Facebook move hugely symbolic - The ebb and flow of power

Facebook move hugely symbolic - The ebb and flow of power

London once had a Worshipful Company of Mercers and, among many others, a Worshipful Company of Skinners. The Worshipful Company of Pewterers has existed since 1348. Many of those bodies are not relevant today but their decline maps how technology and commercial imperatives changed our world. 

Today, the Worshipful Company of Firefighters or Tax Advisers have a relevance skinners or pewterers no longer enjoy. Each profession peaks and ebbs as we evolve. The growth of influence of one process or another is a reliable guide to where real, self-accumulating power has moved.

In that context, it is impossible to ignore the symbolism of the announcement that Facebook is to lease the 14-acre Bankcentre campus in Dublin’s Ballsbridge. The once unassailable, pin-striped bankers make way for geeks in T-shirts — though their ambitions are equally rapacious.

The expansion will allow the tech giant add 5,000 staff to its Irish operation. Once AIB’s flagship, and maybe the modern Versailles of Irish banking, the Bankcentre is another old world bastion fallen to the relentless advance of ever richer, and more powerful, tech giants. 

Pewters and skinners had finite influence but banks and social media giants have shown how they can steer societies — and democracies — towards dark, unknown chaos. Though primarily symbolic this move must re-energise efforts to contain a leading member of what has become the Worshipful Company of Worldchangers.

More on this topic

Facebook fined $5bn over privacy violationsFacebook fined $5bn over privacy violations

A new way of nurturing nefarious activitiesA new way of nurturing nefarious activities

Facebook cracks down on sensationalist and misleading health contentFacebook cracks down on sensationalist and misleading health content

Facebook site evacuated after mail tests positive for sarinFacebook site evacuated after mail tests positive for sarin

More in this Section

Democrats trumping each other proves littleDemocrats trumping each other proves little

Violence against children is a scourge that we must all fightViolence against children is a scourge that we must all fight

The chance to redeem oneself by being the ‘perfect’ grandparentThe chance to redeem oneself by being the ‘perfect’ grandparent

CervicalCheck scandal: Officials hide the truth on test delaysCervicalCheck scandal: Officials hide the truth on test delays


Lifestyle

Their romance took Laura Roset and Ken Mohally from Mallow to Moldova and back again.Wedding of the Week: Love spreads from Mallow to Moldova

As the Caped Crusader hits 80 years of protecting Gotham City, Chris Wasser looks at the history of the world’s darkest superhero.80 years on, Batman still packs a punch

Despite the many issues in the housing market, the number of mortgages being approved is rising, with first-time buyers making up the bulkMaking Cents: Key points for people buying their first house

When it comes to music podcasts, the actual tunes themselves are not essential — the best series discuss around the music.Podcast Corner: Digging deep with music podcasts

More From The Irish Examiner