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Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

4.3 34
by Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, Robert Hessen

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In this series of essays, Ayn Rand presents her stand on the persecution of big business, the causes of war, the default of conservatism, and the evils of altruism.

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


In this series of essays, Ayn Rand presents her stand on the persecution of big business, the causes of war, the default of conservatism, and the evils of altruism.

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. 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 that 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.

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 Using outdated words such as "altruists" to represent the forces of evil who would overburden the poor, beleaguered American business community, Rand "protesteth" far too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.
From the Publisher
“One of the most revolutionary and powerful works on capitalism—and on politics—that has ever been published.”—Professor Leonard Peikoff, Barron’s magazine

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Penguin Publishing Group
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Meet the Author

Born February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she achieved her spectacular success. Rand’s unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience. The fundamentals of her philosophy are put forth in three nonfiction books, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtues of Selfishness, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. They are all available in Signet editions, as is the magnificent statement of her artistic credo, The Romantic Manifesto.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 2, 1905
Date of Death:
March 6, 1982
Place of Birth:
St. Petersburg, Russia
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Graduated with highest honors in history from the University of Petrograd, 1924

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Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
4Micah More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
TESTPILOTGK More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book!
avidreader73 More than 1 year ago
If you don't know what built America. Here it is.
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