Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen thinks the world is going to see an explosion of new countries in the years ahead.
“I think there is going to be double, triple, quadruple countries in the coming years,” Andreessen told Sarah Lacy at Thursday night’s PandoMonthly in San Francisco.
The cofounder of venture firm Andreessen Horowitz noted that the borders of today’s countries are in some cases arbitrary, pointing to Iraq, Syria, and much of Africa as artificial constructs. In the last few decades, the world has seen the emergence of a litany of new countries, and he sees no reason why that splintering is going to slow down.
“You’re going to get a much larger number of countries,” he said, before noting that the proliferation of nations could be a positive force in the long term, measured by a span of 100 years or more.
“The transition is going to be very painful,” he said, “but I think ultimately it’s going to be very healthy.”
He envisions a world in which neighboring countries choose to ally with each other and collaborate, rather than foment conflict. And, he thinks, software will play an important role in that cross-border cooperation.
“Notwithstanding what Malcolm Gladwell says, it is these technologies that is going to make that possible,” Andreessen said, pointing to the likes of Twitter and Facebook, which he said have accelerated the rise of social protest in recent years.
The president of Turkey has said that Twitter is insidious evil, which is an indication of the medium’s levity. Andreessen noted the irony that in Silicon Valley the criticism of Twitter is that it enables teenagers to tweet about what their cats ate for breakfast.
“The underlying point is you give people communications tools,” he noted, adding that one of his favorite books is “Orwell’s Revenge,” which is essentially a rewrite of “1984.” A central premise of the book is that people are given two-way screens in their homes so that everyone can broadcast.
“When you give people the ability to learn and express themselves and organize, that is going to change a lot.”
[Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is an investor in PandoDaily]
[Photo by Yelena Sophia / Bloom Productions]