By Peter Phillips
The 67th Bilderberg Meeting took place from 30 May – 2 June 2019 in Montreux, Switzerland. About 130 participants from 23 countries attended. A review of these participants confirms the importance of this non-governmental policy discussion group relative to new academic research on global power elites and concentrated wealth.
My new book, Giants: The Global Power Elite, follows in the tradition of C. Wright Mills’ work the Power Elite, which was published in 1956. Like Mills, I am seeking to bring a consciousness of power networks affecting our lives and the state of society to the broader public. Mills described how the power elite were those “who decide whatever is decided” of major consequence. Sixty-three years later, power elites have globalized and built institutions for preserving and protecting capital investments everywhere in the world.
Central to the idea of a globalized power elite is the concept of a transnational capitalist class theorized in academic literature for some twenty years. Giants reviews the transition from nation-state power elites, as described by Mills, to a transnational power elite centralized on the control of global capital around the world. The global power elite function as a non-governmental network of similarly educated, wealthy people with common interests of managing and protecting concentrated global wealth and insuring its continued growth.
The global power elites, who direct the world’s corporate financial giants, overlap with the leadership of organizations such as the Bilderberg Group, World Economic Forum, Council of Thirty, the Trilateral Commission, and the Atlantic Council. These privately-funded non-governmental organizations and their members provide direct instruction and policy recommendations to international institutions controlled by governmental authorities like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), World Trade Organization (WTO), G-20, G-7 and their intelligence agencies, and other top capitalist countries. The US/NATO military empire operates in nearly every country of the world to protect global capital and the wealthy One Percent.
The global One Percent comprise over thirty-six million millionaires, and 2,400 billionaires who employ their excess capital with investment management firms like BlackRock and J.P Morgan Chase. The top seventeen of these trillion-dollar investment management firms—which I call the Giants— controlled $41.1 trillion dollars in 2017. These firms are all directly invested in each other and managed by only 199 people who are the decision makers on how and where global capital will be invested. Their biggest problem is they have more capital than there are safe investment opportunities, which leads to risky speculative investments, increased war spending, and the privatization of the public commons.
My research effort was to identify the most important networks of the global power elite and the individuals therein. I name and provide biographies for over 300 people, who are the core members of power networks that manage, facilitate, and protect global capital. The global power elites are the activist core of the transnational capitalist class—one-percent of the world’s wealthiest people. They serve the uniting function of providing ideological justifications for their shared interests through the corporate media and they establish the parameters of needed actions for implementation by transnational governmental organizations and capitalist nation-states.
A review of the recent Bilderberg meetings in June of 2019 verifies the importance of individuals identified in Giants: The Global Power Elite. Five individuals who are directors of trillion-dollar investment companies or major policy organizations attended Bilderberg 2019 including:
Name, Citizenship, CB-Corporate Boards/Current Corporate Employment, PE-Prior Corporate Employment/Boards, PC-Policy Councils, Philanthropic Organizations, Government E-Universities, F- Public Financials
Thomas Buberl, Germany, CB– CEO AXA, PE- Zurich Financial Services AG, Winterthur Group, Winterthur Group, DBV Deutsche Beamtenversicherung AG, Dbv Deutsche Beamtenversicherung AG PC- The Forum of Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum, E- WHU Koblenz,- Master’s, Economics, Lancaster University- M.B.A., University of St. Gallen- Ph.D. Economics, F-AXA Annual Compensation $2 million 2017, AXA Shares 1,757,212-$44.1 million 2016
Mark J Carney, Canada, CB-, Governor and Director Bank of England, CEO Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, Director Bank For International Settlements, PE-Governor Bank of Canada, PC-Chairman Financial Stability Board, Group of Thirty (G30) World Economic Forum, Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, E-Harvard University-BA, University of Oxford-Ph.D., University of Oxford-MA., F- Bank of England Compensation $800,000 2016
