Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Capitalism: The Unknown IdealReaders of Atlas Shrugged are struck by the moral fire of Ayn Rand’s defense of business and capitalism. She does not regard capitalism as an amoral or immoral means to some “common good“—as do most of its defenders—but as a profoundly moral social system. It is, she wrote, “the only system geared to the life of a rational being.”

In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, which Ayn Rand called “a nonfiction footnote to Atlas Shrugged,” she and others explain the social system that she held has “never been properly understood and defended—and whose very existence has been denied.” That system is laissez-faire capitalism: a social system in which the government is exclusively devoted to the protection of individual rights, including property rights, and therefore in which there exists absolutely no government intervention in the economy.

Capitalism is not a treatise on the economics of capitalism, but a collection of essays on the philosophy of capitalism: the basic truths and principles that make capitalism the only moral and practical social system—the only system consistent with man’s nature and the requirements of his life—the only one that enables each individual to reach his full, glorious potential.

Capitalism features Ayn Rand’s landmark essay “What is Capitalism?” in which she explains the view of ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and human nature that is necessary for a proper understanding and defense of capitalism.

In other essays, Rand explains how the principles of individual rights and laissez-faire can resolve such issues as the nature of patents and copyrights and the property status of airwaves.

Still other essays by her and colleagues address the true history and functioning of capitalism, demolishing many widespread myths about it. Among the issues covered are explanation of why capitalism is the key to peace and statism, the cause of war—how depressions are caused by government intervention—how capitalism put an end to child labor—and why capitalism doesn’t lead to monopolies.

Finally, Capitalism features several essays by Rand analyzing the conflict between capitalism and statism in the political developments of the 20th century. While many of the news events she analyzes (such as the 1964 Republican convention) are mostly forgotten, her penetrating analysis gives insights and teaches lessons about conservatives and liberals, domestic and foreign policy that remain relevant to this day. Just a few of her insights are: how America’s moral appeasement of the United Nations diminishes our reputation and undermines our interests—how liberals succeed at smearing capitalism as “extremist”—why conservatives fail to defend capitalism—why antitrust laws are profoundly unjust—why a political ideology is necessary and why its opposite, the seeking of political “consensus,” is destructive.

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is must-reading for anyone who wants to understand capitalism and discover Ayn Rand’s ground-breaking political philosophy and moral defense of laissez-faire.

Table of Contents

(Paperback; 349 pages)

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