Perhaps predictibly, Ayn Rand is making a comeback on the right, with Congressmen handing out her books, and loose talk of rich people "Going Galt".
I don't think that we will see a mass exodus of productive people to secret hideouts. I look to Atlas Shrugged more for conveniently totable beach reading than an economic blueprint. What's interesting to me, though, is how many details Rand did get right--like the markets in "unfreezing" Ukrainian bank deposits, so similar to the frozen railroad bonds of Atlas Shrugged. Or the cascading and unanticipated failures, with government officials racing to slap another fix on to fix the last failing solution. If only the people in her novels had acted remotely like actual people, rather than comic book characters, I, too, would be rereading the thing now.
She was able to describe these things so well, of course,
because she'd seen what an economy looked like while it was being
wrecked. All of Rand's writing is dominated by the fact that she lived
through the birth pangs of Soviet Russia, and saw her family's business
destroyed by Lenin's ideology, and extraordinarily incompetent economic
management. Her philosophy does not work, at least if by work we mean
generate a framework by which a person or society can order itself.
But she was actually a really very gifted observer, and she had a quite
subtle understanding of how all the interconnected elements of an
industrial economy fit together. It's a pity she didn't quite get how
human beings worked, especially herself.
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