Research Institute Study Reinforces Public Distrust of Corporations

On the first anniversary of the Seattle protests that shut down negotiations of the World Trade Organization, the Institute for Policy Studies released a study that shows: Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 51 are now corporations and 49 are countries;

On the first anniversary of the Seattle protests that shut down negotiations of the World Trade Organization, the Institute for Policy Studies released a study that shows: Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 51 are now corporations and 49 are countries;

The world’s top 200 corporations account for over a quarter of economic activity on the globe while employing less than one percent of its workforce.

According to study co-author Sarah Anderson, “The Seattle protestors expressed their anger at institutions like the WTO for elevating the
interests of large corporations over everyone else. We analyzed just how powerful the world’s biggest firms are and our findings are staggering.”

Other key findings include:

The Top 200 corporations’ combined sales are bigger than the combined economies of all countries minus the biggest 10. –The Top 200s’ combined sales are 18 times the size of the combined annual income of the 1.2 billion
people (24 percent of the total world population) living in “severe” poverty.

Between 1983 and 1999, the profits of the Top 200 firms grew 362.4 percent, while the number of people they employ grew by only 14.4 percent.

A full 5 percent of the Top 200s’ combined workforce is employed by Wal-Mart, a company notorious for union-busting and widespread use of
part-time workers to avoid paying benefits.

U.S. corporations dominate the Top 200, with 82 slots (41 percent of the total). Japanese firms are second, with only 41 slots.

Of the U.S.corporations on the list, 44 did not pay the full standard 35 percent federal corporate tax rate during the period 1996-1998. Seven of the
firms (including the world’s largest, General Motors) actually paid less than zero in federal income taxes in 1998 (because of rebates).

Between 1983 and 1999, the share of total sales of the Top 200 made up by service sector corporations increased from 33.8 percent to 46.7 percent.

To receive a paper version. contact Sarah Anderson:
tel 202.234.9382
email saraha@igc.org

[ also see related article:

Some Poverty Statistics and Facts ]

Author: Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh

News Service: the Institute for Policy Studies

URL: http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/top200text.htm