Should Businessmen Go on Strike?
October 12, 2007
Irvine, CA--In a week characterized by important labor stoppages, Chrysler workers went out on strike in Michigan, British postal workers returned to work while threatening further walkouts, and registered nurses started a 48-hour strike in Northern California.
"Job actions by employees are commonplace, yet we never see similar protests by the individuals who create jobs in the first place," said Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute. "In her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, published 50 years ago this week, Rand's fictional hero, John Galt, gave voice to the undeserved suffering of businessmen when he said:
"There is only one kind of men who have never been on strike in human history. Every other kind and class have stopped, when they so wished, and have presented demands to the world, claiming to be indispensable--except the men who have carried the world on their shoulders, have kept it alive, have endured torture as sole payment, but have never walked out on the human race."
"John Galt was defending the businessmen who create and operate the companies that generate steel, oil, medicine, computers, and all the other goods and services on which our lives and happiness depend," Bowden said. "The entrepreneurs, the executives, the investors and bankers, the top-level managers--these are truly indispensable men and women on whose creativity all other workers depend for their jobs."
"Why," Bowden asked, "do so many of these capitalist heroes continue to toil away, creating jobs for a society that morally condemns their desire for personal profit as selfish and materialistic, and subjects them to government control as if they were beasts of burden? What keeps those individuals from going on strike? In Atlas Shrugged, Rand answers these questions, showing why nothing less than a moral revolution is needed to set businessmen free from the shackles of unearned guilt."
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Thomas A. Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, focusing on legal issues. A former lawyer and law school instructor who practiced for twenty years in Baltimore, Maryland, his Op-Eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Daily News, and many other newspapers. Mr. Bowden has given dozens of radio interviews and has appeared on the Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.
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