, much more important now is the direct financing of political campaigns through parties or by investing directly in the candidates. A Brazilian law enacted in 1997 authorized companies to finance candidates, with disastrous consequences, especially in the behavior of parliamentarians, leading to the formation of corporate stands, or “bancadas” as we call them in Brazil. In 2010, the United States followed suit, so much so that today Americans comment that “we have the best Congress that money can buy.” Brazilian parliament is now divided not so much along parties as along corporate groups: the media giants like Globo and a few others have “their” representatives, as do the large contractors, the banking giants, the car industry, the agribusiness oligopoly and few others.

Those who can be said to represent citizen interests are lone figures. It is this congress which for example managed to bring down the Forest Code and to reduce the protection of the Amazon rainforest from destruction, and blocked any attempt to tax non-productive financial transactions. As we write, legally elected and strikingly honest Dilma Rousseff can be impeached by a deeply corrupt congress, in the name of fighting corruption. But behind the traditional figures of corrupt politicians looms a much wider power structure. We are in fact facing a deep representation crisis which is breaching the democratic process itself.

In this context the capture of the judiciary system is gaining immense importance, and is particularly damaging. Noteworthy was the attempt by large Brazilian banks, through a variety of pressures on the judiciary, to place financial activities out of the scope of Procom and other consumer protection bodies. In the United States, a district judge decides to rule what Argentina has to pay under the so-called “vulture funds”, positioning himself clearly at the service of international financial speculators, and above the laws of another country.

A particularly pernicious form of capture of the legal system is when law enforcement is replaced by the so called “settlements”. In these, corporations pay a fine but need not acknowledge guilt, thus preventing managers from being criminally responsible. As such, corporate managers and financiers remain at ease in terms of eventual convictions. Joseph Stiglitz comments that “we have repeatedly noticed that none of those responsible in charge of the large banks that led the world to the brink of ruin were held accountable for their misdeeds. How can it be that no one is responsible? Especially when misdeeds of such magnitude took place in recent years? “[5] In her short study, Elizabeth Warren, US senator, wrote an excellent description of the mechanisms including concrete examples of the companies. [6]

GSK, for instance, a giant in the pharmaceutical field, made an agreement with the US justice system to compensate for widespread fraud with three types of drugs, by paying US$ 3 billion. The news of the fraud conviction that threatened millions of patients did not cause significant loss to the company, whose shares rose when, notwithstanding the fraud, it showed a profit higher than the fine. Financial investors considered that their money was well managed. This unaccountability is now widespread, opening an alternative financing of governments bringing money in thanks to illegalities. To give some examples, Deutsche Bank is paying a fine of $ 2.6 billion in 2015; Credit Suisse is paying 2.5 billion for conviction in 2014 and so on, involving practically all corporate giants. An exercise of financial crime systematization can be found in the Corporate Research Project, which presents the convictions and agreements grouped by company. George Monbiot calls it “a privatized system of justice for global corporations” and believes that “democracy is impossible under these circumstances.” [7] (252)

Today corporations have their own legal apparatus, such as the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and similar institutions in London, Paris, Hong Kong and others. Typically, they will attack a country that sets forth environmental or social rules that the corporate world deems unfavorable, and sue for profits they might have had. The generalization of a parallel legal system under corporate control is an essential dimension of the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) negotiations. Such agreements bind a group of countries to international practices where national states will lose the capacity to regulate environmental, social and economic objectives. The corporations themselves will dictate the rules. In the words of Luis Parada, an attorney of governments in dispute with private groups in the world, “the issue, ultimately, is whether a foreign investor can force a government to change its laws to please the investor, rather than that investor adjust to the laws that exist in the country.”[8]

Another powerful line of capture of the political space is by the organized control of information, building a consensus factory on which Noam Chomsky gave us valuable analyses. [9] The planetary reach of mass media, and the expansion of corporate producers of consensus allowed for the delay in citizen awareness of the link between smoking and cancer, continues to paralyze the expansion of the public health system in the US, sold to the world the view that the war in Iraq was to free the Iraqi people from dictatorship and to protect the world from mass destruction weapons. The scale of mystifications is impressive. The false consensus building is presently a big sector of economic activity, an industry in itself.

