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From Atlas To Capital - Everyone Is Shrugging

Tyler Durden's picture


From Mark Spitznagel, founder and chief investment officer of Universa Investments, a California-based hedge fund, first appearing in Project Syndicate

Capital Shrugged

Capitalism’s greatest strength has been its resiliency – its ability to survive the throes and challenges of crises and business cycles to fuel innovation and economic growth. Today, however, more than four years into a credit crisis, a conspicuous enigma calls this legacy into question.

Despite recent hopes of recovery in the US, including an inventory catch-up in the fourth quarter of 2011, real US GDP growth has remained persistently below trend. Moreover, although seasonally adjusted January employment data have brought the unemployment rate down to 8.3% (while total jobs were actually lost in January), the more realistic rate of “underemployment” remains over 15% and the labor-force participation rate is at a record 30-year low. And the US is clearly not alone in its malaise, with the eurozone fighting a far more urgent sovereign-debt crisis.

So, why is this time different? The answer lies in Ayn Rand’s rhetorical invocation of despair in her 1957 epic Atlas Shrugged: “Who is John Galt?” Simply put, when the state seizes the incentives and drivers of capital investment, owners of capital go on strike.

Rand portrays innovative industrialists as akin to Atlas in Greek mythology, carrying on his back a dystopian world of growing and overbearing collectivist government. The hero, John Galt, calls for them all to shrug, to “stop the motor of the world” by withdrawing from their productive pursuits, rather than promoting a world in which, under the guise of egalitarianism, incentives have been usurped in order to protect the politically connected from economic failure.

Today, Rand’s fictional world has seemingly become a reality – endless bailouts and economic stimulus for the unproductive at the expense of the most productive, and calls for additional taxation on capital investment. The shrug of Rand’s heroic entrepreneurs is to be found today within the tangled ciphers of corporate and government balance sheets.

The US Federal Reserve has added more than $2 trillion to the base money supply since 2008 – an incredible and unprecedented number that is basically a gift to banks intended to cover their deep losses and spur lending and investment. Instead, as banks continue their enormous deleveraging, almost all of their new money remains at the Fed in the form of excess reserves.

Corporations, moreover, are holding the largest amounts of cash, relative to assets and net worth, ever recorded. And yet, despite what pundits claim about strong balance sheets, firms’ debt levels, relative to assets and net worth, also remain near record-high levels.

Hoarded cash is king. The velocity of money (the frequency at which money is spent, or GDP relative to base money) continues to plunge to historic lows. No wonder monetary policy has had so little impact. Capital, the engine of economic growth, sits idle – shrugging everywhere.

Rand, perhaps better than any economic observer, underscored the central role of incentives in driving entrepreneurial innovation and risk-taking. Whittle away at incentives – and at the market’s ability to communicate them through price signals – and you starve the growth engine of its fuel. Alas, central bankers, with their manipulation of interest rates and use of quantitative easing, patently neglect this fact.

Interest rates are more than a mere economic input that determines levels of saving and investment. Rather, as the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises emphasized, they are a reflection of people’s aggregate time preference – or desire for present versus future satisfaction – not a determinant of it.

Interest rates thus incentivize and convey to entrepreneurs how to allocate capital through time. For example, lower interest rates and cost of capital raise the relative attractiveness of cash flows further in the future, and capital investment increases – the system’s natural homeostatic response to higher savings and lower consumption.

State manipulation of interest rates, however, does not influence time preference, even though it signals such a change. The resulting inconsistency creates distortions: as with any price control, capital receives an incentive to flow to investment that is inconsistent with actual supply and demand.

The Fed is purposefully and insidiously distorting the incentive system – specifically, signals provided by the price of money – resulting in mal-investment (and, when public debt is monetized, inflation). This can continue for a time, rewarding unproductive investments and aspiring oligarch-speculators who presume that the Fed has eliminated risk. But, as Rand reminds us, at some point the jig is up.

Today, after the largest credit expansion in history, that point has clearly been reached. Impassive capital now ignores deceptive market signals, and the liquidation of untenable mal-investment percolates through the system as immutable time preferences prevail.

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Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:32 | 2167824 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Just smile & wave & wave ;-)

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:09 | 2167599 Medea
Medea's picture

Citing Ayn Rand is an embarrassment.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:13 | 2167604 Squid Vicious
Squid Vicious's picture

ditto Alisa Rosenbaum

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:24 | 2167630 Big Corked Boots
Big Corked Boots's picture

And not citing Ayn Rand is ignorant.

If you read the book, the parallels are frightening. Say what you want about Objectivism, but we are in a deep hole right now and nobody (even Ron Paul, God bless him, only has a few ideas) has a path out of this.

I hope you recover from your MSM poisoning.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:15 | 2167786 Cdad
Cdad's picture

There is no "path out of this" for the arrival of financial truth...which means a deflationary collapse when these Fed policies are finally abandoned.  

On the other side of that, there is the path all Americans will walk, one of quiet subsistence living...and prayer....lasting for a good quarter century, I suspect.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:53 | 2168024 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Even though I understand what you mean when you say "deflation" I have to admit I don't care much for that term.  I prefer to say, "real money finding its true value"

I realize the silliness of this statement.....but I'm still caught in the phase where I think I can convince people of the truth(*) and thus avoid using terms polluted by MSM when making my case.

* I've read enough of your comments to know you are NOT in the group that requires further explanation & apologize if I came off that way above

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:32 | 2167644 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

What book would you suggest ZH members to read Medea?

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:43 | 2167693 Medea
Medea's picture

Exactly the problem. People want THE book, or THE writer, or THE philosophy. Shit don't work that way. Read as many thinkers as you can. Ayn Rand won't make the short list.


