Virginia Postrel

Virginia Postrel

Virginia I. Postrel (born 14 January 1960) is an American political and cultural writer of broadly libertarian, or classical liberal, views. She is best known for her two non-fiction books, "The Future and Its Enemies" and "The Substance of Style". In the former she explains her philosophy, "dynamism," a forward-looking and change-seeking philosophy which generally favors unregulated organization through "spontaneous order". She contrasts it with "stasis," a philosophy favoring top-down control and regulation and a desire to maintain the present state of affairs.

Virginia Postrel was editor of "Reason" from July 1989 to January 2000, and remained on the masthead as editor-at-large through 2001. Prior to that, she was a reporter for "Inc." and "The Wall Street Journal". She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). From 2000 to 2006, she wrote an economics column for "The New York Times". She also appeared on the last episode of the third season of Penn and Teller's "Bullshit!".

Postrel writes the monthly column "Commerce & Culture" for "The Atlantic".

A proponent of lifting bans on payment for organ donation, Postrel recently donated a kidney to an acquaintance of hers named Sally Satel. See List of notable organ transplant donors and recipients and [ Econtalk podcast where Postrel discusses donation] .

Diagnosed with breast cancer

On September 20, 2007, Postrel wrote on her blog, "I have breast cancer and start chemotherapy next Friday. Despite an aggressive type of cancer, my prognosis is good, thanks largely to the monoclonal antibody drug Herceptin. The research behind my specific regimen is described [ here] . Yet another reason I'm extraordinarily happy to be back in L.A." []

On February 5, 2008, Postrel wrote on her blog, "I had my final chemo round a week ago yesterday. The Herceptin regimen takes a year, with a dose every three weeks, but it doesn't knock me out the way the chemo does. Now I have to see lots of doctors to figure out the next step, which is most likely more surgery. As today's WaPost reports, a lot of women in my position opt for a double mastectomy, even though the evidence suggests that such extreme measures aren't necessary to save your life. What the article doesn't say is that surgeons--or at least my (female) surgeon--recommend the double procedure to avoid future paranoia. It's not always the patient's idea and, regardless of the surgeon's preference, it's culturally easier to go all-in (or all out) than to be cautious about surgery." []


* "The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress", Free Press, (December 1, 1998) (ISBN 0-684-86269-7)
* "The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness", HarperCollins, September 2003 (ISBN 0-06-018632-1)

External links

* [ Postrel's website]
* [ Dynamist Blog]
* [ Podcast featuring Postrel] Postrel discusses style on EconTalk.

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