Monday, 9 May 2011

Multinationals - Threat or Menace?

For writers of everything from Cyberpunk to Literary Fiction the multinational corporation has provided a fruitful source of menace, bad guys and, for the boys at Kudos, deus ex machinas. Like the Russians during the cold war or the Islamic terrorists post 9/11 it is barely considered necessary to provide them with a motive - they're multinationals - evil incorporated.

I've often heard the phrase - bigger than the GDP of a small country - and after a while I wondered 'how much bigger?' So I looked up the turnover of the world's really big companies and compared them to the GDP of various countries.

So the biggest company of all, Wallmart, has a turnover of $419 billion. Looking down our list of adjusted GDP as calculated by the IMF we find that Wallmart is bigger than country 29 on the list Malaysia ($412 billion).

The next biggest company is ExxonMobil at $370 billion which makes it bigger than Sweden ($352 bn) but smaller than Nigeria (374 bn). After Exxon come a raft of big oil companies, American, Dutch, French and Chinese, until we come to the first manufacturing company on the list - Toyota. The Japanese motor manufacturer weighs in at $204 billion which makes it smaller than Israel ($219 bn) but larger than Denmark ($203 bn).

So there you go - multinationals are bigger than small countries but probably not as big as the guys at Kudos think they are.

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