Comparing National Economies and Corporations – Just how bad was Enron ?

Obviously it can’t be done! It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Corporate revenue and Gross National Income GNI don’t measure the same thing. Double counting is the least of your problems. But plotting them on the same graph is interesting! It gives you a very approximate graph of financial influence for Nations and Corporations. The most recent freely available data is for 2001. So I merged the data from the World Bank and the Fortune Global 100 and then plotted it. And what did I find. Wow, the Enron debacle has to be the largest crime ever! Check this out…

Data Sources

The Fortune Global 500
The World Bank Data and Statistics

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  • Alder

    Fascinating numbers. And what does this say about how we might be able to make change in the world — gives a whole new significance to the fact that Wal-Mart a couple of days ago gave full anti-discrimination protections and domestic partner rights to employees of any sexual orientation. Too bad we can’t get them to start selling wind turbines, solar panels, and condoms in the Philippines!!

  • Willem

    Speaking of condoms in the Philippines, here’s the state of the nation in Thailand as per Reuters this morning:

    “BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai community groups wanted to use a logo featuring two elephants having sex for next year’s World AIDS conference in Bangkok but the plan was criticized by health authorities because the bull was not using a condom.”

    I digress…

  • John R. Harris

    John M. Tucker just sent me this link to an excerpt from Inequality, Power, and Development: Issues in Political Sociology, 2nd edition by Jerry Kloby (Prometheus Books, 2003). I found these quotes particularly interesting

    For the year 2001, Enron, an energy trading company, was ranked as the 6th largest corporation in the world but before the year was out Enron was rocked by scandal and the company filed for bankruptcy in February of 2002.

    During Enron’s peak years it was the beneficiary of the powerful influence of government leaders in Washington, made millions of dollars for stockholders and upper management, and tapped into capital reserves created out of public funds (OPIC). But in four of the five years before the scandal broke, Enron paid not one penny in corporate taxes to the U.S. government. In fact, over the five-year period from 1996 to 2000, Enron received a net tax rebate of $381 million from the federal government. The company’s profits over that same period totaled $1.785 billion