What Was the Biggest Company in History? – $7.9 Trillion!

What Was the Biggest Company in History? – $7.9 Trillion!


You are watching ColdFusion TV Hi welcome to another ColdFusion video Since 2013, this channel has featured the “How BIG” series Essentially, the series explores the size and scope of different companies Recently, Apple has passed the one trillion dollar valuation mark, but since “How BIG is Apple?” video already exists I have the idea to take things a little further. I ask myself the question “What was the biggest company of all time?” In this video, we’ll quickly touch on the 8 most valuable companies in history and then spend some time on number one because it’s a fascinating story. This company was so large that they literally geographically shaped the world we know today. Alright, let’s get into it At number 8, we have Microsoft in 1999. The company was valued at $0.9 trillion at the height of the dot-com bubble Number 7 is Apple in 2018. This is due to the persistent popularity of the iPhone which makes up about 70% of the company’s profits Though some do speculate that this Trillion-dollar stock figure is more complicated due to low interest rates making it viable for the companies to buy back Its own stock, pushing up the stock price further At number 6, we have Standard Oil. In 1900 this company was worth $1 trillion. Standard Oil was soon broken up by the American government into well, pretty much every major American oil company At number 5, we have PetroChina. In 2007 they were valued at $1.4 trillion and this was right at the peak of oil prices just before the GFC The 4th most valuable company of all time is Saudi Aramco, valued at $4.1 trillion at its peak in 2010 From here on we have to step back in time, hundreds of years to reach the real heavyweights At number 3 and 2 respectively, are the South Sea company worth $4.3 trillion and the Mississippi company worth $6.5 trillion both in 1720. Of course, these numbers are adjusted for inflation The reason for these astronomical valuations is quite interesting In 1720, a bubble formed around speculation of trade between North and South America The two companies mentioned promised that they could capitalize on trade between the American continents and their stock rose accordingly The speculators in these companies would coined the term ‘millionaire’ In reality, mass trade between the Americas didn’t really end up happening and the bubble soon popped Okay, so on to number one Valued at a ridiculous $7.9 trillion in 1637 is the Dutch East India Company The story of the Dutch East India Company is absolutely fascinating The story starts in the Netherlands in a time called the golden century, a period of Dutch history between 1600 and 1700 where Amsterdam was one of the richest cities in the world, due to its strong international trade Trade was essentially how all countries made their money In 1600, the Dutch government was worried about England becoming dominant in trade To combat this threat, they sponsored the creation of the Dutch East India Company in 1602 and allowed the firm to become a monopoly in Asian trade The company quickly became one of the dominant players in the trade of spices between Europe and Indonesia Spices might not seem like much today, but back then spices were scarce and extremely valuable They were used in medicine, to preserve cooked food, and to add flavour to meat Spices actually improved the quality of life Dutch East India Company is one of the most important companies in history and one of the reasons for this is that it was the very first company to go public on the world’s first Stock Exchange From here, it continued to grow until it had 70,000 employees at its peak In the 1600s, that was more than 0.01% of the world’s population working for this one company The firm ran their own shipyards, built a network of hundreds of bases, and had anything from officers to warehouse and heavy work stations In order to keep their ports and continue trade, Dutch East India Company developed their own army to protect the land that they gained and this is where things start getting beyond any company that we can imagine today As the company grew, the foreign colonies gained more land and possessed a sense of governmental powers The Dutch East India Company had the power to wage war, negotiate treaties, mint its own coins, and even established new colonies. The company was even used to fight against the Spanish Empire in the early 1600s and remember, this was a publicly traded company doing all of this It doesn’t stop there though there were also expansive sailing expeditions that resulted in the discovery of new land as it turns out the Dutch East India Company actually helps shaped the geographical knowledge of the modern world They would stay operational for two centuries, and had effectively transformed itself from a corporate entity into a state, and then an empire Ok, so now we know that the company started by trading spice and ended up a tyrannical Empire But what was its most profitable business? The answer isn’t one you would expect The peak of their wealth came