G is for Greece: The Prologue
In April 2016, with an ever growing refugee crisis and an economy performing worse than anyone predicted, it became obvious that Greece would default on its huge national debt. As the fiscal cliff loomed, previous workarounds were failing and Greece’s governing parties were out of answers. A strong radical left gave further spirit and momentum to a so-called ‘Grexit’.
In a surprise move in the 2 weeks prior to the impending default, Google’s newly formed holding company ‘Alphabet’ announced its desire and intention to step into the vacuum, if such a default occurred, and in effect take over the governance of Greece. The proposal laid out an offer to the Greek people that would see the Tech giant prop up a new (digital) currency, invest heavily in infrastructure, create new jobs and improve the well-being and life-expectancy of the populace.
The plan would introduce a new type of governance, based on a blend of meritocratic and democratic principles overseen by an Administrative layer.
The plan was laid out as a series of key pillars:
- Infrastructure: Connected homes, driverless cars, clean energy
- Free and better education
- Transparent governance
- A new digital currency
- Full employment
- Life extension
The pay-off for Google was described as being an opportunity to have a large enough population to really test and evaluate technology’s ‘positive effect on the human endeavor’ and to preserve and rebuild one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known.
At first, the proposal was rejected by Greek MPs but due to mass public pressure and the increasingly untenable position of a shaky coalition government, the proposal was put to the people in the form of a Yes/No referendum.
On 28th June 2016, the polls opened and it was announced three days later that the public had overwhelmingly voted for the proposal. Over the next six months Google began the process of planning and taking over key institutions, and following negotiations with Greece’s three supreme courts, Alphabet President Sergey Brin and interim Greek President Stavros Theodorakis signed a new ‘constitution’ that fully passed the management and control of the country over to the corporation.
Everything else is history…G is for Greece is a collaborative writing project that invites responses to the question ‘What would happen if Google took over the running of Greece?’. Through fiction, it considers the potential positives and negatives of corporate involvement in public life and speculates at what could (or couldn’t) be achieved when ambitious tech entrepreneurs with the means to influence, set their sights high.