A similar worldwide attack, with particular force in the US, was organized to sell to the populations not the absence of climate change – the data is too strong – but the assumption that “there are controversies”, delaying or halting the inevitable change in the energy matrix. James Hoggan conducted an interesting research on how this industry works. The articulation is powerful, involving think tanks, conservative institutions such as the George C. Marshall Institute, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Information Council for Environment (ICE), the Fraser Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Heartland Institute, and of course, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), besides the Hawthorne Group and many others. Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries are powerful financiers, the latter indeed a great articulator of the Tea Party and the Trump candidature. Always oil, coal, producers of cars and weapons, many Republicans and the religious right. [10]

Campaigns of this kind are disseminated by media giants. In Brazil, 97% of households have television, watched by three to five hours of the day, and it is present in waiting rooms, transportation, even elevators, representing an incessant feeding of mainstream ideas linked to dominant interests. In the world, Rupert Murdoch quietly accepts responsibility for the rise and support of Margareth Thatcher. He funded a system of wiretapping on a large scale in Great Britain, generates an ambience of rightist hate by means of Fox, without receiving more than a tap on the hand when the illegalities practiced were disclosed.

In Brazil, the control of our world view is in the hands of four private groups, controlled by the Marinho, Civita, Frias and Mesquita families. Globo and the other groups are public concessions, but run by these private groups according to very conservative political agendas, making politics without having to be elected. The very concept of free press becomes surrealistic, and impacts in Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and other countries are impressive in terms of promoting the most reactionary standpoints and generating a climate of social hatred. The real problems and issues just do not show up.

The tie between the media dimension of power and the global corporate system is mostly indirect, but very important. The advertising campaigns relentlessly promote behaviors and attitudes centered on obsessive consumerism of large corporation products. This ties the media in two ways: first, because it can give bad news about the government, but never about companies even when they stuff food with pesticides, misrepresent the role of medical drugs or sell us products associated with the destruction of biomes such as the Amazon rainforest. Second, because the advertising is paid according to audience points, and this lead to the presentation of a rose colored world on one side, and crimes and police chases on the other, or hate programs, whatever goes to attract fragmented attention. The result is an uninformed and insecure population, but above all obsessed by consumption, which remunerates with our money the corporations that fund these programs. The circle closes, and the result is a misinformed and consumerist society. Advertising, the type of programs and disnformation, consumerism and the interest of corporations thus form a cluster of common interests which proves disastrous in terms of the democratic functioning of society. [11] (217)

In addition to think tanks and media control, what is seen is a dramatic buyout of academic activities in recent decades, through direct corporate financing and control of scientific publications. In many countries, mainly in Brazil, private universities became the property of transnational groups that bring the corporate viewpoints in their wake. This dynamic is particularly sensitive in economics. Helena Ribeiro gives an example of this profound teaching deformation at Notre Dame University in New York. “Given that it was the year 2009 and that according to all, the financial world had collapsed, the students thought it would be a great topic to discuss in the macroeconomics class. The teacher’s response: “The students were curtly informed that the issue was not on the discipline’s curriculum, nor was it mentioned in the references attached and, therefore, the teacher did not intend to deviate from the lesson that was planned. And that’s what he did”. The Ribeiro article shows the extent of this deformation, also the protests of students and the multiplication of alternative centers of economic research, such as the New Economics Foundation, the Young Economists Network, the Institute of New Economic Thinking, Real World Economics, Alternatives Economiques in France and so many other organizations in a host of countries. [12]

Less noticed, but equally important is the oligopolistic control of scientific publications in the world. According to a Canadian study, “In the social science disciplines, including specialties such as sociology, economics, anthropology, political science and urban studies, the process is striking”. The five largest publishers accounted for 15% of articles in 1995, this figure reached 66% in 2013”. Here we see the impressive footprint of Reed-Elsevier (today boycotted by over 15,000 American scientists), Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, and a few others. (Larivière, 2015) [13]

