Not much new here. This is largely a repeat of his last book. The basic idea is that the totalitarian societies of the second world war attempted to make industrial society the basis for general society. They did this that valued the skill of industrial workers and advanced them if they had skills and were loyal to the leaders. However, the only way that they could legitimize this process was to claim that it was needed because the country was at war. The old industrial leaders had to sacrifice financial rewards and social position because of the war.
In seeing this for a second time, I’ve wondered if the internet does indeed provide the opportunity for a new, industrial social organization, one that provides purpose and function based on industrial skills. In ordinary working settings, we find that industrial skills can only provide a limited form of advancement. Unless you are able to manage people and manage capital, you cannot advance far in industrial society. It provides advanced functions and advanced purposes to business people more easily than it does to technocrats.
If you don’t probe the internet back to its financial basis, which is a fairly substantial conditional, you find societies that reward skills with software and communications skills. At first glance, those societies would seem to provide function and purpose independent of capital. But I am bothered by the idea that the internet hides its financial roots. It offers artificial societies that don’t’ quite correspond to life without this technology.