Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Capitalism: The Unknown ideal

By Ayn Rand
349 pages - $5.95

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal contains some of the best arguments for a capitalist economy that have been made. It explains both why capitalism creates the best result, and also why capitalism is morally preferrable for the individual. Unfortunately, you will rarely find these arguments being made in any public debate.

Rand 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. This book explains the social system that Rand 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.

For someone who wants to discover Ayn Rand's economic arguments, but doesn't want to committ to reading Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, this is the book to choose. It is actually a collection of short articles which can be absorbed a little at a time. Most are written by Ayn Rand, but some are written by Nathaniel Branden, Robert Hessen, and Alan Greenspan.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Theory and History
    • What is Capitalism?, Ayn Rand
    • The Roots of War, Ayn Rand
    • America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business, Ayn Rand
    • Antitrust, Alan Greenspan
    • Common Fallacies About Capitalism, Nathaniel Branden
    • Gold and Economic Freedom, Alan Greenspan
    • Notes on the History of American Free Enterprise, Ayn Rand
    • The Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Women and Children, Robert Hessen
    • The Assault on Integrity, Alan Greenspan
    • The Property Status of Airwaves, Ayn Rand
    • Patents and Copyrights, Ayn Rand
    • Theory and Practice, Ayn Rand
    • Let Us Alone!, Ayn Rand
  • Current State
    • The Anatomy of Compromise, Ayn Rand
    • Is Atlas Shrugging?, Ayn Rand
    • The Pull Peddlers, Ayn Rand
    • “Extremism,” or The Art of Smearing, Ayn Rand
    • The Obliteration of Capitalism, Ayn Rand
    • Conservatism: An Obituary, Ayn Rand
    • The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus, Ayn Rand
    • The Wreckage of the Consensus, Ayn Rand
    • The Cashing-in: The Student Rebellion, Ayn Rand
    • Alienation, Nathaniel Brandon
    • Requiem for Man, Ayn Rand
  • Appendix
    • Man’s Rights, Ayn Rand
    • The Nature of Government, Ayn Rand
    • Recommended Bibliography
    • Index

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    "The United States was the first moral society in history. All previous systems had regarded man as a sacrificial means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself." (p 368)


    "Man is not a national resource..." (p 12)


    "To violate man's rights means to compel him to act against his own judgement, or to expropriate his values. Basically, there is only one way to do it: by the use of physical force. There are two potential violators of man's rights: criminals and the government."
    (p 370)


    "...a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of force."
    (p 42)


    "[The Declaration of Independance] provided the only valid justification of a government and defined its only proper purpose: to protect man's rights by protecting him from physical violence." (p 371)


    "Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned..." (p 10)


    "The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man's rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man's right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control." (p 10)


    "...no 'price war' has ever succeeded in creating a monopoly or in maintaining prices above market level, outside the law of supply and demand." (p 75)


    "It is a free market that makes monopolies impossible."
    (p 73)