from flowers Tulips to be exact, and the story of how this happened has gone down in infamy It tells us a deep archetype story. Although technologies in the world may advance, human nature remains the same Tulips were first introduced to Europe from Turkey and reached Amsterdam in 1554 The plants are immediately perceived as exotic goods, and their popularity began to rise Having tulips in your garden became an important status symbol In addition to this, the thing about tulips is they take seven to twelve months to flower and only bloom for about a week This rareness and the fact that there are status symbol and highly valued, made the tulip product a prime candidate for the first financial bubble in history The tulip bubble You see at the time, the Dutch were pioneers of modern finance They devised a way to set up a market where you could trade tulips all year round even if they weren’t in bloom The prices were set by traders that signed to a contract based on future prices This was the very first futures derivative market. The same kind that we used to trade stocks with today Over time, the tulip market became more complicated and flowers were priced according to their rarity As with all derivative markets, things tend to go out of control sometimes The prices of the tulips are pushed higher and higher by speculators who plan to turn around and sell them for a profit This is the very same thing that happens in all modern financial bubbles from people flipping houses expecting the next guy to pay for it, to stock and bond traders doing the same thing. As I said, human nature stays the same Many merchants sold all of their belongings to purchase a few tulip bulbs for the purpose of selling them at a higher profit than they could ever imagine in their lifetimes. This was the 1630s and the average person could expect to live fewer than 40 years and be lucky to make any money at all Meanwhile, some of the tulip traders were earning the equivalence of sixty two thousand dollars a month But it seemed like the tulips for a quick way to paradise and everyone wanted in During the build-up and height of Tulipmania, the Dutch East India Company incorporated the tulip trade into their operations and the stock price began to rocket upwards By this stage, even England and France are trading tulips on the London Stock Exchange The acceleration of price continued and soon does a price explosion of twenty fold just in a single month To give you an idea, at the peak a single tulip bulb was worth ten times more than a craftsman’s annual wage By this point, the Dutch East India’s value had risen to that infamous massive $7.9 trillion mark To highlight how huge this was just one more time, if you put Apple, Microsoft and Google together, Dutch East India Company was worth three times that combined value So you might be wondering, what happened next? Like all bubbles, the tulip bubble popped in late 1636 So what caused the crash? It turns out that some of the buyers in North Holland refused to show up to routine tulip bulb auctions It signaled to the market that people just weren’t going to pay any higher for the plant This event caused the tulip price to fall a little Investors then got cold feet and decided to sell. So the price fell more More people saw the price falling and decided to sell as well, and the cycle continued. Soon the market violently imploded Within just a few weeks, Tulip bulbs were only worth a hundredth of their former price This resulted in a full-blown panic throughout Holland and an economic crash that lasted years The Dutch government would later make changes to the financial system to make sure that this never happened again So what about the Dutch East India Company? What happened to them? Well, the company stayed very powerful until the mid 1700s but after bad management, and a war between the English and the Dutch, the company was dissolved and overtaken by the government in 1799, and the colonies of the company became Dutch colonies So, what does this tell us? The tulip bubble speaks of human nature and greed. Like many things in life, it’s important to look at the underlying value of something and not just what everyone else thinks it’s worth The Dutch East India Company size is completely unparalleled today. There were a complete government within themselves On one hand, I guess it warns about the close ties between industry and government. But on the other hand, they did discover new lands, shaping modern geography, and also with a pioneering company to trade on the stock market forever shaping finance But all in all, I just thought that was an absolutely fascinating story and I wanted to share that with you So anyway, that is the end of the video. Thanks for watching This has been Dagogo and you’ve been watching ColdFusion. If you just stumbled across this channel, feel free to subscribe, and if you know anyone that will be interested in such a topic Feel free to share this video. You can check out the rest of the “How BIG” series at the end of this video Anyway, that’s it and I’ll catch you again soon for the next video. Cheers guys! Have a good one

