Which Corporation Will Start Its Own Country First?
Billionaires are about to declare themselves "sovereign"
“What do I mean by Silicon Valley’s ultimate exit? It basically means: build an opt-in society, ultimately outside the US, run by technology. And this is actually where the Valley is going. This is where we’re going over the next ten years.”
— Balaji Srinivasan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms
At the risk of getting hacked to death by a bone saw, I’ll say what most people are thinking: Saudi “prince” Mohammed bin Salman is one of the most embarrassingly tacky Millennials on planet Earth.
The frat brat heir to the planet-polluting Saud family dictatorship wants to build a $200 billion 100-mile long hyper-city called — wait for it — The Line.
It looks as dumb as it sounds:
Only a despot with a trillion-dollar earth-killing fossil fuel fortune could ever come up with an idea so pathetically cheesy.
The Line will be part of a new $500 billion city-state called Neom, essentially a tax haven for Bitboys and Tesla day traders, complete with a whole bunch of tech that doesn’t yet exist, including “flying cars, robot maids, dinosaur robots, and a giant artificial moon.”
(And yes, Bin Salman has hired an American PR firm to burnish the project’s image after he evicted and murdered people who got in the way of his plans.)
The corporate state
MBS isn’t the only little man with a big fortune who wants to build a new nation right now.
Billionaires around the world are chafing to break free from the devilishly evil bonds of democracy, rule of law, and moral behavior. After reading Ayn Rand in high school and devouring the hyper-individualist libertarian manifesto The Sovereign Individual by Jacob Rees Mogg’s dad in college, they think the rules don’t apply to them, and that they should be able to take all the money they reaped off the commons and go start their own countries.
And they will.
The rise of corporate nations is nearly unstoppable, considering monsters like Amazon already run the CIA’s servers and have more employees than most governments do. Libertarian boosters insist that corporate republics will be better for the people — that everything will be great if a bunch of venture capital bros are put in charge of pension funds and police departments. (Because corporations have done such a stellar job at providing affordable universities and healthcare systems...)
Isn’t it funny how corporatists talk a big game about how socialism and communism are terrible, but they all want to be in total control of a centralized command economy?
Nevermind the hilarious Republic of Molossia that has been happily humming along for more than forty years — the state of Nevada is working to allow tech companies to start their own private (read: non-democratic) cities. That’s right: corporations will soon be allowed to create governments, charge taxes, create school districts, and even courts of law.
On American soil.
Jefferson must be rolling in his grave.
Outside of America, the opportunities for independence are even richer, with “Free Trade Zones” and “Special Economic Zones” popping up all over the planet.
There’s the Dubai International Financial Centre.
There’s the Cayman Island Enterprise City.
There’s Próspera in Honduras.
There are dozens of micro-nations with varying degrees of independence.
Disney built Celebration, Florida, which is supposedly a democracy, but Disney owns the majority of the land and thus controls the voting process.
The priority for all these projects is private corporate profits, not widest-spread citizen wellbeing, of course.
It is a near certainty that billionaires will start building charter cities in host nations (think: Bitcoin Beach in El Salvador), and in cases where they can buy land and ink deals directly with indebted sovereignties, they’ll strike out on their own and start new nations.
Let’s take a look at some of the leading contenders for who might build a private country first.
He undeservedly has the money, but he’s too space-obsessed to give mere earth a second thought. In his mind, we’re just around the corner from living on Mars, and everyone on Earth is a locked-up third-class passenger on the Titanic.
The founder of Virgin [Everything] already owns a private island from whence he evades taxes, and he’s prone to executing lame stunts in a desperate bid for public attention, but I don’t see him starting a country for two reasons:
First, he’s really nothing more than the king of half-gestures. Sure, his “British Airways Can’t Get It Up” stunt was hilarious, but most of his businesses are uninspiring and derivative, and his relatively low net worth despite founding 400 companies reflects that.
But the bigger reason is simply that he’s too old to see it through. Realistically, starting a new nation will take $50+ billion and 10–20 years of hard effort, and Branson doesn’t have either.
This one’s interesting.
Good old Microsoft Billy owns more farmland than anyone in America — 300,000 acres and counting — and even though he’s a walking conflict of interest who’s mostly focused on forcing the world to eat venture capital vegan “foods,” he definitely has enough land and money to make a college try at a new nation-state.
He’s already invested nearly $100 million in land for a so-called smart city, but my hunch is that he’s too traditional, and too old, to shoot for nationhood at this point in his life.
