The Future and Its Enemies by Virginia Postrel

It’s been 20 years since the first publication of Virginia Postrel’s ( influential book ‘The Future and it’s Enemies’ in 1998. Much of the author’s analysis of contemporary global culture has been borne out.

Postrel argued that the old political labels of ‘left’  and ‘right’ no longer carry much meaning, and that it’s better to see society as divided between those who champion dynamism and others who defend stasis. An American libertarian, she strongly defends the free society, the free market, and the free individual. The old modernist ideal of a single, controllable future has given way to individuals and their associations, unfettered by government or convention. In new networks, they are creating a world of innovation and competition.

The author argues that a global market is emerging where ideas and goods flow freely across borders. Opposed to this new dynamism are the ‘stasists’. Whether they lean to the ‘right’, with an abhorrence of change and protectionist economic leanings, or to the ‘left’, with the urge to regulate both the market and technological development, what all stasists fear is change. And what they desire above all is to control and limit change. They are enemies to freedom and progress. As such, they should be resisted.

It’s fair to say that Postrel’s analysis was criticized for lack of sophistication in economic and political theory. However, much she has to say about dynamism, networks and creativity remains topical in 2018. Read this work and judge for yourself.

Read this alongside the classic political heavyweight title ‘The Open Society and its Enemies’ (1945) by Karl Popper (

Available here (

Check if this thought provoking book is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at

288 pages in The Free Press

First published 1998

ISBN  978-0684827605

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Virginia Postrel

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