- The corporate elite community structure of global capitalism
- New Political Economy
- Volume | Issue number
- 21 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
A key debate on the merits and consequences of globalisation asks to what extent we have moved to a multipolar global political economy. Here we investigate this issue through the properties and topologies of corporate elite networks and ask: what is the community structure of the global corporate elite? In order to answer this question, we analyse how the largest one million firms in the world are interconnected at the level of corporate governance through interlocking directorates. Community detection through modularity maximisation reveals that regional clusters play a fundamental role in the network architecture of the global political economy. Transatlantic connections remain particularly strong: Europe and North America remain interconnected in a dense network of shared directors. A distinct Asian cluster stands apart as separate and oriented more towards itself. While it develops and gains economic and political power, Asia remains by and large outside the scope of the networks of the incumbent global (that is, North Atlantic) corporate elite. We see this as a sign of the rise of competing corporate elites. But the corporate elites from the traditional core countries still form a powerful opponent for any competing faction in the global corporate elite.
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