Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

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Overview

The foundations of capitalism are being battered by a flood of altruism, which is the cause of the modern world's collapse. This is the view of Ayn Rand, a view so radically opposed to prevailing attitudes that it constitutes a major philosophic revolution. In this series of essays, she presents her stand on the persecution of big business, the causes of war, the default of conservatism, and the evils of altruism. Here is a challenging new look at modern society by one of the ...

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Overview

The foundations of capitalism are being battered by a flood of altruism, which is the cause of the modern world's collapse. This is the view of Ayn Rand, a view so radically opposed to prevailing attitudes that it constitutes a major philosophic revolution. In this series of essays, she presents her stand on the persecution of big business, the causes of war, the default of conservatism, and the evils of altruism. Here is a challenging new look at modern society by one of the most provocative intellectuals on the American scene.

This edition includes two articles by Ayn Rand which did not appear in the hardcover edition: The Wreckage of the Consensus," which presents the Objectivists views on Vietnam and the draft; and Requiem for Man," an answer to the Papal encyclical Progresso Populorum.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As an interesting relic of the past, this outlandish piece of propaganda is worth the listener's time, even though the author's overconfident sense of her own rightness and persistence at pressing her points with little respect for opposing views can quickly become more than a little annoying. Using outdated words such as "altruists" to represent the forces of evil who would overburden the poor, beleaguered American business community, Rand "protesteth" far too much. Americans have seen many of the abuses come to pass that Rand, writing in 1946, claimed would never happen if free enterprise were just left to its own devices, so many of her arguments will be lost on a modern listener. For instance, the antitrust laws forced railroad barons to use illegal payoffs to forge ahead with expansion, and they shouldn't, therefore, be blamed the antitrust laws are the real problem. Narrator Anna Field's cold, crisp voice is actually well suited to such a heartless piece as this. Recommended. Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451147950
  • Publisher: Signet
  • Publication date: 7/28/1986
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 213,942
  • Product dimensions: 6.74 (w) x 4.10 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand is one of the rare writers who not only drew in readers with her novels, but created a philosophical movement with them. Her seminal Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, cornerstones of her individualistic Objectivist world view, can be viewed as literature, self-empowerment texts, or both.

Biography

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read and two years later discovered her first fictional hero in a French magazine for children, thus capturing the heroic vision that sustained her throughout her life. At the age of nine she decided to make fiction writing her career. Thoroughly opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture, she thought of herself as a European writer, especially after encountering authors such as Walter Scott and—in 1918—Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired.

During her high school years, she was eyewitness to both the Kerensky Revolution, which she supported, and—in 1917—the Bolshevik Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to the Crimea, where she finished high school. The final Communist victory brought the confiscation of her father's pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she immediately took America as her model of what a nation of free men could be.

When her family returned from the Crimea, she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history. Graduating in 1924, she experienced the disintegration of free inquiry and the takeover of the university by communist thugs. Amidst the increasingly gray life, her one great pleasure was Western films and plays. Long a movie fan, she entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screen writing.

In late 1925 she obtained permission to leave Soviet Russia for a visit to relatives in the United States. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she was determined never to return to Russia. She arrived in New York City in February 1926. She spent the next six months with her relatives in Chicago, obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter.

On Ayn Rand's second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his movie The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O'Connor, whom she married in 1929; they were married until his death fifty years later.

After struggling for several years at various non-writing jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO Corporation, she sold her first screenplay, Red Pawn to Universal Studios in 1932 and saw her first stage play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and then on Broadway. Her first novel, We the Living, was completed in 1933 but was rejected by publishers for years, until The Macmillan Company in the United States and Cassells and Company in England published the book in 1936. The most autobiographical of her novels—it was based on her years under Soviet tyranny—We the Living was not well-received by American intellectuals and reviewers. Ayn Rand was up against the pro-communism dominating the culture during "the Red Decade."

She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935. In the character of the architect Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the kind of hero whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as "he could be and ought to be." The Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers but finally accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. When published in 1943, it made history by becoming a best seller through word-of-mouth two years later, and gained for its author lasting recognition as a champion of individualism.

Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. Working part time as a screenwriter for Hal Wallis Productions, she began her major novel, Atlas Shrugged, in 1946. In 1951 she moved back to New York City and devoted herself full time to the completion of Atlas Shrugged.

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was her greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatized her unique philosophy in an intellectual mystery story that integrated ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex. Although she considered herself primarily a fiction writer, she realized that in order to create heroic fictional characters, she had to identify the philosophic principles that make such individuals possible. She needed to formulate "a philosophy for living on earth."

