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Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  3,116 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
This edition includes two articles by Ayn Rand which did not appear in the hardcover edition: "The Wreckage of the Consensus," which presents the Objectivists' views on Vietnam and the draft; and "Requiem for Man," an answer to the Papal encyclical Progressio Populorum.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 1st 1967 by Signet (first published 1966)
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Jul 26, 2016 James rated it did not like it
Do I hate the "philosophical" works of Ayn Rand because I disagree with her, or because they're atrociously written? Both.

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is below book review. It demands a an even more vulgar form of critique: a list of failures.

- Every sentence that contains the word welfare also contains the word Fascist.

- She posits that the most oppressed people in the United States are not women, blacks, gays, but-wait for it-rich businessmen (emphasis on "men"). At last a voice for the und
Sep 20, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny to read a young Alan Greenspan's arguments for eliminating the federal reserve and returning to the gold standard.
Kelly Murray
May 28, 2009 Kelly Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the cherry that tops the Ayn Rand sundae I've been consuming for the past 2 1/2 years. Capitalism really is an unknown ideal, and it's a shame that it was never given an honest chance to fully manifest. What we have now is nowhere near capitalism- we're on a downward slippery slope to socialism...which I'm dreading more with each passing law. She had it right all along. I find it amazing that someone could be so dead-on in predicting what the future would be like if we had kept going in ...more
Feb 05, 2010 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a book! If the Obama administration would read and heed-- Wow, would we ever have an awesome revival of financial abundance and most importantly, FREEDOM, in our country! Ms. Rand is absolutely brilliant.

I was especially cheering her on with her ideas of privatizing education. The government has no business being in the business or regulation of education.

I didn't agree with everything she said, and I cringed at some of her descriptions of "savages". Nor do I agree with her that capitalism
Andrej Drapal
Do I admire the philosophical works of Ayn Rand because I agree with her, or because they're precisely written? Both.

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is above book review. It demands a higher level of evaluations: a list of absolutes.

- Every sentence that contains the word welfare also contains the word Fascists - so true.

- She posits that the most oppressed people in the United States are not women, blacks, gays, but entrepreneurs. The sad truth lies in the fact, that US are but one example of suc
Ayn Rand #1 for me. I chose this book instead of Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, because this is a subject that I'm vaguely aware of. Rand attacks every economic system other than capitalism. This is by no means an economics treatise. She acknowledges the need for a free-market(no intervention from Govt), why businessmen are the scapegoats for any market failure.

Capitalism is the only economic system which protects the individual rights. The period 1814-1914 is the only century marked in hi
This book is a collection of essays on capitalism. While the book was published in 1986, some essays in the book were written as far back as the 60s. As a compendium of essays can do, without carefully selecting included content, some of the essays seem to stray from the main emphasis of the whole. This seemed to be the case especially in the essay about the Berkely demonstrations. While issues of capitalism were addressed, it didn't have the strong economics emphasis that most of the book had. ...more
Otto Lehto
Most infuriating, I was going to give it two stars, but the consistency and occasional flashes of brilliance forced me to recant and admit it: the book, despite (and because of) its author's frightful dogmatism, succeeds in driving home an ideological agenda masterfully.

I still think Virtue of Selfishness is the superior book (mostly because that one is shorter and less of a rant), but Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is a worthy follow-up.

Now, I think all libertarians should steer clear of Rand's
May 12, 2011 Johnrh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished CAPITALISM: THE UNKNOWN IDEAL by Ayn Rand. I'd been struggling with it, because she writes with a precision and intensity on which my lazy reading style has difficulty focusing. Regardless, she nails it. I'll have to write a book about it sometime. I recommend it.

