Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Created by Consumers

Today's Financial Times included a chart detailing the "World's Largest Companies" (by market capitalization) in the world today. This top ten listed included:

1. ExxonMobil - US$431 billion
2. PetroChina - $384
3. Gazprom - $298
4. General Electric - $279
5. China Mobile - $268
6. Microsoft - $241
7. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China - $240
8. Petrobras - $235
9. Royal Dutch Shell -- $232
10. Wal Mart Stores - $228

Now if we break these ten companies down by category we end up with --

-5 companies are energy/oil producers
-3 of these companies are Chinese entities
-4 of these companies are American/USA companies

Given the high price of oil/gasoline today coupled with the growing energy demands of China it is no surprise that 5 of these corporations are energy companies. However their size and market value should not be surprising since consumers spent their own money via market decisions to create these giants -- although PetroChina, GazProm, and Petrobras are essentially products of national governments.

While reading this list in the Financial Times was educational all readers would have benefited if the article would have included a chart showing the "World's Largest Companies" from 50 or even 100 years ago to offer some historical perspective to show how the world economy has changed over time.

Economic history is essential summertime reading,


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