As for my supposed MSM brainwashing, my thinking Rand is a dullard has no bearing on my unwavering conviction that we are deeply fucked.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:15 | 2168080 Tortfeasor
Tortfeasor's picture

i notice you didn't answer the question.
Rand would agree that we're fucked, but probably for different reasons I'd wager.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:50 | 2168336 aaxiom
aaxiom's picture

Perfectly good substitutes for Rand would include Rothbard and von Mises. Rand was simply a little more in the controversial spotlight through her sensationalism of her material -- something that provided an income. 

Rothbard is -- by far -- one of the more accessible thinkers on this material. Would he make your short list, out of curiosity?

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:20 | 2167798 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

The road to serfdom is a must. " The theory of the leisure class" is another

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:55 | 2168027 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Economics in One Lesson is a fantastic place to start.  Short, sweet, and dispells many many economic myths in the process.

Beyond that, anything by Rothbard, Mises, Block, Molyneux are surefire winners......and I'm obv forgetting many.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:45 | 2168174 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

1984, from 1949; Brave New World, from 1931; None Dare Call It Conspiracy, from 1971; Animal Farm, from 1945; Harrison Bergeron from 1961; Flowers for Algernon from 1958; Brave New World Revisited from 1958....

Writing on the Wall, from 2012....

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:58 | 2168359 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Great list - Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 left an incredibly deep impression on me....even after reading 1984 and Brave New World.  All are brilliant.

Although I'm unsure of his angle, anything by Vonnegut is wortwhile too.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:09 | 2167895 4horse
4horse's picture

For a country to have a great writer is like having another government. That’s why no régime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.


here's why  .  .  .  a blueprint not to be printed


Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:54 | 2168340 xela2200
xela2200's picture

Economics Without Illusions: Debunking the Myths of Modern Capitalism -- Joseph Heath

Currency Wars -- Rickard.

The Richest Man in Babylon.


For fun:

Assholeology: The Science Behind Getting Your Way - and Getting Away with it

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:07 | 2168389 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

You weren't addressing me, but I'll contribute anyway.

"The Snow Leopard" Peter Matthiessen

"Catch-22" Joseph Heller

"Heart of Darkness" Josef Conrad

"The Illuminatus! Trilogy" Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea

"On the Road" Jack Kerouac

"The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" Carlos Castaneda

"The Tao of Physics" Fritjof Capra

"Tao Te Ching" Lao Tzu

"The Art of War" Sun Tzu

"Introduction to Zen Buddhism" Daisetzu Teitaro Suzuki (and any other essay by D.T. Suzuki)

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:21 | 2168438 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

Oh, I forgot a really fun one!

"Who's Afraid of Schrodinger's Cat? An A-Z Guide to All the New Science Ideas You Need to Keep Up with the New Thinking" Danah Zohar, Ian Marshall, F. David Peat

And we're rolling..

"Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" Edwin A. Abbot

"Stranger in a Strange Land" Robert Heinlein

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Ken Kesey

"Illusions" Richard Bach

"Grist for the Mill" Ram Dass

"The Good Earth" Pearl S. Buck

and.. "Fast Food Nation" Eric Schlosser

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 05:23 | 2168781 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

"Flatland" ~ Excellent!

-adding to list-

THE SECRET DOCTRINE (Blavatsky) ~ a light read (lol)

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 01:58 | 2168624 Cagliostro
Cagliostro's picture

Pardon my intrusion, however Currency Wars is a superb read, no doubt about it.  I would also like to add Paper Money Collapse by Detlev Schlichter.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:58 | 2167730 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

let me guess you think her writing is sophmoric and you were past after your senior year in high school and ad hominen ad hominen ad hominen. What is moronic is me responding to you. Back to producing something while you get back to tending your guinea pigs.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:10 | 2167600 dumpster
dumpster's picture

oh oh the eveill hording cash corporations ..

Corporations, moreover, are holding the largest amounts of cash, relative to assets and net worth, ever recorded. And yet, despite what pundits claim about strong balance sheets, firms’ debt levels, relative to assets and net worth, also remain near record-high levels.

Hoarded cash is king...

so why not hoard gold lol

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:41 | 2167690 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

When corporate sales deteriorate, that safety money will limp them along until the Government steps into loot the peasants again.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:16 | 2167606 dumpster
dumpster's picture

medea  ayn rand

you embarr-ass- your self with such talk.. the points of austrian economics are dead on. .. your keynesian clap trap is a nasty form of evil.

does mises of human action leave you breathless


something here you fail to understand

Simply put, when the state seizes the incentives
and drivers of capital investment, owners of capital go on strike.

atlas shrugged


Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:15 | 2167608 AUD
AUD's picture

Capital, the engine of economic growth, sits idle – shrugging everywhere.

Bullshit, the capital doesn't exist. Reserve balances with the Fed or any other central bank are an illusion when the central bank is the junk bond king.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:25 | 2167807 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I think whether it does or doesn't exist, it seems a bit silly to claim capital is the "engine" of anything.  I think labor may be more of an engine than capital. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:23 | 2167924 linrom
linrom's picture

At this point in the game, all capital is fictitious. It's backed by nothing except government jaw-boning. I wonder if Rand understood even this simple concept.



Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:19 | 2168093 Tortfeasor
Tortfeasor's picture

If you wonder at that, then I don't think you read her work.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:17 | 2167612 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

thank god for selling on ebay or i might have a tough time

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:22 | 2167625 johnberesfordti...
johnberesfordtiptonjr's picture

“Atlas Shrugged” indeed.

Ayn Rand, a psychopathic hypocrite to the very end…,_but_grabbed_social_security_and_medicare_when_she_needed_them/

The model for John Galt was a real life serial killer…

Positive references to Ayn Rand are a great way to immediately discredit your argument

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:30 | 2167654 JamesBond
JamesBond's picture

your post is an embarrsment to the concept of intelligence

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:52 | 2167715 malek
malek's picture

If you can't refute the message, demonize the messenger!

