Ayn Rand Saw This Coming
October 9, 2008
Washington, D.C. --“Despite overwhelming evidence that government policies caused the current financial crisis, Congress is blaming businessmen,” said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “What’s worse, the capitalists who have been shackled with unprecedented regulatory burdens are unable to defend themselves morally. Though the events are different, this pattern of abuse and submission is straight out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
“The cycle starts with government intervening into the economy and imposing regulations and controls on business. This distorts the free market, leading to economic dislocations. When the problems caused by these distortions inevitably follow, everyone blames the free market and its greedy capitalists. The proposed solution? More government controls. Over the years, conservative critics of creeping government have repeatedly exposed this illogic but have always been helpless to explain why the cycle keeps repeating, decade after decade.
“The pattern keeps recurring because businessmen are willing to take the blame. From capitalism’s inception, its defenders have been morally disarmed by the widespread view that self-interest is morally suspect, and disinterested service to others is a moral ideal. So each new spate of controls has been grudgingly accepted as a fair price to pay for society’s toleration of the selfish pursuit of profit.
“Atlas Shrugged depicted a society in economic collapse due to this recurring cycle, and today’s parallels are obvious. Government manipulation of money, credit, and lending standards over several decades caused the mess we’re in. Now, the offered solution is more of the poison that sickened the economy--more bailouts, more cheap money, more government-guaranteed loans, and above all, more regulations.
“This chronic cycle will not end until businessmen accept that their production of profit is neither immoral nor amoral--it is the capstone of moral virtue. Once they shrug off the role of scapegoat, businessmen can demand with moral certitude that government punish fraud and enforce contracts but refrain from interfering with voluntary trades among consenting adults.
“When America’s markets are finally free of all coercion--in other words, when laissez-faire is achieved--financial crises such as the one we’re experiencing will never happen again.”
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Yaron Brook is executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. He is a regular contributor to Forbes.com and a contributing editor of The Objective Standard. His articles have been featured in major newspapers such as USA Today, the Houston Chronicle, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Providence Journal and the Orange County Register. Dr. Brook is often interviewed on radio and is a frequent guest on a variety of national TV shows, having appeared in the new Fox Business Network, FOX News Channel (The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, At Large with Geraldo Rivera), CNN (Talkback Live and the Glenn Beck Program), CNBC (Closing Bell and On the Money), and C-SPAN. Dr. Brook, a former finance professor, lectures on Objectivism, capitalism, business and foreign policy at college campuses, community groups and corporations across America and throughout the world.
To interview Dr. Brook or book him for your show, please contact Larry Benson:
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.”