A friend of mine recommended that I read this book and it provides a very compelling insight. That intuition is simply this, freedom is the reason for our progress. There has been no place in recorded history, except the US, that has harnessed human energy to foster progress. For 6000 years, humans have suffered from mass starvation, but in American history, starvation and famine are not issues. The poor in the US today have the same comforts as the middle class in the 1950s.
Why is this important to me?
I am not doing this summary to waste your time. My vision is to provide concise action steps you can take right now to improve your life. Dictators try to operate and control human energy in a similar way to a hive. Basically, you have the queen bee and all the worker bees that create and sustain life. With a true republic, Man is free and controls his own Human Energy. How is this related 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 fell, and East Germany found itself for over 40 years as the best West Germany.
Centralized power cannot control human energy. Progress will always be stifled. That is why some of the cruelest dictators are at the heart of poverty and hunger. You can just look at Sudan and Somalia for proof.
The Mainspring of Human Progress dives into history and discusses the issues of centralized power over creative freedom. Henry Weaver looks back and shows without a doubt that the most productive and innovative periods in history were harvested under a free society. In the interest of time, I want to outline some of the salient points.
1. Genius thrives on rivalry: If you look at all the great victories of the past, you’ll agree that rivalry is critical to 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. Either you win or you stay hungry.
2. Human energy flourishes with free will: we cannot force people to do anything. There is much debate as to whether the Egyptian pyramids were created with free labor and not slave labor. Historians know that nothing could be created so perfect under slavery conditions. The ingenuity that comes out of the United States is still the best in the world. People are free to play in their garage and work on whatever they want to solve problems. Free will is the key to innovation.
3. Ten Commandments – The Ten Commandments are designed to emphasize 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 selfish acts and the acts of others. The laws exist to set rules grown on other acts concerned. A selfish act is when you decide to throw yourself off a cliff. You can die but it is your decision. An act related to others is when you push someone else off that cliff. Others referring to acts need laws and consequences of actions.
4. Government: Government is not designed and will ultimately fail if it tries to support the people. Right loaves laziness. The people support the government. Again, this is a balance because when the government accumulates too much power, bad things happen. We’re seeing this right now in the US For every dollar the government spends to support itself, it borrows 40 cents. This model will eventually collapse and change.
The Mainspring of Human Progress is an interesting book and a look back on history. The main point is that human progress flourishes under freedom. I hope you found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. Habits are formed in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is that genius thrives on rivalry. This concept is a good way to rally your troops or your own motivation to achieve something great.