Smart Capitalists vs. Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand, a dear friend of ex-Fed head Alan Greenspan and patron saint to Tea Party conservatives, built a lasting legacy with her philosophy of Objectivism. So much so that her devotees, like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is also her namesake, exhibit a pseudo-religious fervor for her ideals, chief among them “a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics…” Objectivism is rooted in the belief that rational self-interest is the only true morality. Ayn Rand narrowly advocated government as a preventer of violence and settler of disputes among men, and broadly abhorred regulations of any kind, including fair wages. According to Rand, “There are no “rights to a ‘fair’ wage or a ‘fair’ price” if no one chooses to pay it, to hire a man or to buy his product.”

Smart Capitalists vs. Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s disciples agree. Both Greenspan and Paul oppose raising the minimum wage, alleging that it would spur job loss. The former, a libertarian economist widely blamed for sowing the seeds for the 2008 financial meltdown, went further–to advocate abolishing the minimum wage, at a 2001 congressional hearing. Said Greenspan, “I’m not in favor of cutting anybody’s earnings or preventing them from rising, but I am against them losing their jobs because of artificial government intervention, which is essentially what the minimum wage is.”

But hey, Alan Greenspan has never been wrong. Or ironic. I mean the man was only a devout, anti-regulation, Ayn-Rand-worshipper, in charge of regulating the nation’s money supply over at the Federal Reserve. Did I mention that the chief tenet of Objectivism is the “separation of state and economics”?

Now, you should know that Ayn Rand was once my favorite author. It probably helped that I was an artist planning on starting my own business, that I had moved to New York to make a name for myself. I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and fantasized about a world in which I never had to compromise my beliefs; everyone acted in their rational self-interest; and my hard work eventually would be rewarded. But I always recognized Rand’s works as fiction. In this world, compromise is a fact of life; people often act irrationally; and hard work is not always rewarded…  As exemplified by those people working full time, toiling at below-poverty-level wages.

Arguing against the Randian free-market conventional wisdom, a group of business leaders calling themselves ‘Smart Capitalists for American Prosperity‘ is lobbying Congress and the administration to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Is the government setting a price floor for labor (aka a minimum wage) any more market-interventionist than taxpayers subsidizing corporate profits via various social programs for the grossly underpaid?  Which is more free market? Watch the video below to find out:

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6 thoughts on “Smart Capitalists vs. Ayn Rand

  1. ALOHA: …… excellent article; concise, on point, plus informative and accurate as to the nonsense promulgated by the right-wing, tea-party followers and movement…… God forbid that wages are raised; however, do NOT touch nor reduce the corporate welfare which is rampant in government subsidies and tax breaks for the 1%. Nevertheless, one question, however; in the article, it is written: “…government as a preventer of violence and settler of disputes among men, …”. what about disputes among women? MAHALO LL.

  2. “patron saint” “devotees” “pseudo-religious” “disciples” “Ayn-Rand-worshipper” “tenet”

    These allusions are just backwards if you know anything about what Rand thought of religions.

  3. “patron saint” “devotees” “pseudo-religious” “disciples” “Ayn-Rand-worshipper” “tenet”

    These allusions are just backwards if you know anything about what Rand thought of religions.

  4. I’m growing weary of the endless parade of ignorant commentators claiming to “know” what Ayn Rand “would have” recommended, or what the content of her actual philosophy is. For the curious and the intellectually honest out there, I recommend suspending judgement of Ayn Rand and her philosophy unless/until you have read enough of it, first hand, for yourself (at the very least, one full work of her fiction or non-fiction). The opposition says “DON’T read Ayn Rand for yourself — We’re already telling you what to think.” Which is more intellectually honest, here?

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