Ann Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is considered a classic and I share that opinion. Unfortunately it is a long book and if you get an audible version it may be frustrating with long stretches of mostly repetitive rhetoric.
I thought I might try to summarize the gist of the story. I think it has relevance to today.
The book is set in a time of economic stress. Industrial moguls and government are joined in extremes of cronyism. Laws and regulations are rampant and designed to favor the industrial moguls in cahoots with the government.
There are a couple of industrialists who continue to practice as free market capitalists. They strive to provide products that provide their customers with a solution to their needs and they are successful.
The moguls in cahoots with the government are envious. They design laws a regulations designed to force the successful industrialists to share their knowledge and success.
Laws are arbitrarily enforced. The crony’s are not punished while the ‘outsiders’ are punished unmercifully.
The nation spirals into ruin as the government threatens and regulates more and more. It is clear that the situation is totally out of control. It seems impossible to rein in the government as they grab more and more.
In Ann Rand’s case the successful free capitalists chose to abandon to nation. They retreat to a mythical place unreachable by the rest of the population. In their retreat they maintain a paradise of free market capitalism.
Eventually the nation collapses and we are lead to believe that this hidden core of free capitalist are ready and able to rebuild the nation.
What applies to today?
We have laws and regulations that favor crony businesses while restricting competition.
We have laws that are being arbitrarily enforced depending upon who you are and what you believe.
We are shaping social beliefs and behavior with laws and regulations.
As in Atlas Shrugged all of these laws and regulations are imposed for ‘the common good’ and to make things more ‘fair’.
Atlas Shrugged does a great job of illustrating ‘unforeseen consequences’ and we can see parallels today.
I hope the voters will take action to reverse this death spiral before it becomes too late as it did in Atlas Shrugged.