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., US, CB- President and CEO TIAA, (private) Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP.($8.7 billion Hedge fund 2017), General Mills, Alphabet Inc., International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., PE- Partner at McKinsey & Company, Chair Swiss Re America Holding Corporation, PC- Vice Chair Federal Reserve System, President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Group of Thirty(G30), President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Economic Club of New York, Chair Conference Board, The Partnership for New York City, Inc., Regent Smithsonian Institution, Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, World Economic Forum, E- Harvard University-B.A., Harvard Law School– JD, F- General Mills Compensation $254,999 2016, General Mills Stock 9,000-$532,000 2017, Alphabet Inc. Stock award 2017 $1,004,789, International Flavors & Fragrances Compensation $237,790 2016, International Flavors Shares 9,860-$1.5 million 2016,
Thomas Leysen, Belgium, CB-Chairman, Umicore S.A., KBC Bank NV, KBC Insurance, Corelio NV, Eurometaux, Corelio Media , Eurométaux, Rubenianum Fund, Heritage Fund of the Fondation Roi Baudouin, Aurubis Belgium nv/sa, Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan, Norddeutsche Affinerie AG, Board of Bank Metzler, Chairman, Federation of Belgian Enterprises, UCB SA, PE-Umicore NV, Sydes NV, CEO Transcor Group, Atlas Copco, Aurubis AG, PC– European Friends of Versailles and Vice President of the “Vrienden van het Rubenshuis”Executive Committee of the Belgian Employers Federation (FEB/VBO), President BJA, Trilateral Commission Executive Committee, , European Round Table of Industrialists, E-University of Leuven, Belgium, Law Degree and Masters of Law. F-Compensation Umicore & KBC $585,000 2016,
Tidjane Thiam, Ivory Coast/France, CB-CEO Credit Suisse, 21st Century Fox board, PE-Chief Executive of Prudential plc, Managing Director of Aviva International, PC-Chairman Association of British Insurers, Secretary of Development and Planning at Côte d’Ivoire., Global Advisory Board- Council on Foreign Relations, CEO of the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development, Group of Thirty (G30), World Economic Forum, Bilderberg Group, E- Ecole Polytechnique France-B.A., INSEAD-M.A., F- Prudential Compensation $15.4 million 2015, Credit Suisse Compensation $12 million 2016,
In addition, nineteen other directors of the global Giants have attended Bilderberg in past years as well as four other global policy advisors listed in Giants. Also, eight current or former employees with the giant investment management companies attended the 2019 Bilderberg meetings including: two from Barclays, two AXA, four Goldman Sachs, and one from Credit Suisse.
Like other elite policy groups Bilderberg meetings seek to educate and find consensus among the powerful in the service of protecting global capital concentration and the continuing growth of world wealth. This concentration of protected capital leads to a crisis of humanity, whereby poverty, war, starvation, mass alienation, media propaganda, and environmental devastation are reaching levels that threaten our species’ future. Organizing resistance and challenging the global power elite should be foremost on the agendas of democracy movements everywhere, now and in the near future. Addressing top-down economic controls, monopolistic power, and the specifics of the global power elites’ activities will require challenging mobilizations and social movements worldwide.
The act of identifying the global power elite by name may persuade some of them to recognize their own humanity and take corrective action to save the world. In the current geopolitical economic system, ironically (yet quite seriously), global power elites may be the only ones capable of implementing and supporting the monumental measures necessary to address this crisis without major civil unrest, war, and chaos. Giants is an effort to bring a consciousness of the importance of systemic change and redistribution of wealth to the ninety-nine percent, and to global power elites themselves, in the hope that we all can collectively begin the process of saving humanity. Social movements for human betterment will need to pressure these elites to use their money and power to make necessary changes. In that effort, I highly recommend using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a moral base to offer a united thread of consciousness for all seeking positive social transformation. Humankind deserves nothing less.
Peter Phillips is a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University, where he has taught since 1994. He teaches courses in Political Sociology, Sociology of Power, Sociology of Media, Sociology of Conspiracies and Investigative Sociology. He served as director of Project Censored from 1996 to 2010 and as president of Media Freedom Foundation from 2003 to 2017. Giants: The Global Power Elite is his 18th book from Seven Stories Press—it was released in August 2018.
Hear Peter Phillips giving recent updates to his research on the Project Censored Show here.
See his recent appearance on Abby Martin’s The Empire Files here.