This is Ayn Rand’s flagship talk on capitalism. In this 1967 lecture, Rand gives an in-depth explanation of what capitalism is, why it is often misunderstood, and why it is the only social system consonant with man’s nature. She discusses the philosophical and ethical roots of capitalism, and contrasts them with the moral-philosophic doctrines that sanction ruling men by force. She then discusses progress under capitalism and how it is fundamentally different from the so-called progress of a statist society. Along the way, Rand takes up questions such as:
This talk is excerpted from an essay of the same name that is substantially longer and covers more issues. Students interested in mastering Ayn Rand’s views on capitalism are highly encouraged to study the full essay in addition to enjoying this course. The essay can be found here._________________________________________
Note: Sections are delineated according to paragraph numbers in the transcript.
The essay version of this talk is substantially longer and covers many more issues. Students interested in mastering Ayn Rand’s views on capitalism are especially encouraged to study it closely, in addition to enjoying this course.“Man’s Rights” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
To understand Ayn Rand’s views on capitalism, it is crucial to understand her views on man’s rights. This is the best essay to read on the topic, and it explains why the right to property is inseparable from the right to life.“The Nature of Government” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
To understand Ayn Rand’s views on capitalism, it is crucial to understand her views on the nature and purpose of government. This is the best essay to read on the topic, and it explains why the purpose of government should be limited to protecting individual rights.“The Objectivist Ethics” in The Virtue of Selfishness
Ayn Rand said that every theory of politics rests on a theory of ethics, and this essay contains a detailed presentation of her ethics of rational egoism. This is crucial reading for understanding why Rand views ethics to be as objective as a physical science.“Collectivized Ethics” in The Virtue of Selfishness
This is an important essay to read to understand Ayn Rand’s view of the corrupt nature of central planning, and how central planning invariably treats individual men as disposable.
“The Money Speech” in For the New Intellectual
In this excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, an Ayn Rand hero argues why we should embrace a society ruled by money and decry the alternative.
“From Each According to His Ability, to Each According to His Need” in For the New Intellectual
In this excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, a character describes how a once-thriving factory town drove itself into poverty, misery, and resentment by trying to live according to this principle.
“The Moral Meaning of Capitalism” in For the New Intellectual
In this excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, a heroic steel magnate defends his moral right to run his business on his own terms.
“America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
For those intrigued by Ayn Rand’s views on economic topics, this essay should also be of interest. In it, she argues that businessmen are unjustly vilified and regularly persecuted in American culture and law.
“The Pull Peddlers” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
This is another crucial essay by Ayn Rand on economic topics. Here, she argues why today’s present economic system, which she calls a mixed economy to denote the mixture of economic freedom and economic controls, is highly unstable and inevitably breeds escalating corruption and pressure-group warfare.
“Conservatism: An Obituary” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
This essay explains why Ayn Rand did not think of herself as a conservative, and why she thought that conservatives were either uninterested in or hopeless at defending free market capitalism.
“Egalitarianism and Inflation” in Philosophy: Who Needs It
This is another of Ayn Rand’s main essays on economic topics. In it, she not only discusses the how rampant inflationary policy can devastate an economy, she also discusses how anti-conceptual thinking and corrupt moral ideas give rise to inflationary policy.
Why does Ayn Rand argue that the moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the claim that it is the best way to achieve the "common good"?
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