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FReeper Book Club: Atlas Shrugged, Account Overdrawn
A Publius Essay | 25 April 2009 | Publius

Posted on 04/25/2009 7:44:08 AM PDT by Publius

Part II: Either-Or

Chapter V: Account Overdrawn

Synopsis

Things in America have gone to hell in a handbasket.

There is a new man at the Taggart Transcontinental board meeting, Clem Weatherby, who is from the government. Whether he is a guest, adviser, or the government’s rail czar, no one knows or dares to ask.

Jim wants to raise freight rates, but Weatherby cuts him off and explains that Wesley Mouch wants to discuss the unions’ demand for a pay raise and the shippers’ demand for a freight rate cut. While Mouch likes Jim, he feels it might be necessary to sacrifice his personal feelings and friendships for the welfare of the public. The unions can call on five million votes, and with the current inflation the members need something to offset the cost of living. But the shippers can’t survive with the current freight rates either.

Jim is aghast because the National Alliance of Railroads has taken a stance against the unions, and all signatories are required to stay on board. Weatherby wants Jim to drive a wedge into the Alliance for Mouch’s sake. Jim fears what a court would do, but Weatherby explains that Mouch controls the courts. But the railroad can’t afford it, Jim moans. Weatherby asks Jim if he wants the government to tell him how to run his railroad.

The board asks Dagny for her opinion, but she declines and says her written report is sufficient. The chairman says it will do no good to play the blame game, i.e. assess responsibility. One practical man on the board says it’s time to reopen the rules about train length and speed, but Weatherby cuts him off. Everyone now understands that it would be best to tear up the John Galt Line and use the Rearden Metal rail for the rest of the network. Dagny tells the board that the Taggart system’s days are numbered. Weatherby stops them by saying they need government approval to close a branch line, but if Jim gives Mouch something in return, like the raise for the unions... Jim still can’t break with the Alliance, so Weatherby explains that the government could easily call the Taggart bonds. Jim is furious, stating that the freeze was an obligation, a contract, but Weatherby says there are no obligations except the necessity of the moment. Jim has to take the deal.

Upon leaving the board meeting, Dagny runs into Francisco, who has been waiting for her. He surmises what has happened and asks her to go out with him for a drink.

At the bar Francisco slowly begins the recruitment of Dagny Taggart. She talks about her ancestor Nat Taggart and the travails of building the bridge across the Mississippi. Francisco asks, “What would Nat do?” Dagny thinks he would fight. He asks about the John Galt Line, and she says she will tear it up.

Dagny wonders what Francisco has done to Hank. First, Hank liked him, and now Hank wants to kill him. Francisco explodes, “He was the only man – with one exception – to whom I could have given my life!” He won’t tell Dagny who the other man is except that he has given his life to him. Dagny spots the telltale question, “Who is John Galt?”, scratched in the table. He tells her that Galt is Prometheus – who changed his mind. Torn by vultures, he broke his chains and withdrew his fire until the men withdraw their vultures.

Dagny and Hank tour Colorado looking to pick up whatever machinery can be found in the state’s closed factories. Colorado has gone to hell in a handbasket.

A crowd lines up at the station for the last passenger train on the John Galt Line before its removal. Dagny runs into people who scream that the rich should be destroyed, and Hank saves her by leading her to her private car.

Lillian Rearden has lunch with Jim Taggart in New York. Jim tells Lillian that Hank needs to have his attitude adjusted, or really bad things will happen to him – and her. The men in Washington think that Jim has some pull with Hank, and they are leaning on him to bring Hank into line. Jim is furious at Hank’s performance at his trial; Lillian was supposed to get him to toe the line. Lillian says she didn’t double-cross him but tried to deliver Hank and failed. The only thing that Lillian wants out of the meeting is the knowledge that she had the clout to get Jim Taggart to meet with her.

Lillian goes to Hank’s suite at the Wayne-Falkland and calls the mill, asking Hank’s whereabouts. He is on the Comet, she is informed, so Lillian asks for flowers to be delivered to his compartment at the stop in Chicago. But the flowers go undelivered, and Lillian deduces that Hank is on the train with his mistress. Lillian meets the Comet at the Taggart Terminal and sees Hank walking alone. Then she spots Dagny exiting her private car, and the penny drops.

