Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

Denmark has appointed an ambassador to Silicon Valley [a call for GOOD]

3 Sep

Silicon Valley, of course, is not a sovereign country. It is a loose collection of powerful tech companies in Northern California.

Adam Satariano, The World’s First Ambassador to the Tech Industry, NYTimes, September 3, 2019:

Casper Klynge, a career diplomat from Denmark, has worked in some of the world’s most turbulent places. He once spent 18 months embroiled in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. For two years, he led a crisis management mission in Kosovo.

Yet Mr. Klynge, 46, says his toughest foreign posting may be the one he has now: as the world’s first foreign ambassador to the technology industry.

In 2017, Denmark became the first nation to formally create a diplomatic post to represent its interests before companies such as Facebook and Google. After Denmark determined that tech behemoths now have as much power as many governments — if not more — Mr. Klynge was sent to Silicon Valley.

“What has the biggest impact on daily society? A country in southern Europe, or in Southeast Asia, or Latin America, or would it be the big technology platforms?” Mr. Klynge said in an interview last month at a cafe in central Copenhagen during an annual meeting of Denmark’s diplomatic corps. “Our values, our institutions, democracy, human rights, in my view, are being challenged right now because of the emergence of new technologies.”

He added, “These companies have moved from being companies with commercial interests to actually becoming de facto foreign policy actors.”

Note that after two years on the job he has”never met with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Sundar Pichai of Google or Timothy D. Cook of Apple.” A bit further on: “Denmark is emblematic of the many small countries that are grappling with technology’s effects on their societies and are frustrated by an inability to meet with, let alone influence, the companies causing that disruption.”

This sounds like a job for Charlie Keil’s GOOD (Global Organization of Democracies), which is tilted toward the world’s smaller democracies.

See also, this post,  Tech Firms Are Not Sovereigns, Sept. 27, 2018. See as well this passage from The New World Order of Virtual Feudalism (scan down the page a bit), an article which I had originally ghosted for Abbe Mowshowitz:

A major consequence of multinational organization is that corporate interests no-longer coincide with the interests of a particular nation-state. The alignment invoked in the infamous assertion from the 1950s that “what’s good for General Motors is good for the nation” no longer obtains. General Motors’ good needs to be counted up in many nations and, for example, what’s good for a General Motors plant in Mexico may not be good for a General Motors workers living in the United States, who may in fact lose their jobs to that Mexican plant.

In the world of virtual feudalism more and more economic activity falls outside the jurisdiction of nation states.  […] The boundary between public and private organizations and institutions is dissolving. We are moving into a world of institutions of various sizes having overlapping and even conflicting jurisdictions and mandates, a world reminiscent of the feudal world where individuals negotiated their way through duties and powers emanating from a diffuse network of duchies, kingdoms, churches, guilds, towns, manors, and empires.

Advertisements