Tuesday, December 25, 2007

They Rule

Ever wondered who's running all those huge corporations and multinationals and what their incestuous political and economic interconnections look like? TheyRule.net gives you, graphically, a picture of who's who and who's in who's pockets. This shows the ruling class nakedly displayed in their true colors and alliances.

They Rule aims to provide a glimpse of some of the relationships of the US ruling class. It takes as its focus the boards of some of the most powerful U.S. companies, which share many of the same directors. Some individuals sit on 5, 6 or 7 of the top 500 companies. It allows users to browse through these interlocking directories and run searches on the boards and companies. A user can save a map of connections complete with their annotations and email links to these maps to others. They Rule is a starting point for research about these powerful individuals and corporations.

A few companies control much of the economy and oligopolies exert control in nearly every sector of the economy. The people who head up these companies swap on and off the boards from one company to another, and in and out of government committees and positions. These people run the most powerful institutions on the planet, and we have almost no say in who they are. This is not a conspiracy. They are proud to rule. And yet these connections of power are not always visible to the public eye.

Karl Marx once called this ruling class a 'band of hostile brothers.' They stand against each other in the competitve struggle for the continued accumulation of their capital, but they stand together as a family supporting their interests in perpetuating the profit system as whole. Protecting this system can require the cover of a 'legitimate' force - and this is the role that is played by the state. An understanding of this system can not be gleaned from looking at the inter-personal relations of this class alone, but rather how they stand in relation to other classes in society. Hopefully They Rule will raise larger questions about the structure of our society and in whose benefit it is run.

They Rule

Click here to enter They Rule.

Please note that you will need Flash Player 7.

A Brief Explanation
They Rule allows you to create maps of the interlocking directories of the top companies in the US in 2004.
The data was collected from their websites and SEC filings in early 2004, so it may not be completely accurate - companies merge and disappear and directors shift boards.

Read more about They Rule here.

You can also read the new They Rule weblog which has links to related sites.

You can still view the 2001 version of They Rule.

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