SO, IMAGINE THERE’S this place. You hang out there all the time. Your friends and family are there. It’s got neighborhoods, both big and small. There are businesses there, you get most of your mail there in the form of digital messages.
It’s not perfect: Sometimes there’s crime, or that one neighbor who keeps pushing the conspiracy theories about vaccines or politics. You feel like the security teams are getting a little better at handling those kinds of disruptions, and after all, every place has potholes, right? Or maybe you’re just getting used to it. But lately it seems like if people step too far out of line, they just sort of … disappear.
And as the place has gotten bigger, it’s matured. Now you can move yourself into more of a gated community to avoid the bad neighborhoods and the undesirable encounters. And that’s nice, because every day it seems like there’s a new infrastructure projectdesigned to get more people into the place.
You know the leadership of the place isn’t perfect, and it’s not like you trust everything they’re doing, but you’re comfortable here, and so you stay. And you have to admit, the shoppinghas gotten a lot better. So many more stores and places to visit, it’s almost like you never have to go anywhere else.
And the best part is that the place finally got its own money! Talk about a milestone. It’s like your little digital home is finally turning into its own … country.
Yes, you guessed it, I’m talking about Facebook. And what I’m guessing is that this is exactly what Facebook wants to be. Not a company, a country.
And while Facebook’s ambitions appear unsubtle (at least to me), the biggest tech companies are all building more and more advanced and immersive ecosystems. So maybe it’s time to start asking: What is the functional difference between a company and a country?
It’s not a crazy question: We’re already at a point where huge multinational tech monopsonies have so much power over the global economy that central bankers and regulators are starting to wonder if they even have the tools to set economic policy, like they used to in the old days.
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