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:53 | 2167716 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Translation: It is hypocritical for a slave to take food from his master while also wanting freedom, and a serial killer was independant and self reliant, therefore all independant and self reliant people are serial killers.


Fri, 02/17/2012 - 05:27 | 2168784 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

kind of like the person (if they somehow knew) the day before the currency was going to blow up, maxing out all the credit cards & buying monster boxes of silver...

Some would call them a hypocrite... Others would call them a genius...

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:02 | 2167743 Saro
Saro's picture

It is not hypocritical to:

(A) Speak out against the persistent, ongoing theft from your wallet.

(B) Take back some of the money stolen from you, if offered.

I recommend you engage your brain, and then post.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:33 | 2167953 dumpster
dumpster's picture

rip out the  works  of david in old testiment

a murderer, an adulterer..

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:44 | 2169279 Archon7
Archon7's picture

And who are you?  Big Brother's thought inspector coming to straighten us up?

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:22 | 2167627 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Everybody is going Galt. Let them choke on their fiat´cause Homey don´t play that no mo´. 

Greece is just the practice on how to perform a banker coup and steal a country´s sovereignty. Iceland is the one that got away and they´ve been dissapeared from the discussion of options despite their success and comeback.






Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:26 | 2167640 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Ayn Rand never fully anticipated The Corporate Welfare State that exists today. With demand in the gutter since 07 there's no need to hope that another round of corporate bailouts isn't lurking just around the next corner. You know it is. Even if every customer drops dead, there will be record levels of cash and short term debt. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:51 | 2167814 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

People think they're clever bringing up objectivisim and Rand. But I never, ever, hear anyone talk about consumerism, conspicuous consumerism like Veblen and "The theory of the leisure class."

Which I think is quite evident and relevant today.

I'm not saying I agree with his ideas, just they need to be revisited

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:50 | 2168176 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

Bingo! That is what nobody wants to acknowledge. That stark reality that perhaps we really don't need 5 flat screen TV's, 46 pairs of shoes, 6 i-pods and have more food thrown away than some entire nations consume.

Perhaps corporations are hoarding their cash because they can see this writing on the wall?

The American people have purchased enough shit they don't need with money that they don't have to last them two lifetimes. And now it's time to slow the fuck down.

As Steven Wright said: "You can't have everything. Where would you keep it?"

The issue of consumerism is nicely detailed in a little video called The Story of Stuff;

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:18 | 2168427 xela2200
xela2200's picture

As Steven Wright said: "You can't have everything. Where would you keep it?


They keep all that crap at the self storage in the corner.


I don't have a problem with people buying whatever crap they want and driving big Escalades as long as THEY pay for it. The moment I have to give them a 9k credit for their McMansion or cash for their "clunker" or subsidies, then we have a problem.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:28 | 2167819 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Ayn Rand never fully anticipated The Corporate Welfare State that exists today.

Sure she did.  The conflict between Rearden's company and Boyle steel is a perfect example of the government's selection of a "preferred" corporation to gift with unearned transfer payments while the more productive company is pushed into failure by corrupt incentive schemes.

That's why we have Boeing and GM and GE and Goldman-Sachs running the planet.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:50 | 2168010 Tegrat
Tegrat's picture

Excellent reply.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:28 | 2167646 chump666
chump666's picture

That was a good article, you nailed with this; "Hoarded cash is king. The velocity of money (the frequency at which money is spent, or GDP relative to base money) continues to plunge to historic lows. No wonder monetary policy has had so little impact. Capital, the engine of economic growth, sits idle – shrugging everywhere."

Communism hit America via the FED, which operates like a rogue government. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:32 | 2167664 chump666
chump666's picture

Central Banks are disgusting. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:31 | 2167658 yabyum
yabyum's picture

^^^^^Caviar!! We are now suckling corporate whores, nothing more.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:31 | 2167661 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Count me in..

Let the shrugging begin.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:11 | 2167768 Don Birnam
Don Birnam's picture

Don't shrug too deep, Manthong. That flossie could render a serious rope-burn effect !

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:54 | 2167717 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

Context. Learn what it means. And slurs don't lend much credibility to the point you don't have. Back to your small little world. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:54 | 2167722 tmosley
tmosley's picture


Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:25 | 2167893 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

What nation did she wreck?

I mean, I've heard of 'home wreckers'....

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:48 | 2167706 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 What are central BANKS? ECB, BIS. FED. IMF, World Bank, BoJ, BoI, RBA, PBoC, I'm just getting started!

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:50 | 2167708 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

sounds like markSpitz_ knows a different "type" of "capitalist" than the ones at the table making bets on which card comes next~~red or black or whether their cards add up to more than the dealer's; within limits, of course

hey! maybe johnGalt would like the same ETFs you do! who knows? maybe you'd even be better at beatingTheHouse! imagine that!

why in the world would they call them securities if they weren't secure? we have rules, ya know? L0L!!!

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:55 | 2167723 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

The Olympics Don't count!

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:55 | 2167725 3FrenchHens
3FrenchHens's picture

Atlas had been on my reading list for 10 years before reading it in fall of '08.   Extremely powerful, insightful and scared the daylights out of me to see the parallels between book and reality. ... how did she say it 'sacrifice self for the good of the whole (society)' or something like that...   we are past the tipping point- too few of us still sacrificing for the whole and our society is disintegrating, just like Dagny's.  Like Rand or not, we are living parallel to her work of 'fiction.'   Going Galt??

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:15 | 2167785 Jason T
Jason T's picture

I'm working on Going Galt.  That is, at a minimun, being self sufficient in my energy and food needs.  Make my own bread, pizza dough and ice cream.  Beer is on the list of things to make self.  I envision this kind of lifestyle only growing for me and my family.  Being super productive and having great use of my engery flux density.  

