Probably the only group to be reveling in 2020 are the good folk at Apple, which this week became the first publicly listed US company with a US$2 trillion (A$2.7 trillion) sharemarket value, an increase of 57% in value in the year so far.
Which got us thinking — what does that kind of scratch buy you these days?
- The Louvre and all its contents is only likely to set you back about $82 billion.
- All the Rolls-Royces sold in the world in 2019 (5152 of its most popular car, retailing at about US$400,000 would come in at just under A$3 billion).
- Take 1,134,453,781 of one’s closest friends to Sublimation in Spain, the world’s most expensive restaurant. The invite list drops to an agonising 732,899,022 if you pay for their flights at an average of $1300 a ticket.
- At the average oil price for 2020, you could buy all of Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves, and still have a nearly $700 billion nest egg.
- 1080g of magical fuel positrons, but you’re still a fair bit short of the $62 trillion estimated cost of producing a gram of anti-matter.
So, as you can see, you have to get pretty grand to even make a dent. So what about… Australia? $2.7 trillion greatly exceeds our GDP ($1.89 trillion); you could throw in New Zealand and most of Micronesia and still have change.
But of course, as University of Sydney constitutional law profession Anne Twomey told Crikey, Australia, the polity, is not something that anyone “owns”, exactly. Still, you could sell the physical land.
“Even then, this is complex, because under our land system, when people buy freehold title to land, it is only a series of rights in relation to the land,” she said. “The underlying title — sometimes described as the ‘radical title’, see the Mabo case — since the British claimed Australia, is held by the ‘Crown’.”
From there, it just gets more complex.
“Then there is the question of what is actually meant by the term ‘Crown’ – is it the executive government, or the entire polity itself?” she said, adding this doesn’t take into account the question of ongoing native title rights and questions of Aboriginal sovereignty.
“So if Apple wanted to buy Australia, the answer is that Apple would really end up buying a lot of complex legal advice, and enriching many lawyers with holiday homes and Lamborghinis.”