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Is Greed Good? Alan Greenspan vs. Ayn Rand.
Objectivist Center ^ | July 23, 2002

Posted on 07/29/2002 4:09:43 PM PDT by RJCogburn

A recent New York Times article (July 21, 2002) focused on Alan Greenspan’s remarks to the effect that “infectious greed” is responsible for recent business scandals, and that more government regulation might be needed. These views, the piece points out, seem to contradict the philosophy of his mentor, Ayn Rand, and his own statements of four decades ago. For Rand, laissez-faire capitalism is the system in which individuals produce goods and services that they trade with one another based on mutual consent, not on the use of force or fraud. Capitalism is a moral system based on respect for the equal rights of individuals to pursue their own rational self-interest, and it rewards people for their achievements.

Political philosopher and Ayn Rand expert, Dr. Edward Hudgins notes, “Rand was virtually alone in celebrating the virtues of productive, innovative individuals and the wealth they create. She emphasized that businessmen at their best will first and foremost love their work and the challenge of creating products and services that earn them profits. If that’s greed, it’s to be praised! Rand also singled out for condemnation businessmen who seek money by any means, including fraud, or government handouts and special favors. If that’s greed, it’s to be damned!"

Hudgins, who is Washington director of a think tank devoted to Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, observes that the deceitful practices of WorldCom and Enron pale beside similar fraudulent practices of the federal government. Further, government regulations helped drive WorldCom into bankruptcy. "While new laws might be needed to punish fraud, new regulations would only make matters worse. The recent scandals show that a free market and a free society must be based on a sound and ethical infrastructure. Adopting the morality of capitalism will help prevent both corporate and government scandals in the future," says Hudgins.

Copyright, The Objectivist Center. For more information, please visit www.ObjectivistCenter.org.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/29/2002 4:09:43 PM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: RJCogburn
BTTT
2 posted on 07/29/2002 4:18:35 PM PDT by AynRandWasAMediocrePhilosopher
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To: RJCogburn
Rand apparently didn't believe in unbridled greed. While she had Hank telling Dagny that he would charge her outrageous amounts and that she would gladly pay it (and she did), in Galt's Gulch with most competition squelched due to not being able to provide the same quality, everyone was charging reasonable rates rather than as much as they could get taking advantage of their monopoly.

It is why despite the fact that Atlas Shrugged remains one of my favorite all-time books, the utopia she described still seems to me to be the weakest part of the novel.

3 posted on 07/29/2002 4:19:37 PM PDT by Dales
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To: RJCogburn
Greed is neither bad nor good. One man's greed is another man's desire. Who decides?
4 posted on 07/29/2002 4:26:23 PM PDT by leadpenny
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To: AynRandWasAMediocrePhilosopher
Rand also singled out for condemnation businessmen who seek money by any means, including fraud, or government handouts and special favors. If that’s greed, it’s to be damned!"

I don't think very many people would oppose Rand's thoughts on corruption. Greed is a necessary ingredient in a capitalistic economy. But greedy capitalist have to be reminded that greed does have limits.

5 posted on 07/29/2002 4:29:40 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: leadpenny
Greed is a lot like lust. Some lust is good, or there wouldn't be people. Too much lust and you get a Clinton, or worse. Same with greed. Every living creature has a sense of greed. Cockroaches do not see anything wrong with eating crickets. So some greed is good and necessary to human life.But too much greed, and you get libertarians and other knuckle-draggers who don't even have enough sense to appreciate minimum wages. parsy, whose knuckles are well off the ground.
6 posted on 07/29/2002 4:33:41 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: AynRandWasAMediocrePhilosopher; Admin Moderator
It's really bad form to join FR (which I see you did today) with a confrontive screen name like that.
7 posted on 07/29/2002 4:33:41 PM PDT by denydenydeny
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To: AynRandWasAMediocrePhilosopher; Orual; aculeus; general_re; one_particular_harbour
Welcome to FreeRepublic.

AynRandWasAMediocrePhilosopher

ItBeatsBeingADreadfulWriter.