The first 3 chapters are particularly cogent on individual rights and economic freedom. From Chp. 1:

"Is man a sovereign individual who owns his person, his mind, his life, his work and its products—or is he the prope
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Ayn Rand was once asked if she could present the essence of her philosophy while standing on one foot. She answered: Metaphysics: Objective Reality; Epistemology: Reason; Ethics: Self-interest; Politics: Capitalism. I first encountered Ayn Rand through her works of fiction as a young woman barely out of my teens. Back then I was already an atheist, one with a great belief in science and reason. There was nothing in her "metaphysics" or "epistemology" that I found the least bit surprising or cont ...more
Steve Hadfield
Although I'm not an 'objectivist', I did love this book. Rand does a great job of giving her philosophy in a compelling way, lots of examples and logical argumentation. I don't agree with her dismissing of faith, but her disagreement is with those using their faith to make illogical arguments concerning economics. I had to agree with her points. Too many jump on the socialism bandwagon that assuming that human nature is 'good' which is the only way for the idealistic view of socialism could ever ...more
Jeremy Egerer
Oct 05, 2015 Jeremy Egerer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've ever read on capitalism, period. Easy to read, powerfully written, and unexpectedly profound, Rand covers everything from the introduction of statism into the American economy to crony capitalism to common myths about free markets and the inevitable results of bad philosophy on daily life. Absolutely worth sharing -- will make you wary of commies and leftists in general.
Michalis Rizos
Ayn Rand is proponent of natural rights classical liberalism, she names it "objectivism" because she liked being unique, arguing that capitalism and free markets are the only economic systems compatible with men's natural rights that derive not from God or from state but from man's nature. The last two articles on natural rights and on the proper role of government are exceptional. If you liked the book read also Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia.

Jan 22, 2013 Vadim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When is this nonsense going to die its long overdue death? This books is a collection of misrepresentations, misunderstandings, straw man arguments, opinions, and conjecture. Some of her musings were never anything more than that, some were proven wrong by science or course of history, but bottom line, when you largely quote your own works of fiction as "proof" for your "theories", you're bound to be wrong at least some of the time. This book is wrong most of the time.
May 02, 2009 Kiah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading essays by Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, et al isn't the most entertaining of reads, and was quite rough at times. I'd prefer to read the theories they have in novel form (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, etc), though there were some essays that were scarily on-point regarding the current economic situation.
Greg Powers
Oct 19, 2009 Greg Powers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it! Read it! Read it! If you want to know why capitalism works read this book! This should be a must read for any public official or anybody who intends to venture into an intellectual debate about the virtues of the various economic systems. This book was the first purely economic book I ever read and started my leg-tingling love affair with studying the free market.
May 11, 2013 Kendra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave this two stars for two reasons, One for each star, 1. When looking more into what Rand says, her whole notion of life and people is flawed 2. Capitalism isn't a perfect idea as she claims it to be. I can blab on like she does and sell books too.
Read this only if: 1) you don't already know that capitalism is an ideal, 2) you really like to read lecture notes, or 3) you have a goal to read everything Ayn Rand ever read. Unfortunately, in my case, only #3 applied.
Jarrod Jenkins
Nov 28, 2015 Jarrod Jenkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Who owns your life? Ayn Rand’s answer to that question differs from every ruler, political and religious leader, and media personality in history. Her answer likely differs from yours. Her answer is that your whole life belongs to you alone.

From this foundational principle, Rand builds her philosophy and attacks all others. The firmness of her convictions yields a purity of thought that leaves no room for compromise. The implications of her answer are deep and vast.

But what’s the big deal; isn’
Jun 26, 2016 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Two words: Raving lunacy
P. H.
Nov 09, 2008 P. H. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Would I call it a good read (get it?Goodreads?). No...but had you given it to me with the express purpose to enlighten me into the political controversies of the 1960's onward. Not occluding our last political debate here in 2012 with its United States presidential election, I'd say Rand might well be a soothsayer. More likely though, a lot of stupid people read her work and in very dark terms, "put into production, politically speaking". And oh boy did a philosophy manufacture! I remember one i ...more
May 26, 2009 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
A collection of essays written mostly by Ayn Rand, this book did a good job of getting out the over all message of Individual Rights superseding the collective.

