Sunday, July 31, 2011

Enough cash to buy the USA

When I was working with IBM Australia back in Sydney during the period 1957-1961, I remember being most impressed by an anecdote designed to reveal the fabulous prosperity of my US employer. Somebody told me that IBM was so wealthy that the corporation could simply pay cash for such-and-such a South American nation… in the "banana republic" category, if I remember rightly. At the time, I wouldn't have been capable of deciding whether or not this was rubbish talk, so I simply believed what I was told, and got on (proudly, no doubt) with my computer programming tasks.

These days, thanks to Internet, we're more cautious about tales of this kind, since people are more and more capable of verifying the degree of truth in what is being stated. We're no longer obliged to survive in the kind of informational vacuum that shrouded the planet up until recently… except, of course, if your antiquated beliefs, your inbuilt mental structure and your cultural conditioning force you (with or without Internet) to do so.

Today, we're told (and it's no doubt true) that the Apple corporation disposes of cash liquidities of 76 billion dollars, whereas those of the entity known as the USA amount to 73 billion dollars. The latter sum represents what the USA can actually spend before they hit their official national debt limit of well over 14 billion dollars, illustrated here:

It's said that, if the current US debt were to be materialized in 100-dollar banknotes, the stack of greenbacks would cover a football field up to the height of the left arm of the Statue of Liberty. This explains why a dynamic corporation such as Apple would never—in spite of having enough ready cash to do so—invest in such an unpromising financial affair as God's Own Country.

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