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It's Ayn Rand's fault? Really?

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January 27, 2009 – Comments (45)

I'm a financial supporter of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute and the Libertarian Party. Yet, despite my wacko anti-government leanings, I do not support the Ayn Rand institute. My reasons for this will remain my own, for now. I'm not a Rand scholar, but I've read much of her work - and I have an understanding of much, if not all, of Objectivism. Rand can be a bit wordy. Not Post Modern Structuralism wordy, mind you. But wordy nonetheless. 

But today I want to attack those that attack Ayn Rand. Newsweek, in its literary brilliance, ran an article recently titled: "Can Ayn Rand Survive the Economic Crisis: Some point to Alan Greenspan. But his hands-off approach to the economy originated with Ayn Rand."

http://www.newsweek.com/id/173514

It's popular belief that Ayn Rand originated the idea of laissez faire capitalism. It's also widely understood that Greenspan was implementing Rand's ideas during his tenure at the Federal Reserve.

These two points need to be addressed, even by those who disagree with Rand's philosophy, as they are ridiculous and false.

The concept of laissez faire capitalism did not originate with anyone. It occured naturally. It exists anywhere productive people cooperate without government interference. It is not a public policy, per se. It is the absence of economic policy. It is the absence of third party influence in economic affairs. It is the absence of coercion in an economic transaction.

Though many people before Rand have noted the benefits of laissez faire, most famous among them beign Classical Liberal Frederick Bastiat. The Law, published in 1850, describes in detail how government's natural tendency is to interfere in the economy, seize power, and crush liberty. In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand turned this concept into an epic science fiction novel.

That's right. Atlas Shrugged at its core, is a science fiction novel - and a poorly written one at that. It has its moments. It has great characters.... okay GREAT characters..... and it's based on The New Deal, but it's still a fiction novel.

Let me pause. Let's go back to Newsweek's article. Should we blame Ayn Rand for the economic crisis? As much as you can blame any science fiction writer, I suppose.

What about her relationship with Greenspan? Some of my Left friends are pulling a Horshack right now trying to get my attention. Didn't Greenspan and Rand pal around? Wasn't Greenspan a Rand disciple?

Yep.

Sure was.

You know what else Greenspan liked? A Gold Standard. A complete separation of State and Economics. He questioned the very existence of the Federal Reserve.

In 1967, Greenspan released an essay titled "Gold and Economic Freedom." Here's an excerpt:

"In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves."

So why the seismic shift in policy? How did Greenspan become Fed Chairman, where he systematically confiscated savings through inflation?  Why did he refuse to autograph this very essay when Ron Paul mockingly showed it to him during his Chairman days?

But most importantly, why does the government and media, all of whom are well aware of Greenspan's split with the Gold Standard community (and Ayn Rand) continue to paint Greenspan as Randian?

Well it could just be a case of Stupidity Propagating Stupidity. I see this all the time on message boards, even here at TMF. Folks that have never picked up Rand, Hayek, Mises, Friedman, Bastiat, Rothbard, etc. feel the need to parrot the same B.S. that they heard from "respected" journalists like ...ahem... Newsweek.

Or it could be nefarious. Those that understand the laissez faire realize that it gives power to the individual, and conversely, removes power from the State. From the State's perpective, naturally, any chance it has to discredit laissez faire is a chance to increase its power. This is why Keynes is America's revered economist, while Bastiat and Mises' works remain unknown in American schools.

Nonetheless, anyone who has read Rand can make these assertions:

1. She would have been appalled at the level of debt Americans accumulated. Rand believed that you worked in order to purchase things you want and need with your own money. You don't work to enslave yourself with borrowed money. You can't afford the car you want? The house you want? Too bad. Read a book. Learn a craft. Acquire a skill. Improve society and you will be rewarded.

2. Government laid the framework for this disaster long ago. The Federal Reserve, and central banking in general, has long been known to be the enemy of the people. Government and their bankers, of course, will tell you otherwise.

3. True wealth comes from within. The stock market crashed? So what. The housing bubble burst? So what. Mining for gold starts in your own brain. Assert yourself. Act in your own self interest. Study. Create. Learn. An insatiable desire for knowledge will make you wealthy no matter what happens to the economy. And the proper reward for what you create is the ability to exchange it with someone else for something that you value from them.

So, let's return to Newsweek's question: Can Ayn Rand Survive the Economic Crisis? I sure hope so because I'd hate to live in a world where people lost faith in their own ability to create something special.

