Somehow I assumed that companies work hard to attract customers and service their needs, now and in the future. Capital investments build and express an ever evolving promise. And the valuation of the organisation reflects the confidence of the market in the company to succeed in these endeavours.
In other words the more valued a company is, the better it is in transforming money into meaningful solutions. You might call it the expressiveness of money.
Yet three recent headlines show the paradoxes of reality.
The first headline was about the enormous amounts of cash (800 billion US$) of US companies and what to do with it (Financial Times, 12 september):
‘US companies transformed into 800lb gorilla in bond market’
Have the cash rich companies become (financial) asset managers?
The second headline in the Financial Times (12 september) concerned the supposed figurehead when it comes to value based investing.
‘How Warren Buffett broke American capitalism’
An interesting view on the defensive play of Berkshire Hathaway (in sixth position in market cap).
The last header I came across was on the FastCompany website (13 september) about the most valued company (in terms of market cap) in the world, ever. And it is very rich too, in terms of cash.
‘What’s Really Missing From The iPhone X? A New Metaphor For Computing’
Where does Apple put all its money? Where its true soul is?
These calls from reality made me think about what monetary numbers set out to express. They increasingly seem to have (be) an end in themselves. At the same times people are affected by these numbers, both optimistically as a proof of succes and negatively as tokens of inequality.
And yet the figures will never produce the food and calories we need to just live, the care for the young and the elderly, novel digital experiences to enhance our lives or the protection against increasing harsh weather. People in organisations do.