Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451147950
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/1986
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 142,845
Product dimensions: 6.74(w) x 4.10(h) x 0.93(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

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

Table of Contents


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 Greenspan5. 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
Man's Rights - Ayn Rand
The Nature of Government - Ayn Rand
Recommended Bibliography

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Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 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.
ague on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone who wants an education in economics.
zigory on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book to defend Capitalism from a moral perspective as well as a practical one; it shows why Laissez Faire Capitalism is the only moral economic system. The young Alan Greenspan wrote some of the articles, including one that opposes the existence of the Federal Reserve Board. If only he had listened to his own advice. In these times where economics are an important subject to understand, this is a great introduction to the subject. I also recommend Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.
joshua.pelton-stroud on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A collection of essays written mostly by Ayn Rand, this book did a good job of getting out the over all message of Individual Rights superseding the collective.Some of the most interesting bits I found were the parallels between the arguments taking place circa the mid- to late-1960's and today; we seem to still be facing all of the arguments coming out of D.C. now that we were then. Things like the false dichotomies of "whether government should do X or Y", when the question needs to be, "should government be involved at all?"In "The Nature of Government", Rand makes a compelling case defining the role that government plays:The fundamental difference between private action and governmental action - a difference thoroughly ignored and evaded today - lies in the fact that a government holds a monopoly on the legal use of physical force.Because of this, government must be narrowly defined and tightly controlled to prevent that legal monopoly from being wielded by those with political pull to harm particular individuals or groups. In "What is Capitalism?", the argument is that pure capitalism as a system is the only social/political structure that relies solely on the rights of the individual to better themselves without resorting to the use of physical force and taking what is needed from others.In "Notes on the History of American Free Enterprise", (the lack of) these two concepts in particular are starkly portrayed with references to early American railroad systems:There were many forms of government help for these projects, such as federal land grants, subsidies, state bonds, municipal bonds, etc. A great many speculators started railroad projects as a quick means to get some government cash, with no concern for the future or the commercial possibilities of their railroads. They went through the motions of laying so many miles of shoddy rail, anywhere at all, without inquiring whether the locations they selected had any need for a railroad or any economic future. Some of those men collected the cash and vanished, never starting any railroad at all. This is the source of the popular impression that the origin of American railroads was a period of wild, unscrupulous speculation. But the railroads of this period which were planned and built by businessmen for a proper, private, commercial purpose were the ones that survived, prospered, and proved unusual foresight in the choice of their locations.In another section of the same essay, after quoting two liberal journalists decrying the corruption of the railroads who "had bought senators and congressmen, just as they bought rails and locomotives...", we are asked to identify the actual parties of the corruption: "..what could the railroads do, except try to 'own whole legislatures' if these legislatures held the power of life or death over them? What could the railroads do, except resort to bribery, if they wished to exist at all? Who was to blame and who was 'corrupt'--the businessmen who had to pay 'protection money' for the right to remain in business--or the politicians who held the power to sell that right?"Over all, I found the essays in this collection to be extremely thought provoking. Rand is utterly scathing in some instances when speaking directly about socialism and Soviet Russia, but these seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Essays by Alan Greenspan, Robert Hessen and Nathaniel Branden help to break up Rand's almost single-minded attraction to concepts covered in her book "Atlas Shrugged", and, especially those of Greenspan, bring in pointed rebukes of particular instances in which public policy, in the name of protecting the average man, has actually done more harm by eroding individual rights than good.Highly recommended for anyone interested in economics, politics and the philosophy of individualism.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Given the choice to have everyone read an Ayn Rand work, I would probably choose this. Worth re-reading anytime one doubts their role in the mess.
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