Regards,
David in Qatar

45 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 27, 2009 at 6:53 AM, DaretothREdux (49.28) wrote:

Excellent. Two in one morning from both of us. The stars must be aligned or something.

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#2) On January 27, 2009 at 7:03 AM, saunafool (98.94) wrote:

3. True wealth comes from within. The stock market crashed? So what. The housing bubble burst? So what. Mining for gold starts in your own brain. Assert yourself. Act in your own self interest. Study. Create. Learn. An insatiable desire for knowledge will make you wealthy no matter what happens to the economy. And the proper reward for what you create is the ability to exchange it with someone else for something that you value from them.

Nicely put.

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#3) On January 27, 2009 at 7:43 AM, MrsInfoBiz (< 20) wrote:

great article, thanks!

can't help thinking though, that most people don't want to have this freedom to create their own future through their own efforts, learning, skill development.  they'd rather sit back and have it handed to them on a plate...

up steps government to oblige, of course (and skew the system in their favour by supressing that free-spirited tendency whenever it may arise)

(moi, cynical? surely not)

 

keep up the great work

debs

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#4) On January 27, 2009 at 7:48 AM, rhallbick (99.72) wrote:

Stanford historian of science Robert Proctor, on Agnotology:

“When it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases.

[Proctor] has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.”

As Proctor argues, when society doesn’t know something, it’s often because special interests work hard to create confusion.

“People always assume that if someone doesn’t know something, it’s because they haven’t paid attention or haven’t yet figured it out,” Proctor says. “But ignorance also comes from people literally suppressing truth—or drowning it out—or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what’s true and what’s not.”

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#5) On January 27, 2009 at 9:37 AM, IlanBigfoot (90.72) wrote:

I don't know much about Rand, but I can see where "Act in your own self interest. Study. Create. Learn." can become "Act in your own self interest. Lie. Cheat. Steal."

 This is why we have cops for society, and regulators in business. They both work for the government.

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#6) On January 27, 2009 at 9:52 AM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

BigFoot,

I would counter that "Act in your own self interest. Lie. Cheat. Steal" would be a perfect description of government.

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#7) On January 27, 2009 at 10:15 AM, kstarich (30.62) wrote:

Thank you for the uplifting post.

I would like to add my 2 cents here.  I know quite a few people who are very rough around the edges (basically bad boys who don't break the law) who did not go to college however they learned a trade, work very hard, and make 200K or more a year.  They buy big boats, motorcycles, cars, and land WITH CASH$$$$.  They are the ones who will survive.  Unfortunately where I live there are a lot of the other type of wealthy "Joes" who went to Liberal colleges and have been indoctrinated with leveraged lifestyle are losing their jobs.  Our society can do without so much upper management however we will always need someone to fix our plumbing, upgrade our electrical, plow the snow, fix our leaky roof etc. etc. etc.

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#8) On January 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM, Mary953 (66.50) wrote:

I had heard a portion of this quote attributed to Karl Marx.  Dare found the rest of it for me:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage." --Lord Alexander Tytler on the fall of the Athenian republic

I am a believer in enlightened self-interest.  I will do taxes this season because I enjoy helping others.  I will probably get "paid" with everything from pound cake to personal training sessions at the gym (which I realize to be advertising to get me to sign up).  It will be a barter exchange.  A gift on my side, because I would do the taxes anyway and a gift or good public relations on the side of the other party.

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#9) On January 27, 2009 at 11:03 AM, TMFLomax (29.19) wrote:

Awesome post. I am like you... I share your political/economic philosophy but have never really liked Ayn Rand that much. I liked The Fountainhead, but didn't really like Atlas Shrugged, and I don't think she was a very good writer (ah, blasphemy, haha)... as for her philosophy, it's important, but the utter lack of altruism has always struck me as too hard and shallow (and speaking of shallow, I felt her characters were memorable but one-dimensional). Have respect for her, and her ideas were important, but I have some serious misgivings. I mean, Adam Smith had the whole "invisible hand of the market," but he also wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiment... Of course we act in self interest but we are also responsible for more than that. Self interest is much more complex than many people interpret...

This has also been driving me nuts lately though... the media's consistent trumpeting that this has all been a failure of free markets. Free markets -- come on, that's a joke. (In fact I wrote an article on that last April: http://www.fool.com/investing/dividends-income/2008/04/10/free-markets-what-a-joke.aspx). And I've had to point out to friends many times that Greenspan as Fed Chairman wasn't really a free market guy, regardless of his past involvement with Rand. But for people who are not fans of free market policies, it has certainly been a good opportunity for them to continually say it's the free market's fault when we haven't had anything even close to the free market, and unfortunately there is a marked lack of critical thinking out there that people swallow that hook, line and sinker. Corporatism isn't the free market for example, not even close. 

