Here's a new reality-based model of the companies that run the global economy, illustrating the core of the problems we are experiencing now. The study is being done by a company out of Zurich and is set to be published in PLoS One, (although the article is not clear when it will be published) Dr. James B. Glattfelder appears to be spearheading the effort. A list of his publications include:
The network of global corporate control; S. Vitali, J.B. Glattfelder, S. Battiston; 2011
Backbone of complex networks of corporations: The flow of control; J.B. Glattfelder, S. Battiston; Phys. Rev. E 80, 1 (2009)
An extensive set of scaling laws and the FX coastline; J.B. Glattfelder, A. Dupuis, R.B. Olsen; 2008
Link to the article:
[...]AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.
When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.