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:24 | 2168448 xela2200
xela2200's picture

If you make Cigarettes with dollar signs in them, let me know.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:11 | 2167769 nachtliche
nachtliche's picture

Wow, a message board where people don't blindly and venomously hate Ayn Rand. There is a lot of truth and logic in her ideas, unfortunately few people can face the reality of them. I don't think companies are shrugging holding cash, they are in fear for their survival with what the government and banks might do next to further destroy the world economy. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:14 | 2167776 Snapperton
Snapperton's picture

My brother gave me Atlas Shrugged just a few months ago.  I think it is a fantastic book.  It is frightening to consider the parallels in our current scenario.  I don't think Ayn Rand was a prophet as suggested above.  She just understood human nature and the desire for control.  Total control of governments or financial institutions will always lead to failure, because humans want self determination, whether they claim it in their ideaology or not.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:29 | 2167808 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture

The failure of Central Planning continues, around the World. The following is from The Economist interview with Raul Castro, linked below:

"Raúl again stressed that the “updating of the model” is to perfect socialism, not scrap it. State planning will remain paramount. But the market will play a much bigger role. About 1m workers are to leave public jobs and set up small businesses. The libreta, the ration card that has guaranteed a (dwindling) monthly food supply to every Cuban for half a century, has become “an unbearable burden for the economy and a disincentive to work,” Raúl said. It will now go only to the neediest."

Giving people a guaranteed food supply 'a burden on the economy and a disincentive to work'. No shit? Really? Who could have predicted that?


Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:56 | 2167867 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Cooba may be a pretty cool place once I'm ready to retire ;-)

It's just a damned shame so many people have had to suffer over an ideal that was illogical from the start.

Which one works the hardest...the one who works for their own prosperity or the one who works for the states prosperity?

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:15 | 2167911 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture


An ideal that was illogical from the start. True, but they are not quitters!

“It’s really embarrassing that we have not solved this problem in more than half a century,” Raúl, who is aged 79, said"

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:19 | 2168092 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

...but we can solve it, now!

trust me!

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:33 | 2168139 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

I know for a fact that the US embargo has had more than a little to do with the difficulties on that Island.

Why that embargo continues to this day is beyond irrational.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:54 | 2168531 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Yet they can trade with the rest of the world and that is not enough? The US embargo has little to do with the failure of communism. They crushed the spirit of the people through a police state and there is no incentive to work hard

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 01:00 | 2168540 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

Yep sun tzu, communism, socialism, fascism (welfare statism) is indeed, a cancer to any self respecting human being.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:24 | 2168106 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

While I tend to agree that providing a guarantee of any sort is not sustainable if it is applied to everyone, I don't think that a society without any type of safety net for those most in need can be in any way considered a desirable or even safe place to live.

If all social safety nets are removed, you will see crime and suffering on a scale that you would not want to be anywhere near.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:39 | 2168485 xela2200
xela2200's picture

We are all humans with moral values rooted on our empathy for one another. Nobody is saying that the poor should be throughn into a bottomless pit. You can take a bit from the top and give it to the bottom.

I see a homeless guy in the corner of my house. I see him picking up half smoked cigarettes from the sidewalk and places them in his "Marlboro" box, so he can smoke them later. He has NEVER asked me for money. He only guards his shopping cart when I pass near him. I can't help to think to myself that the money spent in a couple of missiles could instead give him food and shelter for the rest of his life. So now, we are going to have him hungry, and we will see crime and suffering because those terrorists need to die.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:27 | 2168458 xela2200
xela2200's picture

In the early 70s Chile was going the way of Cuba. It took a bloody revolution and a few visits from Milton Friedman. Now you can compare and contrast the two countries.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 04:16 | 2168726 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The failure of Central Planning continues, around the World.


Central planning does not fail. Central planning no longer succeed because success is no longer on the table.

What is now is a 'crisis' in expansion.

The word crisis is improper because actually, it is what goes on every time an expansion scheme reaches the current stage.

As to the example, it is simply dressing. Work is consumption. If one does not have resources available to work, there can not be work.

Work itself is part of the unsustainable burden on the economy. A large part.

Outsourcing answers the necessity to reduce labour consumption foot print.

At start, US citizens were careless about that, and numerous examples allowing direct comparison between 'producers' around the world.

Who is the leecher? Who leeches on the other? The producer that consumes ten or twelve times more than the outsourced producer? Rhetorical question.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:44 | 2169272 Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture

Central Planning does not fail

Except for everywhere it's tried. A committee selects a working group, to appoint a commission, to create a Board, to decide what millions of people need and when the need it. Truly the FATAL CONCEIT.

Chinese citizen, accepted centuries of being owned and controlled by Emperors, now they accept the incompetence of Central Planners as perfectly normal.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 03:58 | 2172521 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The US colonization of Indian land was centrally planned. Did it failed?

Success begets failure. To fail, you might be able to succeed.

Calling for failure when there is no possibility of success is just that, US cheap propaganda.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:35 | 2167830 Corn1945
Corn1945's picture

The media is doing the best it can to convince everyone that the bailouts "saved us." It literally makes me sick to my stomach. 

We've become a bailout, grifter nation and the losses get socialized among the responsible. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:45 | 2167847 Comrade de Chaos
Comrade de Chaos's picture

AR had balls. It was F. Greenspan who scrwed her legacy and misunderstood her views. Well, that or just being  a hypocrate those veiws have never appealed to him in the first place. 

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:54 | 2167861 jimmyjames
jimmyjames's picture

Corporations, moreover, are holding the largest amounts of cash, relative to assets and net worth, ever recorded. And yet, despite what pundits claim about strong balance sheets, firms’ debt levels, relative to assets and net worth, also remain near record-high levels.


That's counting the same thing twice-

The cash or most of the cash on balance is debt and not cash-

It registers as cash because it's easily liquidated and can be deployed for whatever reason-but it is borrowed money and corporations borrowed it in case of another credit freeze up but they have no reason to expand their business into a falling economy-

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:56 | 2167864 thursday0451
thursday0451's picture

Do JP Morgan, Barclays, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank all possess a document with an explicit timeline for a Greek default on March 23rd?

