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Reader riposte: Why Apple doesn't buy a country

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COMMENTS

4 May 2012 12:52

Anton Kuruc responds to yesterday's item, 'Why don't companies buy countries', which mentioned the concept of 'seasteading':

Seasteading is an interesting concept, because it offers companies the ability to create managerial solutions to problems government creates for them. But could this work?

Companies succeed because they improve their ‘fitness’ in the competitive marketplace. They succeed by cooperating with their customers, their incentive is to make a profit by better servicing their customers.

The picture Scott Adams paints is a monopoly where management is removed from the competitive context that drives them towards better serving their customers. In a monopoly, management has no incentive to serve anyone but themselves. Management would quickly realise that they can do whatever they want in ‘Applestan’, with ‘Applestani’ justice and the ‘Applestani’ police force. Imagine the punishment for the ideological transgressions of using Windows or smuggling in a Samsung Android phone! In such an environment my guess is that the company would rapidly turn into something worse than the overbearing governments they are trying to escape.

Besides, if Applestan was established as an independent country it would be much more vulnerable to a ‘hostile’ takeover or corporate raid from a nearby wealthy entrepreneur with a military force.

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