I've always known my philosophy required common sense and a sense of ethics and personal responsibility. Unfortunately many people went down the basest road and saw self interest as a rationalization of outright greed and "every man for himself." And of course that has paved the way for the dangerous situation we are in now and we are on a bad road indeed... and the self interest has turned to cowardice for many who want to be saved from their own mistakes. I really hope people get a grip and remember, like you said, self reliance, being responsible, living reasonably, creating things instead of just trying to find out how you can take and grift... that is the promise of freedom, economic and otherwise, and freedom doesn't mean you're "entitled" to anything. 

Pardon the long comment, I am long winded. ;)

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#10) On January 27, 2009 at 11:09 AM, socialconscious wrote:

The problem with any philosphy that advocates sucess by your own knowledge,skills and abilities or "Pulling yourself up by your bootstrap" is that is fails to acknowledge racism and/or sexism as a "glass ceiling".

I wrote in my blog yesterday about that very thing. In short I said so called "entitlement" or "set-asides" are simple corrections and their language is political correctness. If you come to the point of correction you already deserve it.Unfortunately political correctness has become largely derided. 

 I posed thess one question I asked 20 years ago and the answer has not changed much

What is the predominant race and sex of CEO, COO and board of directors in American based companies?

Of the of CEO, COO and board of directors  that are woman how many of them are in companies that are not apparel or cosmetics?

An African-American president is a good start for real change. Let hope it continues. I want the world to present opportunity for all equally. My opinion and conviction. Social C

I present Wikpedia definition of a glass ceiling and sorry for the typos my boss is looking

The term glass ceiling refers to situations where the advancement of a qualified person within the hierarchy of an organization is stopped at a lower level because of some form of discrimination, most commonly sexism or racism, but since the term was coined, "glass ceiling" has also come to describe the limited advancement of the deaf, blind, disabled, aged, black and sexual minorities.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_ceiling

 

 

 

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#11) On January 27, 2009 at 11:16 AM, jbarnitz (< 20) wrote:

Rand's objectivism is as much a philosophy as an economic policy. You can't have laisse faire capitalism without personal responsibility, which appears to have been lacking in some of the corporate behemoths that got us into this.

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#12) On January 27, 2009 at 11:17 AM, XMFPhila100 (93.10) wrote:

Keep in mind that Rand's response to the oppressive government in Atlas Shrugged was not to repair the government from within, but establish a new, purely libertarian society at Galt's Gulch.

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#13) On January 27, 2009 at 11:21 AM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

Similarly, SocialConscious, any philosophy that advocates sexism and racism as the only obstacles one has to overcome in life overlooks the billions of other obstacles that one has to overcome in life.

Women, African-Americans, and every person on this planet has to start from nothing in the head. You either fill it with knowledge or you fill it with garbage. 

Slavery and sexism are not the products of free markets. If that were true, those evils wouldn't exist in totalitarian regimes. But there they are. Everywhere.

If you wrap yourself up in one issue, it's all you will see. 

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#14) On January 27, 2009 at 11:54 AM, Mary953 (66.50) wrote:

SC. - Actually I do have a bit of a problem with the entitlement that you described.  My mother was a brilliant, capable teacher who wanted to be a principal.  She got a PhD because she was told that it was needed for the job.  Job denied - she was white. She was promoted when the quota was filled.  Same for the central office years later.  (she eventually won national recognition and was on Presidential education panels in her field as an expert)

My husband chose to work in a government-related company so that we could return to family.  He established a reputation as the person to send into a troubled area to fix it.  He hit a glass ceiling in the early 80's because he was white.  Quotas had to be filled and from then on he was put in positions to fix problems under supervisors who needed him. Most were transferred over him. 

If correction is needed, perhaps it is needed for a group of overachievers that have been systematically stomped down by everyone else, including the opposite sex, for the last half century.  This is a very real and present discrimination that we can do something about before entitlements are needed.

There is a glass ceiling that nobody talks about but it is very real and WASP baby boomer men found that it fell in on them with no warning at about the time that they would have been competing for those lofty heights.  They were benched.  They just were not allowed to speak of it.

