In late 2015, after the Safe Harbour ruling by the EU Court of Justice and the US passing CISA, many european countries decided that something should be done about the unilateral exploitation of private customer data by tech firms and the US government. Aided by the fact that, since the last elections, it contained more nationalist representatives than ever, the European parliament passed several laws which heavily restricted US access to EU data, and made the operational models of several multinational tech companies all but impossible in the EU.
Used to getting their way, the companies decided to keep doing business as usual, while threatening to relocate should the EU decide to uphold its new laws. But, due to recent tax scandals, it became clear that relocation would be far less of a loss of revenue for the concerned states than thus far believed, and, for once, states decided to enact their laws regardless.
As a consequence, most of these companies ceased to do business in the EU. But, as people were now used to, if not dependant on, these services, it didn't take long for EU-made alternatives to appear, and the market was quickly re-established. This of course caused a surge in the EU economy, just as the US one took a nosedive while the rest of the world followed the european example. However, the ball was now rolling, and it did not stop there.
Differences in national laws, as well as the prospect of boosting ones internal economy, caused the the exchange zones to become smaller and smaller, and the world slid back away from a global economy to a local one. As the size of the area of operations of each company shrunk, the salaries of the top earners did as well, while the average pay stayed relatively stable. This caused a diminution of inequality not seen since the second world war, and tensions between countries are now at an all-time low, as each one of them focuses inward to boost its own economy. Which just goes to show that, the less you have to do with others, the better you get along.
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