Election 2016

You Want To Understand a Stagnant 21st Century? Read The Future and Its Enemies

1998 book by former Reason Editor Virginia Postrel is a guide (sadly) to the present moment.


Amazon, Simon & Schuster

Back in 1998, then-Reason Editor Virginia Postrel published The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Entreprise, and Progress:

Using examples that range from medicine to fashion, she explores how progress truly occurs and demonstrates that human betterment depends not on conformity to one central vision but on creativity and decentralized, open-ended trial and error. She argues that these two opposing world-views—"stasis" vs. "dynamism"—are replacing "left" and "right" to define our cultural and political debate as we enter the next century.

As we stare down the barrel of the 2016 election—a contest in which the two major-party candidates are tripping over themselves to offer protectionist solutions to economic stagnation and to come up with new, coercive ways to force companies to "bring jobs back" to U.S. shores—Postrel's book is as relevant as the day it was published. That's a sad commentary on how long we've been spinning our wheels, stuck in old ways of approaching technological innovation, social change, and public policy. We need a new operating system for this 21st century and it's increasingly clear that the Democrats and the Republicans—and certainly Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—have no interest in breaking decisively with old command-and-control thinking. The Future and Its Enemies is an intellectual wakeup call that just might get us up and running toward a better life.

The Future and Its Enemies is available for a limited time for just $3.99 as an e-book at Amazon.

NEXT: Donald Trump Has No Respect for the Democratic Process

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  1. I loved this book. Got it right after it came out and read it in just a few days. I wish Postrel would write another book like this. The Substance of Style was nowhere near as interesting.

  2. Why anyone would read this blather on purpose is beyond me.

    1. Well it was remarkably prescient, for one thing. The sharing economy is the perfect example of stasis vs dynamism.

      1. *glassy-eyed stare*

        Huh? Oh, you read it? Cool.

      2. REEDING IZ 4 FAGZ

        1. Whatcha get for 5 ciggies?

    2. Because it’s actually informative and helps understand the sort of people who support open innovation vs those who think everything needs to be managed by helpful elites.

      1. Well, that certainly makes it sound not at all boring as shit.

        1. It was really interesting. It’s not boring at all, unless you just find non-fiction generally boring.

  3. We should make a bunch of H&R style comments on the Amazon listing, just to piss her off.

    1. Ya know things were much better around here what she was in charge.

      /ahhhh tuesday morning bloody mary, mmmmm


  4. Time for Virginia to read “The End of Doom.” By Bailey. Things are good, and will only get better.

    1. Things are not good. The economy pretty much sucks, unless of course you’re at the top of the pyramid, or you’re lucky enough to be hooked into the Wall Street-to-Washington power axis, and more and more people are surviving strictly on welfare and largesse.

      Your hero the Mofo is going to be the first president in the history of America to not have even one single year where the economy grew by 3%.

      1. You need to make friends with a bar stool

      2. Meh. Aspects are bad, but overall life is better, and I’m confident it’ll be better overall in the future. There’s always troubles of some sort somewhere, but there’s less overall. A parochial viewpoint doesn’t tell us much about humanity as a whole in the future vs. present vs. past.

    2. Of course, and the basis for all creativity is diversity, right? Only if we have sufficient minority and gender representation can we have any hope of success.

      And now I’ll go and shit a rainbow.

  5. The worst part of the statists’ claims of credit for all progress once they get their hooks in. They have zero conception of the existence of a hidden cost. They presume all the scientists and engineers occupied by all the NASA and DoD boondoggles would instead have wasted their talents doing subsistence farming or something instead.

    1. Projection, since their way ends with serfdom.

  6. Added to birthday list

  7. Let link text“>Criswell explain the future for you.

  8. I i get paid over $86 per hour working from home with 3 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.

    Heres what I’ve been doing:==>==>==> http://www.CareerPlus90.com

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