8 posted on 07/29/2002 4:34:23 PM PDT by dighton
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To: RJCogburn
Not to take anything away from Rand, but "The Road to Serfdom" by nobel prize winning Economist FA Hayek was actually the inspiration for much of Friedman's work, and was publised a decade before "Atlas Shrugged".

I love "Atlas Shrugged" and I'm re-reading it now. But lets give credit where it's due.

9 posted on 07/29/2002 4:41:01 PM PDT by tcostell
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To: parsifal
Wait a minute. Are you saying that someone who is against minimum wage laws is greedy, or as you put it, a libertarian?
10 posted on 07/29/2002 4:41:47 PM PDT by leadpenny
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To: leadpenny
No. I just note that some of their knuckles show a trace of scrape marks. parsy.
11 posted on 07/29/2002 4:44:17 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: dighton; AynRandWasAMediocrePhilosopher; Orual; aculeus; Huck
ItBeatsBeingADreadfulWriter.

ButTheComedicPossibilitiesAreEndless

12 posted on 07/29/2002 4:44:43 PM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re; one_particular_harbour; Orual; aculeus; Huck; parsifal; ...
ATLAS SHRUGGED - and those damn kids clung like monkeys
13 posted on 07/29/2002 4:50:19 PM PDT by dighton
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To: dighton
Hey, I like this guy:

"The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels."

14 posted on 07/29/2002 4:50:47 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: general_re
Nice link.I printed it out for prosperity. parsy.
15 posted on 07/29/2002 4:52:33 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: RJCogburn
This is ridiculous. Greenspan used to be a Randian.
Objectivism is dead. Leave it that way. 'Pod
16 posted on 07/29/2002 5:00:48 PM PDT by sauropod
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To: parsifal

17 posted on 07/29/2002 5:07:11 PM PDT by general_re
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To: sauropod
Not only was Greenspan a "Randoian," He was a student and confidant of hers. He was part of what she called the "collective," that included Dr. Leonard Piekoff. I'm surprised the author of this article did not point this out.
18 posted on 07/29/2002 5:10:18 PM PDT by Partisan Hack
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To: parsifal
Hey, I like this guy:

"The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11


I've got this nice tunnel for sale ... interested?
19 posted on 07/29/2002 5:15:57 PM PDT by Mike Fieschko
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To: parsifal
"...and you get libertarians and other knuckle-draggers "

Parcy, come on! Was this really necessary? :-)

20 posted on 07/29/2002 5:37:56 PM PDT by Lloyd227
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To: Partisan Hack
Precisely.
21 posted on 07/29/2002 6:05:07 PM PDT by sauropod
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To: leadpenny
Wait a minute. Are you saying that someone who is against minimum wage laws is greedy, or as you put it, a libertarian?

The effect of a minimum-wage law is to make totally worthless the labor of anyone whose labor is not worth the minimum wage. It does have the effect of raising wages for other people, by reducing the supply of labor. While some people will benefit in this short term by the elimination of wage competition, it will in the end cause both prices and taxes to rise so as to lose most or all of the supposed benefits.

22 posted on 07/29/2002 6:24:15 PM PDT by supercat
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To: leadpenny; BRL; Kevin Curry
greed is neither good nor bad

gotta disagree with you. greed is bad, part of the human condition, and part of our sinful nature. we all gotta deal with this flaw in human nature, some more than others.

while man sinned and greed (among other flaws) followed, god set up capitalism as a means to allow people to invest and build wealth -- and to put those less fortunate soul who have no capital to be able to make a living.

capitalism capitalizes on our human need to have wealth. fraud is wrong, i think it is a form of lieing which is denounced, but helping others while you become wealthy is the system god set up.

take that socialists of the world!

23 posted on 07/29/2002 7:59:26 PM PDT by mlocher
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To: parsifal
Okay, I am completly flummoxed here. When did enlightened self-interest become greed?
24 posted on 07/29/2002 8:09:37 PM PDT by otterpond
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To: leadpenny
Greed is neither bad nor good.

To a Christian greed is not good, if greed is considered the placing of one's material indulgences at the center of one's life.

The Christian strives to exercise wise stewardship of what rightfully and ultimately belongs to God--beginning with the Christian's own mind, soul, and body.

