The greedy giants

The world is being ruled by private corporations.

It’s amazing to watch them do their jobs. They bring clean water and electricity into our houses. They bring bananas to tables in regions where no banana grows. They produce cars, telephones, computers, music, movies. And we enjoy it. We are grateful for it. We want it to last.

But we start to realize that corporations sometimes do their job more efficiently than what would be useful. And that they are doing it independently. We are like the sorcerer apprentice realizing that the spirits he called are out of control. Let’s realize this fully. And then don’t panic.

There are two types of corporations, and we often fail to differentiate them: private and public.

Every private corporation is –by definition and in full accordance with common laws– an immortal, ruthless, unscrupulous and greedy legal person.

greedy giant

A private corporation of a certain size, especially when it gets more powerful than a national government.

Knowledge means power. In the digital era knowledge becomes more important than ever before.

On the other hand it would be a waste of energy if every government would manage their own knowledge pool about things that apply for other governments as well. Health care and education are two examples of areas where much knowledge applies internationally.

Some national governments concludes agreements with other governments and collaborate.

Every national government also concludes contracts and agreements with private corporations. The government is the customer and the private corporation is the provider. The customer should be the king, i.e. decide what they want the provider to do. But reality is different.

In reality the governments are rather like the sorcerer apprentice (see Subdue the greedy giants!)

Quote from 2021-11-28

As the European Parliament considers new regulations aimed at holding Big Tech platforms accountable for illegal content amplified on their websites and apps through packages like the Digital Services Act (DSA), it must protect citizens’ ability to collaborate in service of the public interest.

Some of the proposed requirements could shift power further away from people to platform providers, stifling digital platforms that operate differently from the large commercial platforms.

Big Tech platforms work in fundamentally different ways than nonprofit, collaborative websites like Wikipedia. All of the articles created by Wikipedia volunteers are available for free, without ads and without tracking our readers’ browsing habits. The commercial platforms’ incentive structures maximize profits and time on site, using algorithms that leverage detailed user profiles to target people with content that is most likely to influence them. They deploy more algorithms to moderate content automatically, which results in errors of over- and under-enforcement.