Drawing a Picture of the Changing Global Elite after World War II

Friday, July 18, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: 413
Oral Presentation
Aleksnder ZIELINSKI , UPD Waldau, Switzerland
One of the primary methods of analysing elite cohesion is the analysis of corporate networks, focusing on interlocking directorates. However, there are some network qualities, especially the intersection between economy and politics, which cannot be adequately analysed in this way. I propose that in order to do this it is necessary to take into account informal organisations, like the Bilderberg Group, in which influential people from both fields interact with each other.

Using previously unresearched archive material, which provides a list of all participants of Bilderberg meetings in the years 1954-1958, I draw the social network of what can be labelled the „conservative“ block of the Western elite. „Conservative“ means that its primary interest is the conservation of the status quo: the rule of a small elite through a democratic capitalist system. Attempting to achieve this goal in a dynamic environment with major challenges (the spreading of the communist ideology, the breaking up of the colonial system etc.), it needs to adapt innovative methods, like the creation of supranational institutions.

In the descriptive part I focus on nationality, age, gender and occupation of the participants. In the second, analytic part, I present the connections between different sectors of the industry as well as positions of political power that the participants held. In a further step I attempt to describe the shift in this network between the 1950s and today. The official lists of current participants of the Bilderberg meetings allow researchers to draw an adequate picture of this network in its current form. From previous research on the topic of the change in the elite it can be expected that the major changes have occured regarding the dominant industries, while little changes are to be expected regarding the nationality, the gender and the age of the participants.