Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Philosophy Of Greed?

The Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued Goldman Sachs as it sold mortgage securities without disclosing, John Paulson, a hedge fund manager was betting against the same securities. Matt Taibbi writing in The Guardian has traced the origins of the issue to the Randian worship of greed and selfishness. Taibbi asserts that “few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous émigré novelist Ayn Rand.” Firstly, there is nothing new in this. We have been hearing this nonsense in almost every mainstream publication from the first days of the crisis. Secondly, as a lot many sound economists, including Thomas Woods, the author of ‘Meltdown’ have noted, blaming the crisis on greed is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. What made everyone suddenly turn greedy? Surely, something is missing.

Ayn Rand never advocated greed in the sense most people use that term. Ayn Rand scholar Dr. Edward Hudgins notes, “Rand was virtually alone in celebrating the virtues of productive, innovative individuals and the wealth they create. She emphasized that businessmen at their best will first and foremost love their work and the challenge of creating products and services that earn them profits. If that’s greed, it’s to be praised! Rand also singled out for condemnation businessmen who seek money by any means, including fraud, or government handouts and special favors. If that’s greed, it’s to be damned!" Rand was never a supporter of mindless pursuit of money through any means. She wrote in “The Fountainhead”:“Look at them. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don’t see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he’s completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. And in Atlas Shrugged: “Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?”


  1. It has become fashionable nowadays to blame the recession on greed. And sadly enough, most of these criticisms are centered around Ayn Rand.

    In Atlas Shrugged, when Frisco makes the money speech, he clearly says that money is infact ,the base of life, not evil. Besides, it is an end to some selfish and logical mean. Its not the final absolute as it points to some selfish goal. People generally dont understand that and almost as an act of treason, feel guilty for earning it too much; even if they have done it through hardwork and honesty!