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:01 | 2167877 luckylogger
luckylogger's picture

OK, so corporations are holding record amounts of capital. What is that money in? Could it be the same MBS that they held in 2008, as long as they do not sell them they can be held on the books at par. However if they sell them then it is M2M. Bet a buk to a dog-turd that the reason they are sitting on the money is that. So here are the CFO's taking down big bonuses because of what good stewards they are of the money, sweating bullets hoping that nobody notices. As long as you hold a security or plan on holding a security until expiration it is perfectly legal to hold it on the balance sheet at par.

Think about it.

Look up any company with a big cash position and read the MD&A and see where that cash really is.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:05 | 2167886 Igiveup
Igiveup's picture

I have been lurking this site for nearly two years.  I think I have read nearly every post that’s been made and most of the comments.  I tell everyone I care about if they really want to know what is going on in the world, they must visit this site, regularly.  I tell them to pay particular note to the comments section.   This is where the merits of the post are debated which bring opinion and insight to the post they couldn’t get elsewhere.  I seldom, if ever, post in part because of that.  It isn’t that I don’t have something I think I can add to the mix.  It’s because of the ferocity of the attacks by certain people who frequent this site who disagree with the opinions posted.  I don’t care how much self-esteem one has, no one cares to be treated like an idiot.


I read Atlas Shrugged.  The only thing harder than reading it was putting it down.  The mental midgets who frequent this site with their vitriol completely missed the point on the relevance of the posting.  That book was written in 1957.  It could have been written this morning.  Of all the things that have been posed to bring the sheeple to their senses, nothing would have a greater impact on them than having the “makers” of this world take a small holiday.  Imagine the world would react if every small business owner went on strike for one week.  The world as we know it would be changed irrevocably.


Lastly, I’m sure there are a large number of people who visit this site who would be more than happy to participate if it weren’t for the mental midgets.  Tear at me boys!!!!!!!!!!

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:34 | 2167957 Dagny Taggart
Dagny Taggart's picture


Nice comment.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:48 | 2167996 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You go, whoever you are. :>)

Thank you for your honest and open comment. One of the most difficult things for many people to do here on the Hedge is to jump into the fray and leave comments, primarily because of the mean spirit exhibited by a few. Ignore the hoopleheads and jump back in regularly. Your contribution is welcome and wanted by many here on the Hedge, including the silent majority who for the most part read but do not comment.

Thank you.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:04 | 2168042 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Welcome!   Great comment, and true.  I waited over six months to start commenting....but overall I'm glad I did because people here aren't shy about throwing the BS flag.  I look at it as a mental exercise (internet toughguys notwithstanding, of course)

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:57 | 2168214 infinity8
infinity8's picture

Thanks for speaking up and, "how do?" You said "Imagine the world would react if every small business owner went on strike for one week." Other posters have talked about public companies borrowing $$. Different story. In my real-world anecdotal experience, private $$ is folding every hand and many have left the poker room completely.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 01:06 | 2168550 xela2200
xela2200's picture

I was in country once that did just that even under threat of penalty of law. The transportation sector was mostly private, and when they joined in, the economic activity of the country slow to a stand still. It was like a ghost town. It took the government 3 days to come to the negotiation table. If we could just do that in this country, ...

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:11 | 2167903 whateverwhatever
whateverwhatever's picture

Great article! This is a fresh interpretation of Ayn Rand that for once does not dwell on individual ethics. For a long time I dismissed Rand as morally and ethically bankrupt, not in the least because of personal (read: religious) objections to her absolute rejection of altruism.

Objectivism, or at least this author's take on it, has a point with regard to the welfare democracies (e.g. eurozone). The social market economy can't spur growth through entrepreneurial initiative and incentive if revenue is focused on an aging population. Even a federalization of the euro and a eurozone standardization of retirement age, pension policies, etc. will not lift this burden from Europe.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:15 | 2167913 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

unproductive at the expense of the most productive,

What do you have in mind?

What are considered to be productive are the most dependent upon debt subsidy. What is considered the most productive are the most destructive. We subsidize what destroys us.

What the subsidized industries possess is subsidized advertising. They may 'productivity' claims that are never scrutinized, that never meet the simple standard of self-reliance.

Subsidies flow to the center, to the most dependent and the most destructive. Take away the (debt) subsidies and industry dies.

Innovation, entrepreneurs ... cut off their heads. Just more thieves.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:57 | 2168032 jimmyjames
jimmyjames's picture

Subsidies flow to the center, to the most dependent and the most destructive. Take away the (debt) subsidies and industry dies.

Innovation, entrepreneurs ... cut off their heads. Just more thieves.


What a defeatest Marxist view-

Take away the subsidies and they'll either adjust or die and move out of the way and it will be taken over by someone who can find a way to make the industry viable ie:

The innovators and the entrepreneurs-

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 04:04 | 2168718 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Made me laugh.

The current path to viable is actually non viable.

Someone who found that the business can no longer viable does not enable the jump to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 06:25 | 2168820 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture


Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:24 | 2169220 jimmyjames
jimmyjames's picture

Someone who found that the business can no longer viable does not enable the jump to innovation and entrepreneurship.



Was/Is GM a viable business in its past debt laden and current taxpayer funded form?

Is/Could the auto industry be a viable industry if it was restructured and made profitable?

I suspect it would be-

Show me that it couldn't be-



Sat, 02/18/2012 - 04:01 | 2172525 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

What is that? Nothing.

Business being viable does not mean that business can always be viable.

Viable is viable until it is no longer viable.

People who keep hammering the fallacy that because a demand exists, an offer to meet that demand is always physically possible, kick the can.

