Big History, Global Corporations, Virtual Capitalism

102 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2016 Last revised: 22 Oct 2016

See all articles by Richard L. Nolan

Richard L. Nolan

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: October 21, 2016


Homo sapiens has mastered its environment so thoroughly that, for the first time in history, a small minority of the population is capable of creating enough food and fuels to support not only itself, but a growing majority of the 6 billion people now living on earth. This unparalleled abundance is allowing our species to develop, distribute, and profit from innovation in nearly every corner of civilization. Now key elements of the modern world such as the speed and connectedness of digital communication, the dynamic movement of capital, and changing nature of political boundaries are propelling capitalism into a new form that can be characterized as “virtual capitalism.” And global corporations in their size and global influence are leading the embodiment of virtual capitalism into the modern world.

Suggested Citation

Nolan, Richard L., Big History, Global Corporations, Virtual Capitalism (October 21, 2016). Harvard Business School Research Paper Series # 16-116, Available at SSRN: or

Richard L. Nolan (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

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