To this set of power capture mechanisms we have to add the radical erosion of privacy in recent decades. Today, the blood of our life runs on magnetic means, leaving traces of everything we buy or read, the network of our friends, the medicines we take, our level of indebtedness. Businesses have access to the pregnancy of an employee, by purchasing information from labs. The protection of large groups of information about people is that this information is “anonymized”, but the truth is that the intersections of electronic tracks allow to perfectly individualize information, influencing potential political persecution or employment hindrances. Access to confidential information of the companies also radically weakens smaller economic groups in relation to the giant economic groups, which may have access to internal communications.

It’s not just high-level espionage, as seen in recording conversations of Dilma Rousseff and Angela Merkel. It is a matter of all of us, and with the support of a worldwide system of capture and treatment of information such as theone built by the NSA and others. Big Brother is Watching You is no longer just literature. On my 70th birthday I received a message recommending a particular graveyard: no opportunity is missed, and they seemed to convey that I would be happy with them. Less amusing is when you discover that the insurance company you are negotiating with had access to your DNA data. [14]

The expansion of lobbying, buying politicians as little more than employees, invasion of the judiciary, control of company information systems, handling of academic teaching and invasion of privacy are among the most important tools of capture of overall political power by large corporations. But all these instruments lead, ultimately, to a more powerful mechanism that brings the strings together and generates a systemic power mechanism: the appropriation of results of economic activities through financial control.

The system of overall financial control is becoming clear, one of the few positive results of the 2008 crisis. It is surprising, but until 2012 we had no comprehensive study of how the global network of corporate control works. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technological Research, a type of European MIT, selected 43,000 major global groups and studied in depth, through cross-shareholdings and intercompany mergers, how control of the whole is achieved. An impressive figure was reached that has changed the viewpoint we have of the world economic system: just 737 groups control 80% of the corporate world and of these a core of 147 controls 40%. The latter are essentially (75%) giant financial groups. They do not need to directly control the decision-making process in every business, they hold the system, so to speak, by the balls, which is the access to resources. Such a limited group does not need mysterious conspiracies, these are people who meet on the golf course or the Australian Open and can comfortably settle issues among themselves. The authors of the research, clearly responsible and certainly no flag-waving ideologists, conclude that to talk about market mechanisms in this exclusive club does not make much sense. [15]

François Morin, adviser to the central bank of France, focuses his analysis on how the 28 largest financial giants are learning to exert group pressure. The study comprises all the big ones: JPMorgan, Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Santander, Goldman Sachs and others, with a spreadsheet of more than $ 50 trillion in 2012, when world GDP was 73 trillion. The relationship with the states is particularly interesting because the world public debt of 49 trillion is at the same level as the revenues of the 28 financial groups that Morin analyzes, also in the 50 trillion order. Due to the huge public debt with private giants the states became hostages and unable to regulate the financial system in the interests of society. “In view of the states weakened by debt, the power of the large private banking players seems outrageous, particularly when taking into account that the latter are, in essence, at the origin of the financial crisis and of the current excessive indebtedness of the states.” (Morin, 36) [16]

Political power appropriated by the debt mechanism is a very important part of the overall mechanism. Large financial groups have enough power to impose the appointment of the persons responsible for key positions in institutions such as central banks or finance ministries, or the corresponding parliamentary committees, turning external pressure into internalized structural power. The policy suggested to governments is that governmental debt is less unpopular than tax collection. “These financial institutions are the government debt owners, giving them higher leverage power over the policies and priorities of governments. Exercising this power, they typically demand the same policies: austerity measures and ‘structural reforms’ to encourage the neoliberal market economy that ultimately benefits these same banks and corporations. “ It is the public debt trap. (Marshall) [17]

