Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government

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A look at how our current crises are caused by too much government, and how Ayn Rand?s bold defense of free markets can help us change course.


The rise of the Tea Party and the 2010 election results revealed that tens of millions of Americans are alarmed by Big Government, but skeptical that anything can or will be done to stop the growth of the state. In Free Market Revolution, the ...

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Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government

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A look at how our current crises are caused by too much government, and how Ayn Rand’s bold defense of free markets can help us change course.


The rise of the Tea Party and the 2010 election results revealed that tens of millions of Americans are alarmed by Big Government, but skeptical that anything can or will be done to stop the growth of the state. In Free Market Revolution, the keepers of Ayn Rand’s legacy argue that the answer lies in her pioneering philosophy of capitalism and self-interest –a philosophy that more and more people are turning to for answers. In the past few years, Rand’s works have surged to new peaks of popularity, as politicians like Paul Ryan, media figures like John Stossel, and businessmen like John Mackey routinely name her as one of their chief influences. Here, Brook and Watkins explain how her ideas can solve a host of political and economic ills, including the debt crisis, inflation, overregulation, and the swelling welfare state. And most important, they show how Rand’s philosophy can enable defenders of the free market to sieze the moral high ground in the fight to limit government. This is a fresh and urgent look at the ideas of one of the most controversial figures in modern history – ideas that may prove the only hope for the future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this lengthy but digestible tome, Brook and Watkins, of the Ayn Rand Institute, tackle the 2008 housing crisis, subsequent Wall Street crash, Bernie Madoff, and the healthcare industry through the lens of Rand’s principles. Their premise is that the “rational selfishness” of the players in a free market economy regulates the system, because it is not in their long-term self-interest to take advantage of consumers. The argument is predicated on a historically popular notion that human “rationality” is wholly separate from, and superior to, the “emotional” impulse, but fails to address modern neuroscientific arguments for the interconnectedness of the “emotional” and “rational” parts of the brain. The book challenges existing value judgments of self-interest, self-sacrifice, and the morality of business people, deeming them not selfish but heroic, saving less intellectually skilled workers from “starv in hopeless ineptitude.” Overall, the principles of smaller government, with no subsidies at all, will appeal to libertarians, who view both parties as too liberal and the promotion of a “government entitlement state” akin to socialist dictatorship. Agent: Laura Blake Peterson, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A joy to read. Even as it merges hefty philosophical arguments, detailed discussions of key economic concepts, and numerous historical examples, its light and breezy prose enables quick reading…Free Market Revolution could not have come at a better time.”—The Objective Standard

“Free Market Revolution will raise the ire of every statist, socialist and crony capitalist.  Rand understood – as do the authors of this all-too-timely book – that free markets are, indeed, moral while Big Government is manifestly not.”—Steve Forbes

“A powerful and unapologetic case in support of capitalism. For those who think more government will solve our nation’s problems, Free Market Revolution will open your eyes. For those who can already see the light, it will sharpen your vision.”—Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Inc., host of the Peter Schiff Show on, and author of The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy—How to Save Yourself and Your Country

"Free Market Revolution is must-reading for an age in which the government seems to be treating Atlas Shrugged not as a warning, but as a how-to manual."—Glenn Reynolds,

Free Market Revolution is a potential game-changer. Brook and Watkins dismantle the myth that free markets are responsible for today’s ills, and they teach us how to take the moral high ground in the fight against Big Government. If there are any Occupiers left, this book should make them lay down their signs in surrender. Anyone who wants to understand why we have strayed so far from the Founders’ ideals, and how we can find our way back, should read this book.”—Mallory Factor, Founder, Mallory Factor, Inc., and Professor of International Politics at The Citadel

“This book is a must read for anyone concerned about the demonization of capitalism and deification of collectivism. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins meld philosophy with practicality in their cogent analysis of how Ayn Rand’s moral defense of capitalism can bring down the limitless growth of government and restore its original, intended purpose—protection of individual rights. Changing the trajectory of the country calls for a long and intense fight with very steep odds against victory. But the concept of the Free Market Revolution, celebrating the individual pursuit of rational, long-term self interest as a virtue, provides the arsenal for the assault. And Brook and Watkins give a battle plan of surefire approaches to limit, and then eliminate, even such massive incursions as the government’s takeover of healthcare.”—Jim M. Kilts, Former CEO of Gillette Company


“The most important issue in our society today is the morality of capitalism. Free Market Revolution lays bare how capitalism is the only economic system consistent with man’s nature as a thinking being who must act in his long term rational self-interest to survive and prosper. This is an important book which integrates philosophical ideas with their real world consequences.”—John A. Allison, Retired Chairman & CEO, BB&T Corporation


Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government is very welcomed indeed. With clarity and courage Brook and Watkins presentfithe basic teachings of free market economics, and place them within the-context of Ayn Rand’s broader moral-philosophic system. As the problems? with government intervention into the free market become more and more-evident to larger segments of the population, Ayn Rand’s writing, especially her epic Atlas Shrugged, takes on a new life for a new generation.”—Peter J. Boettke, Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Kirkus Reviews
"Capitalism is the system of selfishness--of rational selfishness." Ayn Rand acolytes Brook (Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, 2010) and Watkins sing the same old hymn, with a slightly different chorus, to the same old choir. In case you've forgotten the Randian message, bundled up here in utterly predictable form, it's that we all owe each other nothing. Our sole duty is to ourselves, and thus it behooves us to claw and scratch our way through this Darwinian world and amass as much wealth as possible. In the radical right-wing version that's infecting the dreaded big government in Washington and that pervades this primer, a truly free-market approach would lead to "the ultimate abolition of all entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public education; abolition of all government controls on business; the privatization of all property, including public lands, utilities, and roads." Brook and Watkins, executives at the Ayn Rand Institute, play the usual rhetorical games: Barack Obama is Hitler, or maybe Goebbels, but we really didn't mean to suggest that he was; Mussolini and Hitler were socialists, and so is Obama, but we don't really mean to cast aspersions; government regulation is evil because it keeps solid citizens from opening restaurants with bathrooms tiled to their individual tastes. Of course, Hitler and Mussolini weren't socialists, and neither is Obama, and there are reasons good and true to require restaurants to use tiles that plainly reveal when they're filthy, just as there are reasons to have regulations on food and pharmaceutical safety, seat-belt regulations, speed limits, and all the other things of government that Randians don't like. What would Howard Roark do? Maybe find a more persuasive apology for Randian money-grubbism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230341692
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Yaron Brook is Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and, and appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, The Glenn Beck Show, On the Money, and Closing Bell, among others. A former finance professor at Santa Clara University, he is the co-writer with Don Watkins of a column on business and capitalism at


Don Watkins is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and the co-writer with Yaron Brook of a column on business and capitalism at He appears regularly on radio and TV, and his op-eds have appeared in such venues as Investor's Business Daily, The Christian Science Monitor,, and Forbes.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Part I The Problem

1 The Incredible Unshrinking Government 7

The Wealth of Free Nations 9

Why the Last Swing to the Right Failed 12

Conclusion: The Situation Today 16

2 Why Government Grows 19

The Least Controversial Idea 21

The Argument from Greed and the Argument from Need 26

Conclusion: A Moral Crisis 35

3 With Friends Like These … 39

Free Marketers versus the Market 40

The Right's Crusade for Big Government 44

Conclusion: In Search of a Defense of "More," 46

4 The 2008 Housing Meltdown: A Crisis That Government Built 47

The Federal Reserve Spikes the Punch 49

Housing Policy Made Things Worse 50

Financial Regulation Made Things a Disaster 52

The Unlearned Lessons 56

Conclusion: Freeing the Unfree Market 58

Part II The Solution

5 Rethinking Selfishness 63

The Prisoner and the Producer 64

A Package Deal 67

Conclusion: Unpacking the Package Deal 68

6 The Morality of Success 69

It's Hard to Be Selfish 70

Principle 1: Rationality 72

Principle 2: Productiveness 75

Principle 3: Trade 77

A New Concept of Selfishness 79

The Evil of Self-Sacrifice 81

Conclusion: The Only Way to Be Selfish 85

7 The Business of Business 87

The Businessman: Parasite or Producer? 89

A Fellowship of Traders 95

Conclusion: The Great Liberator 99

8 The Nobility of the Profit Motive 101

What It Shall Profit a Man 102

Profitable Principles 104

The Altruistic Attack on Business Success 113

Conclusion: The "Public Good" Be Damned 116

9 Selfishness Unleashed 119

A Society of Producers 121

Protecting the Profit Motive 124

Laissez-Faire 133

Conclusion: Markets Are Moral 135

10 The Dynamism of the Market 137

The Division of Labor 138

Prices 142

Competition 146

Innovation 150

Government Intervention 153

Conclusion: The Profit System 159

11 The Regulatory State and Its Victims 161

Protecting the Consumer 162

Protecting the Worker 169

Punishing the Producer 172

Conclusion: Answering the Argument from Greed 175

12 The Immoral Entitlement State 177

Before the Entitlement State 179

Born of Ideology 181

The Entitlement State's War on the Rational and Productive 185

From Entitlement Morality to Entitlement Mentality 188

Conclusion: Answering the Argument from Need 190

13 You Are Not Your Brother's Health Care Provider 193

The Cause: How Government Made Health Care Inefficient and Expensive 194

The Cure: Toward a Free Market in Health Care 202

Conclusion: Freeing the Unfree Health Care Market 206

14 Stopping the Growth of the State 209

Why Only Rational Selfishness Will Do 209

The Basic Contradiction 214

Ayn Rand and the Free Market Revolution 216

Notes 223

Index 247

About the Authors 253

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    This is a fantastic book. It explains the problems of the world

    This is a fantastic book. It explains the problems of the world and their solutions in a very clear and rational manner. It will make you re-think everything you've likely been taught. And finally, the book is POSITIVE. It doesn't really attack any one politician or party. It systematically identifies their underlying philosophies and points out their mistakes. It then promotes a radical yet POSITIVE alternative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    Read it because I wanted to understand how the extreme right vie

    Read it because I wanted to understand how the extreme right views our problems and to get an understanding of the so called philosophy of Ayn Rand. Ive got to say that this is the craziest crap ive ever read. If you truly believe this stuff and think that its every man for himself, then you don't know what America is about. The land of opportunity. Not the land of rape everything til its gone cause I don't owe a thing to the future except my legacy and money for my children. Pure puke and hate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Lacks depth

    I'm a follower of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, so I decided to give this book a try. The authors don't provide enough depth and insight into subjects in which they claim to be experts. Good only if you're new to Ayn Rand and want a high level, broad strokes view of the philosophy and how it applies to the market.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2012

    Amazing, every american should read it!

    Amazing, every american should read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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