12 October 2007

I Love Capitalism

This is a fantastic article from Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. The purpose is to relay some of the lesson of Atlas Shrugged, a novel by Ayn Rand. It is one of the most important books in my opinion, and one that I credit with "making me a capitalist." I think the link only works for subscribers, but I wanted to excerpt a portion:

This is the lesson that most people in business have yet to learn from "Atlas," no matter how much they may love its portrayal of the passion and the glory possible in business enterprise. At a crucial point in the novel, the industrialist Hank Rearden is on trial for violating an arbitrary economic regulation. Instead of apologizing for his pursuit of profit or seeking mercy on the basis of philanthropy, he says, "I work for nothing but my own profit -- which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs; I do not sacrifice my interests to them nor do they sacrifice theirs to me; we deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage -- and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner…"

We will know the lesson of "Atlas Shrugged" has been learned when business people, facing accusers in Congress or the media, stand up like Rearden for their right to produce and trade freely, when they take pride in their profits and stop apologizing for creating wealth.

In light of my focus in the past week on those who would take from the labors of others by force and according to their own warped and naive motives, I thought this was a timely piece. Let me know if you'd like the whole thing. I can e-mail it to you.

1 comment:

Maret said...

I haven't read this, but I certainly have it on my list of things to do! I'll move it up on the list!