Since Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations, and the subsequent deepening of the constructs of comparative advantages of nations and division of labour in firms, we have not seen the scale of dislocation we are experiencing in global markets. One American company called Apple is worth about $2 trillion, capturing an unbelievable amount of value in a new digital economy. The redesign is asymmetric in nature, and lopsided, with just a few emerging national winners with many other nations getting only marginal benefits.
Simply, we are in a new age where the flow of information in unbounded and unconstrained pipes – called the internet – is triggering a new dawn in the architecture of national economies. The old age of warfare, anchored on atoms, with projectiles moving faster than the speed of sound, will fade quickly for one where the control of bytes will win the castles.
So, if the control of the bytes (yes, data) gives the edge on protecting the castles, the implication is that surviving and thriving will be centered on building moats around data. Indeed, the Data of Nations will be the new Wealth of Nations.
America knows it as we enter a new cambrian moment, to be powered by 5G. Taiwan is getting into the midst as it bans Tencent and iQiyi streaming services. India had already drawn the first blood when it killed TikTok.
Taiwan has become the latest country to move against Chinese tech companies. The democratic island is moving to ban iQiyi and Tencent from operating streaming video services on its soil.
A government notice published online Tuesday announced new rules of Taiwan’s National Communications Commission that prohibit Taiwanese individuals and companies from providing services to mainland Chinese streaming operators and distributing their content.
The notice said that Tencent video and iQiyi have been operating illegally in Taiwan by partnering with local broadcasters and distributors to provide their video content through streaming services.
It comes down to one thing: lose control of data, lose your wealth. My expectation is that by 2030, Taiwan will ban Facebook, Instagram, etc as it looks for how to balance its budget. Why? Its national resources are in the data hosted in the servers of those firms. That is the future of humanity and the reason why a ferocious battle awaits for the soul of the world. The modern national soul is found in that data of nations
William Shakespeare put it this way in the mouth of Hamlet: “words, words, words” when Lord Polonius asked him, “What do you read, my lord?”. You are free to replace that with “data, data, data”.