Fukuyama, Silicon Valley, and techno-escapism
In many ways, California has always been the land of opportunity. It used to be said that everything begins in California, and then moves East. Your description of the multi-layered culture of California suggests that no longer can trends take shape there and extend to the rest of the world. California is now a hyper-reality of competition for wealth and power, a sumulacra of its former self. When Silicon Valley appears to be expanding its reach as it establishes centers of innovation around the world, the real effect is the decentralizing of Silicon Valley's influence in the world. The future of California will be interesting to watch.
couldn't say I understood everything you bring up in here as a non-American but I would certainly mull over it over time, great piece!
great essay! really enjoy the attempts, over the years, to formulate this theorized subject (a Jeffersonian digital yeoman farmer is a good way to describe it!) and the ideological scaffolding built up around him. Californian ideology, digital proudhonism, so on and so forth. Malcolm Harris's forthcoming book on Palo Alto is surely going to be helpful in this regard, and his recent review of the new Stewart Brand book was useful too!
Once looked up at them, later looked down at them, finally realised I do not understand the California virtual class at all. Your writing explains to me finally the enthusiasm for Mars, a place of material poverty unmatched on earth, that would likely suffer a fate simillar to many of those communes. They can't see the material world, even that which lies beneath their virtual existance.
I was reminded of how fragile that virtual world is this week when Optus, Australia's second largest telecommunications carrier suffered complete collapse. Whether initiated by hardware failure or a mistake, the core of their network was unable to deal with abnormal conditions and gave up. That lack of redundancy was a business decision.
Imagine the proposed world of metaverse, that depends on equally frail systems, ultimately at the whim of a few executives and faceless shareholders? They should not be so surprised if the rest of us don't buy in to such a future that makes our lives even more precarious.