Jon Rappoport features two recent columns that describe how the fate of Whole Foods is intertwined with that of Monsanto. It’s enlightening for anyone who doesn’t realize that the top-down corporatocracy rules, via identical major shareholders and interlocking directorates. Yep, just like a secret boys club in the back yard tree house, only this tree house holds the whole world hostage. It behooves us to educate ourselves.
I found an article that describes the current (and apparently, ever changing) interlocking directorate; I find it interesting that the author, an academic, tends to view it in relatively neutral terms:
“The “small world” of the corporate community is created by a combination of the interpersonal ties and expertise of the people who already sit on one or more boards. This generates a community of directors who are not sitting on two or more boards for the purpose of cementing ties between the companies, i.e., with what is called “strategic intent” in the quote that follows, but because they have experience with the kinds of issues that boards face:”
However, in his conclusion, he does admit that people want to sit on more than one board because it will bring them closer to the center of power:
“becoming a director, and then an interlocking director, can help move a person to the heart of the power structure.”
August 2005, updated October 2013
by G. William Domhoff
Interlocking directorates — defined as the linkages among corporations created by individuals who sit on two or more corporate boards — have been a source of research attention since the Progressive Era at the turn of the 20th century, when they were used by famous muckraking journalists, and future Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, to claim that a few large commercial and investment banks controlled most major corporations.
Today corporate interlocks are analyzed with bigger databases and sophisticated network programs, thanks to desktop computers. The databases are large matrices that contain information on the linkages between persons and groups. Either a corporate/organizational network, based on common directors, or an interpersonal/social network, based on shared board memberships, can be derived from these matrices. That is, the matrices contain a “duality of persons and groups” (Breiger, 1974). This is worth mentioning because this essay will discuss both “corporate networks,” that is, the linkages among corporations created by interlocking directorates, and “social networks,” that is, the linkages among people by virtue of the fact that they sit on the same corporate board.
The conclusions from the more recent studies are very different from those drawn 100 years ago, probably because the interlocks now mean something different than they did back then. Interlocks used to have the strategic purpose of tying corporations together for economic advantage for the owners. Today they are more the incidental by-product of recruiting a diverse and experienced group of individuals who have a variety of skills and connections to bring to the table.
It’s also important to note that most corporate directors are not interlocking directors. Even when a large number of companies are included in the database, making the possibilities for interlocks much greater, only about 15-20% of corporate directors sit on two or more corporate boards. And even fewer, of course, sit on three, four, five, or six boards, although they are the people who tie the network together. They are “linchpins,” as one research team puts it (Davis, Yoo, & Baker, 2002).
Before we examine how changes came about in the corporate network, let’s look at present-day interlocks in a step-by-step fashion.