At the hotel Lillian confronts Hank, and he admits that Dagny is his paramour. Lillian now understands Hank’s performance at the trial! She demands that Hank give her up, but he refuses. Hank quietly tells Lillian he will keep Dagny even if it means Lillian’s life; he wants a divorce. Lillian goes ballistic, accusing Dagny of bedding every man on the railroad; Hank looks like he is going to kill her and tells her she is cruising for a bruising. Lillian won’t grant him a divorce. She leaves, and Hank feels a sense of deliverance.

The Friends of Wesley Mouch

Buzzy Watts, Chick Morrison, Tinky Holloway and Kip Chalmers. What a collection of names! There is a sense that Rand is playing with the reader here, but in fact she is making a point. Nicknames like this – along with Muffy and Buffy – are common at Ivy League schools and especially at Yale University. You can be sure that at Patrick Henry University, nobody was called Tinky!

Without being obvious about it, it is clear that Rand held the Ivy League in low esteem. As the story progresses, the reader sees the disasters caused by the hubris of Ivy League dilettantes with no experience of the real world. One turns to humorist Art Buchwald’s 1974 comment that the Harvard Business School should be shut down as a threat to national security.

Discussion Topics

Next Saturday: Miracle Metal


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Free Republic; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: atlasshrugged; aynrand; freeperbookclub

1 posted on 04/25/2009 7:44:08 AM PDT by Publius
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To: ADemocratNoMore; Aggie Mama; alexander_busek; AlligatorEyes; AmericanGirlRising; Amityschild; ...
FReeper Book Club

Atlas Shrugged

Part II: Either-Or

Chapter IV: Account Overdrawn

Ping! The thread is up.

Earlier threads:
FReeper Book Club: Introduction to Atlas Shrugged
Part I, Chapter I: The Theme
Part I, Chapter II: The Chain
Part I, Chapter III: The Top and the Bottom
Part I, Chapter IV: The Immovable Movers
Part I, Chapter V: The Climax of the d’Anconias
Part I, Chapter VI: The Non-Commercial
Part I, Chapter VII: The Exploiters and the Exploited
Part I, Chapter VIII: The John Galt Line
Part I, Chapter IX: The Sacred and the Profane
Part I, Chapter X: Wyatt’s Torch
Part II, Chapter I: The Man Who Belonged on Earth
Part II, Chapter II: The Aristocracy of Pull
Part II, Chapter III: White Blackmail
Part II, Chapter IV: The Sanction of the Victim

2 posted on 04/25/2009 7:45:42 AM PDT by Publius (Sex is the manifestation of God's wicked sense of humor.)
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To: Publius

Change the names, and this is pretty close to reality.


3 posted on 04/25/2009 7:52:45 AM PDT by Montfort
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To: Publius
Will they hire and fire bank management and board members? Nah-h-h, it could never happen here.

Directive 10-289, TARP and you...

4 posted on 04/25/2009 7:54:03 AM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Barak Obama: Pontificator in Chief and Poster Child for the Peter Principle)
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To: Montfort
Things aren't as bad in reality as they are in the book. Maintenance hasn't collapsed, nor have government services.

One more winter, maybe...

5 posted on 04/25/2009 7:56:24 AM PDT by Publius (Sex is the manifestation of God's wicked sense of humor.)
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To: Publius

Please add me to your PING list. I just received the Kindle2 for my birthday and am always looking for good books.


6 posted on 04/25/2009 8:02:37 AM PDT by submarinerswife ("If I win I can't 't be stopped! If I lose I shall be dead." - George S. Patton)
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To: Publius
Thanks once again Publius!

I like your analogy-"Keep this in mind as we read further and find the ripples in the pond expanding into tsunamis. "

A ship at sea hardly feels the passing of the tsunami beneath it, the volume of water being so great. As the energy reaches the shallower water near shore, it is concentrated into a much smaller volume with devastating effects. We are at this time feeling a slight jolt as does the ship at sea.

7 posted on 04/25/2009 8:04:20 AM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: Publius

I certainly appreciate your excellent summary.


8 posted on 04/25/2009 8:07:59 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: Publius

Once again, thanks Publius.


9 posted on 04/25/2009 8:12:46 AM PDT by demsux
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To: Publius
Buzzy Watts, Chick Morrison, Tinky Holloway and Kip Chalmers. What a collection of names! There is a sense that Rand is playing with the reader here, but in fact she is making a point. Nicknames like this – along with Muffy and Buffy – are common at Ivy League schools and especially at Yale University. You can be sure that at Patrick Henry University, nobody was called Tinky!

