Friday, December 2, 2011

If Walmart Were A Country: Playing Monopoly

Here is some accidental poetry from Christopher Petrella in Nation of Change (comparisons via Business Insider's June 2011 report):
If Wal-Mart were a country
Its revenues would exceed the GDP of Norway,
World's 25th largest economy.
Yahoo is bigger than Mongolia,
Visa is bigger than Zimbabwe,
Nike is bigger than Paraguay,
McDonalds is bigger than Latvia, is bigger than Kenya,
Apple is bigger than Ecuador,
Ford is bigger than Morocco,
Bank of America is bigger than Vietnam,
General Electric is bigger than New Zealand,
Exxon- Mobil is bigger than Thailand,
Chevron is bigger than the Czech Republic.

Though capitalism seems to be based on a foundation of free competition, Petrella argues that it quickly leads to monopoly, which has negative effects on democratic functioning. And how quickly monopoly has risen in the financial section just in the past twenty years! He states, "In 1990, the ten largest domestic financial institutions held only 10% of total financial assets. Today they own 70%. The largest five U.S. banks now hold $11 trillion in assets."

His suggestion? We ought to divide up big banks, taking as our model the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which divided up the railroad companies not only to diminish their economic might, but also to prevent companies from "becoming so large that their political power would undermine the democratic process."
Read Christopher's article here

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