Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ayn Rand: Pro-Markets does not mean Pro-Business

It's a differentiation that many, out of ignorance or demagoguery seem to forget. As Donald Luskin puts it, "the author of Atlas Shrugged [Amazon] was an individualist, not a conservative, and she knew big business was as much a threat to capitalism as government bureaucrats" in an editorial out in the WSJ:

But it's a misreading of "Atlas" to claim that it is simply an antigovernment tract or an uncritical celebration of big business. In fact, the real villain of "Atlas" is a big businessman, railroad CEO James Taggart, whose crony capitalism does more to bring down the economy than all of Mouch's regulations. With Taggart, Rand was anticipating figures like Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial, the subprime lender that proved to be a toxic mortgage factory. Like Taggart, Mr. Mozilo engineered government subsidies for his company in the name of noble-sounding virtues like home ownership for all.

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