ADAM DAVIDSON: […] But basically, what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did is, they didn't just get loans for the poorest people or the highest risk people, or the people who couldn't afford homes. They got - they arranged for homes for a lot of people, more than half of the homes in America. They became so big, I am pretty sure, and I checked this with a bunch of people today, they are the largest companies ever in the history of the world by a long shot. In fact, together...
NEAL CONAN: And, wait, wait, go back one more time. The largest companies in the history of the world by a long shot and nobody noticed?
ADAM DAVIDSON: Yeah, isn't that weird. I mean I didn't - I've been covering this, and I didn't quite click with that fact until today. I was talking to some treasury officials and I was like, wait a second, so what you're saying is they're the biggest companies ever. And they said, more than that, they are bigger - now I'm talking about their debt, the amount of bonds that they have issued, is more than any country ever except for the United States. Now, one guy said he - maybe if you did the exchange rate right the - or the - the East India Trading company, might have been bigger, possibly, but let's...
NEAL CONAN: Back in the day. In modern times.Yes. Yes.
ADAM DAVIDSON: Yeah, back in the day. These are - put it this way, they are bigger than Japan. Their debt is bigger than the U.K., bigger than China. These are monstrous, huge organizations and basically, the U.S. has allowed them to grow that big, and we can't get into the details, but basically encouraged them to act like a hedge fund, to act like crazy risk-taking, profit-hungry folks. Because that's the crazy thing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they have this duo - they're like platypus organizations, they have these dual roles, they're supposed to help poor Americans get homes and more Americans who have their own homes, and they're supposed to get profit for their shareholders. Well, they've done - were doing really well by their shareholders and really focused on that.
Apple’s market cap today, at $780 billion, is impressive, no doubt. But PetroChina had an IPO in 2007 at an inflation-adjusted $1.155 trillion.
And if you include the list of non-public, government-sponsored “companies”, the top of the list is dominated by state-run petroleum companies, the biggest of which is twice as large as Apple — China’s “SASAC” ($1.56 trillion), then Saudi Aramco, etc.