All the times I've read this book, I've never caught that. Thanks for the insight.

10 posted on 04/25/2009 8:22:02 AM PDT by Mad-Margaret
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To: Publius

Brilliant. Thanks so much for your concise description.


11 posted on 04/25/2009 9:41:33 AM PDT by Sundog (Forget the Tea Party. We need a Washington DC rocket club to hold a launch at the national mall.)
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To: Publius

Rand shows what happens when the economy is weakened and society must contend with an environmental challenge. The leftist wants to weaken the economy in the name of climate change so that when environmental catastrophes do occur, the public will be less able to cope with a disaster and the government will be able to assume more power.


12 posted on 04/25/2009 10:03:45 AM PDT by grumpygresh (Conservatives of the world UNITE!)
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To: Publius

Rand shows what happens when the economy is weakened and society must contend with an environmental challenge. The leftist wants to weaken the economy in the name of climate change so that when environmental catastrophes do occur, the public will be less able to cope with a disaster and the government will be able to assume more power.


13 posted on 04/25/2009 10:04:48 AM PDT by grumpygresh (Conservatives of the world UNITE!)
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To: Publius
Buzzy Watts, Chick Morrison, Tinky Holloway and Kip Chalmers. What a collection of names! There is a sense that Rand is playing with the reader here, but in fact she is making a point. Nicknames like this – along with Muffy and Buffy – are common at Ivy League schools and especially at Yale University. You can be sure that at Patrick Henry University, nobody was called Tinky!

Without being obvious about it, it is clear that Rand held the Ivy League in low esteem. As the story progresses, the reader sees the disasters caused by the hubris of Ivy League dilettantes with no experience of the real world. One turns to humorist Art Buchwald’s 1974 comment that the Harvard Business School should be shut down as a threat to national security.

Fascinating. I thought Rand just had a thing for goofy names or was trying to tell us they were all dorks. I had no idea there was an actual real world allusion there.

14 posted on 04/25/2009 10:07:12 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: grumpygresh
Rand shows what happens when the economy is weakened and society must contend with an environmental challenge.

Sort of. The whole environmental thing was on nobody's map in 1957. It didn't rear its ugly head until the late Sixties.

15 posted on 04/25/2009 11:42:48 AM PDT by Publius (Sex is the manifestation of God's wicked sense of humor.)
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To: Publius; Montfort
Things aren't as bad in reality as they are in the book

Yep, not yet.

Rand is not unlike Nostradamus

Just a little more accurate...

16 posted on 04/25/2009 11:47:07 AM PDT by Syncro (Tagline closed for repairs)
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To: Still Thinking

Same here.


17 posted on 04/25/2009 11:48:32 AM PDT by CottonBall
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To: Publius
Howdy Pub’!

Chapter 15, “Account Overdrawn,” finds us in the February of a particularly cruel winter, some five months after Francisco threw down the gauntlet at James Taggart’s wedding party with his Root of Money speech. It has not been a time of untrammeled success for the central planners of the Aristocracy of Pull. Danagger’s replacement cannot deliver coal, Taggart cannot run trains without it, and Rearden cannot produce metal without it either. Danagger’s withdrawal is proving to be a crucial, strategic blow to the production of the surplus that keeps the looters in business.

Honest production – that is, the sort that is not covered by centralized planning – now being illegal, Rearden finds himself purchasing coal on the black market, produced by men desperate to feed their families.

They mined it at night, they stored it in hidden culverts, they were paid in cash, with no questions asked or answered…they and Rearden traded like savages, without rights, titles, contracts, or protection, with nothing but mutual understanding and a ruthlessly absolute observance of one’s given word.

The ripple effect is in full evidence and it is not a pretty sight. Delays are trivial and excused in the boardroom, deadly in the field: trains of produce spoil (apparently even in the winter) and people do not eat, factories and lumberyards find production halted and fold. Passengers are stranded in the middle of nowhere in a driving snowstorm without fuel or supplies, their only beacon of civilization in the wilderness being the desolate flickering of Wyatt’s Torch. They may feel that civilization has abandoned them; Rand later will be more explicit about it but in fact it is they who have abandoned it. The machine is running down.

