In the years leading up to 2008—09’s financial meltdown, government control over mortgages, interest rates and America’s banking system was at an all-time high.
And yet when crisis struck, free enterprise took the blame.
The cure, therefore, was to give government even wider powers. Washington can now bail out any company, fire CEOs, override contracts and print billions of dollars to “stimulate” the economy — all in the name of the public interest. The result? Our deficits and debt continue to mount, and there’s a real possibility of a future like Greece’s.
This is the state of our world today. It’s remarkably similar to the state of the world in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” a mystery story about a future America whose economy is disintegrating and whose government is accumulating power faster than anyone thought possible. This parallel is a big reason a record 500,000 people bought “Atlas Shrugged” last year.
So what can we learn from a book that foresaw in 1957 what few believed possible in 2007? We can learn a lesson the heroes of the novel learn: the cause of the government’s greater, destructive control of business. And we can learn how to oppose it.
Many of the heroes in “Atlas Shrugged” are the kind of men and women who built, and continue to build, America into the economic power that it is — inventors such as Edison, industrialists in the mold of Rockefeller and Carnegie, business visionaries reminiscent of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
In logic and justice, the heroes of “Atlas Shrugged” should be admired and appreciated for their efforts; instead, they’re demonized and shackled.
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