A friend of mine recommended that I read this book and it provides a very compelling insight. That insight is simply this, freedom is the reason for our progress. There has been no place in recorded history except the U.S that has harnessed human energy to foster progress. For 6000 years humans have suffered from mass hunger yet in American history, hunger and famine are not problems. The poor in the U.S. today have about the same house hold amenities as the middle class did in the 1950’s.
Why is this important to me?
I am not doing this summary to waste your time. It is my vision to provide concise action steps that you can adopt right now to enhance your life. Dictators try to operate and control human energy similar to a beehive. Basically you have the queen bee and all the worker bees creating and sustaining life. With a true Republic, man is free and controls his own human energy. How does this relate to progress? The most effective comparison you can make would be to look at East Germany vs. West Germany after World War II. When the Cold war ended, the Berlin Wall came down and East Germany found itself 40+ years behind West Germany.
Centralized power cannot control human energy. Progress will always be stifled. This is why some of the cruelest dictators are at the heart of poverty and famine. You can simply look at Sudan and Somalia for proof.
The Mainspring of Human Progress dives into history and discusses the problems with centralized power over creative freedom. Henry Weaver looks at the past and shows without a doubt that the most productive and innovative periods in history were garnered under a free society. For the sake of time, I want to profile a few of the salient points.
1. Genius thrives on rivalry – If you look at all great victories in the past, you will agree that rivalry is critical for achieving great success. Here are some examples: Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Secretariat and Sham. George Patton and Rommel. This also works in business. Sales is probably the best natural competitive field because there is no second place. You either win or go hungry.
2. Human Energy flourishes with free will – We cannot force people to do anything. There is a great debate that the Egyptian Pyramids were in fact created with free labor and not slave labor. Historians know that nothing could be created that perfect under slave conditions. The ingenuity that comes out of the U.S. is still the best in the world. People are free to tinker in their garage and work on what they want to solve problems. Free will is the key to innovation.
3. Ten Commandments – The Ten Commandments are designed to highlight individual responsibility and not centralized responsibility. Without individual responsibility and accountability then there would be anarchy. In philosophy this is known as the difference between self-regarding acts and other regarding acts. Laws exist to set grown rules on other regarding acts. A self-regarding act is when you decide to jump off a cliff. You can die but it is your decision. An other-regarding act is when you push somebody else off that cliff. Other regarding acts need laws and consequences for the actions.
4. Government – Government is not designed and will ultimately fail if they try to support people. Entitlement breads laziness. People support the government. Again this is a balance because when government garners too much power, bad things happen. We are seeing this right now in the U.S. For every dollar the government spends to sustain itself, it borrows 40 cents. This model will crumble in the long run and will change.
The Mainspring of Human Progress is an interesting book and a look back in history. The main point is human progress flourishes under freedom. I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is genius thrives on rivalry. This concept is a good way to rally your troops or your own self-motivation to achieve something great.