We learn something curious about the Aristocracy of Pull – it is an international ruling class, presiding over the immiseration of entire countries. That is a term popularized by Marx to describe the steadily declining fortunes of the workers under capitalism; in fact, under capitalism those fortunes steadily grew, and it is, on the contrary, socialism that has produced that process in the real world and is producing it now within Rand’s. That is, apparently, what one abandons when one abandons the Aristocracy of Money for the Aristocracy of Pull: one abandons nothing less than civilization itself.

But we see the international nature of the problem when we discover that part of the supplies so necessary to the domestic industrial machine have been sent by Orren Boyle to a counterpart in Germany. Steel in this case, steel that should have repaired a bridge that subsequently fails, carrying five cars of passengers to a watery doom, a doom shared by the very steel that would have saved them, at the hands of Ragnar Danneskjold.

It is a crisis, but not the crisis that called for a crisis meeting in the Taggart boardroom. That crisis involves the cannibalization of Taggart Transcontinental, and it is Rand’s means of instructing us how the Aristocracy of Pull works within itself. There is the Board, there is a Mr. Weatherby from the government who represents the men who represent the men…but we see how this all works in a circular conversation peppered with names of men of influence and their interplay. What is being traded, in Orren Boyle’s words, isn’t money, it’s men.

And that’s too bad for Taggart, because one group of those men consists of shippers, or more precisely those looters now in charge of the country’s diminishing production, who demand a reduction in shipping rates in order to stave off the wolves. A second is represented by Mr. Weatherby, who makes the union’s case for an increase in salary across the board and a continuation of the short-train and low-speed policies intended to create work for all but in fact killing it. A third, suppliers of rail who must be bribed to keep Taggart running, and finally a government – the useful Mr. Weatherby again – who must grant permission for Taggart to close a line to salvage rail sufficient to make up for the deficiency. In their view all Taggart stands to lose by attempting to meet those conflicting demands is profit. In fact, it is the very sinews of the company that are being consumed.

Jim Taggart protests, of course – his meal ticket is in jeopardy. But Weatherby holds the whip hand:

“But these are difficult times [says Weatherby], and it’s hard telling what’s liable to happen. With everybody going broke and the tax receipts falling we…hold well over fifty percent of the Taggart bonds – we might be compelled to call for the payment of railroad bonds within six months…”

“WHAT?!” screamed Taggart.

“ – or sooner.”

“But you can’t!...it was understood that the moratorium was for five years! It was a contract, and obligation! We were counting on it!”

“Aren’t you old-fashioned, Jim? …The original owners of those bonds were counting on their payments, too.”

Dagny burst out laughing…she could not stop herself, she could not resist a moment’s chance to avenge Ellis Wyatt, Andrew Stockton, Lawrence Hammond, all the others.

Jim is caught very neatly here – his free money has a cost after all. And so he accedes to the salary raises that will kill his company in return for permission to pull up rail sufficient for that death to be delayed as long as possible. That rail exists only in one place – the Rio Norte Line, its first use and now its last reservoir. The John Galt Line, to name it truly, must die, and they want Dagny to give it the death sentence. She declines to make the decision for them.

“Gentlemen,” she said, “I do not know by what sort of self-fraud you expect to feel that if it’s I who name the decision you intend to make, it will be I who’ll bear the responsibility for it. Perhaps you believe that if my voice delivers the final blow, it will make me the murderer involved – since you know this is the last act of a long-drawn-out murder. I cannot conceive what it is you think you can accomplish by a pretense of this kind, and I will not help you stage it.”

In one more sense the sanction of the victim has been withdrawn. Dagny has learned the hard way, but she has learned. After considerable dithering they do summon the courage necessary for the death sentence and then hand Dagny the responsibility for the execution, at least in part because she’s the only one present who could manage to accomplish the thing. She is predictably devastated at the loss, the death of her achievement, and not only hers. As Lillian sweetly puts it later, “You’re returning from what was, in effect, the funeral of your child by my husband, aren’t you?” Nice. But Dagny is determined to keep Taggart Transcontinental moving even if it’s only in its death throes. At her emotional nadir Francisco d’Anconia is there to pick her up, the act of the loyalty of an old friend. His share of blame is not mentioned, nor is it necessary. But blame does come up, and it lands in a surprising quarter:

“Dagny, the men of your Board of Directors are no match for Nat Taggart, are they? …Then why is it that throughout men’s history the Nat Taggarts, who make the world, have always won – and always lost it to the men of the Board?”

