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The "Robber Barons"

Ayn Rand

Presented at: Ayn Rand On Campus - Columbia WKCR Interviews

Date: Jan 01, 1962

In this interview recorded February 13, 1966, Ayn Rand responds to questions about the so-called "robber barons" of the 19th century. Subjects addressed include Rand's view of the "robber barons" as some of the greatest benefactors of mankind ever, the difference between economic power and political power, the injustice of antitrust legislation, and monopolies.

Here are Ayn Rand's views on:

  • The crucial but little recognized distinction between economic power, which is the power to produce something of value, and political power, which is the use of force;
  • Why the great industrialists of the 19th century were unfairly blamed for the actions of some businessmen who sought government favors and subsidies;
  • How coercive monopolies, where competition is excluded by force, are the result of government intervention in favor of some businesses at the expense of others;
  • How antitrust laws punish the most ambitious and successful businesses;
  • What moral businessmen can do in the face of government intervention into the economy.


Parts: 1

Handout: none