What a Wazzock

So I get told to stop grumbling:

“It should be noted that GDP measures the value of goods and services produced in a country and is not identical to a company’s revenue. “Apple Is Not As Big As Israel, Greece, Denmark Or Hong Kong, Please, Get A Grip,” grumbled Forbes. But just because GDP is different doesn’t mean the comparison isn’t useful; indeed it highlights an important shift in the power balance between countries and corporations.”

OK, that’s told me then, eh?

But then we get:

“Take Nokia, for example, which accounted for a 4% of the Finnish GDP in 2000 and had 41% of the mobile phone market worldwide in 2006. “

Nokia’s 2006 turnover was of the order of 56 billion euros. Or more than 50% of Finnish GDP in 2000. The difference between 50% and 4% of GDP is quite large isn’t it? So, umm, perhaps they’re not all that great as numbers to compare then, eh?

BTW, Apple as a percentage of US GDP. About 0.6%. Roughly you understand.

13 thoughts on “What a Wazzock”

  1. Apple turnover should be compared to a strudel. The difference is merely a question of shape and a few breadcrumbs in the Viennese confection.

  2. Back in about 1972, in university, I read a book about corporations being bigger than countries.
    The graphic on the front cover compared two things: the stock market value of IBM, Esso etc, and the gold reserves of India, China.
    Strange to relate, gold in a vault was less.

  3. Take Nokia, for example, which accounted for a 4% of the Finnish GDP in 2000 and had 41% of the mobile phone market worldwide in 2006.

    Shortly before Nokia collapsed and is now a shadow of its former self due to expressed preferences of its customers. Balance between corporations and countries, indeed.

  4. “Don’t they put raisins* in strudel?”

    Yes, but also found in turnovers. Not perhaps in the mass produced confection on sale on the forecourts of our larger railway stations, but turnovers are part of the traditional family of worker’s packed lunches known as cobblers, turnovers and pasties and there would have been a tendency to add in any sort of dried fruit for extra sugar.

    Another difference with the strudel would be that the turnover probably had some extra lemon juice for added zest whereas the Teutons prefer orange juice.

  5. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, Apple will have made enough money to buy the rights to your firstborn child.

    Go for it, Apple. Soon your fancy new corporate HQ will resemble the aftermath of a food fight between angry chimpanzees. Juice boxes will be emptied into your shoes. Sticky fingers will destroy your clean white gadgets. Sex with your wife will require levels of planning, stealth and speed that would put the SAS to shame. Then you’ll realise you can no longer have nice things.

    it highlights an important shift in the power balance between countries and corporations.

    Number of times Apple has seized half of my income under threat of imprisonment: zero.

    The influence of corporations is particularly pronounced among our kids. Although “kids” is a somewhat parochial term – in business speak they’re the iGeneration

    I do love buzzword bingo. Anybody who unironically uses the term “iGeneration” is a useless marketing mook who should be thrown out of the nearest window.

    There has been a lot of talk about the need for schools to teach coding to children early on so as to better equip them for a digital world.

    Yes. Most of that talk is stupid. Coding is, mainly, a shitty, poorly paid job that can be easily outsourced. You don’t need to learn how to code to be prepared for a digital world, any more than you need to do an apprenticeship in plumbing to use a toilet.

    If you have that rare combination of high IQ, Aspergers and a great idea for the next Google or Minecraft, coding is useful. For mostly everyone else, something like plumbing offers better rewards and more secure employment.

    Basically schools need to teach a class that helps kids understand business jargon (Corp BS™), navigate corporate cartography, and recognise that corporate governance has as much of an impact, if not more, as governments on their future.

    Teach the kids how to read and write first, understand some basic science, maths, history and maybe a foreign language. Then we’ll talk.

    let me introduce “profitics”, a new and improved version of politics, which examines the way in which the search for shareholder value creates new markets, new behaviours and new ideas of value that could make you very rich or (more likely) quite poor. Profitics is a complex discipline

    Nah. Let’s just tell the kids what “rent seeking” is, and use this chancer as an example.

    Last year F-Secure, a Finnish security firm, conducted an experiment exploring the dangers of public Wi-Fi use. When people connected to a public hotspot, the terms and conditions they were asked to agree to included a “Herod clause” promising free Wi-Fi but only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first-born child to us for the duration of eternity”. Six people signed up.

    So what? This is not a new issue. It’s why we have The Unfair Contract Terms Act and shedloads of other legislation and common law to defend people from predatory business behaviour.

    While all this may seem depressing, take heart in the fact that no matter how omnipotent they may seem, all corporate empires eventually fall. Take Nokia, for example

    We should “take heart” from people losing their jobs?

    What a cow.

  6. Steve

    As ever, you have nailed it – the point on Apple seizing ‘half your income with menaces under threat of imprisonment’ is particularly apposite, especially given the blase attitude of the leading proponent of this fantasy of corporate takeover to giving the Inland Revenue more powers.

    As you say, a fascinating window into the mindset of these people – the lack of self-awareness and conformity to a hideously totalitarian mindset, whilst simultaneously thinking you are somehow ‘radical’ is evidence of how deeply embedded a Left-wing, statist mindset is in the UK education system. Its removal (if possible at all) will be a long, drawn out process.

  7. Number of times Apple has seized half of my income under threat of imprisonment: zero.

    Substitute “irrelevance” for “imprisonment” and you have the hipster dilemma at every new Apple product release 🙂

  8. “GDP measures the value of goods and services produced in a country and is not identical to a company’s revenue.” – tbh I mighta thunk it is fairly analagous. perhaps value added is a better measure to compare with gdp.

  9. “it highlights an important shift in the power balance between countries and corporations”

    If they’d bother to teach me proper coding and corporate jargon skills, I’d be able to set-up a simulation to test this. I was thinking Uncle Sam v Apple.

    The US government is heavily indebted, but has a massive military, while Apple has the cash, and the sworn loyalty of a great many hipsters. Who would win?

    I’ll probably never know now.

  10. On the subject of ballons corporatique, I have to sign a waiver prior to a jolly (At Which Alcohol Might Be Served). Anyone see the flaw in this? Or is it me?

    5. HEREBY ASSUMES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR AND RISK OF BODILY INJURY, DEATH OR PROPERTY DAMAGE due to his or her negligence or the negligence of releasees or otherwise while participating in the conference and/or operating a vehicle at the conclusion of any of the events during the conference.

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