Campaigners call on UK to stop indulging world’s most powerful companies
THE CAMPAIGNING GROUP Global Justice Now has released a list of the corporations that are worth more money than most of the world’s nation states combined.
The figures have been released as part of a drive to stop the UK Government pandering to the world’s wealthiest business interests, each worth hundreds of billions of dollars, with tax breaks and subsidies.
CommonSpace looks at the wealth and record of the world’s wealthiest companies.
Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue and the largest private employer, with 2.2 million workers. It’s model of supermarket with low prices and deals, diversification to a huge range of non-food items, and work practices including union busting has spread around the world.
It’s wholly owned UK division, Asda, is one of its most successful international ventures.
State Grid is the largest electricity company in the world. It is state owned and began as a service provider in China, but following reforms in 2002 it morphed into a huge corporation with over a billion customers and almost two million employees.
China National Petroleum
A Chinese state asset like State Grid, China National Petroleum is the parent company of the publicly listed giant PetroChina
The second largest company in the world by revenue, Sinopec is another plinth of the enormous Chinese state utilities sector, which has emerged onto the world stage since the onset of Chinese economic liberalisation at the turn of the century. By 2007 Sinopec was the top of China’s 500 best performing companies.
Royal Dutch Shell
The merger of Royal Dutch Petroleum and British firm Shell Transport and Trading, Royal Dutch Shell is one of the six massive oil and gas ‘supermajors’. It’s history goes back to the colonial exports of the two imperial powers.
The largest descendant of the J.D Rockefeller business empires, Exxon Mobil is one of the world’s most profitable companies, but has drawn heavy criticism for failing to respond quickly to cleaning up oil spills and for funding the climate change denial lobby.
The world’s largest car manufacturer, Volkswagen was founded in the 1930’s by the Third Reich to provide affordable cars for the German Public. The US environmental protection agency found in 2015 that the company had violated clean air legislation.
The Japanese car manufacturer was the biggest in the world in 2012, when the company broke the 200 million car production mark. The company’s banking ventures have been accused of having organised crime connections.
Apple Incorporated is the world’s largest information technology supplier. A spotlinght was placed over its employment practices in 2006 after it was revealed that in its contracted Chinese factories employees were working for more 60 hours a week for around $1000 a month.
BP, formerly British Petroleum, is another of the worlds oil and gas supermajors. BP is currently embroiled in a conflict with Canadian first peoples over its tar sands extraction work, which critics claim is environmentally destructive.
Commenting on the list Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said: “The vast wealth and power of corporations is at the heart of so many of the world’s problems – like inequality and climate change. The drive for short-term profits today seems to trump basic human rights for millions of people on the planet. These figures show the problem is getting worse.
“The UK government has facilitated this rise in corporate power – through tax structures, trade deals and even aid programmes that help big business. Their wholehearted support for the US-EU trade deal TTIP, is just the latest example of government help to big business. Disgracefully it also routinely opposes the call of developing countries to hold corporations to account for their human rights impacts at the United Nations. That’s why today we’re joining campaigns from across the world to tell the British government to stop blocking this international demand for justice.”
Picture courtesy of Tracy O
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