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(8,361 posts)
Thu Jul 6, 2023, 08:14 AM Jul 2023

Asset Management Firms Are Gaining Power Over Housing, Hospitals, Water and More

Brett Christophers explains how asset managers like BlackRock and Blackstone have come to “own the world.”

By Derek Seidman , TRUTHOUT
Published July 5, 2023

Asset managers oversee tens of trillions of dollars-worth of investments in assets across the world. The most well-known asset management firms are the “Big Three” of BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisors, whose business model largely rests on so-called “passive” index funds whose stock investments make these firms the top shareholders of thousands of corporations.

But it’s not just financial instruments like stocks and bonds that asset managers hold. They are increasingly the direct owners of the “real” assets that shape our livelihoods. From housing to hospitals and water networks to wind farms, asset management firms with names like Blackstone, Brookfield and Macquarie are gobbling up the basic stuff we all depend on to exist. And with their goal of extracting big profits as ruthlessly and quickly as possible, this new “asset manager society” does not bode well for humanity.

This is the topic of Brett Christophers’s powerful new book, Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World, published by Verso press. Christophers pulls back the curtain on a notoriously opaque industry and demystifies asset managers, clearly and thoroughly surveying what they are, the forces that propel them to mercilessly extract profit, and what all of this means for our collective future.

Christophers is a professor in the department of social and economic geography at Uppsala University in Sweden.


Excerpt: As investment became less individual, more institutional and global, asset managers and banks took votes. They use votes, but make no investment. They can govern companies, but bear no economic risk. They bear no costs from unemployment, or dwindling retirement savings.

( What a world. )

6 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Asset Management Firms Are Gaining Power Over Housing, Hospitals, Water and More (Original Post) BeckyDem Jul 2023 OP
+1 2naSalit Jul 2023 #1
Kick dalton99a Jul 2023 #2
And they call you 3 times a week to try to buy what assets you do own, or invest with them bucolic_frolic Jul 2023 #3
These are the Plunderers RSherman Jul 2023 #4
Yes, thus...owning the world. BeckyDem Jul 2023 #5
I remember when the business media idolized "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap and thought to myself Midnight Writer Jul 2023 #6


(44,615 posts)
3. And they call you 3 times a week to try to buy what assets you do own, or invest with them
Thu Jul 6, 2023, 08:53 AM
Jul 2023

This whole privatization is a joke. Private equity. You can stick it in a mutual fund that the public can invest in, but is it any different? You barely own anything.


(576 posts)
4. These are the Plunderers
Thu Jul 6, 2023, 09:00 AM
Jul 2023

I am currently reading These Are The Plunderers/How Private Equity Runs and Wrecks America by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner

It is disgusting how PE buys firms (it just happened to Jenny Craig), sells its assets, cuts employees, bleeds pensions, then discards the picked off bones of what is left. "Regulators" and the government turn a blind eye. They're all in bed together.

They are taking over health care, nursing homes, trailer parks....

One firm purchased a family-owned trailer park. The residents own their homes but pay rent on the lots. The PE firms raised the rent so high, the residents could not afford it.

When they purchase nursing homes, they immediately cut staff. Patient health immediately suffers.

A very few are profiting billions while bleeding the economy dry.

Midnight Writer

(22,275 posts)
6. I remember when the business media idolized "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap and thought to myself
Thu Jul 6, 2023, 03:08 PM
Jul 2023

"This won't end well for regular folks".

Just saw a news story this morning about Keith Ellison suing outfits who have bought up rental properties all over Minnesota, raised the rent and refuse to maintain or repair the properties in order to maximize profits.

This is now the preferred business model in America. Bleed your customers for everything they have, and never, never, act on compassion, mercy, or human decency.

Corporations are people, my Irish ass.

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