There is one consistent conclusion in history about the balance between massive corporations and nation states, and it is that once the imbalance starts to fall in favour of the corporates, legislation is brought in to bring them back in line. Look at The Hudson Bay, British East Indian, Dutch East Indian, what is now BP, Carnegie, Microsoft.
You may argue that financial service companies, especially JP Morgan and more recently Goldman Sachs have managed to become pseudostates - companies that are ‘too big to fail’, organisations that take precedent over the citizens of the countries where they operate, but they have nothing on what is happening now. They control money. Big Internet controls all data, and money is just a datum.
Of course, in controlled economies like Russia and China, there is basically no difference between companies and the State. Even France still has massive public control over their private economies. Ridiculously, French and German governments own swathes of British utilities, for example.
But we now live in a new era. The difference is globalisation. The current Cold War is essentially a trade off between US multinationals who operate well beyond the law in many aspects of their business and Chinese state sponsored firms.
The degree to which US Big Internet controls our world is massively underestimated. For example, Facebook operates WhatsApp under the pretence that it is encrypted end-to-end, likewise Apple refuse to co -operate with official security agencies who wish to unencrypted criminals’ devices or correspondences. Yet in both cases they eavesdrop on the communications themselves, often recording everything.
Big Brother lives in these corporations, not in our national governments.
And in an age of uncertainty where racists and fascists and comedians and reality show actors and buffoons seem to have the ascendancy in democracies, who can blame people if they would rather trust Big Internet rather than Big Government.
And this time they have the upper hand. Big Media, in the form of nasty proprietors like Hearst and Murdoch long held sway over democracies and were avidly courted by politicians of all ilks. Now politicians need the likes of Facebook and Google more than they need them.
The balance has shifted.
And if Big Internet succeeds in its play for the currency market (something that the ridiculous and dangerous Bitcoin has already nearly managed), then that will be the rubicon.
The Big Hack was just some sensational TV programme making - politicians have long sought to manipulate constituencies - what is really worrying is what Bug Internet could do if they really started to turn the screw and use their data, presence, reach and influence.
Remember that all brands now depend on ‘Influencers’ for their marketing, but who do the Influencers depend on ?
At the end of the day, when corporations regulate nations, as happened in 2008 with the financial services industry, ordinary people are in a very bad place, since we pay for it.
Politicians need to fundamentally shift their mindsets and realise that they are no longer dealing with their parochial past.
Ordinary people need to stop electing the cheerleaders of these dangerous corporations and make serious politicians operate in the 21st century, not the 19th.