I like blogs because you speak person to person; no bias in the way.  You have been one of my favorites since the Frank Capra quote, and you surely know that you will stay one.  It is because you are fun, intelligent, and always have something good to bring to any discussion.  I am always glad to see that you have posted something.

TMFLomax - You are not at all long-winded as you can see.  If you want a real free market capitalist economy, Hong Kong of a couple of decades comes to mind.  It was a shark pool and minnows swam at their own risk.  I would not have wanted to brave those waters for anything.  Unfortunately, our government has never learned the term  Moderation  .  They have also never met an agency they didn't like or a possible tax dollar that they hadn't already spent 100 times over before it ever got to their pockets. 

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#15) On January 27, 2009 at 12:09 PM, anchak (99.86) wrote:

Outstanding post.....Kudos David!

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#16) On January 27, 2009 at 12:28 PM, XMFPhila100 (93.10) wrote:

It's also interesting to me that no one seems to mind free market ideals when the economy is on an upswing, but when natural downswings occur, it becomes an easy target for the moochers of society to attempt to discredit and seek more handouts...

This "tyranny of the majority" is precisely what Rand despised and fought against. It saps creativity, rationality, and ambition until the economy and society grind to a halt, and as Rand predicts in AS, when it all hits bottom the majority will clamor for the "men of the mind" to return to prominence to fix the mess they made for themselves.

 

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#17) On January 27, 2009 at 12:32 PM, Mary953 (66.50) wrote:

Hey Social,  I know you put yourself out there a lot with that post.  I did the same.  I sort of expected to get slapped down hard for it too.  Didn' t expect to update and see that others had reacted to it.  I wouldn't have replied if I had known.  You are still a favorie favorite!

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#18) On January 27, 2009 at 1:05 PM, ETFTimer (< 20) wrote:

Amen, David!

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#19) On January 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM, FleaBagger (29.37) wrote:

I agree! I feel it's important to point out that it takes gov't assistance for real corporate abuse to take place. People who respond to criticism of gov't with a criticism of corporations are obviously under the impression that corporations are representative of free markets, regardless of the actions of gov't that rob their competitors of their rights. Free markets limit the power of megacorporations, not increase it, because free markets are a limitation of the power of gov't to collude with megacorporations which is where monopoly power comes from.

Also, free market laissez faire economic policy is not the policy of greed. Far from it! Greed seeks gov't interference on your behalf, keeping the other guy down, propping you up, and giving you someone else's money. If your wealth comes from your own work, generally you stop at some point for leisure, family time, whatever else -greed has its limits. Unless of course you're getting wealth from someone else's work, in which case you never really get enough. It's no skin off your back if you're stealing with gov't approval and gov't assistance, or heck, if you are the gov't.

Mary: not even Hong Kong is a perfect example of a free market, and it's not as scary as you say. In a free market, minnows don't have to worry about being eaten if they don't want to be, but sometimes they'd just rather have the money from selling out. As for Mom & Pop stores that go under when a Wal-Mart comes along... well, that really is more or less like a blacksmith going out of business when the autocariage comes to town. Unless of course they were forced to sell using Eminent Domain. But then again, Eminent Domain is nothing like a free market or laissez faire.

Thanks again, David and Alyce! And thanks to the people I disagree with, too. Your comments and these discussions are important. Keep your eyes and ears open. Never stop learning. David, Alyce, and I haven't.

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#20) On January 27, 2009 at 1:18 PM, socialconscious wrote:

whereaminow Elementarily there are many obstacles in every ones life obviously.I am simply adressing one today on topic.It is answer for any thought or philsophy that advocates an individuals happiness/sucess is soley within his/hers concerted efforts .I see many philsophies on this site that propone just that as a reacurring theme.   In adressing personal responsibility I said "....  If you come to the point of correction you already deserve it" The point of correction to me is trying your best and being proactive in every way for an opportunity. The highest degree or Arete in greek philsophy

I present racism and sexism as obstacles outside the scope of individual responsibility and perhaps for many optimist including myself our biggest challenge.I come not as a victim but to correct injustice. and save the system. to quote  Martin Luther King Jr. " Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963 ...

I again notice for the most part my questions on the matter are never answered directly. 

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#21) On January 27, 2009 at 1:42 PM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

I understand your point of view, SC, I just don't agree with it. I do not believe that racism and sexism is a challenge. I am white, and engaged to a woman of color. That, in fact, doesn't make me less racist. I am racist, at least by the modern politically correct definition, simply because I am human. I don't deny it. She is as well. We prefer to walk in a world of honesty. Humans make judgmental decisios about others. That is hardwired into our brains. Acting on that impulse, however, is shameful.

