The political economy of the Digital Age remains virtually terra incognita. In Techno-Feudalism, published three months ago in France (no English translation yet), Sorbonne economist Cedric Durand provides a crucial, global public service as he sifts through the new Matrix that controls all our lives. 

Durand places the Digital Age in the larger context of the historical evolution of capitalism to show how the Washington consensus ended up metastasized into the Silicon Valley consensus. In a delightful twist, he brands the new grove as the “Californian ideology.”

We’re far away from Jefferson Airplane and the Beach Boys; it’s more like Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” on steroids, complete with IMF-style “structural reforms” emphasizing “flexibilization” of work and outright marketization/financialization of everyday life.   

The Digital Age was crucially associated with right-wing ideology from the very start. The incubation was provided by the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), active from 1993 to 2010 and conveniently funded by, among others, Microsoft, AT&T, Disney, Sony, Oracle, Google and Yahoo.