x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Why Businessmen Need Philosophy: Standard Randian twaddle

This volume of essays and lectures by noted "Objectivists" was first published in 1999 and has been expanded and reissued now that the financial crisis has put big business in the firing line.

Why Businessmen Need Philosophy.
Why Businessmen Need Philosophy.

There isn't much room in this life for a lukewarm opinion of Ayn Rand: one either reviles her as a quasi-fascist intellectual fraud or one joins the Ayn Rand Institute and publishes books like this "Capitalist's Guide To The Ideas Behind Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged" (note how the subtitle equates the speculations of a single pulp novelist with "philosophy" as such; we are, of course, in crank territory, a stone's throw from Dianetics).

A volume of essays and lectures by noted "Objectivists", it was first published in 1999 and has been expanded and reissued now that the financial crisis has put big business in the firing line. "Should businessmen surrender in response to these attacks, or should they fight?" asks a new preface, rhetorically.

What follows purports to supply the weaponry for resistance. In fact it's the standard Randian twaddle about the virtue of selfishness, the depravity of altruism and the supposed fact that all non-capitalists are "looters". In my experience the only people who buy this, other than unreflective and self-pitying suits, are teenagers, usually female. The usefulness of the doctrine in intellectual skirmishes is accordingly restricted. Caveat emptor.