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Atlas Shrugged: The Philosophy and Its Energy Implications (Part IV: The Moral Obligation of Capitalists)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 21, 2011

“In [Atlas Shrugged], I glorify the real kind of productive, free-enterprise businessman in a way he has never been glorified before…. But I make mincemeat out of the kind of businessman who calls himself a ‘middle-of-the-roader’ and talks about a ‘mixed economy’—the kind that runs to government for assistance, subsidies, legislation and regulation.”

– Ayn Rand (1949) (1)

As the public face of capitalism, business leaders are well positioned to explain the logic of free markets from a moral and economic viewpoint—and to demonstrate by example the non-coercive nature of trade by eschewing the political exploitation of consumers, taxpayers, and rivals.

The words and deeds of corporate executives are quite different, however. Rand was very disappointed in what she saw–and she would be more disappointed today, particularly in the energy industry.…