Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is Rand Relevant? -

I am ristening to Atlas Shrugged in my car and was talking to a collegue about it on Thursday. I said I was pretty sure the book was written last week and that she spent much time on campus to research the book. Now obviously not, but it is so timeless that after fifty years it is still just as fresh as ever.

This is from the Wall Street Journal.

Is Rand Relevant? -
"'If you understand the dominant philosophy of a society,' Rand wrote elsewhere in 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal,' 'you can predict its course.' Economic crises and runaway government power grabs don't just happen by themselves; they are the product of the philosophical ideas prevalent in a society -- particularly its dominant moral ideas....

Why do so few protest the endless regulatory burdens placed on businessmen? Because businessmen are pursuing their self-interest, which we have been taught is dangerous and immoral. Why did the government go on a crusade to promote 'affordable housing,' which meant forcing banks to make loans to unqualified home buyers? Because we believe people need to be homeowners, whether or not they can afford to pay for houses.

Rand said ...-- selfishness, rather than being evil, is a virtue. By this she did not mean exploiting others à la Bernie Madoff. Selfishness -- that is, concern with one's genuine, long-range interest -- she wrote, required a man to think, to produce, and to prosper by trading with others voluntarily to mutual benefit."

UPDATE (3/15/09) Charlie sent the following from the Economist:

"Whenever governments intervene in the market, in short, readers rush to buy Rand’s book. Why? The reason is explained by the name of a recently formed group on Facebook, the world’s biggest social-networking site: “Read the news today? It’s like ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is happening in real life”. The group, and an expanding chorus of fretful bloggers, reckon that life is imitating art."
From which I went to the Facebook group and to this link of articles and videos from Definitely worth a look!

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