Capitalism in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

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Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, displays societal destruction caused by intense government economic intervention. Rand heavily stresses Capitalistic views, however straying from “public good” appeals. On the contrary, Rand views the public good as inconsequential and possibly detrimental when considering capitalism. Ayn Rand varies from Capitalist defenders supporting views disregarding public good and considering competition driven innovation, public works downfalls, and unrestrained governmental control.

Ayn Rand and Capitalism’s defenders understand competition drives innovation and progression. During the progressive era, the Robber Barons made their debut as they began to control their respective markets. Small business owners ridiculed their capitalistic approaches as they were unable to compete. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, developed to control business and market size, limited monopolies. (Hessen) Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged acknowledges continued concern for “public good” results in government restriction and lack of innovation and progress. As the government attempts to provide equality in the name of “public good” their restrictions cause businesses and the economy to fail. Unrestricted competition pushes innovation; however the social atmosphere constricts competition and innovation. Particular progressions cannot be made because society does not allow for them. In Atlas Shrugged, world changing engine plans develop, but remained unused dormant for years. “Don’t you understand what this means? It’s the greatest revolution in power motors since the internal-combustion engine - greater than that!” (Rand 270) It’s creation was hindered by economic control. Rand views innovation as a key portion of society’s suc...

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Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged defends capitalism but uses an unconventional approach. In contrast to most capitalists, Rand refuses to support the idea “public good” drives Capitalism. Rand outwardly states focusing and incorporating “public good” with economic ideals simply destroys the idea’s intent. Rand understands the importance of competition and innovation, the follies of public works, and the horrors of unrestrained governmental economic control. Rand believes the “public good” does not exist but simply a “personal good” exists which each must attain personally.

Works Cited

Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York, NY. Penguin Group. 1957.

Hessen, Robert. Capitalism. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Updated: 2008. Accessed: 22 May 2010.