Douglas Carswell – Progress vs Parasites


The change in our ancestors’ behaviour was barely perceptible at first. Only a few clues in the archaeological record – sea shells, ochre and stone tools exchanged over long distances – hint at what was to come. Today, a network of interdependence and trade spans the planet – lifting most of our species out of the grinding poverty of the past.

But for much of history this engine of human progress stalled, with societies rigged in the interests of small parasitic elites. From the Greeks and Romans in antiquity to China, India and Europe in the Middle Ages, the history of the world can be written as the constant struggle between the productive and the parasitic.

Progress vs Parasites charts this struggle. States rise and empires fall as the balance between the two shifts. It is the idea of freedom, Carswell argues, that ultimately allows the productive to escape the parasitic – and thus decides whether a society flourishes or flounders. A robust defence of classical liberalism, Progress vs Parasites shows that the greatest threat to human progress today – as it has been in every age – is the idea that human affairs need to be ordered by top down design.

Author: Douglas Carswell
Narrator: Russell Bentley
Duration: 10 hours 11 minutes
Released: 19 May 2009
Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
Language: English

User Review:

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Presented as a balanced work, the careful listener will quickly notice the Democratic bias of the author. For example, Republicans who follow the the party line are “partisan” while Democrats who follow the party line are “loyal.”

The author also draws many of his conclusions from a heavy reliance on contemporary statistical polling results, without examining the wording of the polls themselves. Of course this is a very error prone approach, since the wording of a poll usually drives the outcome.

Glossing over historical events that don’t fit his bias, the author weaves an interesting tale, but as is typical of historians of his era, reaches conclusions that do not stand the test of time and unbiased scholarship.