And kicking the can is part of US citizenism.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 04:01 | 2168716 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

What are considered to be productive are the most dependent upon debt subsidy. What is considered the most productive are the most destructive. We subsidize what destroys us.


Alas, alas, alas, alas... This angle is the result of an consumption based approached.

Yes, production is consumption.

Today is the stalling point of an expansion scheme.

Much less increase of consumption due to mechanical addition of inputs brought by consumption.

The story about production, producers and non producers etc is just the way for US citizens to determine who is going to be allowed to keep consuming.

The fun part is that as US citizens can not self indict and as they are the biggest consumers around, that is the heaviest burden on the unsustainable trend they have set, they are going to keep pushing under the train all the low level consumers.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:23 | 2167931 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

The author of this article runs a $6B hedge fund.  Personal wealth is his obsession.  Greed is good.  Of course he worships Rand.   

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:28 | 2167941 13thWarrior
13thWarrior's picture

Hillarious headline.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:07 | 2168051 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

Hey troops,


If you haven't seen this one, Charles Hugh Smith knocks it out of the park today.  Why is unemployment 8.3% when we have the same # employed as in 2009 when it was 10%, but with 6 million more people in the workforce?

The Grand Game of Perception Management

February 16, 2012     (Mobile version)

The economy will expand if you believe it is expanding--because you'll be "animal spirited" into buying a lot of stuff on credit that you can't afford.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:11 | 2168062 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

Yes it's an excellent article. It was post here on ZH yesterday. Many articles from Of Two Minds are.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:09 | 2168056 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

When someone running a hedge fund starts talking about "unproductive" people living at the expense of the "productive"'s hard not to laugh in his face.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:11 | 2168251 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

Our nation (as well as others) has seemingly lost the underlying ideas behind the "Protestant Work Ethic". It was that middle word thing - work. Work became a bad thing somehow. If you actually "worked" for a living - you were less somehow.

The Rentier class is where it is at nowadays.

It has gotten so bad that people do not seem to recognize the difference between  actually "working" and "investing". Lest anyone think that I denigrate investing - it is seeking to profit greatly with no possibility of loss that I object to. Risk and reward are supposed to be trade-offs. Not nowadays...

I realize that my point of view (opinion) will hardly be applauded on a site like this one but I believe that "scarcity" is what gives something it's value. So, if I work a lot - then I enjoy my leisure time the more.

I would just point out that aristocrats throughout history were always troubled by boredom or ennuie - and needed to keep raising the bar to relieve their torpid lives.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 07:43 | 2168861 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

US citizens lose nothing. They wanted to become rentiers.

Remember, US citizens of A started their classwarfare revolution because they wanted to obtain the same priviledges as nobles.

The ethic is nothing.

Work consumes resources. With no resources, you cant work.

Under what rationale one should allow access to resources to someone who is going to consume ten or twelve times the amount of resources another person uses to achieve the same productivity?

US citizens have built their own environment. They've got what thay've strived for.

They have been successful.

But US citizens whose future resembles with paradise lost now want a change in rules.

When you start to being a loser, it is always too late to protest the game's rules.

Must be done before joining the game. That is all the difference between someone looking for one's best interests and a sore loser.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:20 | 2168097 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

What I always enjoy about the "theoretical debates" that take place about the merits of capitalism and Ayn Rand and our current situation is how few people seem to pay attention to "profit maximization" as a concept.

You are a corporation. You have a good idea. You bring it to the marketplace - it sells. You make awesome money. Your profits are a signal to others to enter the market. Do you:

a) innovate innovate innovate

b) compete on price and quality and service

c) juice the government to erect artificial but effective barriers to entry


Any answer is acceptable practice - but which one is easier?

You can blame the government - but they do not legislate in a vacuum. Where else can you have bankers complaining about government regulation immediately after "saving the financial world". Gakkk!!! The truly incredible levels of hypocrisy currently present in our nation are so far beyond my worst nightmares - it is breath-taking.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:30 | 2168129 egoist
egoist's picture

Obviously missing from the scene: John Galt and his motive. His message to this culture would be - I am not going to enable you bastards! I do not see anyone with that take; I do see a lot of bitterness over the moochers' excesses. But who is worse?: the moocher gnawing off your limbs, or the guy that says you may only gnaw of my fingers and toes?


If you're an AR fan, check out

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:56 | 2168156 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Rand was right to focus on selfishness, but she got it wrong when she characterized it as a virtue. It is not a virtue or a vice, it is a human fact of life. Everyone is selfish and that is what leads to the one core principle that explains everything we are seeing on a daily basis: the Tragedy of the Commons.

There is no such thing as individual or collective self restraint for the common good. We are like rabbits and rats. We are here to Fuck away. There are the Fuckers and the Fuckees. There are big Fuckers and little Fuckers and they will keep Fucking until there is no one left to Fuck or they die, whichever comes first. Those who stop Fucking are primarily worried about getting Fucked and the Fuckers still having a good time. The world is currently run by the biggest Fuckers ever known to mankind.

Anyone who believes otherwise has a lot of explaining to do based on a basic reading of the current human predicament.

On 'The Virtue of Fucking', someone should write a book and call it 'Atlas Fucked'.


Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:00 | 2168221 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

Somebody sort of wrote something like that already. A play called "Shopping and Fucking".

It's a play that premiered in London in 1995 or 96. the basic theme is that of a world where consumerism is the new god and all things, including sex, are but a transaction to facilitate further consumption.

I'm pretty sure it also played in NYC.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:03 | 2168231 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

Mor Frazetta pleeze.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:07 | 2168236 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

The book your looking for might be the one someone mentioned earlier in the thread, though I'm not sure they meant to endorse it.

"The Satanic Bible", check it out.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:50 | 2168338 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture


Don't let the fuckers get you down.  Selfishness may be a human condition, but it IS a vice.  Rand lived in an amoral world that does not exist.  People are good.  People are evil.   Some are more than others.   Let's root for the good to win.  

