Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Would You Live in Googleville?

I would.  And apparently, the possibility is not just some thought-experiment, as this excerpt from a fascinating Freeman article explains:
Would you want to live in a private city?No? What if Google were running the city?  Would that change your mind?  Google building and running cities is less crazy than you think.
Google has expressed interest in constructing cities, and Larry Page wants to create autonomous zonesthat can experiment with social rules. Combined, these two ideas have the potential to transform the world. Institutional change can jumpstart economic growth while competent, efficient administration can ensure those gains are not lost to corruption.
The idea of private cities typically invokes fears of a dystopian future, where malevolent corporations ruthlessly exploit the population for profits. Government is seen as a last defense against private tyranny. However, by replacing a nameless corporation with Google, the thinking changes. Rather than fear predation, we appreciate the benefits of efficient administration.
Companies like Google think long term. They are unlikely to sacrifice their hard-earned reputations for short-term gains. Further, Google is pragmatic. It will think outside the status quo, adopting the best policies to attract residents. Finally, Google is sufficiently big; it will not be intimidated by rent-seekerstrying to live off others’ work.
This a really intriguing idea, and the article is very interesting.  It's also available here.