I disagree with Rand, as you do, that an individuals happiness lies solely within their concerted efforts, or more appropriately she would define it as the realization of man's mind as the highest moral authority. It is my contention that the highest level of happiness is when individuals work together voluntarily and cooperatively, free of compulsion, to achieve and create.

However, in their efforts to correct the compulsion of previous generations, compulsion endorsed and legitimized by governments, the PC crowd uses the very means that caused the inequality - i.e. lobbying a coervice collective to compulse a competing group - to correct the inequality. To be frank, I find that absurd.

Like you, I was a very big fan of MLK as well in my younger days, but a more thorough reading of his work revealed the same fallacy that corrupts all special interest groups: that one must use compulsion to correct injustices caused by compulsion. 

I know. I know. You can't criticize MLK without being a racist. Well, my fiance agrees with you. I am a racist.

But to carry on this discussion, don't you think we should use a different forum? It is certainly off topic now from my original purpose. If you start a blog post dedicated to corrections of injustice, I'll be happy to engage in a protracted discussion with you. 

My purpose here was to show the falsehoods heaped upon Ayn Rand and her followers, despite my own misgivings about her work. 

Regards,

David in Qatar

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#22) On January 27, 2009 at 1:49 PM, socialconscious wrote:

Whereaminnow you state" Slavery and sexism are not the products of free markets" Largely untrue.It does happen in totalitarian regimes but is the harbinger of a free market The former was virtually all of the South economy and the reason for the Civil War. Also American society kept woman down for years as a a matter of economic course in too many ways to discuss here. I am a capitalist but refuse to belive the market is color blind as stated in conservative literature.Also note central to marxist thought racism,slavery and sexism are largely because of private ownership.If you eliminate the private ownership the problem is eliminated. Again lest I am so accused I am answering you allegation but not limited to one topic.

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#23) On January 27, 2009 at 1:56 PM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

SC,

UNESCO, The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (not exactly a friend of free marketeers) vehemently disagrees with you:

http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=19127&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

History of Slavery 

Slavery of one kind or another has existed from time immemorial as a form of seizure and subjugation by certain persons of their fellow men and their capacity to work. 




Conquered peoples -- often referred to as barbarians -- and persons imprisoned for debt were used as slaves by the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Persians and the Romans.

The Middle Ages saw the advent of the Saharian, Nilotic and Great Lakes network of Arab routes for the draining of slaves from the heart of Africa.

The discovery of the Americas by westerners marked the advent of a black slave trade on a vast scale. The Spanish and Portuguese, who divided the New World between them after 1493, desired to exploit these lands. However, the populations of some regions, particularly the Greater Antilles, were decimated by war, disease imported from Europe and sheer ill-treatment. And the exploitation of American land and gold and silver mines would call for large numbers of robust and, if possible, cheap labour. Las Casas, disturbed by the treatment given to the Indians, had the idea of using Africans whom he considered were of sterner stuff.

Over the next hundred years the English joined the race for the American colonies, followed by most of the nations of Europe including Denmark, France and the Netherlands. Colbert sought to control slavery when he drew up the first Code Noir in 1685, thus making slavery official. Thus the slavery involving the Indian communities, and later the black populations, was of a quite different kind.

Black slavery, known as the triangular trade, developed at lightning pace. Men, women and children were captured and sold. The various waves of slavery resulted in the deportation of an estimated 25 to 30 million persons, not counting those who died on board ship or in the course of wars and raids.

 

 

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#24) On January 27, 2009 at 2:03 PM, Tastylunch (29.54) wrote:

TMFLomax

I full heartedly agree with you. Rand's writing shows a lack of understanding of human behavior ( I personally find her characters to be Caricatures not real believable characters), while a good deal of her philosophy makes sense it is virtually impossible to exactly to execute in the real world. People as a group simply aren't that rational and have emotions that cloud our judgment/desires.

Your point about credit is proof of that, people make bad decisions all the time due to mental accounting and other flawed human behaviors. I see it all the time in my store. Some people spend to much money some spend too little for a vairety of reasons. Some spend on a very rigid basis while other spend on whims. Rand could never account for that because I don't believe she ever understood irrationality.

Humanity by design is a social creature, pure indivualism will never work for us.It doens't make us happy. Instead we seem to gravitate towards other behaviors that may seem irrational to some on a level like tribalism (you could in fact argue that the CAPS blggining community is one example of this). We have drives that compel us to nuture some and to repel other humans. It is what it is.