The tragedy of the commons only plays out when the fuckers are in charge of the commons.   America proved for decades that while perfection does not exist on earth, things can be a helluva lot better than where we are going.  


Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:48 | 2168520 tmosley
tmosley's picture

What is good?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:57 | 2168536 Hiro Protagonist
Hiro Protagonist's picture

Have you read Human Action?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 04:19 | 2168730 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Everyone is selfish and that is what leads to the one core principle that explains everything we are seeing on a daily basis: the Tragedy of the Commons.

There is no such thing as individual or collective self restraint for the common good.

With US citizenism, there is no restraint for the private good either.

The tragedy of the commons is just the public facet on the coin. The same happens without common property.

Yes, US citizen nature is eternal.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 22:52 | 2168199 Dermasolarapate...
Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

Bonus Bailout Season coming up!  Will Barry hand another record high year of Bailout Bonuses to Wall Street Bankers?


"...endless bailouts and economic stimulus for the unproductive at the expense of the most productive...."

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:03 | 2168229 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

It doesn't matter who's in office. They still work for the banks. Who do you think puts them in office? The people? Please.

Until you see that, you'll continue to be distracted by the great American puppet show known as "elections".

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:13 | 2168408 Burr's 2nd Shot
Burr's 2nd Shot's picture

I never get tired of the below.  Attack Ayn Rand as a person all you want, but if you don't understand the below, well, I wish you luck in your future career as someone else's dinner.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil? . . . Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor—your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left toyou by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions—and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money ismade—before it can be looted or mooched—made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced."

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 09:12 | 2168993 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce.


Made me laugh. It is so stupid.
The only thing one has to understand when being forcefed that kind of drivel: that is a litmus test provided by a US citizen group to see if you fit in, are ready to submit and admit some kind of obvious drivel as the glue of the group, your loyalty to the group being shown by defending passionately that thick packet of nonsense.

Money allows only the trade of goods that are produced? What kind of fantasy is that hogwash?

Since when pasture lands are produced? You cant buy pasture land with money because money is only made possible by men who produce?

And that is the hall mark of US citizenism.

The group, the group, the group, the group. Submission, submission, submission, submission. Deny reality, deny reality, deny reality, deny reality.

That is cult.

US citizenism: abandon all common sense, ye who enters here.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 09:17 | 2169009 Chump
Chump's picture

Are you fucking stupid?  Scratch that, of course you are.  And if "pasture land" is your best example of something that "isn't produced," then you've obviously never cleared land, grubbed it, seeded it, and maintained it.  What a damn nose-picking, spitting, babbling idiot.  And with that akak can eat your lunch.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 09:49 | 2169098 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

If you had any idea of the complexity of a "simple" meadow or even the processes that enable the formation of top soil, you'd probably be scared. It isn't simply a case that you can bung on fertliser / weed killer and some seeds & expect your land to be productive: it is predicated on 1'000s of years of that land being home to what we call "life".

Your user name & photo are extremely well-adapted to your form, however. Who said Americans don't do irony? If anything, all education needs basic biology + ecology to be taught as mandatory - I realise this is a big issue in a country so vapidly regressive that teaching Creation vrs Evolution is problematic.


Hint: Creationists ain't going to make that Darwinian curve, and God won't fix your crops.



Disclosure: managed 90 acres of grassland / pasture.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 09:58 | 2169117 Chump
Chump's picture

Why would you respond to something that I didn't say?  In fact, your response confirms my point.  If you've managed even an acre of pastureland then you ought to know it doesn't just magically appear after "1'000s of years" and remain as is, and you said as much as if I had disagreed.  And then you slay some mighty strawmen, making great strides for Darwinism, or something.  Irony, you say?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:08 | 2169163 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

You're right, it doesn't "magically appear".

The point is that you're taking advantage of processes and ignoring the costs that they entail. This is what happens when you have that type of thinking:


The issue is you're thinking short-term (i.e. "How much effort mechanical or otherwise [aka Energy] does it take to maintain land in a monoculture type beneficial only to humans / flora/fauna useful to humans") when I'm thinking slightly longer term (i.e. "How much energy / species diversity does it take to maintain land in an ecosystem that can be classified as complex"). It wasn't a strawman, it was pointing out your... narrow boundaries.


Note: you should really do some research on the current conditions of the American plains / agriculture, regarding water usage, energy expenditure, changing weather patterns and efficiency. Growing tomatoes in florida, for instance. Hint: it's a massive disaster just about to happen.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:16 | 2169192 Chump
Chump's picture

The strawman, as I clearly said, is your inclusion of creationism vs evolution in the discussion.  It is irrelevant and your purpose was merely to appear intellectual.

I get that ecosystems are complex and I can't create topsoil by buying a bigger tractor.  But a picture of Mars?  Really?  Well done, you've completely convinced me that no effort is needed to produce or maintain pastureland.  All my work and the work of those around me is for naught.  Because the Dust Bowl.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:30 | 2169238 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

That inclusion is incredibly important: if you lack the basic scientific knowledge to understand the processes involved, then all your efforts will necessarily fail, and you won't fix them.

And again, you miss the point:

If you "maintain" pasture land by relying purely on massive influxes of petro-chemically produced fertilisers / pesticides, then your pasture land will necessarily collapse and no longer be pasture land once you remove them. You're ignoring the hidden costs of your system as "free" (i.e. Topsoil is fertile "just because" or "this land is suitable for farming "because it always has been"" or "God gave us this fertile land") ~ when they're not. And hidden costs have a way of turning around and biting you in the ass (read the fine print on any GS contract).

The logical fallacy you're committing is that Capital = energy surplus once my work + my energy input is taken out. There's a huge other category you've not included the costs of.... and this is very much a subsidy, even though it is a hidden one. And we all know how much farmers hate subsidies... right?

