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In the meanwhile, another grey power had emerged, based on the control of the means of production no longer of things, but of information about things.

As Orwell famously writes twice in , which is rather a dystopian description of a totalitarian mass-media society.

In it, those who control (the means of production of) information can control and influence people’s behaviour and events.

Information has always been power, even at the time of Richelieu, but it is only with the growth of the mass-media industry, the rise of intellectuals and a techno-scientific intelligentsia, the development of propaganda and advertisement and the emergence of the press and of journalism as a so-called “Fourth Estate” that grey power becomes significantly informational.

The music industry would have revolutionised Apple. But, today, in mature information societies, the transformation of information into another commodity means that answers are dirt cheap.

Their control confers no grey power, which has shifted further behind the scenes, moving from the control over information about things, to the control over the questions generating information about things.

Wikipedia would be more powerful than Facebook or Twitter. To understand who are today’s new grey eminences, we need to realise that information is a matter of both .

Publishers would be dictating their terms to Amazon. Consider that publishing or broadcasting, like advertising, means sending answers to receivers who may not have asked any question: it happens even if nobody is reading or listening.If a day needs to be identified for its full emergence, this may be August 8, 1974, when Nixon resigned because of the Watergate scandal, brought to light by investigative journalism.Some experts seem to think that this is still the context in which we find ourselves.Think of how European societies and their grey powers slowly changed because of the complex interactions between mercantilism, colonialism and the emergence of the so-called Westphalian system of sovereign states. It is pressing because grey power is not the same within mature information societies as it is in industrial, mass-media or ecclesiocratic ones.Or how quickly the USA was transformed during the Gilded Age, from 1870s to about 1900, and the grey power exercised during that time by wealthy industrialists and financiers such as Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Unless we gain a better understanding of how the nature and exercise of grey power—in short, its morphology—has altered, we shall find developing a better society more challenging than it should be. A scholarly history of grey power would be a very interesting reading.The “grey” worn by the new eminences influencing the influencers is that of their business suits.In the long run, capitalism, competition and consumerism are bound to erode the industrial–financial grey power through the transformation of goods and services into commodities, that is, undifferentiated marketable items, which become so generic as to erase any perceivable difference in value between brands or versions.This was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, World War Zero really.It is such an ability to control events and people’s behaviour by influencing the influencers, behind the scenes, that I have in mind when coining the expression “grey power”.No matter how gigantic and even threatening, we need to focus on the underling currents that will still be there when the storm is over.We need to dive deeper, if we wish to understand the new morphology of grey power. We saw at the beginning of this article that, when Christianity dominated Europe, grey power was a religious business exercised through the creation and control of faith.

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