Money can be mesmerizing

Watch those billions of dollars stack up behind corporate brands.

There have been so many times when I’ve seen Apple tumble in value, and I’ve thought, “I should buy stock”, and then it surges upward and I think “Now I can’t buy stock”, and then I think “I’m not the kind of guy who plays the stock market anyway”, making it weird to watch Apple’s brand value soar. Why? I don’t know? The iPhone?

Not going to invest in it now, anyway. I’m just waiting for capitalism to burn to the ground making all this meaningless.


  1. says

    Whenever I think about how people buy stocks I’m like, the only way I would actually want to do that is if I bought it in a really small company that could actually use the funds, not as a way to increase my financies but because I like the company and want them to succeed.
    Which at this point pretty much is restricted to companies on such a small scale I doubt they’re publicly traded anyway, like small indie video game developers.
    Everyone else? Let’s tear ’em down please and thank you.

  2. says

    I’ve long held that the stock market is one of the greatest threats to society. My first inkling of this was when I heard of profitable companies still laying off workers just to increase their profits. Every new thing I learn just makes the whole thing more and more vile.

  3. says

    The person coining the term and idea of “shareholder value” very much regrets his bullshit.

    My cousin often regretfully tells the tale about how he almost invested all the money he had in Apple stocks. This was way back when we’re still talking about D-Mark and all he had to do was click “buy”, but then he didn#t dare because which 19 years old is going to spend the money they worked for all summer at the stock market.
    And now he would have 3 million dollars and I think “bullshit!”. Because if he had the stocks he’d now think himself rich and sell them. But it’s very, very likely that he would have reached the point of thinking himself rich and selling them much sooner, my personal bet is that at a very impressive 20k he would have traded them for a fancy motorcycle.

  4. Mark Dowd says

    How is IBM 4th? They’re above Microsoft and Samsung! What do they even do? Do they primarily have big business customers? Every other brand I get, its just this one that sticks out.

  5. hemidactylus says

    I had great success in the stock market between the ages of 12 and 16. In school, my one year of British style parochial school, we made believe we were investing in stocks as an assignment. I “invested” in a small minicomputer company based in Massachusetts that employed my grandpa as a security guard. After sensing there was a there there I really invested the paltry bank account I saved from gifts over the years from my grandmother. It was a bit of a risk. The stock went up and split a couple times. I realized my small portion of shares gave me no say in company operations. I eventually cashed out and bought my first car, which was a hunk of junk. So in the end I lost everything. Oh well. I got screwed by the car, not the company.

    The making money off money causes some issues in the economy and the Dow (along with GDP) are given too much emphasis. Limited liability is a good idea if the charters can (or would) be easily revoked by the gov’t for cause. Offering stock isn’t inherently bad, but what say do typical holders have in governance if they care. And screw the stakeholders within the impacted community because fiduciary responsibility trumps all externality. At worst the stockholder may lose their investment, which is bad if they are impacted in their retirement portfolio and not really a big baller with awareness of what the company represented by that part of their retirement fund even does (Enron). The taxpayer may subsidize the consequences of ill gotten corporate gains in the end. Or in the case of TBTF loss, bail em out.

    I have frequented Apple newsgroups which have a weird dynamic. Sure there are OS warrior trolls who reflexively hate Apple no matter what, but there are mindguards who defend Apple no matter what. I wonder if they work for Cupertino or merely do gratis PR because they are shareholders and care more about stock price and dividends than best interest as a consumer. Full disclosure: typing on my iPhone.

  6. methuseus says

    @Mark Dowd:
    IBM created the cloud before there was a cloud. At one time I believe even Microsoft was buying from them. Lots of huge corporations buy computers and computing time from them, and have for the longest time. They are one of the companies in the Chicago area that have rarely laid anyone off ever. They also gave lots of computing hardware to universities in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s to promote COBOL and other technologies that they didn’t own, but leveraged better than anyone else. The financial sector still, to this day, relies on COBOL infrastructure on IBM mainframes in many areas. If you notice, their big drop in value started around 2014 when Amazon, Google, and Microsoft got majorly into Cloud funding.
    That’s really all I know about them, though.

  7. M Smith says

    Brand value =/= stock value. It’s got a bias towards a subjective “global relevance” score, so brands that are globally ubiquitous get a boost while brands that are highly regional get penalised (Chinese social networking sites are shafted by this, because they are non-existent outside China, and “low penetration of the Chinese market” is meaningless because it affects pretty much all non-Chinese brands).

    Remember Trump valuing his brand at a bajillion dollars? Same thing here…

    The company I work for has been in the top 50 for 10 years; its brand ranking value is dwarfed by a couple orders of magnitude by its actual revenue, and would probably beat most of its “brand betters” on financials, but our industry is not one that attracts a lot of loyalty generally, so we fall short on these; frankly the fact that we’re in the top 50 astonishes me.

  8. hemidactylus says

    It was interesting to watch Apple shoot up the ranks like a happy lobster basking in serotonin. It’s casing must be getting robust. Amazon is rising too. It’s shipping boxes should be thickening.

    I can’t help but think of Schumpeter’s creative destruction as Apple and Amazon ascend the ranks. How many bricks and mortar businesses are shuttered as Amazon builds empire? How much impact on human health relates to market “efficiency” and personal convenience? Does not walking around the mall shopping for stuff and clicking in a browser lead to even more obesity and metabolic disorders? Inefficiency is good. Humans, as mechanistic cogs in the market, are inefficiencies. That’s why it is preferable to replace us with machines lacking our needs, feelings, values etc. That’s why drones and self driving vehicles are the future and we will become even more sedentary with (one hopes) guaranteed basic incomes so we can buy more stuff and fuel our brains from delivered food while tapping thoughts on the post Singularity dystopia on our smartphones. Amazon will be on top of the corporate lobsters soon.

  9. cherbear says

    @Tabby Lavalamp. Yes. The stock market is a big stinking mess. As a child I was horrified when companies laid off a whole bunch of people and got rewarded with higher stock market prices. Its… hard to figure a way out of this mess except to leave society behind. The stock market is the biggest evil in the world today. That and fundamentalist religions.

  10. leerudolph says

    cherbear: “The stock market is the biggest evil in the world today. That and fundamentalist religions.”
    You omitted the word “other” before “fundamentalist”.

  11. Sparksintolife says

    If anyone has a pension or savings fund of any kind, it’s almost certain they indirectly own shares in some of the companies listed, including Apple… so unfortunately you’re probably already invested in it. Just one of the many ways people become slaves to the system.