FRIDAY PHILOSOPHISING: Are you a secret Ayn Randist?

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After decades of neglect, the 20th century Russian American novelist/philosopher is experiencing something of a resurgence.

Copies of Ayn Rand's hefty book, 'Atlas Shrugged,' apparently leapt 250% in the first half of 2009 vs. the same period of 2008, and Matt Taibbi has credited her disciples with being the primary cause of the global financial crisis.

"In the Randian ethos, called objectivism," writes Taibbi, "the only real morality is self-interest, and society is divided into groups who are efficiently self-interested (the rich) and the ''parasites'' who wish to take their earnings through taxes."

The 'Economics Journal' elaborates on the Randist way:

"If the best scientists, philosophers, economists, musicians, bankers and businessmen suddenly disappear from the society, how would the society react? Particularly if the society is used to earning most of its taxes from its top 1% of the creators, what would the government do?

If somebody whiles away his time and stays poor, while his classmate works hard and reaches the top echelons of the society, who is more valuable to the society? Why does one benefit from the society while the other is punished by the same? While the socialists see the former as the victim and latter as an example for greed and inequality, the Randists think the reverse.

...The person whom we thought of as really successful is in fact the victim. He is constantly made to be ashamed of the fact that he is rich and made guilty of the fact that people are poor. And of course he has to pay many times the tax of his lazy classmate for the "privilege" of being a part of the society."

Randism evidently has its intellectual limitations, not least the fact that if existing, 'scientists, philosophers, economists, musicians, bankers and businessmen' disappeared from society, others would simply take their place.

However, there are clear parallels with Randist notions and the presumption that if UK taxes rise too high, the City's best bankers will disappear to Hong Kong/Dubai. Are bankers Randists? Discuss....

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