I guess in the end it's not the free market that "failed" but once again people/society/gov't failed the free market. That's a cycle I would imagine that will repeat itself over and over as long as we are alive and human.

I'll still take the free market (or as close to it as we can get) over the alternatives. :-)

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#25) On January 27, 2009 at 2:04 PM, socialconscious wrote:

Agreed perhaps at some later time lest I get fired. Respectfully  wheraminnow we posted at the same time.Anywho I say it is on topic because it seemed Randist prior to your recent post in its defense of soley Individual responsibility being a factor in our destiny. Also many have to be compulsed to act fairly is a sad state of our society. I will be brow beat and no doubt suffer ad hominem for my contention but oh well. In short good talk and all best and other voices need to be heard..Oh by the way not an consequence to my discussion but I am Latino an my lady is Anglo. Social C

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#26) On January 27, 2009 at 2:15 PM, socialconscious wrote:

Heyyyy whereaminow  I thought we were going to call it a day Respectfully what you described were capitalist "aspiration" for gold, land etc. and cheap labor.because the more capitalist a society became unfortunately the more slavery became popular at the time 

Over the next hundred years the English joined the race for the American colonies, followed by most of the nations of Europe ..Black slavery, known as the triangular trade, developed at lightning pace. Men, women and children were captured and sold.

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#27) On January 27, 2009 at 2:40 PM, socialconscious wrote:

I posted on Randist thought a few weeks ago and got some 15 "interesting reponses" because many thought I was 100% pro-Rand because of my inadvertent double-entendre by-line. My mistake and I was harsh. I will say Tasty and Lomax today better said some of  the points I wanted to say back then more elegantly. As always my opinion and believe what you wish  Social C

 http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/ViewPost.aspx?bpid=129212&t=01001154058673654380

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#28) On January 27, 2009 at 3:03 PM, socialconscious wrote:

Mary it simple adds a Pareto efficiency to a Zero sum game on a macroeconomic level

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_optimal

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#29) On January 27, 2009 at 3:52 PM, OldEnglish (28.21) wrote:

Great post Whereaminow.

Self interest is the reason government employees, various government patronage classes, and failed housing speculators are spouting their laughable propaganda to the sub-105 IQ's.  "Beware the coming deflation! The government needs to spend more to save us. It's all the free markets fault! If only Fannie and Freddie had been government regulated entities instead of laissez faire capitalist pigs. Those vicious predator lenders made people speculate, er, invest in three houses without a down payment."

It's not really the masses fault. They've been indoctrinated since childhood to buy into the Keynesian myth.

Trotting out a strawman like Greenspan and pretending he's Frederick von Hayek. What a joke. Have no doubt; however, that they'll succeed. The United States of Argentina is the future. Only foresight combined with adroitly timed asset shifts will prevent savers from being financially destroyed.

In two years, we'll be laughing about the deflation scare.  It will take a few years but they'll inflate the those houses right back to where they were.  The only good news is that the parasitic entitlement class will be wondering why their checks can only buy one bottle of malt liquor instead of two.

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#30) On January 27, 2009 at 4:20 PM, OldEnglish (28.21) wrote:

p.s. Socialconcious: Tribal obstacles like the glass ceiling will exist until someone bioengineers a way around the amygdala. No time soon. Would you really like to compete as a true equal? Start an investment fund.  No one will know your background, you'll just be numbers on a screen. If successful, you'll become a celebrity and make a fortune selling books.

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#31) On January 27, 2009 at 4:34 PM, socialconscious wrote:

......The only good news is that the parasitic entitlement class will be wondering why their checks can only buy one bottle of malt liquor instead of two.

I take umbrage but its not unexpected.....

25) On January 27, 2009 at 2:04 PM, socialconscious (37.62) wrote: Also many having to be compulsed to act fairly is a sad state of our society. I will be brow beat and no doubt suffer ad hominem for my contention but oh well.

ok facts and so called "entitlements' the biggest 3 from SS administration w/o political bias  http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/trsummary.html

Medicare  3.2 percent of GDP in 2007 include reduced price pharmaceuticals and 80% of  doctors bills for seniors no matter their income. Everbdoy gets Medicare. 

Social Security benefits represented 4.3 percent of GDP Product (GDP) in 2007. Includes check for seniors no matter their income and the disabled.

