Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PRW: People's Republic of Wal-Mart

The title of this post revolves around several ironies.

First and foremost, a "republic" is a kind of country, but I apply it to Wal-Mart because it is bigger -- in economic terms -- than the vast majority of countries. Second, "People's Republic" is associated with socialist economies, and though the rhetoric of corporations is laissez-faire, in practice they have no qualms receiving government largess. Third, the allusion to socialism is especially apt for Wal-Mart, whose workers are so impoverished that they host welfare offices in their stores.

It was first noticed in 1995 that about half of the largest economies in the world were corporations, and it is still true. The following are the world's 100 largest economies, as of 2010 (China has since overtaken Japan). Those in ALL CAPS are not countries; they are private firms. As explained in the film The Corporation, firms have gained all the rights of people with none of the responsibilities. In Lazy Point Year, author Carl Safina explains how this distinction ensures that the economic power will continue to eclipse political power unless people move decisively to move toward a new paradigm. The economy, he argues, is a subsidiary of the environment, but the imperatives of corporate growth are likely to reverse that, so that in one natural realm after another, the economy will swallow the world. It happened with whales and is happening with oil and the very atmosphere and oceans.


United States
Japan
China
Germany
France
UK
Italy
Brazil
Spain
Canada
India
Russia
Australia
Mexico
Korea
Netherlands
Turkey
Indonesia
Switzerland
Belgium
Poland
WAL-MART STORES
Sweden
Norway
Austria
Taiwan
Saudia Arabia
Venezuela
Greece
Islamic Republic of Iran
Argentina
Denmark
South Africa
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL
EXXON MOBIL
Thailand
BP
Finland
United Arab Emirates
Columbia
Portugal
Ireland
Hong Kong SAR
TOYOTA MOTOR
JAPAN POST HOLDINGS
Czech Republic
Israel
Malaysia
Egypt
SINOPEC
STATE GRID
Singapore
AXA
Nigeria
Pakistan
CHINA NATIONAL PETROLEUM
CHEVRON
ING GROUP
Chile
Romania
Phillipines
GENERAL ELECTRIC
BANK OF AMERICA CORP.
VOLKSWAGEN
Algeria
CONOCOPHILLIPS
BNP PARIBAS
Hungary
Peru
ASSICURAZIONI GENERALI
ALLIANZ
AT&T
CARREFOUR
FORD MOTOR
New Zealand
ENI
Ukraine
J.P. MORGAN & CHASE & CO
HEWLETT-PACKARD
E.ON
BERKSHIRE-HATHAWAY
Kuwait
GDF SUEZ
DAIMLER
NIPPON TELEGRAPH & TELEPHONE
Kazakhstan
SAMSUNG
CITIGROUP
VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS
MCKESSON
CRÉDIT AGRICOLE
BANCO SANTANDER
GENERAL MOTORS
HSBC HOLDINGS
SIEMENS
AMERICAN INTL. GROUP
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP
CARDINAL HEALTH
NESTLÉ

Sources: Global Trends, Fortune 500, and IMF Read the full report for caveats, trends and comparisons.

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