@sharilyn I agree that it is the people and their decisions that cause problems or solve them (that happens sometimes too). I guess it just matters what you do with what you read. I've used the principles in Atlas Shrugged ever since I read it and have yet to cause a financial crisis in my own home. Rather, it has encouraged greater financial security and stability. Similarly to the bible (per the remark below). I've only become a better person from reading it. That's another book that people say is evil or awful that I have only become better from. I suppose that's why I don't think Atlas Shrugged really has anything to do with our current problems. This article if anything should be about Greenspan and his decisions. Not a book that could be used for good or apparently evil (although I have yet to see that).
@sharilyn Individual worth is not set by money nor is it proclaimed to be so by Atlas Shrugged. Your compensation in dollars however is set by the worth of your product, service, etc... That product, service, etc... is given an intrinsic value by society. Atlas Shrugged argues that it is the man/woman within that is most important, not the social or economic class of the individual. The book shows that anyone rich or poor that decides to become their very best through education, work, and even failure can have great impact and attain the success they seek. Does a poor person (dollar-wise) that does not educate themselves, work hard, or pursue their full potential deserve greater compensation than their product? Atlas Shrugged says no, and I agree. Likewise, does a rich person who exhibits the same lack of quality deserve to be compensated more for their worthless product? Atlas Shrugged says no, and I agree. Money isn't everything and Atlas Shrugged lets us know that it is a measure of our product and service and that by improving that product/service we increase the money (used as a middle-man instead of bartering) that our product/service is worth (which will also depend on the intrinsic value given by society, which is not treated by Atlas Shrugged).
@sharilyn Sharilyn, I think your point about teachers' wages needing to be better is correct (assuming we are talking about good teachers here, because I don't like the idea of raising wages for lazy disengaged teachers. I hope we can agree that they exist.) and I was not arguing against you. Only debating the fact that the book gives support for developing things that are of value and compensating that which contains great value. It is society, and not Atlas Shrugged, which sets the intrinsic worth of things. Atlas Shrugged does not attempt to tell us what is of intrinsic worth besides discipline, hard work, and persistance. I think we can agree that those traits are what help develop anything that has worth regardless of the worth set by society. For this reason, my point is that Atlas Shrugged is really not the issue here.
@DMcK I'm not sure if you took the time to read the above, but my point is that the book is not the cause of the calamities of the world. If it was the cause (which I do not think is true), then Ayn was an incredible writer regardless of the result. Would you say she is a horrible writer and her book is not the cause of disastrous real-life, long-term consequences for millions OR that she is an incredible writer who is the source of disastrous real-life, long-term consequences for millions. She's got to be one or the other from what I'm reading here. Personally I think she wrote a great book that has some very inspiring messages for anyone that wants to attempt to self-sustain and better themselves. From reading the book, it is apparent that the current actions and decisions causing many of our current problems are not supported by the themes of the book. This book should not be connected with causing the cause of the problems. And asshole really doesn't mean much except 5 minutes in the corner.
@erikonymous I didn't know disagreeing made someone an asshole. Lots of support for name-calling and one-liners from a site that professes to be about helping people 'be less stupid'. Or maybe it's more of a center/program that requires time to ascertain the 'be less stupid' status. If you are still early in the process, then I apologize.
@scrooge I don't think Atlas Shrugged would necessarily support our current banking practices. From my reading of the book, the point of the book isn't to take as much as you can from others no matter the cost and no matter the danger (our banks made and continue to make very costly and dangerous gambles for a profit). I don't think that view is ever taken. Actually, I think the book would support the idea that the banks should be stuck with the damages they've caused. The book is a strong proponent of the idea that if you take risk or use poor business (or banking practices in this case), then you should fail. These are a couple reasons I do not think the parallels the author draws are very strong. However, the book does support the idea that if you are INVESTING your money in a company/bank then you are putting your funds in their hands and trusting them. The book would hold that you are taking a risk in relinquishing control of your funds in the hands of another person. By taking this risk, you are giving yourself a chance to make a lot of money without having to do the work but ALSO you are inherently subject to the risk of losing your money. The book supports taking responsibility for your risks either way. Greenspan may have read Atlas Shrugged and then made some poor decisions but Greenspan was at no point in time a spokesperson for Atlas Shrugged. Maybe a supporter, but it was not his constant playbook.
@sharilyn Sharilyn, you might think you know me by my comment but you do not (based on your baseball analogy). The point of the book isn't to ensure that everyone is paid equitably for their work. Just because you have great knowledge, or work hard does not mean you will be paid the same as everyone else. The book would probably support the idea that society will determine the worth of your work. Good teachers are definitely important parts of a society/community. Bad teachers are not. The book would argue that a good teacher would be of more worth than a bad teacher. Unfortunately, the bad teachers are paid the exact same as the good teachers. Atlas Shrugged would say not all teachers should be paid the same regardless of their outcomes. Atlas Shrugged would not argue that a savvy railroad tycoon and good teacher should be paid the same. That is not based on Ayn's ideology, but based on the fact that society intrinsically places a higher value on certain things. Ayn does not specify what is of value. Only that those that are the best and hardest working in what they do should be of higher value than those that are idol and overly secure. If you think that a fabulous inner city school teacher should be paid more than a teacher that does not work as hard and is not interested in turning out the best students, then Ayn would agree with you. If you think that a fabulous inner-city school teacher should be paid the same as a lazy disengaged teacher, then Ayn would disagree with you. Also, rural doctors make much much more than you might think (but they are supplying a very important need and so their worth compared to other doctors may be higher in the area they are serving).
@MaggieL Maggie, when I say poor I mean decreased dollars. The man that inherited the fortune grew up rich. The point is that the man lost his fortune because he was not worthy of the inheritance. That does not mean that his worth as a human being was not high, it means that his family worked hard and saved their money and that the son squandered it. The son was not hard working or industrious so he lost his money. The poor that win the lottery and then become bankrupt have a great opportunity to no longer be poor. BUT, as the trends show, we see that they most often go bankrupt. If they were poor (dollar-wise) but were working hard to educate and become their best, then the chances of going bankrupt upon being handed 25 million dollars are much smaller. It has to do with the individual working hard and bettering themself, not the intrinsic value of the individual. If you have read the book, you may remember the young girl who worked hard at a thrift store and resolved to educate herself and work as hard as it took for her to achieve success. She came from a family who in this book were exceedingly poor and simultaneously lazy to a flaw. She realized the error of her family's ways and decided to change the outcome. The book in no way brings her down. The people without money do not deserve to be without money. The people without money that are lazy and choose not to educate themselves DO deserve to be poor. Why should they receive what they have not and more importantly ARE not willing to work for? The other part of your question is whether the rich deserve to be rich. The answer in Atlas Shrugged is a resounding no. The book doesn't state whether you deserve money or not. The book is not about deserving but more about the outcomes when diligence, discipline, and persistence are brought into the picture. It states that if you develop something of worth and work hard, then you may very well find success. If you do not, then you should not expect more (although yes, sometimes people do get more but in the end it oftentimes evens out over time).
@DoctorDisaster Although I like thinking that I enjoy the book because I'm rich, powerful, elite, and brilliant, I know that the above are untrue.
@MichelleDean Read the book Michelle?