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Who Controls The World?

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

First a researcher at a Swiss hedge fund and then a physicist, James B. Glattfelder found himself amazed by the level of understanding we have in regards to the physical world and universe around us. He wondered: how can we move toward a similar understanding of human society? Could this understanding answer the question, “who controls the world”?

This question led him to the study of complex systems, a subject he now holds a Ph.D in from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Glattfelder is co-head of quantitative research at Olsen Ltd in Zurich, an FX investment manager focusing on market-stabilizing algorithms. In 2011, he co-authored the study “The Network of Global Corporate Control,” which went viral in the international media and sparked many controversial discussions. The study looked at the architecture of ownership across the globe, and computed a level of control exerted by each international player. The study revealed that 75% of all the players in the global economy are part of a highly interconnected core which, because of the high levels of overlap, leaves the economy vulnerable.

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