G is for Greece: Why, why, how and who?
The vision is to create an impressionistic view of a possible future. A sort of multiverse of possible realities that all answer answer the question of What could happen if Google decided to take over the running of Greece?
When I first started thinking about this, Greece was high in the news. Tsipras had come to power and people were either calling for or warning against a Grexit. It seemed like traditional politics was offering the people no real options. Everything was swinging from left to right and back.
Also, when I thought about it, if a company like Google was going to buy a country, then Greece would make a lot of sense. It needs the money, it’s a western/european culture with similar habits and behaviours as Google’s other markets and there is already a certain level of infrastructure. There was also something poetic about Greece being the source of democracy and western civilisation as we know it.
Simultaneous to the unfolding situation in Greece, I was listening to podcasts such as Tim Ferriss’ chats with high-achievers and it seemed that within Silicon Valley there was an appetite for ‘moon-shot’ projects. It seemed natural that well-meaning individuals with power and money would want to positively influence the world whilst still serving their own business interests. Think Elon Musk, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg.
Google seem to offer a very potent mix of capitalism, utopianism, moralism, and the scale to make the possibility of this seem reasonable to most people. I think if it had been Facebook or Apple taking over Greece, the tone would be different too; I suspect much more negative. I find Google’s self-image, both internally and externally, intriguing.
Also, I think it would make some kind of economic sense to have a testing ground for all these ideas, unfettered by laws or competitors.
I should state here, this isn’t really about Google though. They’re just a lens to look at wider issues that we should all be considering. It could have been a handful of other companies, or completely fictitious, but I think it would make the whole thing a little less focused.
How do I contribute?
G is for Greece is a mix of invited submissions and submissions by the general public. I plan on curating submissions for the publication (rather than it being a totally open, free-for-all repository) but of course, people are free to use the concept as a jump off point for their own projects. My main reason is to maintain a sense of balance, avoid ten almost identical versions of the same story and keep some sense of shape so it is enjoyable to dip into. I may change this and would love to know what others think on this subject.
I would like to see the idea really stretched. For example, how might an ordinary family be affected day-to-day? How would a politician act? What could go wrong on a micro scale and macro scale? Equally, what could be better and improved? What are the consequences in 30 years? 100 years? I imagine a whole set of individual stories of varying length that go together to paint an impressionistic view of this future rather than a coherent universe (or multiverse), although I do like the idea of individual stories referencing one another.
To contribute, write your article in Medium and email/tweet a link so we can invite you in as a writer.
Who are you?
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental or done so in the spirit of fiction.