Did Dagney Err in not Cashing the Check?

Posted by bassboat 3 years, 3 months ago to The Gulch: General
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When Dagney was in Galt's apartment before they came to arrest him, Galt instructed Dagney to betray him, throw him under the bus. She was to take the $500,000 check from the government for turning Galt in. After all of the melodrama that followed, Galt is captured and Dagney has returned to her office she sits down and opens an envelop from the government. It is the finder's fee from the government for turning him in. She simply throws it in the trashcan as if it has no more importance than a Kleenix. My opinion here is that this is an error on her part. She has obviously decided to go to the Gulch and live with Galt. Galt's aim along with Francisco and Ragnar was to destroy the looter and moocher system in place. Dagney should have cashed the check and turned it into whatever gold she could exchange it for. She could take gold to the Gulch and by depleting the state of cash and gold it would have hastened the demise of the state albeit it small.


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  • Posted by Technocracy 3 years, 3 months ago
    Tossing it in the trash both fits her ethos and makes good drama.

    An alternate action that would be a multi-pronged insult would be to give it to her brother.

    Insults him - since he is unable to earn anything on his own

    Insults the moochers - she doesn't want their money and shows them by giving it to another moocher

    Insults the moochers - she will not be part of their corrupt system even now
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  • Posted by Lucky 3 years, 3 months ago
    Maybe, cannot recall that scene in detail, nor if Dagny had fixed on what she intended at that stage.
    On the other hand there is Dagny's ethos, she would take no money that she did not earn.
    "The ends justify the means" Machiavelli (also Marx?).
    The reply is, but the means determine the ends.
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  • Posted by  $  Temlakos 1 year, 9 months ago
    Trying to turn that check into anything intrinsically valuable would have blown her cover. Furthermore, the government by then had no more loot to seize. Ragnar Danneskjöld, I assumed, ceased his pirating activities shortly after the Vacation Month ended. We hear of no more relief cargoes going out after that--I assume there were none. And where was she to get gold, and from whom, who would accept that government check?

    Bear this in mind--a thing Alan Greenspan might or might not have understood at the time: when the government cuts a check, they merely change an account registry to "credit" you with the amount. They do not deliver gold, or even physical cash or a true letter of credit, either to you or to your designated agent. Our deposits are meaningless. The only thing meaningful is physical gold--and by then, no one had any outside the Gulch.

    The only purpose to serve by cashing that check would have been to preserve her "cover."
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 year, 9 months ago
    Temlakos and j_IR1776 both say the check could not have been negotiated and turned into real value. Is there evidence in the book for this? I was unclear as to just how far things had fallen apart. I suppose if there was a law you had to spend the same amount as last year and invest the same amount, maybe money really didn't have value anymore.

    I do not recall the check in the book, but I do recall thinking the president's staff seemed so desperate that she could easily feign that she'll give them her grudging assistance and then escape at the first chance. It seems like the gov't officials were so scared and confused they would have not seen through the act.

    Maybe she didn't do that, though, because she felt like she'd tried to work the gov't for years and found they were just better at manipulative games than she was. Maybe she figured if she tried to pretend to go alone, they would outsmart her using their expert abilities to manipulate and use people.
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