As Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard welcomed back most of the Australian Olympic team in Sydney this morning, the global debate on what drives medal counts continues apace.
We’ve seen analysis looking at medals measured against population, GDP and direct government spending on elite sporting programs. But market capitalisation of listed companies is arguably the best public measure of who is creating private wealth in our globalised world — and it correlates reasonably well against the Olympics medal count.
Australia certainly did better at the Olympics that we do in globalised business competition. We finished 10th in golds and seventh overall with 35 medals, yet we only had one company (BHP) out of 45 globally which were worth more than $US100 billion on the first trading day after the London 2012 closing ceremony.
In terms of where those 45 companies are domiciled, the US still dominates. Here’s the tally of companies worth more than $US100 billion on August 13:
South Korea: 1
It is often worth taking a snapshot of comparative market capitalisations at a particular time and returning to them later. For instance, a Crikey story from January 2009 shows how our all-powerful Big Four banks ranked very well among the US majors in the middle of the GFC.
Therefore, may the record show that these were the 45 companies worth more than $US100 billion as the world came down from the climax of the London closing ceremony …