U.S. corporations have changed dramatically over the last 40 years or so. Among the world’s most valuable companies today are Microsoft, Meta (Facebook), Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and Alphabet (Google). Aside from Tesla, which owns Gigafactories, these digital natives use knowledge, talent, subscriber networks, and innovation as their key assets. This is unlike the 20th-century giants — General Electric, U.S. Steel, General Motors, Ford, Goodyear Tire, and ExxonMobil — that rely on land, buildings, machines, warehouses, and physical infrastructure to produce physical goods. The magnitude of this seismic change can be judged from the fact that, according to our calculations, each 21st-century digital giant is at least 10 times more valuable than an average 20th-century industrial giant.

But this story isn’t just about digital giants. Eighty percent of companies currently listed on U.S. stock exchanges went…

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