“I…don’t know.”

“…Dagny, he fought with every weapon he possessed, except the most important one. They could not have won, if we – he and the rest of us – had not given the world away to them.”

She misinterprets.

“Yes. You gave it away to them. Ellis Wyatt did. Ken Danagger did. I won’t.”

He smiled. “Who built the John Galt Line for them?”

Dagny is a fighter and it isn’t in her to give up. And oh, she is so very, very stubborn. One comes to admire and deplore it in her. And that is why she makes herself a willing victim for the leeches, food for the vultures. It’s all futile anyway. Who is John Galt?

“I can answer it,” he [Francisco] said. “I can tell you who is John Galt. John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains and he withdrew his fire – until the day when men withdraw their vultures.”

It is imperfect mythology but the point is made. There, in four sentences, is the précis of Atlas Shrugged. The rest is, as an infuriating old professor of mine use to smirk, “merely engineering.”

Rearden’s and Dagny’s return on the last Rio Norte train is met by Lillian’s long-delayed realization that it is, in fact, Dagny who is the object of her husband’s affections, his “mistress” to use a somewhat antique term for it. It is also less than entirely accurate – Dagny is anything but a kept woman. About the toxic relationship that is the Rearden marriage the less said the better, but in that conversation we are made aware of the connection between Rand’s political and sexual theories. It is simply that in neither arena may one human being properly demand that another live for him or for her. Lillian finds this out when she demands that they end the relationship:

“But I have the right to demand it! I own your life! It’s my property. My property – by your own oath…I hold first claim! I’m presenting it for collection! You’re the account I own!”

It is a rather stark and unattractive description of what remains in marriage when the love has drained away, and it is the emotional leverage which she must employ in order to “deliver” her husband in exactly the same way as Orren Boyle or Wesley Mouch delivers another man. She too is a dealer, and Hank is her stock in trade.

Up to now.

“Whatever claim you may have on me,” he said, “no human being can hold on another a claim demanding that he wipe himself out of existence.”

We will hear those words later from another mouth and in another context, but Hank has arrived. When he comes to believe that about his whole life, and not just about the confines of his married life, he will have taken the last moral step. The rest is merely engineering.

Have a great week, Publius!

18 posted on 04/25/2009 1:00:30 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: grumpygresh
However, as we experience weather-related disasters, such as the ice storms and floods of late winter/early spring, this year, the government does the bare minimum, leaving people to mostly fend for themselves. This actually helps foster self-sufficiency.

In AS, people just die or revert to a Medieval existence.

In both instances, all that is important is that the people at the top get theirs. The rest of humanity can die off and there is just more for the looters and thugs. IMO, the similarity between now and the world of the novel is that there is a tightening of control and an increase of looting in the _name_ of *the people*, but very little done _for_ the people.

19 posted on 04/25/2009 1:09:03 PM PDT by reformedliberal (Are we at high crimes or misdemeanors, yet?)
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To: grumpygresh
However, as we experience weather-related disasters, such as the ice storms and floods of late winter/early spring, this year, the government does the bare minimum, leaving people to mostly fend for themselves. This actually helps foster self-sufficiency.

In AS, people just die or revert to a Medieval existence. Rand seems to have little faith in humans, per se or even in Americans. Without the Heros or the Thugs, she sees them as helpless victims and as such, they are mostly depressing background.

In both instances, all that is important is that the people at the top get theirs. The rest of humanity can die off and there is just more for the looters and thugs. IMO, the similarity between now and the world of the novel is that there is a tightening of control and an increase of looting by the ruling clique in the _name_ of *the people*, but very little done _for_ the people. A major difference I see is that in our world, this is causing a reaction _by_ the people. Some of the reaction is against the rulers and some of it is simply people taking control of their own lives as they plant gardens, prep for a future contingency, hoard weapons, ammunition, food and gold or, in a tribute to the novel, "Go Galt".

20 posted on 04/25/2009 1:48:12 PM PDT by reformedliberal (Are we at high crimes or misdemeanors, yet?)
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To: reformedliberal
Rand seems to have little faith in humans, per se or even in Americans.

Did you catch the results of the last election?

