In his 1980 book "The Third Wave," Alvin Toffler put the then-burgeoning high tech revolution into the context of civilization and its history. In "The Future and Its Enemies," Postrel describes the skirmishes that may prevent or slow down that revolution, or may encourage and speed it up.
The Battle for Your Home
One battle between the stasists and dynamists occurred in January of 2000 inside the homes of everyone with a home office, where the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) met lots of angry people who made themselves known via the Internet.
OSHA announced that employers must assure a safe work environment for employees working out of their homes, to the point where homes would have to have be retrofitted to the same standards as commercial buildings, or employers would be severely fined.
Of this confrontation, Postrel says, "We have an enormous raft of laws that assume that home is home and work is work, and these are completely rigid categories, and are very well defined. I don't think that OSHA, for example, is against people working at home per se. They're just in this mindset. So when they see people working at home, they go, 'Oh, that's no longer your home. That's you're workplace. We're going to come in and inspect it the same way we do if it's your office.' And you're going to respond with, 'You're not coming in my house, give me a break. This is my house.'"
Word of OSHA's plan to legislate and inspect people's homes created an instant backlash of outrage and frustration, spreading like wildfire in a matter of hours, via the media of talk radio and the Internet. One such example is a humorous public "memo," written to "the suits" at the conservative "National Review Online", by Jonah Goldberg, its editor, (who rarely sees eye-to-eye with the libertarian Postrel), called "You, Me, and The Sty".
How A Home Learns
In her book, Postrel offers diverse examples and stories to illustrate her concepts. She says she learned as a journalist that "it's not good enough just to make a general statement. You need to illustrate it in a way that the reader can really understand. And so, the book is about general principals but it's about how those general principles work out in the real world."
Somewhat portentously, she describes her book as "not just a book of philosophy. It is philosophical, but it's also a book about people's lives and the textures of people's lives."