Friday, October 16, 2009

Atlas Shrugged Graphic Page number 11

I thank reader Mary for that excellent analysis of the corporate decision-making process. I figure that in Randworld (the alternate universe that ATLAS SHRUGGED is set in) businesses are smaller, and thus able to be run by single people, families, or a small group of people. She mentions only one multi-national corporation and that, too, is run by a single family, generation after generation. This page has the first mention of "Rearden Steel," which is personally run by one of the heroes of the book. Rearden Steel, heroic as it is, is probably much smaller and more local than something like U.S. Steel.

I'm currently reading a book about Rand, "Goddess of the Market" by Jennifer Burns. It contains a lot of information I didn't know about the author, especially her involvement with American politics. I haven't gotten to the part about ATLAS yet, but it should be enlightening.


emikk said...

Jennifer burns was just on the daily show.

Pyracantha said...

Emikk: Thanks for that notification. I went over to the Comedy Central site and watched the Burns interview.
I wish "they" would make a really good movie out of ATLAS SHRUGGED. But no one has ever succeeded, no matter how hard they try.

johngalt said...

I would agree that businesses were smaller in Rand's day but only relatively so. It still took thousands of people to run a national railroad or hundreds to operate a small steel mill.

Mary's analysis of modern business was consistent with my experience but her conclusion that "Few individuals have the confidence to make an important decision all on their own" is exactly the dichotomy Rand presented between Jim Taggart and his sister. Jim was the modern executive with all of the requisite "sensibilities." His sister looked at what was needed to get the job done and made it happen.

Rand also showed this dichotomy at every level of a business organization. Consider the railroad engineer who wouldn't proceed until the broken signal was fixed, on one hand, versus the ones who knew it wasn't safe to operate steam locomotives through the long tunnel. One was unwilling to act on his own initiative based on his skill and knowledge while the other was willing to lose his job rather than follow an order he knew would result in disaster.