[Marxism] Some statistical estimates about the modern world market

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Fri Apr 30 13:59:42 MDT 2004

"Each day half a million to a million people--primarily Western Europeans,
North Americans, and Japanese--arise as dawn reaches their part of the
world, turn on their computers, and leave the real world of people, things,
and nature to immerse themselves in playing the world's most lucrative
computer game: the money game. (...) the money game players have been so
successful in creating play money that for every $1 now circulating in the
productive world economy of real goods and services, it is estimated that
there is $20 to $50 circulating in the world of pure finance--"investment"
funds completely delinked from the creation of real value.

In the international currency markets alone, some $800 billion to $1
trillion changes hands each day--unrelated to productive investment or trade
in actual goods and services [i.e. an annual capital flow of around $300
trillion] (...) The world's 200 largest industrial corporations, which
employ only one third of one percent of the world's population, control 25
percent of the world's economic output. The top 300 transnationals,
excluding financial institutions, own some 25 percent of the world's
productive assets. Of the world's 100 largest economies, 51 are now
corporations--not including banking and financial institutions. The combined
assets of the world's 50 largest commercial banks and diversified financial
companies amount to nearly 60 percent of The Economist's estimate of a $20
trillion global stock of productive capital.

According to the Bank of International Settlements, the total estimated
notional amount of outstanding global
over-the-counter derivatives contracts (i.e. the value of underlying assets)
stood at $169.7 trillion at the end of June 2003, a 20% increase from
end-December 2002 and most of that is hedged on interest rates. That's a
dollar value of four times world GDP. Gross market value of derivatives (the
replacement cost of those contracts) also grew significantly, rising by 24%
to $7.9 trillion, about one-seventh of world GDP. www.bis.org In the US
alone, over $600 billion is thought to be lodged with the hedge funds, more
than 10 times their assets a decade ago. "That's too much money for us to
know as little as we know now about what's going on," the former investment
banker [Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman and New York Stock
Exchange chairman William Donaldson said]. "We have no access to them. We
can't get inside them. That's bothersome."

"... from 1982 to 1999, the total market value of the stocks traded in the
world's financial markets grew from two trillion dollars to 28 trillion
dollars. That reflects primarily a growth in the financial assets of the
wealthy, the people who already have a great deal of money. This in turn
represents the growth in the wholly disproportionate claims of the wealthy
against the real wealth of the whole of society. Those are claims of the
very wealthy relative to the claims of the nearly half of the world's
population who still live on less than two dollars a day and the 1.3 billion
people who live on less than one dollar a day. You see the anomaly here when
money is our instrument of allocation. When you have these extraordinary
differences in income, it results in extraordinary differences in purchasing
power and access to all of those things that we have been told are in fact
the foundations of real health.

So what's happening to real wealth? The World Wildlife Fund for Nature has
constructed a living planet index to show that rate at which we are
depleting the regenerative capacities, the natural wealth production
capabilities, of the earth's forest, fresh water and marine environments.
Their calculated index fell by approximately 30% between 1970 and 1995. That
means that we have depleted 30% of the world's natural regenerative wealth
capacity, the natural capital of the planet, in one generation.

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