In his case, it’s far easier for him to just lobby governments around the world with help from his buddies at the World Economic Forum.
The Mormon Church
Now, of course, I use the word “church” here in the loosest sense of the word.
Churches (from the Greek ekklesia) usually focus on Jesus, but the LDSers apparently focus on little more than bedding wives and buying property like Cabbage Patch dolls in the 1980s.
A serious hat tip to Truth and Transparency for their recent investigative work that revealed the Mormon Church owns a whopping 16,000 properties — the wealthiest private land portfolio in the nation.
They already own an American state (Utah.) When the Republic eventually falls, expect them to declare Deseret their personal kingdom.
Bitcoiners are heaving to break free from dreaded America and its dirty fiat lucre.
One blockchainer is trying to start a dystopia in the Nevada desert, but it remains to be seen if he’ll get it off the ground.
Perhaps led by full-time Bitcoin shill/part-time Viking Robert Breedlove, it’s practically inevitable that a group or groups of frothing Bitcoiners will try to start city-states — especially once America bans Bitcoin.
Ironically, they seem to forget that utopia comes from two Greek words meaning “no place.”
Can you imagine a city full of raging A-type Enneagram Eight ENTJ libertarian carnivore Bitcoiners trying to get along? Absolute madness.
Various and sundry multinational corporations
Amazon has a bigger GDP than Portugal.
Apple’s is bigger than Greece.
Google’s is bigger than Hungary.
When you realize the scale of these predator behemoths, you get the sense that if Liz Warren ever gets a real crack at taxing them properly, they will bribe a dictator or warlord for a chunk of land and then declare themselves “independent” of America. (But they will still want us to buy their products, of course.)
It has been said that America is an oil monopoly with an army. That’s not entirely true. Weapons manufacturers certainly play a huge part in running the USA, as does the so-called “health”“care” sector.
But perhaps no one has more power than the big three asset managers. Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard own the six major banks and are the leading shareholders in 6,000 other companies. With tens of trillions under management, they wield more financial might than almost any nation in history. When the people eventually rise up — IE when 99% of the houses are back-breakingly expensive rentals, say — these companies are more likely to throw off the charade of democracy and fully take over America than they are to bow to democracy or bother to start their own nations.
“Palantir watches everything you do and predicts what you will do next in order to stop it.” — The Guardian
Now things are getting spicy.
You may not have heard of Peter Thiel, but he has a whole dossier on you.
After selling Paypal and betting early on war-crime-inducing Facebook, the hyper-libertarian Trump-backing vulture capitalist set his sights on the surveillance industry and has since done work for the CIA, the NSA, and the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command. His spy firm is called Palantir, named after those indestructible all-seeing-eye crystal balls from The Lord of the Rings.
(Again, strange how some billionaires are anti-authority unless they’re the ones in authority.)
Thiel has invested nearly $10 million in one private city startup, and he’s also the co-founder of the Seasteading Institute, to promote the creation of “floating societies with significant political autonomy.”
There are plenty of others who could potentially start their own city-state in the years ahead — Jeff Bezos, Jack Dorsey, and Larry Ellison (with his entire Hawaiian island) come to mind. Who do you think will start a sovereignty and why? Post in the comments below.
The profit motive
Cicero and the ancient Romans asked themselves an excellent question:
Who benefits most from this so-called independence?
Who stands to gain from our loss of free choice and free voice?
Billionaires and corporations would have you believe that you, the everyday citizen, will benefit the most from being a member of a corporate-run city-state.
But it’s not true.
These same billionaires and corporations have been savaging democracies around the world for the past fifty years — and now they want full imperium, total control of everything including the military, just like the ancient dictators of Rome. The ultimate goal of these private cities isn’t to maximize human wellbeing; it’s to maximize shareholder profits by turning citizens into cows for milking.
I am massively in favor of Tinyism and sovereignty for all unique people groups, so long as it is democratic and everyone has a voice. Billionaires don’t want that. They want silent obedience.
What they cannot understand is that we the people are the only sovereign political entity on this planet. Billionaires are literally nothing without us — without us, they have no citizens to fund the infrastructure they use and abuse, no healthy and educated employees to make their products, and no consumers to buy and rent those products.
We are the reason nations exist.
We are the people that keep the lights on.
We are the ones who create 100% of the wealth in society.
And they want it all.
They want to take away our voice and free will and make us cogs in their profitable machines, to work and play in their private human farms until we’re economically redundant and can’t afford to stay.
They are not trying to build free cities.
They’re trying to re-build plantations.