Thereafter, Ayn Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy—Objectivism. She published and edited her own periodicals from 1962 to 1976, her essays providing much of the material for nine books on Objectivism and its application to the culture. Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

Every book by Ayn Rand published in her lifetime is still in print, and hundreds of thousands of copies are sold each year, so far totaling more than twenty million. Several new volumes have been published posthumously. Her vision of man and her philosophy for living on earth have changed the lives of thousands of readers and launched a philosophic movement with a growing impact on American culture.

Author biography courtesy of The Ayn Rand Institute.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alice Rosenbaum (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 2, 1905
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Petersburg, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      March 6, 1982
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Table of Contents

Introduction

Theory and History
1. What Is Capitalism? - Ayn Rand
2. The Roots of War - Ayn Rand
3. America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business - Ayn Rand
4. Antitrust - Alan Greenspan 5. Common Fallacies About Capitalism - Nathaniel Branden
6. Gold and Economic Freedom - Alan Greenspan
7. Notes on the History of American Free Enterprise - Ayn Rand
8. The Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Women and Children - Robert Hessen
9. The Assault on Integrity - Alan Greenspan
10. The Property Status of Airwaves - Ayn Rand
11. Patents and Copyrights - Ayn Rand
12. Theory and Practice - Ayn Rand
13. Let Us Alone! - Ayn Rand
Current State
14. The Anatomy of Compromise - Ayn Rand
15. Is Atlas Shrugging? - Ayn Rand
16. The Pull Peddlers - Ayn Rand
17. "Extremism," or the Art of Smearing - Ayn Rand
18. The Obliteration of Capitalism - Ayn Rand
19. Conservatism: An Obituary - Ayn Rand
20. The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus - Ayn Rand
21. The Wreckage of the Consensus - Ayn Rand
22. The Cashing-in: The Student Rebellion - Ayn Rand
23. Alienation - Nathaniel Branden
24. Requiem for Man - Ayn Rand
Appendix:
Man's Rights - Ayn Rand
The Nature of Government - Ayn Rand
Recommended Bibliography
Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 4, 2009

    Library Journal - a public scandal

    Regardless of how one feels about Ms. Rand's philosophy a cogent review of any book should not include the invective being shoveled out by the Library Journal. This piece is widely considered a well thought out, and reasonable interpretation of true free market capitalism. Anyone and everyone is free to disagree, provide counter argument, etc. To vilify the author's premises under the auspices of an offical review, however, is reprehensible. Barnes and Noble should strike these clowns from the lists and find someone who can provide at least the semblance of propriety to inform the public on what a book is about. Let's save the hoorah, and hate speech for the individual reviews... at least there the partisan bickering is expected.

    25 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2008

    For those who believe in Marxism/Communism/Socialism, etc.

    Obviously, those who have rated the literature as 'Poor' are those who fail to realize that the 'failure' of capitalism is not capitalism itself, but the laziness and inadequacy of those who claim to uphold it. Capitalism, when followed accordingly, is an excellent means of bringing about prosperity and progress. However, given the common businessman who cuts corners in order to cut costs, who fails to up hold the standards of proper human resource management, we live in a society where sweatshops and wretched poverty exists. I have come from wretched poverty. I know first hand what it is like to starve. I know first hand experience with the collectivist ideal. Many of you seem to be jaded by your middle class/upper middle class 'intellectual' life styles. I believe in Capitalism. It has made me who I am today: A 20 year old Jamaican female entering graduate school in 2009 now studying at the Undergraduate level at GWU. It is your bias and misunderstanding that has brought you to such a brash conclusion. I have always believed that, those who have not experienced something, can have no rightful opinion on it.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2006

    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

    This review is for the individual who considers the free-enterprise system of economics (otherwise known as capitalism) to be an inherently immoral, unfair, or an out-dated, 20th century concept, in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, I ask you two simple questions. The first question: is it your responsibility to provide for yourself? The second question: do you hold the government accountable for your personal income, individual happiness, and/or standard of living? If in fact you DO think that the government has some sort of an obligation to take care of you and your well-being (as if you were a helpless infant) I suggest that you spend a few years living in a communist or socialist society where the government does in fact provide for ALL of your economic needs. You just might have a change of heart concerning America¿s economic system. Furthermore, if you presently live in a condition of poverty and are in fact content or satisfied with such a lifestyle, then you are simply exercising the right to pursue your definition of happiness, a right that is endowed upon every American citizen. However, if you are living in poverty and desire a truly better life for yourself, (you must obtain a complete disregard for the tremendous amount of sacrifice and the vast difficulty of the work that must be put into achieving such a goal), my friend a better life you will have. The choice is up to you. The choice is up to every single one of us. As individuals, we must decide what it is we truly want in life. Capitalism is the only economic system that provides the opportunity for all of its citizens to accomplish their personal goals. That is exactly why capitalism is without an equal, and that is why capitalism is still the unknown ideal.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2002

