Economically controlled political power

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Misuse of financial and industrial power
Financial and industrial oligarchy

The control of economic and financial resources by multinational corporations and banks enables them to realize their financial and political aims. Their main means of control have changed from direct use of power to structural power, of which the main aspects are: exploitation; fragmentation; and penetration. Exploitation involves benefiting from interaction. The technique of fragmentation has three facets: the prevention of horizontal economic interaction between dominated countries; the prevention of multilateral interaction among dominated and dominating countries; and the permitting of only a minimum amount of interaction between the dominated country and its environment. Penetration has two aspects: (a) the elites of the dominated countries form a bridgehead through which the elites of dominating countries can spread their influence; and (b) the degree of inequality is considerably higher in the peripheral countries than in the central nations, which facilitates penetration. Multinational banks and corporations have at their disposal several mechanisms for exploiting, fragmenting and penetrating, and at the same time are driving forces in advocating the use of structural power.


Economic power, concentrated in large corporations, national governments and special interest groups, largely directs and sets guidelines for the agencies built to control the world's resources. This power is used to restrict efforts to create more equitable resource policies. Often any attempt to set priorities that recognize needs beyond resources' interests are muted or silenced. This is seen in such sectors as: production and extraction of natural resources; grain and sugar exports; oil exploration; and information access. These activities often are continued in the knowledge that their impact is detrimental to the long term economic priority of some parts of the world may eventually have implications related to the whole population or the entire planet.

In certain parts of Latin America, the seizure of the vast majority of the wealth by an oligarchy of owners bereft of social consciousness, the practical absence or the shortcomings of a rule of law, military dictators making a mockery of elementary human rights, the corruption of certain powerful officials, the savage practices of some foreign capital interests constitute factors which nourish a passion for revolt among those who thus consider themselves the powerless victims of a new colonialism in the technological, financial, monetary, or economic order.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
10.07.2019 – 19:48 CEST