Some of the most interesting bits I found were the parallels between the arguments taking place circa the mid- to late-1960's and today; we seem to still be facing all of the arguments coming out of D.C. now that we were then. Things like the false dichotomies of "whether government should do X or Y", when the question needs to be, "shoul
Expanded version of John Galt Speech from Atlas Shrugged, with the philosophy Ayn Rand expounds generally through her works. While her thinking is not complete, and does reflect partial nature of her knowledge and thought, it nevertheless is good at exposing altruism the veil over would be slavers' face and heart.

To begin with she goes into the question of what precisely is money, and how it is seen, in her work here as well as in Atlas Shrugged; how it is seen, and what is the real reason it w
Kyle Thompson
Jul 04, 2012 Kyle Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had just finished reading Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" when I picked this up. I said in my review of Smith's "The Wealth of Nations", that it was the best economics book I had ever read, as it was simple, cogent, and articulate. But now having read Rand's "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" I feel I might have to take that back.

Rand's book is very easy to understand, just as Smith's was. But Rand's view on capitalism differs in some ways from Smith's. While Rand preached a complete laisse
D. B.
Jan 03, 2016 D. B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal answers the question on everybody's mind: what if Ayn Rand had a blog? Before there were blogs, there were zines, and before there were zines, there were newsletters. All of the essays compiled here come from Rand's The Objectivist Newsletter (later renamed The Objectivist), and she contributes the bulk of the material (other essays appear by psychologist Nathaniel Branden, economist Alan Greenspan, and historian Robert Hessen).

The book is divided into two sections:
Kyle Pratt
Jan 23, 2013 Kyle Pratt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Capitalism, by Ayn Rand, is a collection of 26 essays that discuss more than what the title would lead you to believe. Most articles were written by Rand, while a few were penned by others including a much younger Alan Greenspan. Rand opens the book with a chapter called "What is Capitalism." Greenspan writes on antitrust law and gold. Economics is rarely exciting, but the authors manage to make in interesting.

One editorial review posted on the page for Capitalism states that the book
Akaash Agarwal
May 04, 2015 Akaash Agarwal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In essence, Ayn Rand primarily provides a very good philosophical backing to the whole idea of Capitalism, a concept which has always been looked down upon as being immoral and destructive to humanity and also has never really had a moral-philosophical backing as structures like Socialism have.

She goes on to argue that a truly Capitalist economy or nation hasn't necessarily existed in history, and that most of the blame Capitalism takes is due to:
1. public illiteracy in economic principles, ther
May 29, 2012 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would consider myself to be an objectivist in Ayn Rand's sense. Furthermore, I would have to preface this review with the qualification that if one is not familiar with objectivism then this book can (and has been) misconstrued. It is important to understand that free market capitalism is not the basis but an effect of the objectivist philosophy.

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is a collection of essays by Rand, Alan Greenspan, and others. It addresses several questions that are often brought up
Sep 14, 2016 Khrush rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poli-tical
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Alisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sa ...more
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“Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind.

A rational mind does not work under compulsion; it does not subordinate its grasp of reality to anyone’s orders, directives, or controls; it does not sacrifice its knowledge, its view of the truth, to anyone’s opinions, threats, wishes, plans, or “welfare.” Such a mind may be hampered by others, it may be silenced, proscribed, imprisoned, or destroyed; it cannot be forced; a gun is not an argument. (An example and symbol of this attitude is Galileo.)

It is from the work and the inviolate integrity of such minds—from the intransigent innovators—that all of mankind’s knowledge and achievements have come. (See The Fountainhead.) It is to such minds that mankind owes its survival. (See Atlas Shrugged.)”
“The concept of individual rights is so new in human history that most men have not grasped it fully to this day. In accordance with the two theories of ethics, the mystical or the social, some men assert that rights are a gift of God-- others, that rights are a gift of society. But, in fact, the source of rights is man's nature.” 6 likes
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