    Library Journal Review Misleading

    I'm convinced that the Library Journal receives funding from Marxist organizations. Its reviews are consistently liberal and misleading. This is one of Ms. Rand's finest, with essays from Alan Greenspan as well. Well thought-out, convincing and far from heartless.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

    Yeah, about the Library Journal...

    That is probably the most ignorant, blatant, unintelligible review I've seen on here. The people behind that review are the people Ayn Rand is fighting against--the irrational. Read her works and you'll see just how ridiculous it is. I recommend all of her books; they are extremely thought provoking. And that is worth your money alone.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2007

    The Best Book On Capitalism

    This Book is the best book I ever read and I am only 13. It deals more with the moral aspects of capitalism rather than how it works from the standpoint of economics. But it does discuss ecomomics a bit. It is very pro capitalist and has made me a dedicated believer in capitalism. Every chapter is an essay defending capitalism. Rand the author is also one of the greatest defenders of capitalism and the creator of objectivism. This is a great book for anyone who is sceptical about capitalism. It shows that capitalism not only works but is also the only moral social system.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2010

    A challenging, engaging book for all Americans to read

    Extremely relevant, all these years after its original publishing. Objectivism does have its faults, but this is a book that anyone with even a passing interest in American politics must read--it is the definitive argument against government encroachment and socialism, as much as it is a brilliant argument for the dying era of capitalism.

    I can't speak for its value to non-American readers, but I can't imagine there is any person on this planet who could read this book and then proceed make a compelling argument against capitalism and individual freedom.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    EXCEPTIONAL

    SEVERAL DECADES AFTER MISS RANDS DEATH THIS BOOK WHICH COMPLEMENTS ATLAS SHRUGGED AND THE FOUNTAINHEAD IS PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT AND GEMAINE THAN EVER. IT SHOULD BE ON THE REQUIRED READING LIST OR EVERY HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE IN THE COUNTRY. SENDING A COPY TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN GOVERNMENT IS HIGHLY RECOMENDED.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is not a treatise on economics. It is a collection of essays on the moral aspects of capitalism. Although Ayn Rand wrote the majority of the essays in this book, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, and Robert Hessen provided additional articles. In the most eye-opening book I have ever read, Rand & company discuss in vast detail several topics of relevancy such as Public Education, Inherited Wealth, Big Business, and the Anatomy of Compromise. For anyone who has ever thought that there needs to be a better way, this book will provide a great deal of insight.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2004

    Read other works with this

    Rand writes of a TRULY free market and not the of type we have where government interference and bungling is legion. Those who read this work should also read Fabian Freeway by Rose Martin.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2004

    loved it!

    Wonderful book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2010

    Fantastic!

    If you don't know what built America. Here it is.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2006

    Unknown? Ideal?

    Rand's ideology is a misreading of the real world. In the USA, for example, under the free market, the very rich get richer the poor get poorer. Standards of living for the average American have not improved for the last 35 years.

    1 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2004

    A Sad Miscalculation

    This author neglects the reality which capitalism creates. That is the perpetual grind and striff imposed on the individual for mere existence. the relinquishment of ones own body in the name of profit. When contrasted with reality it becomes appearent that this is no ideal. The millions of people in the us and across the globe who are employed in sweatshop labor, prison labor, and the clear gap of wealth and resources between dominant and opressed nations are a clear testament to the error in her contention that capitalism is ideal. Her theory does not encompass the true nature of the fact that capitalism is a system whose motivation is profit.

    1 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    If this is what

    Built america it really got to suck for u americans feel sorry for u guys :(

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Inhuman

    This book preaches selfishness over compassion, and is a very sick view on economics. This is a pretty good idea of what people read on Wall Street, or an economic Bible for the American Republican Party. If you own a large amount of wealth, you might like this book. If you're a working class person like 95% of humanity, some things in this book will make you cringe.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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