all, but his own platform. As the booknmoves on to its final chapters, thensilicon chip becomes a mere metaphor,na taking-ofF point for Gilder’s discussionnof what he calls “the law ofnmicrocosm,” which, naturally, happensnto be coterminous with his particularnlibertarian view of the free enterprisensystem. As Gilder argues withnsome cogency, increasingly sophisticatednmicrochips will lead to increasinglynsophisticated personal computers, inexorablynconsigning centralized dataprocessingnsystems, including thenGrays, to technical obsolescence andnoblivion. It is a neo-Jeffersonian visionnof equality, in which every man will bennot a self-sufficient yeoman farmer,nbut a self-sufficient entrepreneur.n”Rather than pushing decisions upwardnthrough the hierarchy, the powernof microelectronics pulls them remorselesslyndown to the individual,”nGilder writes.nThere is some question aboutnwhether everyone actually wants to benan enterpreneur. The American marketnfor home computers has flattenednover the past few years even as thenmachines themselves have becomenmore elaborate and desirable, partlynbecause most people can’t figure outnwhat to do with them besides playngames. But this is only the beginning.nNext will follow what Gilder calls then”global quantum economy” in whichnnational boundaries, bugaboo of “thenbureaucrats,” will wither away like thenstate in Marx’s Communist Manifesto.n”Across increasingly meaningless linesnon the map, entrepreneurs rush hugenand turbulent streams of capital, manufacturingncomponents, product subassemblies,nin-process inventories, researchnand development projects, royalties,nadvertising treatments, softwarenprograms, pattern generator tapes,ntechnology licenses, circuit board schematics,nand managerial ideas,” henwrites breathlessly.nAgain, Gilder’s microchip entrepreneursnhave not exactly been enthusiasticnabout the roles he has assignednthem as quantum internationalists (nornwould the politics of most of them gonover well at the Gato Institute; most arentypical academic-style liberal Democrats).nAlthough microchip technologynis primarily an American development,nduring the mid-I980’s Japan becamenthe world’s leading mass producer ofn32/CHRONICLESnmicrochips, capitalizing on its corporatistneconomic system and highly disciplinednwork force — all ideal for thenbuilding of the large factories necessarynto turn out the small chips. Defyingnthe “remorseless” law of the microcosm,nvirtually all of Silicon Valleynlobbied for the 1986 semiconductornagreement in which Japan agreed tonstop “dumping” chips in the States.nThe protectionist action may havenbeen unwise, for Gilder makes a persuasivenargument that the Americannsemiconductor industry can hold itsnown in the design and manufacture ofncustomized chips. He also cannot resistnheaping scorn on the “silicon patriarchs,”nas he calls them, who, true tonhuman nature instead of the law of thenmicrocosm, used their political leveragento maintain their markets.nBoth Wealth and Poverty and ThenSpirit of Enterprise had their enemiesnlists — Carter-era regulocrats innthe former, industrial-policy boostersnin the latter. The enemies in Microcosmnseem to be an array of protectionists,nfree-trade opponents, and othernmeddling bureaucrats. In fact, the list isnmuch longer than that. Not subtitledn”The Quantum Revolution” for nothing.nGilder’s book is a true revolutionaryndocument, summoning both inexorablenhistorical forces (the law of thenmicrocosm) as Marx did, and brutenhuman will (the “liberation” that willnflow as people emancipate themselvesnfrom nation-states) as Lenin did. “Thenera of the microcosm is the epoch ofnfree men and women scaling the hierarchiesnof faith and truth seeking thensources of light,” he writes.nThe enemy is thus all traditionalnloyalties that have bound men andnwomen to their native lands, theirnethnic roots, their religions. The enemynis the entire material, palpablenworld that displays itself to the senses innthe macrocosm rather than to the mindnof the microcosm — in short, the worldnin which we actually live and die.n”Matter” may be illusory, with emptinessnand moving electrons at its verynheart, but it certainly feels real enoughnwhen we sit down to a meal, feel tirednat the end of a day’s work, shiver in thencold, embrace our children, or mournnthe dead.nGilder is contemptuous of the past.nHis view of millenia of human civiliza­nnntion is straight out of Gecil B. DenMille’s The Ten Commandments: “humannmasses pushing and pulling onnmassive objects at the behest of armednrulers.” He is indifferent to the beautiesnof nature, dismissive of what henrefers to as a “preindustrial vision of annecological Eden.” He is deaf to musicnand blind to art. In one passage henglowingly describes an electronic synthesizernthat he says will send the pianon”the way of the harpsichord” (RosalindnTureck, call your office). In anothernpassage, he compares the map of anmicrochip to Notre Dame Gathedral.nAnyone who disagrees with Gildernon any of these points is a victim ofn”materialist superstition,” a “doomsayer,”na “Cassandra” (a mythologicalnreference he constantiy misuses, forgettingnthat Cassandra’s curse was tonprophesy the truth). For in the end.nGilder writes, the law of the microcosmnwill give mankind limifless powernand freedom, engineering the “overthrownof matter through the primalnpowers of mind and spirit.” We willnpresumably someday live in an entirelynmicrocosmic world — Honey, I shrunknus, so to speak — and perhaps, henhints, even attain immortality as “thenmind transcends every entropic trap.”nThis is Shirley MacLaine stuff, butnGilder seems serious.nAlthough the religious beliefs henexpresses in Microcosm read like purenNew Age gnosticism, positing matternas an illusion and mind as the onlynreality. Gilder has claimed to be annevangelical Christian and his publisherndescribes him as an associate of anchurch in Tyringham, Massachusetts.nPart of Microcosm seems to be anneffort to offer a definitive scientificnproof of the existence of God, a variantnof the classic argument from design.n”In this unifying search is the secret ofnreconciliation of science and religion,”nhe writes. Perhaps, but this claim tonfind God in a computer chip may benthe ultimate materialism, insisting thatnHe cannot exist unless He somehownmanifests Himself in creation. Meanwhile,nI think it’s going to be a longnwhile before we escape the curse andnthe blessing of the microcosm, wherenour bodies decay and die, but where wencan learn humility. <^n