Cyber-colonialism and the eighth continent

author: Natalie

What are the United States government’s true intentions when it comes to on-line gaming? This question follows one posed by the headline of an article on last week’s front page – “Will U.S. legislation affect MIT?” Indeed, the Safe Ports Act, or more specifically, the attached Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Bill (which according to the aforementioned article, was recently passed by the American Congress), could very possibly and very severely impact the American segment of MIT’s market, should this legislation ultimately be signed into law. But why exactly are the Americans doing this? That is the real question here…My guess is that the Americans want to somehow manipulate the market to their own advantage by taking the first important step of shutting down any and all competition. After all, like any other massive government, they really don’t care about anything else but their own “bottom line.” Beyond simple greed and manipulation, though, I’m quite sure there is also some measure of good old-fashioned (and by the way, that’s old-fashioned for real) colonialist mentality attached to their game plan.Just to get better acquainted with the notionof 21st century cyber-colonialism, I found another article (on-line, of course) on the American Marketing Association’s web site at, which had to do with the related topic of “Successful web site globalization.” The article, which bears that same title, was apparently written by Gordon Husbands of Worldbank, in 2004, and although it might be slightly outdated by today’s standards, said article raises some interesting points.To begin with, Husbands’ article starts off by quoting one Donald A DePalma of Business Without Borders as saying, “Hundreds of millions of people around the world cross national borders without a second thought… This borderless community of Internet users comprises a virtual Eighth Continent…”If nothing else, this explains where the Continent 8 IPO derives its name. Yet more to the point, this describes the very essence of “the new world” in this day and age, as this virtual continent continues to expand at an ever-explosive rate.One would literally have to be living on some actual lost continent out in the middle of nowhere not to know that this virtual continent – the Internet and all its users – means market potential like never before imagined. But then again, this really isn’t news at this point – it’s simply the way things are today.Anyway, I’m reminded of the classic adage “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Today absolutely everything is changing so fast that most of us can hardly keep up with it. But apparently, what hasn’t changed is the American colonialist mentality of global domination.Just like the proverbial kid in the candy store, Uncle Sam is once again demonstrating “his” insatiable need to grab everything in sight, leaving nothing for anyone else. And whether it’s the industrial riches of Middle Eastern oil fields or the sheer and immense profit potential of trillions of binary ones and zeros on millions of hard drives, the unbridled superpower to the south of us wants to take it all. It’s just that simple.Meanwhile, another interesting point appears in Husbands’ 2004 article. As one paragraph states, “It is predicted that Chinese will become the dominant language on the web…” Oddly enough, MIT’s Chuck Barnett was quoted in last week’s article in The Eastern Door as saying, “… Asia is an important market and other companies are beginning to follow our lead.”In my mind, this interest in the Asian market (as just one among many) brings with it a measure of cautious optimism. The simple fact that there ARE so many developing markets out there in cyberspace means that America – no matter how greedy or power-hungry that country’s leadership is – cannot possibly grab everything for itself.I mean, just as the tall ship and the musket have ultimately given way to the mouse and the modem, maybe the past is finally giving way to a new day after all. And who knows? Maybe this new day will see at least one mighty empire get a much-needed dose of humility when all is said and done. Now, there’s something I’d really like to bet on…


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