Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Howard Schultz of Starbucks are lining up potential runs for the White House in 2020.

In the Czech Republic, the billionaire tycoon Andrej Babis has just become Prime Minister, while in Italy Silvio Berlusconi has been a dominant political figure for two decades, even if he is fading now.

A coincidence? Perhaps.

There have always been a few business leaders who launch themselves into politics. But right now, there are more than ever, and, more importantly, they are actually starting to win power.

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That might well turn out to be more than just a blip.

Why? Because money is more important than ever; because politics itself has become more entrepreneurial; and because old ideological loyalties are becoming less important with every year that passes.

We are likely to see a lot more business leaders running countries instead of companies in the decade ahead - and perhaps even in this country.

If by some miracle Donald Trump manages to get through the next couple of years without being impeached, and decides to run for re-election, he may well find himself facing off in 2020 against someone who is even richer than he is (and probably knows more about business as well).

As he stepped down from running Starbucks this week, Howard Schultz dropped some heavy hints that he was thinking about running for the Democratic nomination.

If so, he may well find himself up against Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, who has toyed with the idea of a bid for the White House, and who would have the slickest social media campaigning operation ever.

In the background, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, now the world's richest man and the owner of the Washington Post, will no doubt be lurking, as might Michael Bloomberg, the founder of the financial data empire, and former New York mayor.

As he stepped down from running Starbucks this week, Howard Schultz dropped some heavy hints that he was thinking about running for the Democratic nomination. Photo / AP
As he stepped down from running Starbucks this week, Howard Schultz dropped some heavy hints that he was thinking about running for the Democratic nomination. Photo / AP

But it is not just the US.

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Babis was this week re-appointed as acting Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, after his splendidly-named Action of Dissatisfied Citizens Party - it probably sounds snappier in Czech - won the most seats in last October's parliamentary election.

Babis made his fortune in chemicals and agriculture before founding his own party.

There have always been tycoons who turn to politics.

The software tycoon Ross Perot came close to breaking the two-party machine in the US in the early Nineties.

It is just that now there are more of them, and, crucially, they are being elected. There are three reasons for that.

First, political campaigns cost more money all the time. Even in countries with strict limits on spending, such as the UK, the internet makes that hard to police, and in systems with no controls, the richest person in the race may simply be able to out-spend the opposition.

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If Zuckerberg decides to run, he might not even need to raise any funds - even a billion or two on a presidential campaign would hardly dent his US$71 billion ($101b) fortune. Next, politics is becoming more entrepreneurial.

As old party loyalties fade, disruptive insurgent campaigns are more likely to succeed. Trump was not really a Republican, he just borrowed that brand for a few months.

Schultz might stand as a Democrat, but he is really running as an independent. In the UK the Brexit campaign was driven by groups and parties that came out of nowhere.

An entrepreneurial political culture, which is what we now have, is wide open to people who are actually entrepreneurs - the skills they have developed starting up companies will help them start parties.

Finally, with ideology fading in importance all the time, voters are more interested in leaders who know how to get things done. Not many people identify themselves very strongly as Left or Right anymore.

They aren't very interested in systems, and they are more impressed by what they are seeing happening in business or technology than anything they see happening in government.

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The pitch that they know how to make stuff happen worked for Michael Bloomberg in New York, and, although less credibly, for Trump on the national stage. It can work for other business leaders as well.