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Dynamism is a philosophy advocated by Virginia Postrel[1] that advocates systems that allow individuals to act on their own initiative; to choose with whom to associate or not associate; and to set up competing frameworks of rules. Dynamism allows many small experiments to be conducted simultaneously, with a free market of individuals exercising consumer and investor choice determining the worthiness of each experiment and whether to allocate more resources to it. Thus, dynamism is closely related to libertarianism and capitalism.

The goal of dynamism is to make progress possible. It is more conducive to change to allow many new ideas to emerge and to combine with one another to form wholes that are better than the sum of their parts. For example, the English language was created by many people coining new words and importing words from other languages freely, without any centralized bureaucracy passing judgment on what words would be allowed into the language. This language has become one of the most widely spoken in the world. Spontaneous order depends on dynamist systems.


The opposite of dynamism is stasism, which takes two main forms, the reactionary and the technocratic. The reactionaries wish to prevent any change from occurring; they would rather forgo progress than risk a harmful change that could be a regression. An example of a reactionary system would be the Roman Catholic Church:[2]

The realm of Christianity which the Pope and the other Bishops administer is not subject to any change. It is built upon a perennial and immutable doctrine. The creed is fixed forever. There is no progress and no evolution. There is only obedience to the law and the dogma. The methods of selection adopted by the Church are very efficient in the government of a body clinging to an undisputed, unchangeable set of rules and regulations. They are perfect in the choice of the guardians of an eternal treasure of doctrine.

The technocrats are willing to accept change, but only if it is centrally planned, with individuals being required to go along with the plan. In practice, this tends to prevent change, because the bureaucrats in charge of central planning tend not to be visionary creative geniuses. Even if they were, they would be subject to the problem of economic calculation that afflicts all socialist systems.


Federalism, as envisaged by some of its advocates, is a type of dynamist system if the federal government grants its member states, and the people, the power to organize as they wish and to otherwise act autonomously. It is questionable whether any federal government that did not allow its member states to secede, wage defensive war, and so on could be considered dynamist.


  1. Postrel, Virginia. The Future and Its Enemies. 
  2. Mises, Ludwig von. "Authoritarian Guardianship and Progress". Bureaucracy.