Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

by Ayn Rand
Reviewed date: 2005 Jul 18
337 pages
cover art

As Ayn Rand explains, this book is not an economic treatise. Rather it is a moral defense of laissez faire capitalism, which is the only ethical and moral economic system. It is the only system born out of the uncompromised principle of inalienable individual rights. There are some good essays in this collection, but some are dated attacks on specific actions of political parties in the 1960s. And while Ayn Rand's basic principle of Objectivism is logically sound, she misapplies it in one essay defending patents and copyrights.

The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism is a better introduction to Any Rand's ethics than Capitalism, but Capitalism does contain some great essays. For example, Antitrust and Gold and Economic Freedom by Alan Greenspan deserve to be read, as do The Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Women and Children by Robert Hessen, America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business by Ayn Rand, and The Property Status of Airwaves by Ayn Rand.

You should always read Hessen's essay The Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Women and Children, and Nathaniel Branden's The Divine Right of Stagnation (found in The Virtue of Selfishness) before reading The Communist Manifesto. You will see just how misguided Marx was.

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