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The FUTURE AND ITS ENEMIES: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress Paperback – December 8, 1999
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Writing in Vanity Fair, Sam Tanenhaus described her as "a master D.J. who sequences the latest riffs from the hard sciences, the social sciences, business, and technology, to name only a few sources."
Postrel is the author most recently of The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion (2013). Her previous books are The Substance of Style (2003) and The Future and Its Enemies (1998).
She is a regular columnist for Bloomberg View.
To learn more about her and read a large archive of her articles and blog posts, visit vpostrel.com.
Top Customer Reviews
The book offers insights into the potential of creativity breaking out from the traditional command and control mentality. As a former urban planner, I was particularly enlightened by her examples as they relate to a changing urban scape.
Overall, this is a ground breaking book that links a number of guru management ideas, politics, science and economic thought....the kind of cross-disciplinary analysis that opens up new ways to more objectively view the world. The Future and Its Enemies is a worthwhile read that will help the reader understand the real underlying dichotomy and debate ("the paradigm" which is a term that Postrel gratfully doesn't use) that defines how politicians and others react to a wide variety of contentious debates. Now the reader can understand the underlying personalities and sets of beliefs and predict how the future balttle lines will be drawn..and what side to be on.
Sweden can be classified as a semi-socialist state. On one hand Sweden is modern and liberal when it comes to all the standard human rights issues. On another there is a very deeply rooted, and dominant, culture of social engineering and socialization. Virtually everything, and I really mean everything, is in some manner under direct political influence. As everything in this country is politics, everything is also subject to thorough planning, scheduling and political debate. From my point of view, Sweden is a "stasist" state with very little room for any kind of dynamist influenses. This book has given me, beeing an anti-socialist in a semi-socialist society, new hope. Maybe there are other ways to break the stale mate in our country, when it comes to analyzing politics. I'll apply the dynamist-stasist dimension here, and see what happens.
I found Ms. Postrel's arguments very compelling, especially when taken with the writings of previous authors. F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, and Frederic Bastiat of course did not use the terms dynamist and stasist in their works, but the same thread is clearly evident. Hayek, Rand, and Bastiat (along with many others) long ago identified the alliances between the far-left and far-right for the purpose of destroying progress. Yet Postrel's book brings that analysis to its logical conclusion by finally obliterating the falsity of the left-right dichotomy which many 19th and 20th Century writers still implicitly accepted even when they identified the parallels between stasist groups.
That said, Postrel's book, although certainly capable of being read on its own, would be best read as part of a body of literature. I would recommend also reading Hayek's _The Road to Serfdom_, Rand's _Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal_, and Bastiat's _Economic Sophisms_ for readers previously unfamiliar with the subject.Read more ›
She thoroughly destroys the notion that 'there is nothing new under that sun'. While the universe, therefore our earth, is necessarily finite, we misunderstand this finiteness because we misunderstand the different combinations things can be arranged in. For example, a deck of cards has only 52 cards, but the number of combinations you can put the cards into is 52x51x50x49x...x3x2x1, which is a number larger than the number of particles in the universe! So whenever you shuffle a deck of cards, you can rest assured, that that is probably the one and only time that arrangement of cards will ever be in existence... ever.
People are so inventive and creative and always looking for new things. Obviously, there will always be new things. Every time someone declares that we are nearing the end of history, science, technology, etc. it's safe to say they have no idea what they are talking about. We need to let people be as creative and as inventive as they can. It will only make our lives better, on the whole. There will always be setbacks, but as long as people can think, we will always find a way to make out of those setbacks.
The book is a stunning, intelligent look at modern life. I liked it so much, I bought The Substance of Style, which is, yet, another insightful look at modern life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first read this in the nineties. Re-read again in 2015 on a friend's recommendation.
Stasists vs. dynamists -- this is as pertinent today as it was 20 years ago.
"This diverse, decentralized process makes technocrats uncomfortable--no one is in charge, and the results are unpredictable--but it strikes reactionaries as downright evil. Read morePublished on July 24, 2013 by Daniel Estes
The content of the book seems good (based on the sample), but this pricing is insane:
kindle: $14. Read more
As a business person and someone interested in the motivations of people, I found The Future and its Enemies one of the best written books on how organizations make bed decisions,... Read morePublished on May 4, 2011 by Stephen Wahrhaftig
The Future and Its Enemies Read this. Twice. As this reviewer's title might suggest, at times the reading can get a little long and academic. Read morePublished on May 2, 2011 by Gene Cisewski
I thought of PM Thatcher's "This is what we believe" quote upon finishing The Future and its Enemies. Something tells me I am going to be buying a bunch of copies of this. Read morePublished on March 8, 2011 by Johnny & Riza
I enjoyed the author's thoughts even if I am not inclined to agree with all of them. She could have stated her case much more concisely. Read morePublished on August 21, 2009 by Nick
Postrel's future strikes me as naive and idealistic. Unleashing the creative animus of billions of free actors? Read morePublished on February 10, 2007 by P. Bierre