The morality of capitalism is a major theme in Atlas Shrugged,
which for the first time in history offered a full defense of capitalism, not
just as a practical system of economics, but as the only moral social system.
This page offers more information on Ayn Rand’s unique vision of capitalism as
presented in Atlas Shrugged.
What is Capitalism?
Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights,
including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.
The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force
from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of
force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of
physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a
society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e.,
the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the
agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation
and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means
of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.
Why is Capitalism moral?
The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim
that it represents the best way to achieve “the common good.” It is true that
capitalism does—if that catch-phrase has any meaning—but this is merely a
secondary consequence. The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact
that it is the only system consonant with man’s rational nature, that it
protects man’s survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is:
Ayn Rand’s Unique Defense of Capitalism (A synopsis of Ayn Rand’s Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)
Why Businessmen Need Philosophy (An article by Leonard Peikoff)
An Answer for Businessmen (An article by Ayn Rand)
The Dollar and the Gun (An article by Harry Binswanger)