We live in a world in which a company can be richer than a country, and many are. We’re talking straight revenue, not profits or net incomes. Besides, a country’s GDP does not include its debt, so it’s a fair game.
Actually, let’s be precise in our scope here: the U.S. is a country where a company can be richer than another country that is not the U.S. You definitely won’t see the United States on the list below, (although with great wealth also comes great debt, when you’re talking counties). But that doesn’t mean that the U.S. is more valuable than any of its companies. In fact, in 2011, during the debt ceiling crisis, major credit rating agencies downgraded the U.S. from its AAA rating. This put several different multi-billion dollar companies ahead of their home country, including Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, and ExxonMobil.
So, what countries could buy the world?
Ecuador, North Korea, Greenland, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, all but four of the countries in Africa, and many more
Bank of America:
Guatemala, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Iceland, Sierra Leon – basically all but 69 of the countries in the world
This is a striking bit of perspective, but is it really a fair comparison? Can a company carry equal or greater global weight than a country can? Actually, no. While it would solve a lot of long-term diplomatic issues if Apple could buy North Korea, no matter how many times a company can buy and sell a country, it will never have the same level of responsibility. Companies are not limited to borders and citizenries, and don’t maintain schools and roads or command militaries.