In Japanese anime and now Hollywood movies, mech fighters have become a special culture. From “Magic Warriors” to “Transformers” and “Pacific Rim”, powerful mech fighters have always undertaken the mission of defeating the invaders of the earth and defending mankind.
Mecha fighters represent a kind of contradiction and pluralism. For example, the combined use of modern technological lore weapons and classical swords, the link between precision machinery and flesh and blood, the fusion of atomic power and the determination of ordinary people, and so on. Of course, the reason why they are deeply liked, more importantly, represents a kind of human hope to create a certain powerful force to overcome the fear of the unknown universe. We often do not know this point.
In the conflict between the earth and the aliens, we need mech fighters to defend mankind. Similarly, in the competition between countries, we need another kind of “Mecha Warriors” to fight, they are super large enterprises.
In the past, when we mentioned the Fortune Global 500, we would pay too much attention to big countries. In fact, the world is really big, and we should all look at it. We might as well look at some “medium powers”, such as France and Germany. The comparison between the top 500 of these two countries is very interesting.
In the ordinary people’s impression, in addition to wine and luxury goods, German companies and brands are more powerful than France. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are definitely more expensive than Citroen and Peugeot; German pharmaceutical companies are also more famous than France; France is not even Germany’s rival for mechanical lathes.
But in fact, the two countries have been evenly matched on the top 500 list. In the 2021 top 500 list, France is 26 and Germany is 27. Looking back, in 2020, France will surpass Germany to 31, and Germany will still have 27. In 2019, France had 31 and Germany had 29. In 2018, the positions of the two countries changed again, with 32 in Germany and 28 in France.
In short, there is no significant gap between the two countries. But looking at GDP, the problem comes. In 2020, Germany’s GDP is 3.81 trillion U.S. dollars, France is only 2.6 trillion U.S. dollars, and Germany is 1.47 times that of France. With such a big gap, the number of the top 500 in France is about the same as that of Germany. Could it be that the economic quality of France is much higher than that of Germany?
With such a big gap, the number of the top 500 in France is about the same as that of Germany. Could it be that the economic quality of France is much higher than that of Germany?
Leaving aside the brands mentioned above, even in terms of GDP per capita, Germany is also ahead of France. In 2020, Germany’s per capita GDP is 45,700 U.S. dollars, while France’s is 38,600 U.S. dollars.
Looking at the size of the domestic market, Germany has a population of 83 million and France has a population of 67 million. Obviously, Germany is larger.
Since the domestic market is also strong in Germany, is it true that French exports are super strong? Obviously, neither is it. Germany is the number one “export madman” in Europe and an industrial power that relies on exports. France is obviously not Germany’s opponent in this respect.
So, we are starting to make trouble. France is inferior to Germany in so many aspects. Why is the number of top 500 companies comparable to that of Germany? The problem lies in the economic structure. France’s economic concentration is much greater than that of Germany.
What is less known is that France is one of the few capitalist countries with a tradition of centralized power. In the pre-industrial era, the king of France was the most powerful and wealthy monarch in Europe. Paris is the most prosperous city in Europe. Except for Paris, other regions in France are towns and cannot be called a city. In the industrial age, even after World War II, France also experienced a nationalization movement. In fields that require a large amount of capital investment, such as automobiles and communications, many large enterprises are state-owned.
In contrast, Germany does not have such a tradition. The main companies in this country are completely privately owned or listed public companies. It is this “decentralization” of the economy that has made Germany the kingdom of “hidden champions” in the global manufacturing industry chain. In addition, the capital city of Berlin has a very low degree of primacy. Paris has a population of 11 million, while Berlin has only 3.7 million. The gap is obvious.
The world is diverse and complex, and things that look the same will have differences you can’t think of. It is like Germany and France are both capitalist countries, but there are some differences between them, and these differences will also inspire us to think about many economic issues.