What has prompted people, over the course of three millennia, to look upon work and commerce as degrading and deceitful? Why have they instead tended to look upon the leisured and lordly as models of the good life?
Readers of Ayn Rand ’s Atlas Shrugged , which so notably portrayed the American businessman as a hero, may well be wondering what to say about it all. They should say: Ayn Rand was right. She comprehended business in its highest and lowest forms. I conclude as much after years of research and writing following December 3, 2001—the day I was suddenly jobless after working for sixteen years at Enron Corporation. My quest to understand what happened to the company that Fortune once ranked as “America’s most innovative” has taken me as far back as the Industrial Revolution and as deep down as postmodern philosophy.   What I have discovered is that there have been two fundamentally different types of business leaders in America. These have been recognized in the works of some of capitalism’s greatest philosophers, prominently including Ayn Rand ’s epic novels and nonfiction essays. Missing: Advocates of Capitalism When speaking of two types of business executives, on one level there are those who stand up for capitalism and those who do not. Business leaders have a responsibility to explain the logic of free markets from a moral and economic viewpoint, yet remarkably, few do—as Rand lamented. In 1957, when a just-published Atlas Shrugged was being denounced by intellectuals, Rand remarked to her associate Nathaniel Branden: “The...
BOOK REVIEW: Edwin S. Rockefeller, The Antitrust Religion (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2007), 123 pages. $9.95 (hardcover). When Ayn Rand published Alan Greenspan’s criticism of the antitrust laws in 1966, there were relatively few critics of antitrust, and certainly few lawyers and economists among them. Now there are many: mostly university professors, Austrian School economists, and writers for libertarian think-tanks. However, there are very few critics who are pillars of the U.S. antitrust bar. So it is quite significant to hear a rejection of the entire notion of antitrust from someone who is a former chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law with more than fifty years of practice in the field. Edwin S. Rockefeller is a venerable member of the antitrust establishment.
Ayn Rand published her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged  in 1957. It's an enduringly popular novel -- all 1,168 pages of it -- with some 150,000 new copies still sold each year in bookstores alone. And it's always had a special appeal for people in business. The reasons, at least on the surface, are obvious enough.
As the prices of oil, gasoline, and natural gas have skyrocketed over the past year, many people have demanded that the government do something about it. They have short memories. The last “energy crisis,” complete with fossil-fuel shortages, soaring prices, long lines at gas pumps, occurred during the Seventies. President Jimmy Carter wore a sweater, preached conservation, and in 1977 signed a law creating the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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