While Laughlin identified the fractional quantum Hall state as a consequence of an “incompressible quantum fluid”, well-described by his model wavefunction which exhibits “flux attachment”, no fundamental explanation of the energetics driving “flux attachment” has emerged. A new picture reveals that a fundamental property of quantum
Hall fluids is that their elementary unit, the “composite boson”, carries a (primitive, not “traceless”) electric quadrupole which couples to local electric field gradients, part of which (in the fractional case) is an emergent dynamical degree of freedom associated with “flux attachment”. Many issues, such as “Hall viscosity”, edge dipole densities, etc. immediately become clear based on this new picture.