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Unit 1.4 (CST) Rand's Objectivism
Transcript of Unit 1.4 (CST) Rand's Objectivism
The Trader Principle & Human Value:
Over the next
trade your dessert treat with as many partners you deem necessary in order to
to make your decisions. At the close of the exercise, reflect on the experience using the space provided on your note packet.
3 Virtues of Objectivism:
To use one’s rational and skill abilities to
which enables him/her to
his or her own life,
, and master his
or her surrounding
– Is to hold oneself as the
In order to
his or her own happiness, the individual engages in
and strictly adheres to the following rules:
When pursuing these virtues, each person must determine the
of the other person in
to his or her own
pursuit of happiness.
a) The trader is the one who
what he gets & does not give or take the
e) Traders do
of the maintenance of their life on to others.
Likewise, other traders, who experience failure, do
not have the right
or mortgage the trader’s own life.
f) Ultimately, life itself is a “series of
” and everyone must make his
or her own way
and earn the
value he or she
"The recognition and acceptance of
, one's only
of values and one's only
3 Virtues of Objectivism:
Rand argues that the primary
of man's free will is in the choice:
to think or not to think
"You are your own highest value" - There is no "common good" except for the one that
For Rand ... That is just it, it does!
There is no concern for the "Greater Good"
b) The trader treats other humans as
c) The trader deals with other humans by means of a
, uncoerced exchange.
d) The trader
be paid for his
Likewise, guided by
motive alone, the trader does
to human nature. It is
In contrast to charity, the trader gives to those he or she believes have the
to add to the giver’s own personal happiness either in the present or in the future.
Charity vs. Investment.
1) This desire inspires the trader to invest in and foster
to the degree to which they help him or her achieve his or her own happiness.
3. The trader understands that all pretenses of
or charity are selfish in their
2. Inspired by the
desire to maintain one’s own happiness, the trader can invest as much
as he or she
the well-being of a relative,
spouse, or friend.
Since the 1970s, the average worker’s productivity has
while his or her wages have stagnated (contrasted with the top 1% of wage earners whose income has increased
over this same time period).
Objectivism’s Ideal Political System – Laissez-faire Capitalism:
Fact for Your Consideration:
Studies from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources released over the past 3 years have charted the increasing
– income and wealth - between the rich and poor in the United States.
1) Do you believe this increasing disparity just or unjust? 2) What would Ayn Rand argue regarding this disparity? Do you agree or disagree?
Question for your Consideration:
The Justice of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
Summary Quote: “In the free market system, every human must pay his or her own way; he can claim from others only what he has earned, as judged by the parties’ mutual, uncoerced evaluations. As to the non-earners and non-traders, the system is fully ‘cruel’ (i.e. as just) as its enemies say: it offers people no alibis, no welfare workers, no booty. Under capitalism, no man’s achievements or troubles, whatever their nature or source,
are assets or liabilities
belonging to other humans.” (Peikoff’s essay “Capitalism”)
The free-market is a protector of individual
Likewise, traders are free to trade or not to trade with whomever they
In a free-market, each person is provided the
to use his or her innate abilities and creativity to create material value that can potentially be traded to those who recognize it.
The free-market, as a political body, disperses power among a myriad of producers and consumers in a given society (
equality of power
Wherever laissez-faire capitalism is embraced, there is an “
equality of opportunity
1. Is there an “equality of opportunity” in the U.S.?
The Government’s Ultimate Purpose:
The Objectivist argues that the
of the government is to
the individual’s right to act and protect the assets he or she accrues through voluntary exchange - trade.
A Potential Blind Spot or Oversight to Consider:
The market can easily also lead to
The market can also
power among a few power players.
B) Material wealth is a sign of
love of money
or profit is the root of all
– because profit is the result of efficient and valued production.
The Lone Guiding Principle – Profit Motive.