Medicaid 2007 represented 2.7 of GDP. Includes additional coverage for seniors when medicare is not enough to cover the 20 % .

http://www.cms.hhs.gov/ActuarialStudies/downloads/MedicaidReport2008.pdf

All other entitlements are about  about 0.8 % stuff like military retirement and such. Lets further complain about 10 % of our GDP on entitlement when the Bailout costs and Iraqi war cost the following

Iraq war: $648 billion; 1 percent  gdp per year

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/25/national/main4296368.shtml

Bailout 5.1% gdp per year and counting.

http://matrix.millersamuel.com/?p=2321

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#32) On January 27, 2009 at 4:36 PM, DukeTG (< 20) wrote:

Atlas Shrugged is possibly the worst book that ever changed my life.  If I ever feel the urge to read it again, I'm just going to reread Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  It's like Atlas Shrugged, but well written!

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#33) On January 27, 2009 at 6:47 PM, TMFLomax (29.19) wrote:

Fleabagger -- yeah!!! Awesome points. Learning never ends and discussion is so important! These days more than ever...

Tastylunch -- that's exactly it. It felt like a cartoon to me... caricature is the perfect way to describe it. That is interesting and makes sense that she didn't utilize a very indepth analysis of human nature even while her ideas about the state were strong and important... maybe like a lot of economic theory in general misses human nature/behavior... kind of like how as awful as it is that so many people are losing jobs, what gets lost is the idea that many people will do different things, like start new ventures etc... despite the dismal data there is potential for hope, change, new avenues for growth... and yes of course there is quite a fair amount of irrationality too, I know I'm guilty of it sometimes as well. ;)

DukeTG -- "the worst book that ever changed my life" -- ha!! I have actually meant to read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress but keep forgetting... and at the moment I am about to be crushed by all the books on my to-read list... 

I have enjoyed this discussion. Sometimes I miss discussions here in the caps blogs when I get distracted in other things and that's unfortunate since there are so many good ones here.

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#34) On January 27, 2009 at 7:48 PM, RVAspeculator (31.13) wrote:

People blaming free markets and Ayn Rand for this mess are wrong in my opinion...  Central Banks setting interest rates, Government banks doing most of the mortgage lending (Fannie and Freddie)....   If the free market were truly free none of this would have happened.   BTW:  Atlas Shrugged is still one of my favorites of all time… A must read.

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#35) On January 27, 2009 at 10:24 PM, russiangambit (29.49) wrote:

Do you know that Ayn Rand was russian? She left just after the communist revolution and the civil war. I understand were she is coming from very well. That is probably why she is so controversial here in the US. It is the cultural chasm that is hard to breach. Nobody really understands Russia or russians, we seem illogical to the West. But in the end, her philosophy is very much anti-communist in its origin, the power of an individual vs. the blind power of the masses.

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#36) On January 27, 2009 at 10:27 PM, Option1307 (29.90) wrote:

socialconscious

While I don't have the numbers in front of me, I would argue that the biggest "entitlements" in my eyes are what is coming in the next 20+ yrs. Social security/medicaid/medicare are broke. They represent some 40-50 Trillion of promised (and unfunded) obligations. These are the real numbers that should be used when calculating percent GDP.

 

Sorry I know this is off topic...

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#37) On January 28, 2009 at 12:17 PM, socialconscious wrote:

No disrespect intended but is it fair I spend an hour researching to present the figures and then get arguments from folks without figures? If you argument is true I present this analogy .Should I budget paying the total cost of a $500,000 house today orshould I concern myself with this month $2500 mortgage payment? While that may seem short sighted I think with mild reforms today we can address 10-20 years from now In fairness I have read that conservative think tank reports and they present a cogent point or two but are overly alarmist. Obama has a plan and bipartisanship is needed. I present an article by the heritage foundation http://blog.heritage.org/2009/01/16/entitlement-reform-a-%E2%80%9Cmust-do%E2%80%9D-for-obama/

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#38) On January 28, 2009 at 1:11 PM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

SC,

This is beyond off-topic now. This post asked the question why does the media and government continually misrepresent the work of a Libertarian philospher. 

You crack me up. You are way too caught up in the RedStateBlueStateLiberalConservativeDemocratRepublican bickering. There is absolutely no fundamental difference between either political party.  They make a lot of money, however, by trotting out think tanks and statistics intended to make you think otherwise. You have been bamboozled.

Now, you have required that I address your points and answer your questions, yet you have not answered mine. Why does the media and government continually misrepresent Rand's work?