Randians reject the notion of stewardship because they reject God. They view themselves as accountable to no one but themselves and consider any activity acceptable if it does not involve the use of "force" against another. They foolishly believe "force" has a fixed and simple meaning easily discerned and readily agreed to by all.

Randians exalt self and nurture greed. Liberals exalt the state and foster feckless dependence. Christians exalt God and strive for wise stewardship.

25 posted on 07/29/2002 8:15:34 PM PDT by Kevin Curry
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: RJCogburn
I know Ed Hudgins....used to work with him. He's a good guy, and right about Rand as expressed here. Unfortunately for Ed, he's an atheist...as all objectivists are by definition. Once I saw him quote the Declaration of Independence this way (rough quote from my memory)"We hold these truths to be self evident that all men have certain unalienable rights, amoung these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Doesn't have quite the same impact as "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." eh?

27 posted on 07/29/2002 8:42:22 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: Lloyd227
No. I was just being obnoxious and throwing my gauntlet around like a jerk. But I have had supper now and am in a much more mellow mood. parsy the meek.
29 posted on 07/29/2002 9:01:07 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: general_re
Shrugged? I thought Charles Atlas kicked sand or did something wierd with bulls. parsy the confused.
30 posted on 07/29/2002 9:03:18 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: Goldhammer
That's awful. I love it ;)
31 posted on 07/29/2002 9:06:11 PM PDT by general_re
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To: parsifal

32 posted on 07/29/2002 9:08:05 PM PDT by general_re
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To: general_re
ROTFLMAO! That is hilarious! A=APow! parsy
33 posted on 07/29/2002 9:36:38 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: parsifal
Oh, if you like that, there's lot's more - Rand's deadly-dull style of preachiness is incredibly easy to parody. I've always liked The Fountainhead, starring Skull Force. And there's the web site devoted to "Objectifism" - that one's right up your alley, I think ;)
34 posted on 07/29/2002 9:53:37 PM PDT by general_re
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To: dighton; general_re; aculeus
ATLAS SHRUGGED - and those damn kids clung like monkeys
35 posted on 07/30/2002 6:51:12 AM PDT by Orual
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To: Orual; aculeus; general_re
The essence of parental responsibility is: to equip the child for independent survival as an adult. This means, to provide for the child's physical and mental development and wellbeing: to feed, clothe and protect her; to raise her in a stable, intelligible, rational home environment, to equip him intellectually, training him to live as a rational being; to educate him to earn his livelihood (teaching him to hunt for instance, in a primitive society; sending him to college, perhaps, in an advanced civilization). When the child reaches the age of legal maturity and/or when she has been educated for a career, parental obligation ends. Thereafter, parents may still want to help their child, but he or she is no longer their responsibility.

Bump for hermaphrodite children.

36 posted on 07/30/2002 7:09:37 AM PDT by dighton
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To: dighton; general_re; aculeus
Bump for hermaphrodite children.

Typical Branden social-science psuedo-talk.

37 posted on 07/30/2002 7:22:36 AM PDT by Orual
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To: general_re
That's good!
38 posted on 07/30/2002 7:26:48 AM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: Kevin Curry
consider any activity acceptable if it does not involve the use of "force" against another

I do not consider myself an objectivist though Rand is a heroine of mine. Your comment is just plain wrong, however. There are many activities that I believe they would not consider acceptable even if done without 'force'. You must know that.

39 posted on 07/30/2002 7:30:41 AM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: RJCogburn

To me, the most interesting and totally ignored part of Atlas Shrugged is when Hank talks to the union boss. They are both bewildered by the government involvement in the business because they themselves had reached an equilibrium (workers had adequate representation). Unions are now the whipping boys of conservative think tanks and Repulicans at large. The ideal situation is when workers and their employers have compatible power in the deciding of working conditions. We agree that no one government entity should have obsolute power; the very idea of powers corrupting tendencies on man. On the same hand we quote Ayn Rand but forget an important, established fact in her novel, the fact that unions existed.


40 posted on 08/05/2011 3:29:03 PM PDT by Davidleejohn
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