While globalization means many different things to many different people, there is growing consensus that capitalist globalization is its most powerful contemporary form. This article argues that capitalist globalization, and thus effective power in the global system, is increasingly in the hands of a transnational capitalist class (TCC) comprising four fractions: those who own and control the major corporations and their local affiliates, globalizing bureaucrats and politicians, globalizing professionals, and consumerist elites. The TCC engages in a variety of activities that take place at all levels, including community, urban, national, and global politics, and involve many different groups of actors. Two sets of questions are addressed : (1) What forms do these activities take? and (2) Do they enhance or undermine democracy? The role of the TCC is analyzed through brief case studies on Codex Alimentarius and the global tobacco industry
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