The Transformation from Feudalism to Capitalism to Attentionalism
The end of Goldhaber's famous "attention economy" essay:
The Attention Economy: The Natural Economy of the Net: At the end of the feudal period, the pomp and display of the nobility reached a level never before attained; the most gorgeous armor, the most magnificent tournaments of knights, the most elaborate ceremonies between rival nobles, the most brilliant marriages, the greatest interest in noble lineage. But by then it had lost all real function or importance. So today, when the stock market goes up and up, when money wealth itself seems a source of fame more than ever, when being number one on Forbes 400 list seems the height of perfection, when every basketball superstar wants a contract that is at least a million more than the last record one, we seem to be more dazzled by money than ever, just as we seem to be more intrigued by material goods than ever. But these interests are superficial and faddish. They are signs of decadence not of a glorious future for the money economy. Even in themselves they speak to the growing desire for attention, the need for it as well. Money is now little more numbers, one number among many, and as a source of lasting attention it can fade in an instant. The attention economy is already here, and more completely so every day...
Goldhaber misses, I think, one important thing. The feudal system was about command and control and fealty but also about money. Fealty to your lord was a two way street: you fought for him and he fed you and give you presents. It's not the "money economy" that will be made obsolete by the "attention economy," it's a particular fraction of today's money economy.