March 11, 2024

Code: From Information Theory to French Theory

by Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan

After the Second World War, American foundations worked with the CIA to rebuild the intellectual world of Western Europe. Code explores the intersections between big ideas and big money; structuralism, in particular, received crucial boosts from American grants, and returned the favor by favoring a technocratic, rather than strictly social, solution to France’s postwar crisis. Geoghegan tends to posit that all robber barons were alike and that the foundations that lived after them are mere extensions of their interests, and so we learn little about the foundations and even less about the CIA programs they supported. The impact in France was crucial, and this volume documents that impact with precision and finesse.