These 28 also control the so-called derivatives, essentially speculation in future markets variations: the volume reached in 2015 is more than US$ 600 trillion, 8 times world GDP. If one thinks that so many countries have agreed to reduce public investment and social policies – including Brazil – to satisfy this financial world, it is hard not to perceive the political dimension of this game. Big commodity traders control no less than commerce of grains (corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans), metallic minerals, non-metallic minerals and energy resources, i.e., the blood of the world economy. The huge variations in oil prices, for example, are not due to changes in production or consumption, very stable on a global scale, but to the speculative processes of financial giants. [18]

The system is now organized. A particularly strong contribution of François Morin is the analysis of how, since 1995, this group of banks endowed itself with management instruments, the GFMA (Global Financial Markets Association), the IIF (Institute of International Finance), ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association), the AFME (Association for Financial Markets in Europe) and the CLS Bank (Continuous Linked Settlement System Bank). Morin presents in tables how the largest banks are distributed in these institutions. The IIF, for example, “true thinking head of global finance and the major international banks,” has become a formally assumed political power: “The President of the IIF has a recognized official status that enables him to speak on behalf of the major banks. We could say that the IIF is the parliament of banks, its president almost holds the head of state role. He is part of the great global decision makers”. (Morin, 61)

A particularly important instrument of this power is the use of tax havens, which have been amply studied since the 2008 crisis, so that today we have the outlines of their workings. Basically, for a world GDP of around 73 trillion dollars in 2012, the stock of funds in tax havens ranged between 21 and 32 trillion dollars according to the Tax Justice Network, a figure the Economist magazine rounds down to 20 trillion. [19]. To have an idea of what these values represent, the major decision of the world climate summit in Paris in 2015 was to allocate 100 billion dollars annually until 2020, to save the planet from global warming: two hundred times less than what is placed in tax havens, unproductive and largely illegal capital. The Panama Papers disclose only one side of the process, but show how tens of thousands of fictitious corporations have generated the current financial chaos. [20] The chaos in Brazilian financial system is also but a fragment of this global process. [21]

These resources are now crucially needed to finance the technological conversion that will allow us to stop destroying the planet, and to ensure productive inclusion of billions in the fringe population, reducing inequality that has reached explosive levels. With the current level of capture of decision-making on the allocation of resources, the states presently have little control on these undercover financial flows. Almost all large corporations have subsidiaries or “dummy” companies in tax havens, where money simply disappears in formal terms, to reappear under other names, creating a “blank” space where the financial flow control is interrupted. This allows for all kinds of illegalities, particularly tax evasion and innumerous illegal activities such as arms and drug traffic. [22]

Currently, with the power mainly in the hands of financial giants and not in those of companies producing goods and services, the latter are submitted to financial profit requirements that dramatically reduce decision power at the level of informed technicians, those who know the processes of the real economy, to preserve a minimum of professional decency and corporate ethics. Therefore, there is a conflict and often chaos in terms of financial results versus economic and social development interests. However, it is a very targeted and logical chaos when it comes to ensuring a greater flow of financial resources to the top of the hierarchy. This chaotic competition can lead to systemic crises, but when it comes to block attempts to regulate these corporations, they react in a united and organized manner.

What dimensions are we talking about? Financial corporations classified as SIFIs (Systemically Important Financial Institutions) work each with average consolidated assets of around $ 1.82 trillion for banks and $ 0.61 trillion for the analyzed insurance companies. For the purpose of comparison let us remember that Brazil’s GDP, the 7th world economic power, is $ 1.4 trillion. Even more explicit is to remember that according to Jens Martens’ data, the UN system has 40 billion dollars annually for the whole of its activities, which in turn represents only 2.3% of global military expenditures. There is no problem of financial resources: it is what we do with them, and furthermore who controls the decision process. The fragile link between financial gains and economic development has been broken.[23]

