Ayn Rand killed the American dream: Our free-market economy only works for the 1 percent

Posted by ShrugInArgentina 4 years, 3 months ago to Economics
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This article starts with a quote from a book titled "Altruism" and in the first paragraph notes that for (George) Soros, "if the doctrine of economic laissez- faire — a term dear to philosopher Ayn Rand — had been submitted to the rigors of scientific and empirical research, it would have been rejected a long time ago."

If the the preset economic system in the USA was "submitted to the rigors of scientific and empirical research" the assertion that it is an example of laissez-Faire capitalism is what would have to be rejected.
SOURCE URL: http://www.salon.com/2015/06/21/ayn_rand_killed_the_american_dream_our_free_market_economy_only_works_for_the_1_percent/


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  • 17
    Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 3 months ago
    What 'free market economy'? It has been constantly manipulated to be less and less "free market" since 1913.
    In the wildest stretch of the imagination there is nothing about this economy that resembles a "free market."
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    • Posted by XenokRoy 4 years, 3 months ago
      You start far to late.

      In the early 1800s exclusive contract to the waterways around new york for steam ships was given to one aristocratic family. Later when Vanderbilt started to run "illegal shipping" into new york and became associated with Gibbons. Vanderbilt suggested he continue his actions until the Livingston file suite against him to stop him. It was also suggested by a late teen Vanderbilt that the exclusive restriction placed by the government was unconstitutional to Gibbons. Gibbons jumped on the idea. The eventual result was Gibbons vrs Ogden in which the supreme court ruled the exclusive contract was unconstitutional.

      The actions of Vanderbilt created a friendship between Gibbons and the would be tycoon. Vanderbilt looked at Gibbons much as one would a father. Vanderbilt and his ability are much the reason we had any free markets at all. He beat steamship ventures over and over again that were subsidized by the state of new York. He beat out subsidized railway later in his life and refused to take government monies unless it was in the form of a contract for services rendered to the government.

      The fact that law worked based on constitution rather than case law an we had a businessmen with principles who lived by them is why we had a free market for a while. Others would pick up the Vanderbilt way of doing business and it would be keep us free for a while.

      New York state attempted to (through is corrupt government leaders) in 1962 to collapse Vanderbilt railways by doing an attack on his stock. They did it by shortselling shares they did not have. Vanderbilt bought up the short sales and every other piece stock on the market, This caused his stock to increase rather than decrease and left the politicians holding an empty bag and owning him the shares they did not have. Today this is illegal to do, then it was a free market and Vanderbilt proved that a person could defend against it.

      I am reading "The first Tycoon" right now and its a great book. It has changed by view of early America because the market was not kept free by government but by constitutional law and a man willing to fight for a free market. I recommend the book.
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      • Posted by MinorLiberator 4 years, 3 months ago
        Agreed. I don't believe in statistics, but just in general I'd say we've never had anything more than perhaps an "80%" free market, anywhere, probably maximized during the time of Tocqueville's "Democracy in America". "The First Tycoon" sounds like a great read...thanks.

        IMO, modern economic theory (and The Founders were profound thinkers and theorists) lagged the American Revolution by about 150 years. Had the Founders had the economic theories of the classical economists, and the Austrians, at least up to and including Mises' "Theory of Money and Credit", available to them, The Constitution would been much stronger on property rights, government interference in any way in the markets, and strict and total non-involvement with money and banking.

        I always found it ironic that Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nation" was first published in 1776...
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  • 15
    Posted by 4 years, 3 months ago
    This article could have been titled, "Let's blame Ayn Rand for the evils of laissez- faire capitalism even though it doesn't exist now and did not exist at the time of her death, 33 years ago."

    I recall reading essays in the 1970's in which Ayn Rand extolled the virtues of laissez- faire capitalism while denouncing the evils of a mixed or controlled economy. She made it clear that capitalism was being blamed for the negative consequences of government intervention and that the attacks against capitalism were being made by the advocates of even grater intervention.

