Monday, 12 September 2011

The Global 150 - Who's more powerful - Governments or Corporations?

As the world is beset by economic troubles the question is raised over the role of corporations. Yet how significant is their influence? It is very difficult to determine how much influence is wielded by companies versus countries. In fact it is better to think of the influence of governments versus companies. At the end of the day a country has many constituent elements - individuals, companies, civil society, the media. Yet, what is the weight of the primary public sector entity? What does a government have at its disposal?

In that vein, I constructed a table below to contrast the national revenues of the world's leading governments with that of the world's leading corporations into a new global 150 - the G150. The top ten are all countries. The top five corporations are: Walmart, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Toyata Motors. Israel at #126 lands between Microsoft and Home Depot, while Apple at #133 is just above Ukraine.

What are the other results:

$27.7 trillion -- Total revenues of the G150.
$11.2 trillion -- Total revenues of the top 10 countries
$11.8 trillion -- Total revenues of all companies in G150
$153 billion -- Average revenue for government outside the top 10
$108 billion -- Average revenue for company on the list

73% -- Percentage of the list that are companies
27% -- Percentage of the list that are countries
38% -- Percentage of the companies on the list that are US-based
12% -- Percentage of the companies on the list that are Germany-based

What is interesting about this is that just like governments the companies have commitments that they must pay  that will of course take hold of the revenues. Additionally, while some governments may have surpluses others may not; companies may or may not be profitable. A government such as India has over $1 trillion in GDP but very low national revenue (in India's case just $154 billion). There are many implications to that.

This is a subjective analysis that is meant to be indicative rather than authoritative. This analysis uses publicly available information gathered from Wikipedia, the CIA Factbook and the World Bank, mostly from 2009/2010 but with some national revenue figures coming from 2007 (specific information on the dates is available on request). Adjustment for subsequent years of inflation is not made. 


  1. I think this is an oversimplified analysis. Still, I see your point. I wonder if our company would do better on this list if we get the best business consultant in our industry.

  2. I can see the reason why entrepreneurs file LLC. Looks like there is much income to be made--to the point rivaling GDP's.

  3. There is a great relationship between the government and corporations. As far as I know, government is responsible in making the economy abundant or not. Corporations on the other hand, depends on the economic status. However, according to the list you have provided, it seems that many companies are richer than the other countries. Anyway, a company will be successful if the people behind these are doing everything they can to increase revenues.

  4. Governments and corporations work hand in hand. It's amazing to see here how some corporations rank higher in revenue than a country's government.