Ayn Rand on Today’s Crisis
September 23, 2008
Washington, D.C.--Today’s financial crisis is widely being blamed on “the free market”--including free-market intellectuals such as the late philosopher Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged.
“These attacks are completely baseless,” said Alex Epstein, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “There was no free market in mortgages or finance--these markets were riddled with controls and distortions, courtesy of the Fed, Fannie and Freddie, the CRA, the FDIC, and Sarbanes-Oxley. And that lack of a real market was precisely the problem; it induced irrational behavior through dictates, handouts, and bailouts.
“If the critics of capitalism had bothered to read Ayn Rand, they would know that their attacks are part of a historical trend of blaming capitalism for the sins of government intervention--a trend that needs to stop if we are to prevent further economic damage.
“In The Voice of Reason, Rand wrote: ‘One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.’
“Is this not exactly what is happening?
“In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, she wrote: ‘If a detailed, factual study were made of all those instances in the history of American industry which have been used by the statists as an indictment of free enterprise and as an argument in favor of a government-controlled economy, it would be found that the actions blamed on businessmen were caused, necessitated, and made possible only by government intervention in business. The evils, popularly ascribed to big industrialists, were not the result of an unregulated industry, but of government power over industry. The villain in the picture was not the businessman, but the legislator, not free enterprise, but government controls.’”
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Mr. Epstein is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, focusing on business issues.
Mr. Epstein’s op-eds and letters to the editor have appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Canada’s National Post, and the Washington Times. He is also a contributing writer for The Objective Standard, a quarterly journal of culture and politics. Mr. Epstein has been a guest on numerous nationally syndicated radio programs.
Alex Epstein is available for interviews.
Contact: Larry Benson
Phone: (949) 222-6550 ext. 213
For more information on Objectivism’s unique point of view, go to ARC’s Web site. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”