Against global corporate power, we have no corresponding global public instruments. On the contrary: the UN decision-making process is being captured by corporate interests, a process documented in a study by the Global Policy Forum. This research directly focuses on the fact that corporate interests have acquired a disproportionate influence on the institutions that draw up global rules, commenting “the growing influence of the business sector on the political discourse and agenda,” and questioning “whether the partnership initiatives permit the corporate sector and its stakeholders to exert an increasing influence on setting the agenda and political decision-making of governments”. According to Leonardo Bissio, “this book shows how Big Tobacco, Big Soda, Big Pharma and Big Alcohol end up prevailing, and since philanthropy and public-private partnerships distort the international agenda, without supervision from governments, but also clearly describe the practical ways to prevent it and to retrieve a multilateralism based on citizens.” (Martens, 1 and 9)

When surplus value was dominantly extracted through low wages in concrete companies, things were more clearly understood. Financial surplus value extracted through public and private debt is much more difficult to follow and to control, and can reach new heights, as they are in great measure protected by the complexity of the financial mechanisms. And obviously, regulation systems are fragmented into 195 diversified national spheres, while the financial flows work on the global sphere. This form of financial surplus value has become extremely powerful, and is central to Thomas Piketty’s analysis: with production growth on the order of 2%, and financial profits on the order of 5% or more, we are facing a huge transfer of resources from productive to non-productive capital. In view of the new global exploitation mechanisms that operate on a planetary scale, and even resorting to a large extent to shelters in tax havens, national governments have become quite powerless. We have become systemically dysfunctional.

Wolfgang Streeck presents an interesting systematization of this capture of public power at the level of governments themselves. Through public debt and other mechanisms seen above, a process is generated in which the government increasingly has to be accountable to the ‘market’, turning its back on citizenship. In this context, government survival depends less on how much it is meeting the interests of the people who elected it, but whether the market, i.e. mainly the financial interests, feels sufficiently satisfied to declare it ‘trustworthy ‘. Somehow, instead of the republic, i.e., res publica, we now have a res mercatori, a “thing” of the market, a difference Streeck presents as respectively Staatsvolk and Marktvolk, the “two peoples of the democratic debt state”. A summary table helps to understand the radical policy shift: [24] (81)

tabela_capturaingles

One is financed by taxes, the other is financed by credit. A government will thus depend on “two conflicting interests”.(80) Between public opinion on the quality of government, and the ‘risk assessment’ of this government not paying high interest on its debt, the political survival option favors more and more the side of what we have mysteriously qualified as ‘the markets’. Where we had welfare state with social policies and productive investment, we now have more austerity and financial profits. The power wielded by corporations was obviously essential in turning around the tax systems in most countries, reducing the redistribution role of the state, and reaching absurd levels as in Brazil where the rich pay proportionately much less taxes than the poor. Thus power initially exerted from outside through lobbying and election funding gains the strength of law, and the state becomes an instrument of privatization of its owns taxes. According to Streeck, this is not the end of capitalism, but of democratic capitalism.

Understanding this new power architecture is essential if we want to make sense of the radically new scale of accumulation of wealth in the hands of 0.01% of the world population. There is this astonishing figure of 62 billionaires who own more wealth than the poorer half of the world population. Equally significant is the fact that the Brazilian economy is in recession when, for example, declared profits of the Bradesco and Itaú banks increased between 25% and 30% between 2015 and 2016.[25]. In a way, when we grasp the strength of the capture mechanisms, we gain a clearer view of the channels that enable the dramatic surge of inequality between and within nations, in addition to restriction of economic growth through diversion of resources from productive investment to financial gain.(26).

The possibilities of regulation and control over these financial giants that now govern the world economy and the internal decision process of nations are presently rather dim. Their sheer size and the nowadays sophisticated organizational structure, plus of course the control systems on politics, the judiciary, the public opinion industry and other areas we have seen above leave little space for optimism. The international power balance is crucial here, since almost all of these groups consist of corporations based in the US or the European Union. It is a potent embodiment of a power that is global but with solid roots in what we have become accustomed to call the “Western World.”

Attempts to establish some balance by means of articulation of the BRICS and other regional arrangements are relatively fragile. The global financial power has national bases, with governments duly appropriated by the same groups. When so many groups protest against “the state”, they should have a better look at who owns it.

