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Feb
14
Virginia Postrel
Booknotes, Sunday, February 14, 1999
Virginia Postrel discusses The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress.

Today we have greater wealth, health, opportunity, and choice than at any time in history—the fruits of human ingenuity, curiosity, and perseverance. Yet a chorus of intellectuals and politicians loudly laments our condition. Technology, they say, enslaves us. Economic change makes us insecure. Popular culture coarsens and brutalizes us. Consumerism despoils the environment. The future, they say, is dangerously out of control, and unless we rein in these forces of change and guide them closely, we risk disaster. In The Future and Its Enemies, Virginia Postrel explodes these myths, embarking on a bold exploration of how progress really occurs. In areas of endeavor ranging from fashion to fisheries, from movies to medicine, from contact lenses to computers, she shows how and why unplanned, open-ended trial and error—not conformity to one central vision—is the key to human betterment. Thus, the true enemies of humanity's future are those who insist on prescribing outcomes in advance, circumventing the process of competition and experiment in favor of their own preconceptions and prejudices. —from the publisher's website (timspalding)… (more)
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