A) The trader is morally obligated to make rational decisions that
c) The producer/trader can do with his wealth
whatever he or she
–invest, spend on him/herself or loved ones, or give to charity. (succinctly said in the phrase “
“Capitalism is moral and practical. It is a system of and for mentally active persons.” (Leonard Peikoff’s “Capitalism”)
Smith wrote: “"Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can ...
his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention ...
By pursuing his own interests, he
promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good."
Promptings from the Past- Ayn Rand's predecessor
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
Wealth of Nations
Father of Modern
Highlighted the value of
and how it could contribute to the common good (e.g. the
What Ayn Rand got wrong about Adam Smith?
His most significant work was actually
A Theory of Moral Sentiments
written in 1759 – a precursor and foundational piece for
The Wealth of Nations
In it, Smith....
Smith did believe we are moved by our own self-interest, but he
did not believe “Greed is good”
or that rampant materialism is a
b) Says that we are both
beings, who rightly sympathize for others. We have a
desire to do good
to make others happy, and it can be done altruistically.
a) Assumes existence of
4) One can then develop a conscience and become a
transcend his or her own selfish interests and do the right thing (self-command).
c) Says that the impulse of
can and should be checked, and one can and should cultivate the virtues of
Reconsider the Hurricane Charley Scenario:
What would Adam Smith say?
“Human society is like a great, immense machine, and
is the polish on its wheels....
Free-market systems must be undergirded by
Unbridled greed has the
potential to destroy
both free markets and personal freedom.
In contrast to those who believe business transactions are
, Smith understood, like
Pope John XXIII
stated in his 1961 encyclical Christianity and Social Progress, that “
every economic act,"
Smith himself believed in
– one has
to the community.
And he writes: “When the
of others depends in any respect upon our conduct, we dare not, as self-love might suggest to us, prefer the interest of one to that of many.”
Smith likely would have considered such behavior
and would have challenged the store owners to check his
and to take the more virtuous path.
With you current understanding of Virtue and Vice, do you think Smith would have considered this behavior immoral or moral? and why?
How did you come to view other people?
What determined their value?
Objectivists contrast this approach to all other political systems that ultimately
power among a few
3. Is “equality of opportunity” important?
2. Can anyone who wants to, succeed in America?
If all individuals are driven by
alone, social structures will arise (even in a free market) that ultimately limit the power and opportunity of many on the
Profit motive, in this sense, refers to the desire for
in economic activity..”
The Wealth of Nations
is a metaphor for how, in a free market economy, self-interested individuals operate through a system of
to promote the general
of society at large.
The Wealth of Nations
is vile rust that causes the wheels to jar and grate upon one another.”
(Only Source) +
(Worthy of Trade) +
Rules of trade:
right to be traded with
(Trade is Free/unforced)
by you (Or is your burden)
Life = Strictly
- Personal Relationships
(For personal benefit alone)
= Greatest virtue (with "
" to maximize profit)
Rand's Blind Spot = "
lead to limiting power, thus to
- Lassiez Faire (Free Market) Supposedly
In it Smith...
He makes repeated references to
design and providence. For instance:
"Every part of nature, when attentively surveyed, equally demonstrates the providential care of its Author, and we admire the
of God even in the weakness and folly of man."
of mankind, as well as all other rational creatures,
seems to have been the
intended by the author
of nature, when he brought them into existence ... "
Moral philosopher, author
and Pioneer of
was a precursor to the modern academic discipline of
according to the dictates of our
we necessarily pursue the most effectual means for promoting the happiness of mankind, and may therefore be said, in some sense, to co-operate with the Deity, and to advance as far as in our power the plan of Providence."
the concept of
, and expounded upon
can lead to economic prosperity.
2 Week Schedule
Debate # 1
Quiz 2 /Lect 1.4
Debate # 2
^^ SweetS Exchange
^^ 8th Pd - Deb #3
Deb. Prep 1/2
^^ Students may use 3X5 Note cards on In class Quizzes.