    It's worth noting that in the opening (quoted) paragraph the author of Altruism, Matthieu Ricard, committed the unspeakable heresy of referring to Ayn Rand as a philosopher.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 3 months ago
    Rand called capitalism the "Unknown Ideal." The United States came very close to this ideal and when it did, the nation blossomed into the greatest country in the history of the world. It had the greatest productivity, the greatest freedom, and was a magnet to the oppressed all over the world. As socialism crept in, little by little it became eroded by Wilson, by FDR, and by Obama. Now that the balance has tipped and the U.S. has moved into a fascist economy, not only will its people suffer, but the rest of mankind. Because when America was at its apex, the western world followed its example, but now, America is following Europe's example. Too bad. I loved my country.
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  • Posted by wiggys 4 years, 3 months ago
    Ayn Rand is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to all of the no nothings out there who choose to attack her. Her view of the world of economics IS the most rational, reasonable and logical way of functioning in the economic world. ALL of the other ways of functioning in the economic world are perpetually failing and you thought nothing was perpetual. What the governments of the world have done is to destroy the minds of the youth for years now so we are in a steady decline following the rest of the world that has declined under us. The best thing the the governments of the world can do is just LEAVE US ALONE. Ayn Rand was correct.
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 4 years, 3 months ago
    Actually economics and trade systems yield quite readily to a mathematical analysis process that is similar to that used to identify the properties of the power distribution grid. The primary parameters are; generation, transport, and load. There are two widely disparate schools of thought as to how to apply this to economics and they fall roughly into the Keynes and Hayek camps. The fundamental difference between these two philosophies is the identification of the primary driver of the system. In the Keynesian model the load must accommodate the capacity of the generator and in the Hayekian model the generator must respond to varying demands by the load.
    The similarities between the power grid model and the global economic model are clear and raises the question, should production be driven by demand or should demand be driven by production? The parallels with a central planning versus a true free market system are obvious.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 years, 3 months ago
    This is a child's argument, taking an extreme position and showing its flaws.

    The problem with his examples is that the costs are not all captured in the prices. Milton Friedman understood this, and coined the term "involuntary servitude or conscription" or "involuntary costs". These are costs to people who did not agree to them. Air/Water/Noise Pollution is one example. Another would the the taking of an endangered species.

    Personally, I see nothing wrong with paying a woman to have a tattoo on her forehead for $10K. That is just an agreement which both parties agree. The reverse example for socialists is free plastic surgery for the rich.

    I think we should write a rebuttal called "Lazy Fare".
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    • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 3 months ago
      The article has all the trimmings of socialist propoganda. Specifically, extremely shallow; never getting into the details and never considering the costs of the alternatives, both moral and financial. Like the Indian surrogate mother for $8,000 - and the alternative? Just give her the money? Is the author volunteering or is he "volunteering" others to give? Or, perhaps, she should starve? But, that would require "thought," something that immature socialists are physically incapable of. Feelings, nothing more than feelings...
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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 4 years, 3 months ago
    Normally I consider persistence to be a virtue. But when I read a paragraph such as "It therefore is not free trade in itself that must be called into question, but the fact that all freedom can only be implemented in a manner that is responsible toward those around you. These responsibilities are governed by moral values and by an ethical code that is respectful of the well-being of the community as a whole, starting with the obligation not to harm others when pursuing self-interest. By virtue of the fact that the unscrupulous and profit-hungry miss no opportunity to take advantage of unconditional freedom for their own profit and to the detriment of others, it is essential to establish regulations, which are nothing more than protective measures for society. This is, however, not what has happened,..." and realize that I'm re-hearing From each according to his abilities, To each according to his needs for the millionth time, I wonder if it is a virtue.
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    • Posted by ohiocrossroads 4 years, 3 months ago
      This paragraph is obviously written by someone who has been schooled in Marxist thinking, where the distribution of wealth means if somebody is getting more, somebody else is getting less. And when the term "community as a whole" is used, you know that a demand for wealth redistribution from those who have earned to those who haven't will soon follow.
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      • Posted by  $  nickursis 4 years, 3 months ago
        The point is missed when it assumes wealth is a finite value. Wealth is constantly being created, and destroyed. The individual is a good example of wealth creation and the government is a good example of destruction. Wealth will travel where the creation is greatest, which is why the "artificial wealth" introduced by all the fake instruments and derivatives today, in addition to the load from government controls and siphoning, has muddied the water to the point you cannot see true value. The Marxist process of defining and distributing wealth is exactly what we see today in our so called "economy".
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  • Posted by khalling 4 years, 3 months ago
    there were some excellent comments. I recommend going in there and giving some votes. I love it when for example they call her racist and then someone excerpts from her essay on racism. I Salon, dedicated to posting anti-Rand rants three times or more a week. It's like it's their mission. it's awesome!
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    • Posted by MinorLiberator 4 years, 3 months ago
      I'm in the woods on vacation - only access is a personal mobile hotspot...great technology but ouch on the cost.