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

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  2. Why not ? Because the VOC are foreign company than later occopied the teritory and make the colonial status….. There is no trade but actualy robbery….

  3. "Developed an army to protect the land they gained, beyond what we could imagine any company doing today." You're talking about the corporate model the U.S. government was created from, U.S.Corp. It's hard to imagine the faces on the private shareholders.

  4. 3:01 trade ? bitch please. they came to Sri Lanka and so many countries in Asia to loot and pillage. Gemstones from Sri Lanka. cut down pristine forests that have been around for thousands of years to make way for coffee . "Trading" .

  5. Geez I can't believe I fell for the click bait again…. It was just another way for an immature millennial to trick us into listening how he just heard of "this crazy story I can't believe happened". blah blah blah it was literally the stock market 101 that everyone knows about.

  6. the crown must have condemned flowers ,they always win. bad blood line ,toby keith gots a eugenics shit ford. they get off on carbon too.

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  8. YEs The dutch and tulips have gone hand in hand, and there survival to this day and age was wholly due to the Dutch east india company. But this video didnt say anything about slavery, which I find odd.

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  13. The fact that the Duch East India Company dealt with a land and workforce won at gunpoint, and repressed and exploited a whole nation, doesn't bother the maker of this video who cheerily compares it to Apple and Aramco tells me more about the maker of this video than it does about the 'company'
    I would only have considered that company for a list had I been making a video about the biggest criminal organizations in history
    I know someone will get pedantically legal and say exploiting and repressing non whites was not illegal at the time (i heard a woman say it on TV about the slave trade!) but there is a difference between ancient times when all people treated all other people with savagery if they could get away with it, and more modern times when the law and rights were considerably advanced in the West, but only for the white races, for this period, the 'law' should be disregarded. the Dutch East India company, like the rest of the colonization system was criminal

  14. So the biggest company in the world was state owned pirates who robbed other country with their own army. Its a lot like USA invading Iraq and their motive being oil.

  15. thank you for this video. lets put it into perspective. in 1652 the VOC created on the southern tip of africa a base that followed into creating the city of Kaapstad (Cape Town). from there onwards dutch settlers moved north and eventually created the most powerful industrialised country in the WHOLE of africa – called South Africa. in 1980 1$ = 0.82 ZAR. SA today is part of the G20 – no other african country comes close, all due to the creativeness of the dutch settlers from the VOC. Please add that intrinsic value add to the "value" of the VOC as a company – it created a G20 member state. Sadly , today, the "guavament" in south africa discriminates against whites (dutch which is 5.5 % of the population of SA) based on race, language and culture via affirmative actions,. This is because of the history of Apartheid. However, due to the implementation of socialist policy they are busy undermining and destroying what was build since 1652. please just take note of that as well.

  16. Inflation adjustment over long periods across borders is pretty dubious. 7.9 trillion is roughly the gdp of China today. I don’t believe the Dutch east India co. was actually valued at that

  17. Trillions are being laundered back and fro ! Up and down ! Round and round ! Love money ? Do You ? Well your soul for it ? Why Because it will bring you happiness ! You smile ! Your rich ! $$$$$$$. Back and fro ! Up and down , side to side . 11

  18. 03:51 Fun fact! Those 0,01 % of the worlds population today would approximately correspond to 700000 employees. But more interestingly, if the number of 70000 employees back then, where the equivalent of 0,01 % of the worlds population, then that number (world population) should be 700 million, which more or less checks out. Coz it is estimated to have been around 500-600 million. At least according to Wikipedia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population_estimates

  19. Hey tards, stop comparing bitcoins and tulips. The tulip bubble was actually the first derivative bubble in history, they weren't buying actual tulips but the right to acquire tulips in the future with leverage.

    The bitcoin market is different. People still don't seem to understand that this is not a piece of data that represents a right to possess a commodity, bitcoin itself is the commodity.

    Tulips had zero utility, bitcoins is useful for transferring funds across borders without intermediaries. This has an utility value, in the same way as gold.
    Both gold and bitcoins share the same properties and behaviors: it's market price is largely beyond it's utility price, fueled by speculation. If you have arguments against bitcoins, most likely you would be able to attack gold with the same arguments.

    Bitcoins are the first digital commodity, a new asset class, and one special characteristic that makes it unique is that it is the first asset that is provably scarce by design. There were no other asset out there that has the certainty of being precisely finite, not even gold. You never know if they will discover a new mine tomorrow with super rich veins, that would make the gold price plummet. Not with bitcoins, there will never ever be more than 21 million bitcoins issued, and being able to have such certainty is the first in history of human kind. And if people find that useful, and people are willing to pay to use it, then it has value.

  20. The trans Atlantic slave trade! That's why it's called the stock market, because we black people still are the live stock.

  21. Bastards from Dutch and British EIC are lying, cunning, betraying bastards who can't be trusted, fucking sons of bitches

  22. Europe who was once poor turned into rich steals from Asians. they continue to sell in large quantities until they become worthless, we will wait until World War 3 and we will rape your country

  23. Your slightly wrong. They still exist. Look up SSA marine. You have to dig deep but it’s all there. They make Rothschilds look like poppers.

  24. Fxck the VOC. Those colonizing slavers. They’re just as bad as the Nazi’s because they got away with committing atrocities for hundreds of years.

  25. I've heard of the British East India Company but never this Dutch East India Company also wtf were people going crazy over tulips for.

  26. Buying stocks is not the same as buying tulips or houses. Stocks represent ownership in business' that create goods and services which are later sold at (hopefully) a profit, a profit which you, as part-owner, are entitled to.

    Houses and tulips produce fuck all.

  27. The medici family owned almost all the banks in the renaissance. They were valued at 500 trillion that’s the richest company

  28. Most of VOC profits were from Indonesian spices ,slave trade, looters from looser kingdoms etc..can you imagine how rich Indonesia is

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