What are some of the most powerful historical, no nation-bound organizations that exist today, except the Church and some great mafia organizations?
Were there any cases in history that such organizations wielded the power to rival that of nations? (again, except the Church) Could some of the modern companies/banks take enough power over the crucial aspects of a society to control it?
Banks (Banking families ran city states and such)
Merchant leagues such as the VoC, East India company and the Hansa league.
A company like the VoC had an income that rivaled many states and could actually declare war and make peace like a sovereign state.
The "Illuminati" will always be an interesting myth.
Whenever I actually go in that direction and read about it, it becomes more and more obvious how the entire 20th century was orchestrated by like what, 10 families, less? That's also neither false information nor it is unbelieveable, there were always top dogs. But I don't necessarily believe they function since the early Middle Ages and that they are a cult.
Seems like things are the most complicated on our (citizens) level and a bit up there, but at the extreme top of the game there are just few.
The Fugger's were a banking family from Augsburg that controled large parts of European economy and had heaps of political influence. For example they funded Charles V. bid for Holy Roman Emperor, had an almost monopoly on copper, etc.
Oldest social housing in the world still in use is the Fuggerei in Augsburg. People live there in the same circumstances and for the same price since 1516, which is prayers for Jakob Fugger.
This is paid for by a charity trust that was founded by Fugger and is carefully managed for almost 500 years now.
It's not that suprising that cross referencing 150 influential people leads to so many connections.
It's just a numbers game, just like how, statistically, we're all related to everyone if you look back 1000 years, the 6 degrees of separation and so on...