In the world there certainly is no shortage of resources. Impressive technical progress in the last decades has stimulated global productivity, and we have the financial, technological and information tools to promote the changes we need. However, it is not the producers of these transformations, from basic research in public universities and public health policies, education and infrastructure, to the technical advances in companies which effectively produce goods and services that are rewarded. Much to the contrary, both spheres, public and business, are indebted in the hands of giant financial systems which earn fortunes without ever having to face production challenges, and which manage to hold in their hands the threads that control both the public and the private productive sector. Systemically, they have no interest in sustainable development.

Regarding a country such as Brazil, which seeks to retrieve some sovereignty in its peripheral position, what seems to remain is a feeling of helplessness. A hugely successful program of social inclusion and environmental protection has been attacked and torn down by financial interest groups, both national and international, in one more Latin-American coup in 2016. Perplexed and indebted families end up seeing their names blacklisted on the so called credit protection system, when they fail to pay interest rates in the three digit level. The credit system, instead of stimulating private demand and business investment, drains both. And the public debt interest rates in the range of two digits reduces public capacity to invest in infrastructure and social programs. Thus the three engines of economic activity, family consumption, business investment and public policies are bled in the profit of a confusing but ruthless financial system. In the gloomy international context, where commodity prices are low, the fourth engine, exports, offers little hope as an alternative. The 2015/2016 Brazilian recession has very clear financial roots and political instruments.

These deeply distorted ground rules will naturally be presented as the result of a democratic and legitimate process, and indeed our Constitution states that all power emanates from the people. Building the democratic processes of control and resource allocation today is a key challenge. Boaventura de Souza Santos speaks quite rightly of the need to strengthen democracy. But what we really need is to rescue it from the caricature it has become.

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[1] A more detailed view of the analysis presented in this article may be found in Corporate Governance: the chaotic power of financial giants, http://www.ethicalmarkets.com/2016/05/11/corporate-governance-the-chaotic-power-of-financial-giants/; the Brazilian dimension of financial distortion is found in How the financial system drains the Brazilian economy http://www.ethicalmarkets.com/2015/03/03/how-the-financial-system-drains-the-brazilian-economy-overview/

[2] Octávio Ianni – A política mudou de lugar – chapter of the book Desafios da Globalização, L. Dowbor, O. Ianni and P. Resende (Orgs.), ed. Vozes, Petrópolis, 2003.

[3] Joris Luyendijk – Swimming with sharks – Guardian Books, London, 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/30/how-the-banks-ignored-lessons-of-crash

[4] The Guardian, Revealed: How Google enlisted members of the US Congress http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/google-lobbyists-congress-antitrust-brussels-eu

[5] Joseph Stiglitz – On Defending Human Rights – Geneva, 3 December 2013 http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Business/ForumSession2/Statements/JosephStiglitz.doc

[6] Warren, Elizabeth – Rigged Justice – Jan. 2016, 16 p.
http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/Rigged_Justice_2016.pdf and New York Times 01/29/2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/opinion/elizabeth-warren-one-way-to-rebuild-our-institutions.html?_r=0

[7] Monbiot, George – A global ban on leftwing politics, in How Did we Get into this Mess, Verso, London, New York, 2016 – http://www.monbiot.com/2013/11/04/a-global-ban-on-left-wing-politics/

[8] Provost, Claire and Matt Kennard – The obscure legal system that lets corporations sue countries – The Guardian, June 2015 –https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/10/obscure-legal-system-lets-corportations-sue-states-ttip-icsid&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwid0aacve3JAhWJXR4KHXkHAv4QFggFMAA&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNE_bryAhhqokmP_TQPeoYdWUmYckQ

[9] See specially the documentary Chomsky&Cia, subtitled in Portuguese,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHSe9FRGpJU

