by Lee Camp
Who owns the world? Well, I’m about to tell you! Keep your pants on. Now I’m gonna drag out the suspense of who owns the world for this entire article–
BlackRock! It’s BlackRock!! Damn it! I should have dragged it out longer.
BlackRock is the largest asset management firm on the planet, and it’s also the name of my mom’s trademark inedible turkey liver sponge cake. But BlackRock is essentially a shadow bank. And I don’t know what a shadow bank is other than what my uncle would always say the Greek guy at his construction job had. (Seemed vaguely racist but I couldn’t put my finger on it.)
But BlackRock is enormous. However big you’re picturing, multiply it by the size of a Toyota Sequoia. (Side note: why are giant suv monster-trucks always named after the thing they kill? “Yeah, I own a Nissan Polar Bear! But I’m thinking of trading it in for a Chevy Our Grandchildren’s Future. It has 18 cup holders and two cub holders for any bear cubs you run over with it.”)
BlackRock literally has more assets than the Gross Domestic Products of every single country except China and the US. So, just for a second, picture India with their 1.4 billion people. BlackRock has more than their annual GDP – Times three! BlackRock holds somewhere around $9 trillion dollars. That’s one tenth of the whole world’s yearly economic activity.
Here, this will put it in perspective. If you make $60,000 a year - after taxes - you’re doing pretty well. But in order to grab up $9 trillion, you’d need to work for 150 million years. You’d have to work for the entire length of the existence of the dinosaurs! (And that’s if your stegosaurus boss paid you on time - which, you know how they are.)
And BlackRock is by far the biggest wealth fund or shadow bank in the world. “The grand total of the sovereign wealth funds managed by over 91 such funds across the world is projected to be worth approximately 8.2 trillion US dollars.” That’s right, 91 other such funds don’t have as much as BlackRock has.
So what do they do with all this money? I’ll tell you what --