One of the great historic successes of the world, or so they said, was Global Privatisation. Of course the they in this case tended to be the people that had benefited the most, so perhaps they cannot be considered unbiased. Global Privatisation was, effectively, the corporate take over of countries; whole territories run by enormous corporations; Corporate boards replaced parliaments; CEO’s and entrepreneurs replaced dictators. It had made perfect sense at the time.
If a company could pay off a country’s national debt using its profits, wouldn’t the country therefore be an asset of the company? Hadn’t they effectively bought a country? It had seemed so, and these corporate run countries had done very well. They were stricter in some ways, granted, limiting certain personal freedoms; they also were very, very, successful.
Their increasing success, and so also profitability, had meant that more countries found themselves the subject of take over bids. Not only that, but many of their citizens supported the move. Political analysts were dumbfounded at what they saw, but on reflection it perhaps wasn’t such a strange thing. The companies worked for, and with their customers, and their customers were also their employees. In time the companies found that they were just as bound to their citizens as the citizens were bound to them.
It had worked of course. It still worked, London was a shining example of it working. Things that would never have been profitable, or legal, before had become not only accepted, but standard.
Adverts shout down at the street from floating holographic beacons, traffic lights promote auto parts on their solid light walls. Products and services are advertised everywhere – its all for your good of course – what you buy benefits the company, and what benefits the company benefits you. It had been this way for so long that most people forgot there was another way, and anyhow – that was far to long ago to remember.
If it wasn’t for Australia most people wouldn’t have the faintest idea what a government was, and even then really didn’t understand the concept. Originally Australia, with its historic connections to Great Britain, was assumed to be joining the globalisation efforts of the European Corporation. The announcement that the cabinet would becoming shareholders in the corporation was, however, met with an unprecedented public outcry.
After the dust settled from the ensuing riots it became apparent to the growing EuroCorp that the Australian people were not going to go quietly into this brave new world. The Peoples Republic Of Australia was born, and it gave a resounding middle finger to the European Corporation, quite literally in one television broadcast.
Since then little had been heard about Australian life, as most of Australia was quickly closed to the outside world. Securing the ports and harbours today are massive fortified walls, inside of which the Aussies live largely self-sufficient lives. The one exception to this is Sydney. Always a tourist attraction, Sydney has been left accessible to the outside world, with the normal fortified walls erected outside the city limits. The reasons for this exception would seem to be many, ranging from economic to political. However many historians say it could quite possibly be much simpler than that – one high ranking official shortly after the revolt is quoted as saying “the rest of the world can bloody have Sydney.” This quote, especially considered with another relating to Melbourne being named the capital city because “Canberra was bloody boring anyway” say a lot about the attitudes and views of the Peoples Republic.
Of course this difference breeds a certain kind of fascination, and many people would make the dangerous illegal crossing from New Zealand to a minor port to try and get inside the fortifications. Those that are found, and they are found, if they are lucky find themselves electronically tagged and swiftly removed from the country. This is Australia For Australians the authorities say. Piss off back to your own country. The unlucky ones are never heard from again.
Jack owned a cheap boomerang that he had bought in Sydney. He’d never been able to throw it right, and nearly took one of his fingers off when he’d been half successful and tried to catch the damn thing. It was now buried, along with other useless junk, somewhere in the recesses of his one bedroom apartment, over a street level away.
The lift music faded out and the perky AI face appeared again.
“You are now at floor three nineteen, if you need any more assistance please access me at any computer terminal.” She winked and faded back into the glass again as the doors opened. Flirty lifts, whatever next? Jack thought, amused, and stepped out into the corridor.