[10] James Hoggan – The Climate Cover-up: the crusade to deny global warming –see http://dowbor.org/2009/12/climate-cover-up-the-cruzade-to-deny-global-warming-2.html/ ; about financers, see http://dowbor.org/2010/04/petroleira-dos-eua-deu-us-50-mi-a-ceticos-do-clima-6.html/ ; see also the article by Jane Mayer The dark money of the Koch Brothers, 2016, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35450-the-dark-money-of-the-koch-brothers-is-the-tip-of-a-fully-integrated-network

[11] See the short and excellent comment by George Monbiot, How did we get into this mess, in the book with the same title – Verso, London/New York,http://www.monbiot.com/2007/08/28/how-did-we-get-into-this-mess/

[12] Helena Ribeiro – Os protestos nas universidades por um novo ensino da economia – Jornal dos Negócios, Lisbon, December, 2013 –http://dowbor.org/2013/12/helena-oliveira-o-protesto-nas-universidades-por-um-no-ensino-da-economia-dezembro-2013-3p.html/

[13] V. Larivière, S. Haustein and P. Mongeon – The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era – PlosOne, 2015, http://dowbor.org/2016/02/the-oligopoly-of-academic-publishers-in-the-digital-era-vincent-lariviere-stefanie-haustein-philippe-mongeon-published-june-10-2015-15p.html/

[14] Lane, S. Frederick – The Naked Employee- AMACOM, New York, 2003 http://dowbor.org/2005/06/the-naked-employee-o-empregado-nu-privacidade-no-emprego.html/

[15] Vitali, Glattfelder and Battistoni, Zurich, 2011; See A rede do poder corporativo mundial – 2012 – http://dowbor.org/2012/02/a-rede-do-poder-corporativo-mundial-7.html/

[16] François Morin – L’hydre mondiale: l’oligopole bancaire –http://dowbor.org/2015/09/francoismorin-lhydre-mondiale-loligopole-bancaire-lux-editeur-quebec-2015-165p-isbn-978-2-89596-199-4.html/

[17] Andrew C. Marshall – Bank crimes pay under the thumb of the global financial mafiocracy – Truthout, 8 Dec. 2015 – http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33942-bank-crimes-pay-under-the-thumb-of-the-global-financial-mafiocracy

[18] About the derivatives and the power of commodities traders, see our Produtores, intermediários e consumidores, 2013, http://dowbor.org/?s=produtores%2C+intermedi%C3%A1rios+e+consumidores

[19] Henry, James – The Price of off-shore revisited – Tax Justice Network, http://www.taxjustice.net/2014/01/17/price-offshore-revisited/

[20] ICIJ – The Panama Papers – https://panamapapers.icij.org/

[21] Barbara Adams and Jens Martens – Fit for whose purpose? – Global Policy Forum, New York, Sept. 2015 –https://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/images/pdfs/Fit_for_whose_purpose_online.pdf

[22] An excellent study of these mechanisms may be found in Shaxson, Nicholas – Treasure Islands: uncovering the damage of offshore banking and tax havens – St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2011 –http://dowbor.org/2015/10/nicholas-shaxson-treasure-islands-uncovering-the-damage-of-offshore-banking-and-tax-havens-st-martins-press-new-york-2011.html/

[22] Joseph Stiglitz – On Defending Human Rights – Geneva, 3 December 2013http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Business/ForumSession2/Statements/JosephStiglitz.doc

[23] Barbara Adams and Jens Martens – Fit for whose purpose? – Global Policy Forum, New York, Sept. 2015 –https://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/images/pdfs/Fit_for_whose_purpose_online.pdf

[24] Wolfgang Streeck, Buying time – Verso, London 2014 – http://dowbor.org/category/dicas-de-leitura/

[25] Regarding 2013, the Itaú and Bradesco Banks had an increase in their stated profits of 30.2% and 25.9%, respectively. See the report Dieese –http://www.dieese.org.br/desempenhodosbancos/2015/desempenhoBancos2014.pdf

[26] The dimension of income and of assets concentration has been systematized by OXFAM, see the January 2016 report https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp210-economy-one-percent-tax-havens-180116-summ-pt.pdf

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