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Objectivism & Capitalism

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Mark Many comments on Ayn Rand's novels seem to hover around the political aspect of her philosophy, Objectivism, which she deems laissez faire capitalism. The reason behind this is individualism and her non-wavering premise that individual freedoms must not compromised. I wonder if Objectivism necessarily leads to a laissez faire sort of capitalism?


Kelly Indeed. I believe they go hand-in-hand. In fact, Ayn Rand advocated strongly for unfettered capitalism due to the fact that her upbringing in communist Russia so strongly negatively influenced her; in response she supported the opposite end of the political and economic spectrum. I mean, look at the recent fiscal disaster we suffered in 2008 with the real estate/stock market crisis. It was caused by the purest form of Objectivism. If that wasn't what Rand expounded about ad nauseum in her novel, I don't know what is. However it just goes to show you that Rand was an ideologue and an insufferable one at that.


David Lentz Ayn Rand was adored by free market theorists and the Chicago School. Alan Greenspan worshipped Ayn Rand who read to him from her books in Greenwich Village, when Greenspan was a young, idealistic man. Greenspan bought and promoted Rand's egomaniacal, laissez-faire capitalism during his indomitable reign as head of the Fed. He proclaimed to the ends of the earth the sweet credo of Ayn Rand that the Market is always right and heroic capitalists can do no wrong. Greed is good. The reason the Market was always right was because of its "invisible hand" which she believed should always be left alone to shape the economic destiny of capitalistic societies. However, it turns out that that the invisible hand of the Market is always somehow attached to a billionaire or his corporation. Now that the Supreme Court has miraculously shaped human beings out of corporations and given them unrestricted funding to influence political campaigns, we see the invisible hand of the Market at work, once again, in anonymous PACs advocating politically and omnisciently for corporate interests. The Koch Brothers and Exxon are even crafting legislation for puppet politicians to enact. But here's the rub: the problem with the invisible hand of the Market is that it has no inkling of a conscience: certainly, despite their PR, self-serving ads and charitable tax writeoffs, corporations have none -- zero, zip, nada. So our nation is run by powerful corporate interests whose sole objective is to profit at any cost -- even at the expense of destroying our nation's human and natural resources, and sense of humanity. Corporations eat their children to make a dollar or to save one. One of the most relevant literary figures to kiss the invisible hand of the Market was Goethe's Faust. The rewards are limitless -- they will only cost you what's left of your everloving soul. America IS Faust: we have happily made our Faustian trade and I fear that it may well prove to be the death of our great Republic. Gordon Gekko is the love child of Ayn Rand.


Kelly Quite true! In general, I believe that everything is needed in moderation. Regulation is desperately required; however complete restriction of the economy can be a stifling nuisance as well. It would be wonderfully simple to look at the world in black and white, yet the truth of the matter is that grayscale is more appropriate, especially during these desperate economic times.


David Lentz But Kelley, don't you then have excessive moderation?


Kelly I think moderation is as difficult to achieve as anything. However, in my humble opinion, I see that as the best choice. I respect all opinions obviously, I just find that everything in moderation is the best path to be taken. Unfortunately, and this is true in Washington at this time, compromise (oftentimes going hand-in-hand with moderation) is the only solution to a stalemate situation. Nobody wishes to cede every point; thus it is essential to extend a hand to both sides of an issue in an effort to create a bipartisan and mutually agreeable result.


Keryl Raist Given Rand's views on freedom and the superiority of the individual, what market system would be more in keeping than capitalism?

(Also, anyone who thinks Greenspan, once he joined the Fed, was an acolyte of Rand doesn't get Rand or Greenspan. He was once upon a time, then he decided regulation in moderation was a good thing. If he had stuck to his guns we'd have all been better off.)


Masha K. Keryl wrote: "Given Rand's views on freedom and the superiority of the individual, what market system would be more in keeping than capitalism?

(Also, anyone who thinks Greenspan, once he joined the Fed, was an..."


So true about Greenspan! Too bad he ended up being the most famous Rand follower. On the other hand, even though he bought into the system and stayed on too long, he was probably the best Fed Chairman we had in recent history, so maybe he did retain some of his earlier beliefs.

What boggles my mind is Leonard Peikoff (Rand's "official heir") voting for Kerry in 2004. I know he had problems with Bush's religion, but sheesh, man, pick your battles!


Keryl Raist Masha wrote: "Keryl wrote: "Given Rand's views on freedom and the superiority of the individual, what market system would be more in keeping than capitalism?

(Also, anyone who thinks Greenspan, once he joined..."


I'm thinking if you're a serious Objectivist, and you're faced with Kerry and Bush, it's time to stay home. The last two elections have been disheartening, no one even remotely worth voting for.


Masha K. Rand pretty much hasn't supported anyone since Goldwater (although she disagreed with him some as well) and she HATED libertarians. Since Objectivists don't believe in settling for the lesser of two evils, I'm not sure what their position would be on voting altogether, i.e. do they always just stay home. Peikoff may be "the heir," but he's not the whole movement.


Keryl Raist I usually settle for the lesser of the two evils if it looks close. I might not want to settle, but I also have to live in this world and I know the difference between bad and worse.

If one of them is going to win in a landslide I don't bother going out.


message 12: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Maven Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy seems to consider every subject individually i.e., not as one of many interdependent factors. Capitalism becomes the be all and end all of life, but human life is composed of many aspects that necessarily influence each other. Her idealistic view of existence is suited to a perfect world, where political interference, wars, famine, threats do not exist.


Masha K. Anne wrote: "Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy seems to consider every subject individually i.e., not as one of many interdependent factors. Capitalism becomes the be all and end all of life, but human life is ..."

That's because in Rand's view, in her perfect world everyone is rational. Political interference, wars and famine (with most of famines having political causes) would not exist then.

I guess Rand's biggest failure as a philosopher in not showing IN HER FICTION how a regular (non-John Galt) person can achieve happiness using Objectivist principles. In fact her "regular" characters don't end well, and people think it means they can't. Her non-fiction goes much more in depth on real life applications and I found some of her essays very helpful to me personally.


message 14: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Maven Masha wrote: "Anne wrote: "Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy seems to consider every subject individually i.e., not as one of many interdependent factors. Capitalism becomes the be all and end all of life, but h..."

I agree.


message 15: by Kari (new) - rated it 1 star

Kari Kelly wrote: "Indeed. I believe they go hand-in-hand. In fact, Ayn Rand advocated strongly for unfettered capitalism due to the fact that her upbringing in communist Russia so strongly negatively influenced her;..."

Hear,hear


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