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What if Facebook Was a Country?

Sometimes it’s fun and informative just to ask what if…? of life. What if this happened or that didn’t. Today we pose some interesting hypothetical musings, starting what if Facebook was actually a country?

Well, if it was a country it would be ranked third most populated in the world with 400 million ‘population’, after China (1,336,450,000) and India (1,178,436,000) and ahead of the USA (308,898,000).

This startling statistic was revealed in March 2010. It hasn’t changed in essence, though all, populations are up. Indonesia (231,369,500), Brazil (192,651,000), Pakistan (169,010,500), Bangladesh (162,221,000), Nigeria (154,729,000) and Russia (141,927,297) make up the rest of the world’s most populated nations.

Facebook, if it were a country would be the poorest country in the world with gross domestic per capita of just $2.50. However if each new user was counted as a ‘birth’ it would be the fastest growing country on earth, and with more languages spoken than any other.

In February 2012 as the details of Facebook’s launch of its new share structures emerged, Dr Chris MacDonald asked on the Business Ethics Blog: ‘Is Mark Zuckerberg aiming to be the hereditary sovereign of the Kingdom of Facebook?’

The plans, according to MacDonald give Zuckerberg considerable continuing power (57% of the voting rights) which will transfer to ‘whomever inherits his fortune’. Despite the man’s avowed intent not to make money from services but to ‘make money to build better services’, clearly Facebook will never be a democracy.

What if the Catholic Church Was a Country?

At over a billion members globally and speaking hundreds of languages, with a history and cultural contribution to the growth of western civilisation, the claim for it to be a country would carry some weight.

A report from the Catholic paper Zenit in 2001 suggested that income for the year 2000 was equivalent to $8.5 million (US). Even then, those figures must have seemed small. Avro Manhattan’s book The Vatican Billions (1983) reported that the Pope is ‘the richest man on earth’.

He said the Vatican had large investments with banks across the world, shares in the most powerful international corporations, estimated at over $500 in the USA alone. The separate archdioceses and dioceses across the world are holding billions of dollars of assets in the form of stocks, property, land and gold.

He described the Catholic church as ‘the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner on earth’. The church possess more material riches ‘than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe’.

This is not to criticise the church, its members present or past actions. It is merely to say that if it were a country, it would be fully sustainable.

What if Coca Cola Was a Country?

Coca Cola’s brand was estimated by the BBC in 2005 to be worth $68bn, Microsoft worth $60bn, IBM worth $54bn and General Electric worth $50bn.

Add those figures to other top names, like McDonalds ($26bn), Nokia ($27bn) and Marlboro ($21bn) and it is fair to say that if the major corporations were a country, it would be the richest, most powerful in the history of mankind, trusting that by and large most of its work and worth was legal.

There is a website devoted to ‘Things Apple is worth more than’, and it claimed (Feb 12), that it is worth more than the construction of the entire interstate road system across the USA and their whole aircraft carrier fleet, more than one billion iPads, more than all retail sales of electricity in the USA, and more than the whole globe’s lottery and coffee markets, more than two full Apollo Space Programs (adjusted for inflation) and more than all the gold stored in the New York Federal Reserve!

Now that would make Apple a very financially secure country indeed, worth more than the GDP of Singapore one of the world’s richest states because of a business-friendly approach and being strict on corruption.

What if The Mafia Was a Country?

Reports from an Italian employers’ organisation, Confesercenti, suggested in 2011 that the Mafia is now Italy’s ‘biggest business enterprise with a turnover of almost €150 billion a year, taking advantage of the economic situation to buy ailing businesses, shops and restaurants and ‘ramp up loan shark operations’.

Their cash reserves were estimated at €65 billion and annual profits from all their criminal undertakings at over €100 billion, about 7% of Italy’s GDP. Their traditional strongholds no longer confine them (business is after all borderless in the digital age) and their control of gambling, prostitution, drugs and loaning is but part of their burgeoning empires which now include construction, waste management, roads, freight and money laundering.

The figures don’t make them a big country in their own right, but put them with mobsters in other parts of the world, such as Russia, Chechnya, Mexico, Columbia… and it might be fair to ask, what if organised crime was a country?

Perhaps it’s a good job this is just a little game for a drink with a few friends and we should be glad none of the above are countries. Yet.


Tech XAV, Xavier Lur. If Facebook Were a Country….
Zenit, The World Seen From Rome, July 2001.
BBC News, July 2005.
Things Apple Is Worth More Than, Feb 2012.

Image: Bangin