Saturday, November 24, 2007

Where Ayn Rand Went Wrong

As if on cue minutes after the previous post on self interest and selfishness, David Mesaaz, posts on Digg (a service I still do not understand its purpose), a complete understanding of what Adam Smith advocated and how different that is from what Ayn Rand was on about in her ‘Atlas Shrugged’ (here):

'Atlas Shrugged' – 50 years later Ayn Rand
Adam Smith's self-interest never reaches the Randian selfishness that ignores the interest of others. In Smith's mind, an individual's goals cannot be fully achieved in business unless he appeals to the needs of others. Echoed by Ludwig von Mises. Wealth can be acquired only by serving the consumers."


Blogger Mikko Ellilä said...

And where, pray tell, does Rand say that you can succeed in business without catering to the wishes of your customers?

1:57 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Hi Mikko ellila

Selfishness is not about catering for somebody else's needs or wishes. Smith said address the other person's self interest (the famous 'butcher, baker, brewer' quote).

I read all of her books when a teenager and grew out of them (they're still on my shelf in France).

If she 'nuanced' her virtue of selfishness, I missed it.

7:57 pm  
Blogger Mikko Ellilä said...

If you are selfish and rational, you realise that you can't get anything in the free market without offering some value for value. E.g. you give the brewer money to get beer because you want the beer and you know the brewer wants money for it because he can use that money to buy the things he wants. This is self-evident to everybody already at age 4 or 5. And it would be totally ridiculous to say Rand didn't understand this.

11:00 am  

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