Is Tim Cook Starting a Rollerball League?

Dollars and Sense
Published in
5 min readOct 17, 2020

There is no doubt 2020 has brought a great deal of upheaval and change to the country and the world. I have felt lucky to have grown up on stories of the great science fiction writers of the twentieth century. Guys like Asimov and Heinlein were a bit more prophetic than I ever thought could be. I surely did not expect to see the rise of the Mule!

In any case, this early immersion in these forward thinking plot lines has made 2020 a bit easier to understand. It also makes me sensitive to trends which follow some of these old plot lines. There are plot lines from back in the day which have begun to seem to become “live” now. Plot lines involving corporate nation states are now extant.

There are trillion dollar corporations now. Wal-Mart and the Walton family have more financial power than half the nations in the United Nations. There are many multi-billionaires on the planet today. Jeff Bezos has more money than Iceland or Azerbaijan! The latter is actually at war with Armenia right now at no small cost.

War is usually about borders which are often about control of economic resources. Historically nation states of diverse populations have been held together by shared economic interests. Their shared interests means they invest in a shared military to defend the borders. Of course, many nations are all about ethnicity and cultural heritage, but not all. The United States really demonstrated the power of a diverse population with shared economic interests.

The 21st century is defining new norms every day. The pandemic has accelerated this but it was always happening. The pandemic has also demonstrated quite clearly that responsible governance matters. This is the greatest gift of the nation state, a peaceful and stable environment within which a company can do business.

An environment of chaos is not good for business. An environment without a stable social foundation will not last. Many a corporation has collapsed due to cultural issues rather than bad business models. When leadership cannot get along the company becomes vulnerable on so many fronts. Responsible governance provides continuity of leadership, a stable customer base, the rule of law and the larger protections of a nation’s military.