Top 500 firms

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


IN THE middle of July, which means next week, the American business magazine Fortune will hold a series of conferences called Brainstorm Tech in Aspen. It is an opportunity to imbibe new things by connecting with the magazine online. Fortune will come up with its top 500 business firms in America. Their collective profits “exceed $1 trillion.”

Fortune’s latest issue, dated June 16, is its 60th (“call it our diamond anniversary"). The magazine was first printed in 1955 “amid the prosperity of the (President Dwight) Eisenhower years.” This time, America’s 500 largest companies are ranked by revenues recorded in 2013.

“They merit a toast for performing mightily in a struggling economy. The most significant milestone is downright stunning--both in scope and surprise.” Fortune noted.

In 2013, it added, the 500 for the first time was able to attain revenue topping the “T” for the first time ever, “posting profits of $1,08 trillion, an all time record.

The figure dwarfs the previous high-water mark of $824.5 billion in fiscal 2011.which had smashed the one before that, ($785.billion), set in 2006.

However, these data on gross sales and net profit, it seems, did not translate to a rise in job opportunities and employment. While profit was up by 31.7 percent last year, it added only 180,000 employees.

My point is that while there might have been growth in net worth, this did not translate into shared enjoyment with the people.

A retail business giant in the US, for instance, had about half a trillion dollars in sales last year. It is considered the largest employer with 2.2 million workers. But it added only a measly 0.7 percent increase in its employees.

The Fortune issue also highlights the 20th year of its printing of the list of the top 500 business firms in the US and where or what state they were located, including the amount of their investment and the extent of their operation.

When the inclusion of the service companies in the listing was made in 1995, there was “a decisive reshaping of American business.” Their share of the total Fortune revenue reportedly became even more prodigious at 50.4 percent. This year, it is 60.5 percent.

Among the service companies that were not even in the 1995 roster, Amazon is now ranked No. 35. Google is at No.46 and DirecTV No.98. Fortune reported that of California’s 54 establishments listed in the current Fortune 500, “39 weren’t even on the list two decades ago.”

Those in Fortune’s list are companies in the world with income from their international business operation, embracing practically the whole of Earth’s complex natural existence. This points out to each of us how minuscule humans are that their existence could be reduced to just 500 companies holding in their hands global existence.

Fortune magazine picked the top 500 business organizations existing in the US but with operating arms in various parts of the globe, influencing and controlling the individual economy of the country the people exist in. Our world has become a tiny planet, indeed.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 10, 2014.

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