There was much masturbatory journalism going around last month when Apple overtook ExxonMobil as the world’s most valuable company. Apple is one of those enormous American corporate behemoths which dimwitted lefties (which adequately describes most journalists) don’t mind, mainly because they buy its products and don’t really understand how Apple works. All they know is until recently they had a cool CEO. Contrast this with Exxon, whose products they also buy and also don’t understand how it works. All they know is Exxon deliberately destroys the global environment in the course of making only 10 people in the world better off, and is headed by a man called Rex Tillerson and last time they saw anything called Rex it was running around Jurassic Park chewing up Land Rovers. Whereas Apple had Steve Jobs, and everyone knows jobs are good.
The BBC dutifully reported on this shift of stock market numbers (something it spends half the time telling us should not be the focus of economic decision-making), but seemed a little vague about why it occurred:
Whereas Exxon has limited growth prospects, because it is reliant on oil prices and new oil discovery, Apple can continue to come up with new technology products.
Exxon has always been reliant on the oil price and new oil discoveries. It’s a friggin’ oil company, after all. These aren’t things which waltzed in the door yesterday morning and took the board of directors quite by surprise: this has been the case since the company was founded, so as an explanation of why Exxon is suddenly less valuable it is useless. Similarly, Apple’s theoretical ability to continue to come up with new technology products is no different from that of any other technology company – IBM, for example. But IBM is not the most valuable company in the world and Apple is, meaning there must be more to it than this. But the BBC is not about informing people because that would require prior understanding. The BBC is more about throwing up a headline, putting some airheaded comment masquerading as analysis directly beneath it, and inserting speech marks around anything they’re unsure about and mean to come back and check later but never do.
Anyway, I don’t know why Apple is considered more valuable than Exxon. I suspect it is because with both Obama and his fellow idiots across the Atlantic taking lessons from the Soviet Union on economic policy, some people have realised we’ll all soon be driving about in Ladas and drinking distilled shoe polish to keep warm and we won’t be using as much oil. So the oil price has dropped. Some other people have simultaneously spotted that in a world where violent protests are ongoing about the cost of living, an awful lot of these same protestors are waiting with slathering chops for the arrival of the iPhone 5, which will retail (unaffiliated with any network) for the price of a small laptop. If the western world is refusing to pay for health, education, transport, or even a museum ticket but is prepared to burn a fortnight’s salary on an iPhone, no wonder Apple is up and Exxon is down. It takes Exxon a few years to recoup the capital costs of a major project, the west might not survive that long. Or if it does, it’ll be sick, thick, and going nowhere. I don’t know how we’ve managed to find ourselves in the middle of a major global economic downturn whilst catapulting the manufacturer of luxury goods – yes, iPhones are – to the top of the world’s most valuable companies, but somebody’s bullshitting somewhere. It can’t only be the spouses and offspring of Russian oligarch’s who are buying Apple products (although a visit to the Apple store in London or Paris would convince you otherwise). It looks to me as though governments are trying to convince those with money for a new iPhone to pay for their own brats’ education and theatre tickets, but they’ve already lined up a slopey shoulder app for download and are saying “Fuck you, I’m buying a new phone.” Which would be fine, but these dickheads are adding on “And don’t forget, kiddo’s school is crap and needs a new roof.” Something doesn’t add up.
One thing’s for sure, if the western economies are looking so crap that the oil price is affected and Exxon’s stock downrated, then sooner or later this same crap economy is going to catch up with those who were about to buy an iPad until they realised they were sitting in darkness because their electricity has been cut off. Apple should enjoy it while it lasts.