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Rand On the Ropes October 7, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Political Philosophy.
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Via Brian Leiter, here is another take down of Ayn Rand:

The year 2009, however, has shown us that this is hardly the time for such faith. The privatising and non-regulatory urges pervading the US Government since the beginning of the century (and particularly since the 1980s) have brought many of us to the very end of our patience and to a finale for our faith in the capitalist system, or in the wealthy, or in those captains of industry – and especially of finance – in whose hands we are supposed to place our lives and hopes […]

This is more than a question of timing or bad luck, however; for there is an even bigger snag, a bigger poison in the pudding, which destroys any so-called philosophy invented by Rand. An article in a 1986 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, although it remains too often ignored, leaves no hope whatever for the many defenders and apologists for the allegedly “free” market. The co-authors of this contribution assert and prove that there is no such thing as a “free-enterprise system”, simply because all the bargains taking place in a market system are characterised by an information deficit on one side or the other. This gap reflects an information advantage that one side invariably holds over the other in any deal so that there are, in fact, no truly equitable financial agreements to be had. And it is because of this absence of equity that free enterprise can achieve only what can be regarded as a mythic status. This not only applies to the free-enterprise myth itself, however; it applies to all its constituent elements, such as Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, which was perennially held to be a kind of guarantor of self-interest that allegedly made the whole system work. But there is no invisible hand, just as there is no free enterprise.

This is one aspect of the case against Rand, to go along with her utter failure to recognize the importance of moral conscience in our lives.

 

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

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