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I was recently challenged by another blogger (30 Things) to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I picked it up at our local Books-a-Million store (my favorite) and started in.
I wasn’t sure what to expect- the clerk who waited on me asked if I was buying this for a class assignment; when I told her no, she said that she had seen more copies of the book sold in the last few weeks than she’d ever noticed before.
I think I understand the reason for it- someone who’s read the book, sees the parallels between something in the book and today’s news, and suggests it to a friend. The cycle goes on and on…
At one point in the book, someone states that all personal land should only be held for the public trust- in other words, land that you inherit from your grandfather should be made available to all who are interested in using it; instead of it being yours to do with as you wish. (Sound familiar?)
Or how about one character who ruined a factory. They purchased the factory by suing a bank who wouldn’t give them a loan (they had no collateral and no experience in running a factory). After buying the factory, they changed several things: they paid all workers, maintenance crew, unskilled and skilled labor, all the way up to the president of the company – everyone received the same salary. Twice a year, everyone in the factory was able to ask for things as they needed it. Those whose need was voted on as being worthy got the money they needed. They also voted on whether folks were doing as much as they were capable of – those who did not meet expectations were forced to work overtime with no extra pay, or they paid fines. Money that should have been invested in labs and research on newer and better products, was instead put into redecorating the factory so the workers could be more comfortable in their surroundings (play room, rest areas, etc). The factory collapsed within a very short time – no surprise there. The man who was in charge of the factory complained because he wasn’t given everything he needed to succeed.
There are so many parallels between this book and today’s society, that I’m not able to read it as quickly as I’d like. I tend to read a passage several times, to let everything sink in.
Now don’t get me wrong- I don’t think money is the be-all and end-all of everything. But I do think that folks ought to be able to work as hard as they want, and to be rewarded for their work at whatever the free market will allow. That’s the key though- the free marketplace will work itself out, if the government will stay out of it. If someone doesn’t know how to run a business , the business will either fail or flounder- hopefully the owner of the business will learn from mistakes, and also hopefully get help so they can improve their business and be successful.
I know this sounds harsh, but it’s the only way our country is going to succeed- we have the right to pursue happiness, but happiness itself is not guaranteed by the Constitution.

2 Comments »

  1. I couldnt agree with you more! When a business fails, another business either buys you or your customers find another. All continues on. Has no one in the government ever run a business?? Sheesh………..

    Comment by mtajudy — June 11, 2009 @ 3:33 am

  2. I think that's the main problem- our government leaders were never intended to be professional politicians, but that's what it's become.
    Term limits should be set, and their salaries should be cut. It's become a vicious cycle – they get paid so much that they need to make work for themselves, so they can get paid so much.
    Ridiculous…

    Comment by Beth — June 11, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

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