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Virginia Postrel

Editor of Reason Magazine, columnist for Forbes Magazine, winner of H.L. Mencken Award, author of The Future and Its Enemies (1998, The Free Press)


Inflated wages make marginal workers unemployable ... high taxes and stringent employment regulations block immigrant entrepreneurship, and generous welfare benefits discourage work anyway.

Aug. 9, 1999 - from "Socialists need tall fences", published in Forbes Magazine
How we feel about the evolving future tells us who we are as individuals and as a civilization: Do we search for stasis - a regulated, engineered world? Or do we embrace dynamism - a world of constant creation, discovery, and competition? Do we value stability and control, or evolution and learning? Do we declare with Appelo that 'we're scared of the future'? Or do we see technology as an expression of human creativity and the future as inviting? Do we think that progress requires a central blueprint, or do we see it as a decentralized, evolutionary process? Do we consider mistakes permanent disasters, or the correctable by-products of experimentation? ... These two poles, stasis and dynamism, increasingly define our political, intellectual, and cultural landscape. The central question of our time is what to do about the future. And that question creates a deep divide.

1998 - from The Future and Its Enemies, published by The Free Press
Like the present, the future is not a single, uniform state but an ongoing process that reflects the plenitude of human life. There is in fact no single future ... As a system, the future is natural, out of anyone's control, though it is driven by the artificial: by individual attempts ... to fashion realms of personal control. This open-ended future can't be contained in the vision of a single person or organization.

1998 - from The Future and Its Enemies, published by The Free Press