Beyond Nations

In last month’s Prospect, David Goldblatt gave a couple of interesting statistics about Golf:

you have a global [golf] industry worth around $350bn. This is roughly the same as the GDP of Belgium, which coincidentally covers about the same land area as the world’s golf courses.

I was reminded of this just now, when I read a couple of statistics in the Shift Happens presentation by Karl Fisch.

  1. Nintendo invests double the US government in R&D (slides 31-32)
  2. If MySpace were a country, it would be the 11th Largest in the World (slide 35)

These are further examples of how companies and communities are now operating on a scale that dwarves the efforts of some nation states.  As I said in my notes on the Clay Shirky’s ‘Hello Everybody’ Demos podcast that accompanies his book, I find it fascinating that the nation state might wither in the face of alternative communal bonds:

However, I wonder whether the most profound shift might come when people transcend ethnicity as well as geography. With people spending so much time, and actually making money in worlds like Second Life, or building large guilds of allegiences in Eve Online or WarCraft, perhaps those bonds could be the basis for some other kind of nation or ‘polity’ with real power and relevance.

To Be Continued, I’m sure.

Update: 24th Sept 09

If all the gaming consoles in the US formed their own city, that city would use as much power as San Diego, the 9th-largest city in the country. (via Kottke)

One Reply to “Beyond Nations”

  1. Also terrifying, as discussed in No Logo, as corporate citizenship (let’s include World of Warcraft in that) comes with zero rights and therefore represents the exercise of no power except the power to buy.

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