Citizens of the world (dis)unite

2505498601_65cdb0da96Loic Le Meur, the Franco-Silicon Valley hybrid start-up enterpreneur, has a spirited response to my piece in the Independent about his much publicized spat with Techcrunch's Mike Arrington at Le Web '08 earlier this month. He was "disappointed" (ie: fucking annoyed) that I failed to include in the piece remarks he made about European companies like dating site Meetic or the highly successful e-commerce engine Vente Privee. Fair enough. But for all his Gallic defence of the virtues of French start-ups, Le Meur is a idealistic internationalist who sees globalization as a cure for the radical inequalities in the digital economic order:

Truth is Countries matter less and less. Silicon Valley is not America, it is almost a Country of its own. It does not really matter where you are as long as you think international as much as possible, borders and languages are becoming much less of a problem as globalization evolves. I feel citizen of the World more than anything else. I probably sounds full of shit, but that is how I feel, who cares where we live.

Le Meur may well be right about the decline of the nation-state. But I have a suspicion that when these "citizens of the world" ("Richard Branson or Stelios Haji Ioannou" or perhaps Loic himself) come to matter more than countries, we are going to see more and more radical imbalances of power and wealth in the world. Le Meur is a shining example of a highly motivated, smart entrepreneur who moved to Silicon Valley (which Mike Arrington calls a pure meritocracy) in order to realize his dream of a successful venture capital backed Internet start-up. But "citizens of the world" like Loic, this new international elite of numerati and digerati, are one in a million in our increasingly unequal global order. The other 999,999 remain in Europe and many of them don't much care for either globalization or the United States.

They and their counterparts in the United States may even be foot soldiers in the digital fascist movement that I write about today in the Daily Beast.