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Unit 1.4 (CST) Rand's Objectivism

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Melissa Ginther

on 29 January 2018

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Transcript of Unit 1.4 (CST) Rand's Objectivism

Unit 1.4 (CST) Rand's Objectivism
The Trader Principle & Human Value:
Over the next
3 minutes:
trade your dessert treat with as many partners you deem necessary in order to
acquire
your
desired treat.
Use
cold calculation
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:
RATIONALITY
:
To use one’s rational and skill abilities to
create value

which enables him/her to
sustain
his or her own life,
become a
worthy trade
partner
, and master his
or her surrounding
environment.
PRIDE
– Is to hold oneself as the
highest
value.
In order to
achieve
his or her own happiness, the individual engages in
trade
with other
valuable traders
and strictly adheres to the following rules:
When pursuing these virtues, each person must determine the
value
of the other person in
relation
to his or her own

pursuit of happiness.
a) The trader is the one who
earns
what he gets & does not give or take the
undeserved
.
e) Traders do
not
shift the
burden
of the maintenance of their life on to others.
Likewise, other traders, who experience failure, do
not have the right
to
burden
or mortgage the trader’s own life.
f) Ultimately, life itself is a “series of
commercial transactions
” and everyone must make his
or her own way
and earn the
value he or she
desires from
another.
"The recognition and acceptance of
reason
as one's
only source
of
knowledge
, one's only
judge
of values and one's only
guide
to action"
3 Virtues of Objectivism:
Rand argues that the primary
focus
of man's free will is in the choice:
'
to think or not to think
'.
PRODUCTIVENESS
"You are your own highest value" - There is no "common good" except for the one that
benefits you!
For Rand ... That is just it, it does!
There is no concern for the "Greater Good"
b) The trader treats other humans as
independent
equals
.
c) The trader deals with other humans by means of a
free
, voluntary,
unforced
, uncoerced exchange.
d) The trader
only
expects
to
be paid for his
achievements

(not failures).
Likewise, guided by
profit
motive alone, the trader does
not
take on
charity
cases/trades.
TRADE RULES:
TRADE RULES:
Dignity is
not intrinsic
to human nature. It is
earned
.
TRADE RULES:
In contrast to charity, the trader gives to those he or she believes have the
human potential
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
personal relationships
to the degree to which they help him or her achieve his or her own happiness.
3. The trader understands that all pretenses of
altruism
or charity are selfish in their
origin
.
2. Inspired by the
selfish
desire to maintain one’s own happiness, the trader can invest as much
as he or she
deems reasonable
to
the well-being of a relative,
spouse, or friend.
Since the 1970s, the average worker’s productivity has
increased 99%
while his or her wages have stagnated (contrasted with the top 1% of wage earners whose income has increased
240%
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
disparity
– 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”)
Key Contentions:
The free-market is a protector of individual
liberty
:
Likewise, traders are free to trade or not to trade with whomever they
choose
.
In a free-market, each person is provided the
freedom
and
incentive
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
lone task
of the government is to
protect
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
oppression
and
exploitation
.
The market can also
centralize
power among a few power players.
B) Material wealth is a sign of
virtue
and the
love of money
or profit is the root of all
good
– 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
maximize
profit.
c) The producer/trader can do with his wealth
whatever he or she
chooses

–invest, spend on him/herself or loved ones, or give to charity. (succinctly said in the phrase “
Hands off!
”)
“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 ...

He intends
only
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
frequently
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)
Author of
The

Wealth of Nations
Father of Modern
Capitalism
Highlighted the value of
self-interest

and how it could contribute to the common good (e.g. the
invisible hand
)
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
positive
thing.
b) Says that we are both
individuals
and
social
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
God
AND the
Natural Law
4) One can then develop a conscience and become a
moral agent

transcend his or her own selfish interests and do the right thing (self-command).
c) Says that the impulse of
selfishness

can and should be checked, and one can and should cultivate the virtues of

decency,
goodness, and
justice.
Reconsider the Hurricane Charley Scenario:
What would Adam Smith say?
“Human society is like a great, immense machine, and
virtue
is the polish on its wheels....
Free-market systems must be undergirded by
virtuous
frameworks.
Unbridled greed has the

potential to destroy
both free markets and personal freedom.
In contrast to those who believe business transactions are
amoral
, Smith understood, like
Pope John XXIII
stated in his 1961 encyclical Christianity and Social Progress, that “
every economic act,"
is a
"moral act
.”
Smith himself believed in
social responsibility
– one has
duties
and
responsibilities
to the community.
And he writes: “When the
happiness
or
misery
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.”
Conclusion:

Smith likely would have considered such behavior
immoral
and would have challenged the store owners to check his
selfishness
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
concentrate
power among a few
power players
(centralized).
3. Is “equality of opportunity” important?
2. Can anyone who wants to, succeed in America?
If all individuals are driven by
unbridled self-interest
alone, social structures will arise (even in a free market) that ultimately limit the power and opportunity of many on the
margins
.
Profit motive, in this sense, refers to the desire for
financial gain
as the
incentive

in economic activity..”
The Wealth of Nations
Invisible hand:
is a metaphor for how, in a free market economy, self-interested individuals operate through a system of
mutual interdependence
to promote the general
benefit
of society at large.
The Wealth of Nations
.... Vice
is vile rust that causes the wheels to jar and grate upon one another.”
Review
Rationality
(Only Source) +
Productiveness
(Worthy of Trade) +
Pride
=
Objectivism!
Rules of trade:
One
EARNS
right to be traded with
(Trade is Free/unforced)
Achievements
rewarded (
No Charity
cases)
No one
is
burdened
by you (Or is your burden)
Life = Strictly
Commercial Transactions

- Personal Relationships
=
Truly Selfish

(For personal benefit alone)
Love of
money
= Greatest virtue (with "
Moral Obligation
" to maximize profit)
Rand's Blind Spot = "
Unbridled Self-Interest
" will
eventually
lead to limiting power, thus to
oppression
and

exploitation
- Lassiez Faire (Free Market) Supposedly
disperses power
(Not centralized)
In it Smith...
He makes repeated references to
divine
design and providence. For instance:

"Every part of nature, when attentively surveyed, equally demonstrates the providential care of its Author, and we admire the
wisdom
and
goodness
of God even in the weakness and folly of man."
Smith emphasizes:

"the
happiness
of mankind, as well as all other rational creatures,

seems to have been the

original
purpose
intended by the author
of nature, when he brought them into existence ... "
Born 1723

SCOTTISH ECONOMIST
,
Moral philosopher, author
and Pioneer of
political economy.
Wealth of
Nations

was a precursor to the modern academic discipline of
economics
.
"By
acting
according to the dictates of our
moral faculties,
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."
He developed
the concept of
division
of labor
, and expounded upon
how rational
self-interest
&
competition

can lead to economic prosperity.
2 Week Schedule
Fri 26

Tues 23

Wed 24

Thurs 25

Fri 26
Lecture 1.4
Worldview Presentations
Debate # 1
Mon 29

Tues 30

Wed 31

Thurs 1

Fri 2
Quiz 2 /Lect 1.4
Debate # 2
Lecture 1.3
Lecture 1.5
Lecture 1.5

Study Guide
^^ SweetS Exchange
^^ 8th Pd - Deb #3
Deb. Prep 1/2
^^ Students may use 3X5 Note cards on In class Quizzes.
Full transcript