In his New York Times column today, David Brooks reviews a new book where he calls this the Protocol Society:
In the 19th and 20th centuries we made stuff: corn and steel and trucks. Now, we make protocols: sets of instructions. A software program is a protocol for organizing information. A new drug is a protocol for organizing chemicals. Wal-Mart produces protocols for moving and marketing consumer goods. Even when you are buying a car, you are mostly paying for the knowledge embedded in its design, not the metal and glass.
As he notes, “Protocols are intangible, so the traits needed to invent and absorb them are intangible, too.”
This is a good description — but I thought we already called this the knowledge economy.