21 posted on 04/25/2009 2:04:17 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Publius

As usual, stunning job.. Many thanks.


22 posted on 04/25/2009 2:21:12 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (TAZ:Untamed, Unpredictable, Uninhibited.)
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To: Billthedrill
They mined it at night, they stored it in hidden culverts, they were paid in cash, with no questions asked or answered…they and Rearden traded like savages, without rights, titles, contracts, or protection, with nothing but mutual understanding and a ruthlessly absolute observance of one’s given word.

Doesn't sound like such a bad concept for an economy actually. Don't like the goobermint that drove them to it, but you have to admit, the mind that thought up VIP shopper cards and similar stupidity would be laughed out of town in that world.

23 posted on 04/25/2009 4:05:37 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: Still Thinking
I agree completely. The terms Rand describes as "savage" aren't a great deal different from laissez-faire capitalism when you come right down to it. A "ruthlessly absolute observance of one's given word" is, after all, what contracts and titles exist to ensure. Francis Fukuyama - yes, he of the "End of History" notoriety - made the case in his book Trust that that particular virtue is capitalism's sine qua non, and that high-trust societies such as Japan and Germany have an advantage in forming capitalist enterprises because of it.

This is, certainly, "guerrilla" capitalism in action, but it does have a cleanliness and clarity that we will encounter again in three chapters or so in the Atlantis that has been hinted at. It will be interesting to compare the two at that point and see if we can discern a difference. I'm inclined to state that there is not, but we've a way to go before we can reach any reasoned conclusion.

24 posted on 04/25/2009 4:21:57 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Still Thinking

Make that six chapters or so. And my apologies to all for hinting at a spoiler.


25 posted on 04/25/2009 4:23:29 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Publius
Jim wants to raise freight rates, but Weatherby cuts him off and explains that Wesley Mouch wants to discuss the unions’ demand for a pay raise and the shippers’ demand for a freight rate cut.

My husband was telling me about "The Folly of FDR", which he is listening to during his commute. He said that FDR was actually doing some really ridiculous stuff. They had the economics backwards, and noted that wages were high in good times, so therefore, they mandated high wages, thinking the wages were the engine. It was also the time of the Dust Bowl, and many people were starving, yet the government was destroying crops to keep prices high, because during the boom times, prices were high. Must have been the high prices that caused the boom times.....

In many ways, Rand was not prophesying, she was regurgitating what had already gone before under FDR.

26 posted on 04/25/2009 4:42:03 PM PDT by Explorer89 (Could you direct me to the Coachella Valley, and the carrot festival, therein?)
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To: Explorer89
It may have happened under FDR, but the lesson hasn't been learned yet.

By suspending the mark-to-market rules, they are preventing the banks from writing down or writing off the bad mortgate loans. Why? Because inflated real estate prices were the engine for the prior prosperity. Must have been the high prices that caused the boom times...

27 posted on 04/25/2009 4:57:08 PM PDT by Publius (Sex is the manifestation of God's wicked sense of humor.)
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To: Billthedrill; Publius
Without being too specific....it is already starting. I have heard of a few companies that are completely off the books so to speak. Turning out fine products completely under the radar. Getting raw material on their word to pay when the end product is sold. (Now, for all you unfriendly lurkers out there, I have no personal knowledge of any of this....just hearing things at the barbershop as they say).

But when it finally comes, Galt's Gulch will turn out not to be a geographic place at all, but a state of mind. A secret brotherhood much like the Resistance in Nazi Europe.

Anyway, great work again fellows!!

28 posted on 04/25/2009 5:06:34 PM PDT by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: Montfort
More and more like prophecy. Everyday BO makes a new power grab and the sheeple are too hypnotized, uneducated or uncaring to see where we are headed.
29 posted on 04/25/2009 5:47:41 PM PDT by austingirl
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To: reformedliberal

The reaction to weather-based disaster reminds me of the vastly different responses to Katrina between the people in New Orleans (ruled for life by socialists) and the people of Mississippi (relatively free). Still even now, I continue to hear pleas for help to the “Katrina victims”. The reactions to the people who remained in New Orleans seemed to be of 2 varieties - first is the actual, literal looters who just took what they could get to while the rightful owners were gone, and second are those who just sat there expecting someone to rescue them (much more like AS). As I was reading this chapter, this reminded me very much of the New Orleans experience.

In Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida you had much more the expectation that people were self-sufficient, at least for some amount of time, and responsible for their own response. I think the people of these states are and will be much more self-sufficient than those who have grown up in a dependency culture. Let’s hope this dependency culture doesn’t get so pervasive that the pockets of self-sufficiency disappear.


30 posted on 04/25/2009 6:34:28 PM PDT by tstarr
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To: austingirl

I don’t think it’s a case of being uneducated or uncaring. But I am trying to figure out exactly why so many of these people are so completely uncritical of what’s going on in their own country. I was visiting my parents today and they have a very good friend who is just completely ga-ga over BO. There is nothing he can do that she will disagree with. Of course, she’s in her 80s and has never voted anything but a Democrat her entire life.

I have relatives who have graduate degrees who simply cannot have a back-and-forth discussion of anything in politics, but are absolutely 100% sure that anything BO does is best and he’s the smartest president we’ve ever had. The left is so incredibly closed-minded that I’m not sure what will have to happen to break them of this, if anything. Maybe an AS scenario, but I’m not even sure that would do it.

The release of the memos describing what we did to “torture” the Gitmo prisoners (haze would be a better term) is a stark example to me. If they’re going to do that, fine, but don’t redact the parts of the memos that describe the information that was gathered (keeping that classified). There seems to be a general inability on the left to honestly discuss and review these issues from a moral and/or logical standpoint. Whatever BO says is right by definition. May God have mercy on our souls...


31 posted on 04/25/2009 6:46:33 PM PDT by tstarr
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To: Publius

And back then it was the opposite of what it is now. I remember being told in grade school that we were all going to freeze to death in the next great ice age.


32 posted on 04/25/2009 8:30:42 PM PDT by Cymbaline (I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stres)
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To: Publius

And back then it was the opposite of what it is now. I remember being told in grade school that we were all going to freeze to death in the next great ice age.


33 posted on 04/26/2009 7:33:04 AM PDT by Cymbaline (I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stres)
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To: Billthedrill
A second is represented by Mr. Weatherby, who makes the union’s case for an increase in salary across the board and a continuation of the short-train and low-speed policies intended to create work for all but in fact killing it. I remember my first job out of college. I was doing engineering work for an aerospace company and parts of the company were unionized, but not the engineers. We had ordered some very expensive test equipment, but could not get it out of the UAW unionized Shipping and Receiving department. They had these small electric carts and would "slowly" deliver packages one per trip from their facility across the street. They had the philosophy that working slowly would cause the company to hire more workers. When we received our equipment one of the most important units did not work. But, it had sat in Shippingand Receiving so long that the warranty had expired. We could go over and see the boxes, but we could not pick them up ourselves. That would be taking work away from a union worker. They could not see how much they harmed the productivity of the company that had hired them.
34 posted on 04/27/2009 8:45:26 AM PDT by MtnClimber (Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme looks remarkably similar to the way Social Security works)
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To: Publius
Some interesting and helpful info here...

Characters in Atlas Shrugged

I know, I know, it's Wiki. (caveat emptor)

Spoiler warning - judicious perusal required.

Submitted for furthering the group discussion.

35 posted on 04/27/2009 9:39:20 AM PDT by whodathunkit (Shrugging as I leave for the Gulch)
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To: tstarr

There is nothing he can do that she will disagree with. Of course, she’s in her 80s and has never voted anything but a Democrat her entire life.”

That disease is part of what is going to kill the USA.


36 posted on 04/27/2009 12:01:44 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: tstarr

I call the left “LIEberals,” and with good reason.

As you pointed out so clearly.


37 posted on 04/27/2009 9:34:40 PM PDT by Taxman (So that the beautiful pressure does not diminish!)
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To: Publius
Tinky Holloway

only a effeminate ivy leaguer would have such a name today he'd be a member of GLAD

38 posted on 04/28/2009 5:32:00 PM PDT by Charlespg
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To: Charlespg

Tinky Holloway....how about Alger Hiss?


39 posted on 04/29/2009 9:46:30 PM PDT by MtnClimber (Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme looks remarkably similar to the way Social Security works)
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To: r-q-tek86
Part II, Chapter VI: Miracle Metal
40 posted on 08/14/2009 6:06:20 PM PDT by r-q-tek86 ("A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom." - Ayn Rand)
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