      More when I return this weekend. But it seems to me there is a marked increase in anti-Rand rants over the recent past. I see that as excellent news...they are aware of her ever-growing influence (and the ever-diminishing influence of the Left), and like cornered rats they have no choice but to lash out. I haven't read the article yet..but if it isn't a rehash of every criticism I've read over the past 40+ years, I'd be surprised...
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    • Posted by  $  winterwind 4 years, 3 months ago
      Didn't you read the writers' job requirements? "Know just enough about rand to be able to trash her on a moment's notice, and write 1 article monthly taking something she says out of context and vilifying her for it".
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 4 years, 3 months ago
        Formerly Main Stream Press? i missed the part where all this started and the slow wifi doesn't help things like streaming. Sounds like NY Times or the Guardian? Just a SWAG!
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  • Posted by rtpetrick 4 years, 3 months ago
    Opinions are like rectal orifices.
    Everybody has one........
    Soros, the man who destroyed the Pound Sterling, who worked with the Nazis against his fellow Jews, is not to be trusted.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 4 years, 3 months ago
    I got as far in the article as "an advisor to President Obama" before stopping. You know it's a left-wing propaganda piece when you start seeing that. I'm not going to waste my time.
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 4 years, 3 months ago
    There is no 'science or empirical research' rigorous or otherwise in economics. That entire concept along with 'social science' are fallacies and oxymorons.

    The American Dream the author speaks of is that of FDR and the 'rights to have' rather than the 'rights to do', and I don't think AR even wounded it. It's alive and well today.
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  • Posted by jdg 4 years, 3 months ago
    Soros is literally the last person now living whose motives I would trust. He is a traitor to the human race, because he doesn't want anybody to be rich but himself.
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  • Posted by handyman 4 years, 3 months ago
    Odd that Ricard attributes the failure of the financial industry during the 2006 - 2009 period to free markets when the banking industry is one of the most heavily regulated markets. John Allison's book on the housing finance crisis is a great place for shedding some light on this.

    Ricard quotes Soros as saying, "The doctrine of laissez-Faire capitalism holds that the common good is best served by the uninhibited pursuit of self-interest." I'm sure there are some voluntary market economists who take this position, but it is not the one that Rand takes. She makes no claim as to what best serves the "common good." She was not a utilitarian.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 3 months ago
    More garbage. In the first place, the Free Market
    has not been tried and then failed; it has not been
    tried. We had a partially free economy once, but
    it was never fully free. Then, too, the government
    is not supposed to take an economic system, give it a name (Laissez-faire, or anything else).,
    and then impose it as a political system. Man
    is supposed to be free, and have his rights as
    an individual recognized; and then laissez-
    faire follows. Thus, freedom, and prosperity.
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  • Posted by  $  sjatkins 4 years, 3 months ago
    George Soros, a wild speculator and backer of everything anti-capitalist, is going to lecture us about economics? hahahahaha

    We really didn't have to take anything that crowd says seriously.
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  • Posted by tdechaine 4 years, 3 months ago
    Many can simply dismiss this diatribe as completely irrational. But worse than this article is that all the Statists in this country would blindly agree with the author and again vote for a Pres. who will continue the destruction of any remaining elements of Capitalism in this country.
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  • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
    I am always amazed when MORONS write articles.

    The constant references to banks and "deregulation."

    Have they forgotten Dodd Frank and the Government bail out of banks and all the Government help to banks. That is in no way Laissez-Faire.

    Laissez-Faire would mean that there would have been NO bailout, the Banks would be bankrupt and the system would have reset itself properly.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 4 years, 3 months ago
      Laissez Fare would have meant the government didn't set the banks up to fail by ensuring they followed government regulations every step of the way and then changed the regulations. I'm not entirely sure that wasn't the government and some banks against competitor banks. However the one true statement is. Besides a kids lemonade stand or a yard sale laissez faire and capitalism has NEVER been unfettered. More than we can say for socialism which has never succeeded.
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  • Posted by AmericanGreatness 4 years, 3 months ago
    Bone-snapping stupidity on display... this is what passes for economic literacy these days.

    The simple fact that George Soros is cited is enough to cause one to burn BEFORE reading.

    The closest thing we've ever had to a true free-market economy was the last half of the 19th century in America. And that time saw the greatest improvement in the lot of the common man and greatest period of philanthropic giving in our history.

    How many times must statism/liberalism/socialism/communism fail before they're permanently resigned to the ash heap of history???
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 4 years, 3 months ago
    Sounds like unintegrated liberal hogwash to me. True enough though, that our 'Present' Crony, central bank driven and white collar hoaxter run system should be eradicated. But that is not the free market capitalistic system our forefathers intended nor the one Ayn Rand was talking about.
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  • Posted by broskjold22 4 years, 3 months ago
    Haha, All-true-ism is true because "tru" is in it. Science, yes, science will tell us what to do. Then we won't have to think at all. We can create a massive robot that spouts Marx when we try to gratify any desire but basic biological urges.
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