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One of the big dangers of being Google is using the profitable advertising arm to subsidize unprofitable side-ventures that don't materially affect the advertising arm of the business. This same problem lead to the decline of the Ottoman Empire - they used the profitable Balkans to pick up albatrosses like Egypt and the Levant, and then collapsed when they lost the Balkans and could no longer subsidize ruling those areas.



You can't really make this analogy work, because the Ottoman Empire's basic problem was how to handle succession. It's not that they went broke paying for pyramid maintenance.

This parallel will be more apt if Alphabet board members start constantly strangling each other with silken cords, and the company develops a mercenary slave class that dominates decisions over who runs what division. Time will tell!


Those mercenary slaves were actually a big part of why the Ottomans did so well to start with. When they boys were taken they were given exams and the 10% that did the best became bureaucrats in a sort of version of the Chinese system. Exam based bureaucracy is a Big Deal when you're competing with aristocracies.

But eventually offices became hereditary and the normal sort of Chinese late dynastic rot set in.


What made egypt and the levant albatrosses? Source? I'd love to learn more.


I could be remembering things incorrectly. It's essentially geopolitical - they're far from the Ottomon's economic core, and don't have free capital from navigable rivers through arable land (like the Danube gives the Balkans).

I unfortunately don't remember any sources for this, I just lifted the analogy.


The Nile wants to have a word with you.




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