David in Qatar

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#39) On January 28, 2009 at 2:46 PM, socialconscious wrote:

I did way back when I conveyed my opinions on Randism and related philosophy 

10) On January 27, 2009 at 11:09 AM, socialconscious (38.80) wrote: The problem with any philosphy that advocates sucess by your own knowledge,skills and abilities or "Pulling yourself up by your bootstrap" is that is fails to acknowledge racism and/or sexism as a "glass ceiling".

Also in 27 when i wrote about my post on a similar topic

#27) On January 27, 2009 at 2:40 PM, socialconscious (38.80) wrote:

I posted on Randist thought a few weeks ago and got some 15 "interesting reponses" because many thought I was 100% pro-Rand because of my inadvertent double-entendre by-line. My mistake and I was harsh. I will say Tasty and Lomax today better said some of  the points I wanted to say back then more elegantly. As always my opinion and believe what you wish  Social C

 http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/ViewPost.aspx?bpid=129212&t=01001154058673654380

The rest of the time I anwered yourself, old english and options.

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#40) On January 28, 2009 at 2:50 PM, socialconscious wrote:

Of note typical Rand thought attempt to discredit Multi-cultarism  and present soley self-interest as a means to fufillment with less government intervention.

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#41) On January 28, 2009 at 10:10 PM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

SC,

You have presented your opinions here and we appreciate that. Still, however, you do not answer the original question of the blog.

I did not ask for your opinions of Rand. I did not ask for you to state the problems with her philosophy. I did not ask about her attempt to discredit multiculturalism. You have never read Rand so your opinions aren't worth much in this regard.

I asked you, pointedly, why does the media and government continually misrepresent her work? You have not answered that question.

I am direct, and it may appear harsh but it is not. You are obviously a good person with a big heart. But your comments are not original or unique. They are the same claptrap I was taught in school. I feel bad for you, that you have been taught so many lies and half-truths. It took over 30 years for me to figure out how the system works to distort information. I am trying to share that with others.

And so here I have made a point of showing how a well-respected magazine purposely distorts information, and instead of answering my question: why would they do that - you continue to answer by pushing off-topic agendas.

Answer the question.

David in Qatar

 

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#42) On January 29, 2009 at 10:42 AM, socialconscious wrote:

I would say at no time is it correct to say someones' opinions are not worth much. It is contemptous and not masked  with claims of a "big heart." I will not answer in kind. I somewhat agree with the media contention. I believed I answered your question with a general disagreement with her work and an agreement with fellow fools who somewhat felt the same way. In addition a cursory peak at my previous blog on the subject would reveal I said

"Maybe Ms Rand's work has been extrapolated by the overzealous..... In fact many across the aisle would agree Ayn Rand's thoughts inspired CEO's and conservatives much like John Locke's/ Voltaire's work inspired the Constitution. [my opinion}-->The problem is this has ruined us. I call for personal responsibility"

I would leave you to your own devices and "like-minded voices" that you seem to prefer.

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#43) On February 01, 2009 at 3:05 AM, drummnutt (< 20) wrote:

"Laissez fair ...It is the absence of third party influence in economic affairs."

Greed is what feeds the hip pocket of pork-barrelling, self serving elitists, at the expence of society. Sorry, but we need (some) regulation to counteract greedy, self-serving human nature.

I suppose with your views, you should be VERY thankful that you CAN contribute to society. I'm sure that if you were disabled, intellectually impaired, elderly, etc... you would probably soften these views somewhat.

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#44) On February 22, 2009 at 3:12 AM, timeinesept (< 20) wrote:

Bravo

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#45) On February 25, 2009 at 4:19 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

David,

So I didn't see the answer, but from my little cubicle on the world, I would say the purpose of Newsweek and others like them is deflection.

The position of anything capitalist and free market is vilified as "greed" or a "risky scheme" and smeared by association with false outcomes through flawed linkages to discredit the concept, thereby deflecting a large enough segment of the population from the enlightenment necessary for freedom.

As a local radio host (conspiracy theorist Mark Scott) often concluded his show "The sports broadcasts will resume once you have stopped rioting and return to your homes."

Any Rand and her philosophy and market-supporting viewpoints have not contributed in any way to the current problems. Alan Greenspan's past association with her or not, he sold out his ideals in a purported attempt to change things from within, and lost his objectivity in the belly of the beast, trading his principles for dollars.

Thanks for a great post.

Known by free email systems as nzsvz9

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