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This review is from: The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress (Paperback)
This fascinating book by the author of Reason magazine explores the conflict between stasis and dynamism. Those who long for stasis want an engineered, regulated world. They include leftists and reactionary rightists. For them, it is all about stability and control and they are distrustful of technology.
Dynamists, on the other hand, seek a world of constant creation, competition, spontaneity and discovery. Whereas proponents of stasism believe that progress requires a blueprint, dynamists consider it as an evolutionary process. It boils down to the craving for predictability versus the enjoyment of surprise. Stasists and dynamists disagree not only about short-term policies but also about the way the world functions.
The book is a type of manifesto outlining the dynamist vision. It integrates the work of many scholars in describing how dynamist systems operate. The author explores how progress occurs in a dazzlingly wide variety of areas, from fashion to computers to movies and many others. Her arguments are quite convincing as she demonstrates how open-ended trial and error is the route to human improvement.
The Future And Its Enemies is quite an engaging read as it discusses the processes by which creativity brings about progress, prosperity, freedom and happiness. Its charms lie in the way that it points out the connections between different aspects of life, dealing with subjects as disparate as hairdressing, computer games, philosophy and bio-ethics, amongst others.
In this impressive work, Postrel has made a valuable contribution to the literature of freedom. Her refreshing angle and original insights clearly show that the organic growth of society is superior in every way to planning by arrogant political elites. Hayek and Mises would have been proud of her!