Among banks and accountancy firms, power is more concentrated than it was at the turn of the century.
Politicians fail to tackle long-term problems such as climate change.Hedge-fund moguls and casino kings spend fortunes to sway American electionsand the Supreme Court tells them to carry on spending.In the 1950s and 1960s the corporate world was ruled by cabals of giantsby the Big Three in American cars and broadcasting and the Seven Sisters in global oil.Even in Saudi Arabia 20 of marriages end in divorce.Bosses must confront a growing army of critics from within the capitalist system: look at the way that Apples head honcho, Tim Cook, has been roasted by angry investors.But Mr Naím has good objections to the objections.Micropowers are learning how to frustrate macropowers.The supposedly anarchic internet is now ruled by five big companies (except mandarin palace casino review in China, where the state calls the shots).Eighteen years later that chance had risen.Belgium spent 541 days without one in 2010-11.Inequality is growing in many countries.The composition of the top 1 is constantly changing as CEOs lose their jobs and young go-getters outpace their elders.Moisés Naím says it is bunk.They are also constrained by rival power centres, both transnational and provincial.His argument is not that companies are shrinking but that they are becoming more fragile.Geography too is being tightened: who would have guessed in Galbraiths day that one of the worlds leading aircraft-makers would be Brazilian (Embraer) or that one of its most innovative clothes brands would be Spanish (Zara)?
Nonetheless, it would be worse if the populists were right and the 1 really did rule the world.
Those who disappoint are held to account: about 80 of CEOs of S P 500 companies are ousted before retirement.
Amazon and eBay may grow more dominant than any of the giant retailers of the 1950s.
Unionisation in the private sector has fallen from 40 in 1950 to less than 7 today.
The barriers that used to protect insiders, such as economies of scale and long-established relationships, are crumbling.He points instead to three revolutions: more, mobility and mentality.The more slippery power becomes, the more the world is ruled by short-term incentives and ever-changing fears.In America big labours clout is waning faster than that of big business.Old labour baronies such as the AFL-CIO have been challenged by upstarts such as the Service Employees International Union.Even banks have been chided for sins such as interest-rate rigging (Barclays money-laundering (hsbc) and illicit dealings with Iran (Standard Chartered).Wright Mills, a sociologist, complained that America was ruled by a tiny elite.Why is power becoming more evanescent?Plutocrats wax richer as the middle class is squeezed and the poor are trodden underfoot.