Dynamism is a new label for a new political philosophy, a philosophy that Virginia Postrel explains in her 1998 book, ‘The Future and Its Enemies – The Growing Conflict over Creativity, Enterprise and Progress’, has given us greater wealth, opportunity and choice than at any time in history.
According to Postrel many conservatives and social liberals (members of the right and left of politics) have much in common as they want to control the future while Dynamists believe in the capacity of human beings to improve their lives through trial and error, spontaneous adjustment, adaptation and evolution.
That’s some of what I wrote in Part 1, of ‘Why I am a Dynamist’. I thought some of the comments in the thread that followed were interesting with Gavin suggesting that “dynamic change could lead to chaos.”
It is worth remembering, the evolution of life on earth has been a dynamic process with no-one in control and yet it has not lead to chaos.
Dynamists see the same potential in human enterprise provided there is a reliable foundation on which to build complex, ever-adapting structures that incorporate local knowledge.
Postrel suggests that some of those structures will be elaborate new schemes of rules:
“But the rules will be voluntarily subscribed to, allowed to evolve, and able to incorporate detailed knowledge of particulars. … and they should not be confused with the fundamental rules that, in fact, allow such specific-purpose rules to develop.”
Postrel suggests that respect for local knowledge and rules can avoid the tragedy of the commons:
“Grazing land and fishing sites are classic examples of commons. Economic theory predicts that such common property will be overused, since everyone has an incentive to draw as much as possible from it rather than to conserve. But Elinor Ostrom [Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge University Press, 1990] finds many examples of cooperative institutions evolving to regulate commons use effectively, to everyone’s benefit … developed through trial-and-error learning, with the rules made by the same people who must abide them.”