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The "Invisible Hand" Comes to Life: Economics In Atlas Shrugged

Richard M. Salsman

Presented at: Lyceum 1997

Date: Aug 09, 1997

For more than two centuries, beginning with Adam Smith, economists have failed to identify the root of capitalism's productiveness: the creative, uncoerced mind. Modern economics now sees physical labor as the source of value, entrepreneurs as superfluous, consumers as prime movers, markets as prone to failure, and statism as curative. Students complain, rightly,that modern economics is both detached from reality and boring. These lectures explain how, in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand ingeniously concretizes and dramatizes propereconomic principles. Her characters are vivid, active agents, who either produce or act to throttle production. Contrasting modern economics with the economics in Atlas Shrugged, these lectures examine such issues as the primacy of production, the capitalist as prime mover, the pyramid of ability, the profit motive, the "long run," the role of money, the nature of competition, the effects of statism, and the organization of Atlantis. In Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand conveys both what is true and exciting about economics-a feat unmatched even by pro-capitalist economists.


Parts: 2

Handout: none


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