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:42 | 2169275 Chump
Chump's picture

So to recap, AnAnonymousAsshole implies that pastureland simply is, therefore, something.  No one's every really sure what he's trying to say anyway.  My response is along the lines, "shut the fuck up, pastureland isn't free."  And all your responses to me, so far, have implied that I'm leaving out important information about just how "unfree" pastureland really is.

If you're going to pile on with my comment and add information then by all means do so.  But don't infer that you know a single thing about what I do or how I do it, whether through fertilizers or pesticides or Wiccan chants.  Doing so, and including completely unrelated topics designed to make you feel superior just make you seem silly.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:56 | 2169348 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

My responses were intended to highlight the elephant in Ayn Rand's room.


I'm afraid I just piggy-backed this part of the thread to see what came out of it.

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 04:08 | 2172526 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

My response is along the lines, "shut the fuck up, pastureland isn't free. _____________________________________________________ Nice sidetracking. Hollow. The point was not about free or unfree goods but that money is enabled by goods produced by men.

Pastureland existed way before the human species walked the Earth.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 00:21 | 2168440 Blkhat117
Blkhat117's picture

Wyatt's Torch - "I'm leaving it as I found it. Take over its yours."

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 04:07 | 2168721 Baleful Runes 4 U
Baleful Runes 4 U's picture

Rand is ridiculous.  Nietzsche demolished the notion of "ethical selfishness" before she was born (and Stirner did before him). She writes fantasy works, but it's a good laugh to see it labeled Objectivism.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 04:22 | 2168735 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

She is part of those US citizen thinkers who probably understood that US citizenism led intellectualism to a corner and in an attempt to maintain their trade sector, have begun to substitute confirmed knowledge with fantasy.

Those thinkers got rid of the past without infirming it.

They built their work denying the past, relying on the faith of their followers.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 04:39 | 2168751 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

There is somehow a kind of dementia dimension in US citizenism.

US citizens come in small rival churches. One church is the truthers or the factists.

US citizens are funny because when you observe them,very often, you have to conclude that they are the opposite of what they would want to be seen as.
Probably US citizen passion for the group and their hatred on individuality.

Factists would like to be seen as people who abide by facts where in fact they are the most opiniated in denying facts.

Competition was characterized by the 1900s. The characterization bore fruits along the 20th century, with many practical applications in sectors like marketing.

None of the thinkers US citizens usually quote managed to infirm that characterization (that met validity in reality)

One characteristic of competition is it is a quantifying process. As such, one needs a rule to measure up competitiveness.

No competition process exists without one rule.

The major consequence: the best competitive edge is given by manipulating the rule.

If you manage to achieve the yardstick measures more when it applies to you and less when it applies to others, you have given yourself the best competitive edge possible.

Now, connection to today.

That is where the insanity kicks in.

Some US citizens have grown better to manipulate the rules than others. Mere competition.

Yet, the other US citizens scream that these rules must be repelled as such to allow competition.

But we are in the thick of the competition process.

Any US citizen paying the arbitrator to change the rule in one's favour is competiting.

If you are no longer able to do that, it means you are on the losing side.

And competition is about determining winners and losers.

That is the insanity.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 07:44 | 2168863 gogalt
gogalt's picture

Today, Rand’s fictional world has seemingly become a reality

I suppose it sums up answers to a lot of questions(( Well, I hope next generation's children will learn Atlas and 1985 in schools to extend the time of not repeating same mistakes as much as possible

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 08:45 | 2168931 DonGenaro
DonGenaro's picture

Having pissed in the soup, they blame the recipe.

i.e. the problem is NOT capitalism, but govts meddling in it.


Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:13 | 2169078 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

Mark Pointed Nails? Gotta love that Illuminated sense of humour.

Am I not the only person who finds a person who utilises other people's capital to invest in a market and leeches a 2/20% fee off doing so as not one of the Galts, but actually one of the parasites?

Just saying.

....Anyhow. Rand, despite the love & devotion she inspires in adolescent mind-sets, is manifestly both a terrible philosopher (objectivism is a pile of logical fallacies and utter tripe) and terrible psychologist. Altruism does exist, and has been proven to both motivate people, social groupings (both non-human and human) and provide a core reason for numerous behaviours. To insist that it doesn't is to be ignorant of a great deal of biological & ecological thinking. For one thing, the dynamics of human - non-human interactions (and even between mammal species without 'human rationality') is currently spurring a lot of interesting research (example, example, example).

Oh - and one thing that all of her work ignores: in complex systems (such as we live in), if you do not fully calculate the 'free' inputs you're using (for instance: clean water, clean air, free waste removal etc) then you're lying to yourself and everyone else. You know, "Privatise the gains, Socialise the penalties" part of big Capital that everyone here rails against?





If you like Rand's view of the world, you're simply admitting that you have no idea what the real thinkers of the last 50 years have been doing, and are looking for a teenage wish-fulfilment that fits your narrow abilities. It's the same deal as thinking that the Kardashian's marital relationship is either newsworthy or healthy ~ only the vapid & psycho-sexually / emotionally crippled think so.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:59 | 2169306 Archon7
Archon7's picture

Have you ever noticed how any talk of Ayn Rand draws to most radicalized left-wing loonies out and makes them froth at the mouth?  That one thing alone is evidence enough that Ayn Rand is worth reading.  It's as if the thing they fear the most is Atlas shrugging, because when that happens the freebies stop flowing from the productive people to the parasites, and that thought is unbearable to them.

Fri, 02/17/2012 - 13:04 | 2170120 gina distrusts gov
gina distrusts gov's picture

I read  Rand in the 60's thought it was a interesting fictional world. Now I see how she missed the boat Grossly under estimated the level of corruption and also missed the boat on there being people that cared enough about doing what was right VS expedient (profitable)at the expense of those that worked to make it possible. there is no J Galt!! just a endless line of thieves in politics, business, banks and unions

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