Apple a bigger global power and more important than most nations

“Yet again, Apple announced record sales and earnings. Yet again, its ‘Jobs report’ stood in stark contrast to the monthly official jobs report,” Zachary Karabell writes for The Daily Beast. “For the past four years, as the U.S. economy has stumbled, Apple has soared.”

“As millions have lost jobs or stayed underemployed, Apple has sold more phones, iPads, and computers than most thought possible,” Karabell writes. “And it has seen its most dramatic success during one of the worst economic slumps in the developed world.”

Karabell writes, “In many ways, its growth makes no sense. If the economies of the developed world are suffering—and until very recently, Apple was not selling significantly in China or the emerging world—how has Apple made hundreds of billions of dollars? … Apple’s emergence is a prime example of the disconnect between nations and companies, between the relative affluence of countless people in developed nations and the relative poverty of their governments. And it is the most potent example of how companies have broken free of any one national economy and created the new transnational entity of Corporateland.”

“Apple has about 60,000 full-time employees around the world. Apple is a $600 billion company and growing. Nigeria has a population of about 170 million and a GDP less than half Apple’s market capitalization,” Karabell writes. “Such comparisons may seem facile, but they should be made over and over until the full weight sinks in. Apple is not just a cool computer/phone/tablet company. It is an ecosystem and a society with more influence and power than most nations… It is time to see it in a new light, as a global power more important to the world today and in the future than most countries that so dominate our collective consciousness.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “ShisQuBa-BaShazam” for the heads up.]


  1. As usual, comparing market cap to GDP is nonsense. GDP is ANNUAL, market cap is not. It’s like comparing the distance from one city to another city, with the speed you drive between the cities. Different units can’t be compared.

    Having said that, the more apt comparison would be Apple SALES to a country’s GDP. So, that would mean about $142B in Apple sales can be compared to a country’s GDP.

  2. For the past four years, as the U.S. economy has stumbled… thanks to Bill Cinton:

    At President Clinton’s direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity. They also were threatened with denial of access to the all-important secondary mortgage market and stiff fines, along with other penalties.

    The threat was codified in a 20-page “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending” and entered into the Federal Register on April 15, 1994, by the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending. Clinton set up the little-known body to coordinate an unprecedented crackdown on alleged bank redlining.
    The edict — completely overlooked by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the mainstream media — was signed by then-HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, Attorney General Janet Reno, Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, along with the heads of six other financial regulatory agencies.

    “The agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form,” the document warned financial institutions.
    So this is where it all started.  In 1994.  When the government pressured lenders to qualify the unqualified.  To put people into houses they couldn’t afford.

    1. I image the fact that Goldman Sachs bundled those mortgages and lied to investors, offering the bundles as AAA investments had no impact. Don’t underestimate the power of greed to find a loophole and exploit it.

    2. Just judging from your post, there is a big logical error. There is a huge difference between “discrimination” – which would involve charging different rates to prospective borrowers of equal merit based on other factors, such as race – and “pressuring lenders to qualify the unqualified.”

      I need to read the document that you identified. Is it still part of the public policy? If it is so misguided and it is still an active policy after 18 years, then why?

    3. Ubermac, I skimmed through most of the document in question. It is unclear to me how you drew your conclusions regarding the government pressuring lenders to quality the unqualified.

      A couple of excerpts from the “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending” (Federal Register on April 15, 1994). Note that I added the bolding for emphasis.

      “[Agencies]… are concerned that some prospective home buyers and other borrowers may be experiencing discriminatory treatment in their efforts to obtain loans. The 1992 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston study on lending discrimination, Congressional hearings, and agency investigations have indicated that race is a factor in some lending decisions. Discrimination in lending on the basis of race or other prohibited factors is destructive, morally repugnant, and against the law. It prevents those who are discriminated against from enjoying the benefits of access to credit. The Agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form. Further, fair lending is not inconsistent with safe and sound operations. Lenders must continue to ensure that their lending practices are consistent with safe and sound operating policies.”

      “Lenders will not have to justify every requirement and practice every time that they face a compliance examination. The Agencies recognize the relevance to credit decisions of factors related to the adequacy of the borrower’s income to carry the loan, the likely continuation of that income, the adequacy of the collateral to secure the loan, the borrower’s past performance in paying obligations, the availability of funds to close, and the existence of adequate reserves. While lenders should think critically about whether widespread, familiar requirements and practices have an unjustifiable disparate impact, they should look especially carefully at requirements that are more stringent than customary. Lenders should also stay informed of developments in underwriting and portfolio performance evaluation so that they are well positioned to consider all options by which their business objectives can be achieved.”

    4. Bush lobbied banks to make 450 billion in new loans to minorities and people with poor credit and he also lobbied Fannie and Freddie to buy those loans so stop with the bullshit.

  3. I love the story that Tom Freidman tells in his Olive & Lexus book – about businesses getting on the phone, and helping to stop the potential war between Pakistan and India – ‘stop this war, or we will pull our businesses out.’ When business acts equitably and morally, it can have great influence, perhaps at times more effective than government diplomacy – as long as they keep their virtues true, and that includes making profit, investing in lives through employment, etc. There is GREAT potential in some of these countries that have a lot of problems – I hope some day it is realized. Virtues are taught and caught.

  4. That’s much expectation and responsibility going forward for any company. Will Apple Inc. continue to contribute to a better world or will greed and grandiosity prevail? Hmm!

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