Friday, October 24, 2008

Desecrating Ayn Rand's Grave

One of the things the Russian-born novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand believed was in the concept of laissez-faire capitalism, where the free market, unfettered by any sniff of regulation by the State, would be allowed to run untrammeled until it reached its inevitable conclusion. There are many in the Bush Administration and in the economic sector of our society that adhere to Rand's way of thinking.

So they cut taxes on businesses and scaled back or hamstrung regulations that could have held back the tide of the free market.

Alan Greenspan, former head of the Federal Reserve, was one such advocate of the free market, and recently before a government panel seeking to find the root causes of the current economic meltdown that now threatens not just us but every country on this planet, Greenspan admitted that he had been wrong.


What about?

He was wrong in assuming that the markets and the people in charge of the banks, investment houses and mortgage companies would be responsible (in the best Randite tradition) and would police themselves, restraining their own desire to make more and more money so that the market would essentially regulate itself.

Greenspan was wrong at the heart of his assumption, just as Rand was wrong. They were wrong about one thing.


Greed comes naturally to human beings, and the desire to accumulate more than the next guy (particularly in the United States and the industrialized West, where material success is seen as the be-all and end-all goal of life) is strong - almost stronger, in some people, than the desire for food or sex.

Seeing that government was not going to lift a finger to stop them, the people in charge went quite literally hog-wild and bull-crazy with their investments, swapping derivatives around to artificially overinflate their value while making millions. It was one of the largest fraudulent shell games on Earth.

And now it's collapsed, like the rotten structure that it was at its heart.

Rand's been dead now, these past 26 years; which is a shame, as I'm sure there are a lot of people who'd line up to kick her withered old ass around.

Just as they'd like to kick Greenspan's withered old ass around.


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