Confronting Capitalism by Philip Kotler

Confronting Capitalism by Philip Kotler

Author:Philip Kotler
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780814436462
Publisher: AMACOM
Published: 2015-10-02T16:00:00+00:00


THE CASE FOR INDIVIDUALISM AND SELF-RELIANCE

The extreme exponent of the individualism view was novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand. She wrote two famous books about her philosophy, which she calls objectivism. Her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead, portrays a young, strong-willed, and creative architect named Howard Roark who refuses to design buildings in the old historical styles.

He prefers obscurity to compromising his personal and artistic vision. He is a contrast to Peter Keating, another architect, who copies historical styles and joins a prestigious architectural firm where he uses flattery to rise quickly to a partnership in the firm. At one point, Peter Keating gives a commission to Roark to design a building for him. Roark agrees, provided the building is built exactly as he designed it. Roark later returns from a long business trip and finds that the building is finished, but it has been compromised. Roark dynamites the structure because it’s not the building he designed. He faces a trial for his “crime.”

Another character in the book, Ellsworth Toohey, is constantly critical of Roark’s independence. Ayn Rand regards Toohey as the personification of evil, someone who embodies the spirit of collectivism, but actually uses it to gain power over others. Rand is against the ideals in Toohey’s ethical altruism and uses the novel to make her case for ethical egoism (i.e., rational selfishness). Her hero, Howard Roark, is an uncompromising individualist who is bigger than life and worthy of hero-worship to Rand. Roark says: “I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.” Much of today’s libertarian philosophy goes back to this idea of the free and creative individual whose enemies, namely socialists and collectivists, try to bridle and corrupt him.

Ayn Rand’s second book, Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, centers on a vision of a society in which its most productive citizens refuse to be exploited any longer by increasing taxation and government regulations. Business leaders, such as the steel leader Henry Rearden and the oil leader Elias Wyatt, shut down their respective industries and disappear. They join John Galt, the leader of this rebellion, to demonstrate that the destruction of the profit motive will lead to the collapse of society. Only if Galt, who represents reason, individualism, and capitalism, returns to society might the economy have a chance to be restored to its former energy and growth.

Rand attributes the destruction of society to the “looters and moochers.” Looters take away the property belonging to the producers through force, such as by pointing a gun. Moochers, who create no value, take away the property of others by taxation, by demanding others’ earnings on behalf of the needy.

Atlas Shrugged was an instant success when published and it stood on the New York Times bestseller list for twenty-two consecutive weeks. Although



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