An epic masterpiece.
Set in a near-future U.S.A., Ayn Rand’s thrilling masterpiece features the mysterious disappearance of the top innovators and industrialists—and demonstrates a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest.
Why Businessmen Need Philosophy
The capitalist’s guide to the ideas behind Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged
Essays on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged
This is the first scholarly study of Atlas Shrugged, covering the historical, literary, and philosophical aspects of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus. Topics include: the novel’s creation, publication, and reception; its nature as a romantic novel; and its presentation of a radical new philosophy.
The history of Atlas Shrugged
An essay on the genesis of the book.
An Answer for Businessmen
“An Answer for Businessmen” was first published on May 15, 1962, in an unidentified news magazine found among Ayn Rand’s papers.
If you want to save capitalism there is only one type of argument that you should adopt, the only one that has ever won in any moral issue: the argument from self-esteem. Check your premises, convince yourself of the rightness of your cause, then fight for capitalism with full, moral certainty.
The world crisis of today is a moral crisis—and nothing less than a moral revolution can resolve it: a moral revolution to sanction and complete the political achievement of the American revolution. We must fight for capitalism, not as a practical issue, not as an economic issue, but, with the most righteous pride, as a moral issue. That is what capitalism deserves, and nothing less will save it.
I should like to suggest that you begin by applying to the realm of ideas the same objective, logical, rational criteria of judgment that you apply to the realm of business. You do not judge business issues by emotional standards—do not do it in regard to ideological issues. You do not build factories by the guidance of your feelings—do not let your feelings guide your political convictions.
Don’t Try to Cheat People in Business
You do not count on men’s stupidity in business, you do not put out an inferior product “because people are too dumb to appreciate the best” do not do it in political philosophy; do not endorse or propagate ideas which you know to be false, in the hope of appealing to people’s fears, prejudices or ignorance. You do not cheat people in business—do not try to do it in philosophy: the so-called common man is uncommonly perceptive.
You do not doubt your own judgment in business—do not doubt it in the realm of ideology; do not let the unintelligible gibberish of the “liberal” intellectuals intimidate you or discourage you; do not conclude: “It must be deep, because I don’t understand it” or “If this is what intellectual stuff is like, then all ideas are impractical nonsense.” Ideas are the greatest and most crucially practical power on earth.
You do not hire men as heads of your business departments, without firsthand knowledge of the nature of their jobs and of how to judge their performance—do not do it in regard to your public relations department; learn to judge whether the stuff they are selling you is poison or not. You do not hire witch-doctors as mechanics or engineers—do not hire them as P.R.’s.
Know Your Friends and Your Enemies
Know how to tell your friends from your enemies. Know whom to support in philosophical and political issues. If you are unable to speak freely, if you are bound and gagged by the disgraceful injustice of such evils as the antitrust laws—at least, do not praise, spread or support the philosophy of your own destroyers; do not grant them the sanction of the victim. Give some thought to the possibility of establishing a civil liberties union—for businessmen.
And if you still wish to have a “social” mission or purpose—there is no greater service that you can render mankind than by fighting for your own rights and property.