Editor’s Note: Friends and members of The Atlas Society are among our greatest resources -- providing energy, ideas, and support that actively shape our work. Their individual stories are testaments to Ayn Rand’s ideals of reason, achievement, and ethical self-interest. Diana Amsden is an author, archaeologist, and anthropologist. The Atlas Society Senior Editor, Marilyn Moore, Ph.D., interviewed Diana about her work and family, the role Ayn Rand played in shaping her outlook, and her Index to Atlas Shrugged.   MM: Diana, how long have you been associated with The Atlas Society? DA: Since the early 1990s. David Kelley introduced himself at a Reason Foundation event (perhaps John Stossel or Margaret Thatcher was speaking), and invited me to an Atlas Society meeting in Washington, D.C. I also enjoyed a meeting in New Hampshire. MM: Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? DA: Northern New Mexico, between Santa Fe and Taos. My mother home-schooled me (mail order, Calvert School in Baltimore) some of my elementary school years.  I was a high school cheerleader, began college at 15, and graduated from the University of New Mexico (UNM) at 19, major anthropology (specialty archaeology), minor art history. My family included archaeologists and anthropologists. My father, Theodore (“Ted”) Price Amsden, was the expedition artist (this was before color photography) for Harold Gladwin at Casa Grande and for A. V. Kidder at his classic excavation at...
There seems to be no guaranteed safety in the great American so-called safety net of Social Security. Sorry to say it folks, but the vault they promised would be filled with gold and treasure, the measurable output of the time and labor working people put into their jobs to fill that state-protected space is essentially empty, with cobwebs in the corners and dust on the shelves. According to the Wall Street Journal, the overall cost of Social Security will surpass its income next year. A recent report from CNN paints another dark layer onto this grave picture as well, warning taxpayers that Social Security won’t be able to pay full benefits by 2035: If Congress doesn't act soon, tens of millions of Americans will only receive about three-quarters of their Social Security benefits when they retire. Social Security's trust funds will be tapped out by 2035, according to an annual report released Monday by trustees of the government's two largest entitlement programs, the other being Medicare. That's one year later than last year's report projected. The new projection doesn't mean retirees will no longer get checks in 16 years. But the program will at that point only have enough revenue coming in to pay three-quarters of promised benefits...
There has been considerable debate on the science of climate change and global warming on both ends of the spectrum from “deniers” to “alarmists” and everywhere in between. Yet the majority of people in the U.S. believe global warming is happening and is mostly caused by human activities. From the Yale Climate Change Opinion Communication for 2018, 70% of people believe global warming is happening and 57% believe global warming is caused mostly by human activities. Moreover, 77% recommend governments should regulate CO2 as a pollutant. In short, it would seem the general public believes climate change is real and the government should be doing something about it. Yet according to a survey by the Cato Institute (March 8, 2018) 68% of Americans would not be willing to pay $10 a month in higher electric bills to combat climate change. Contrast this to an estimate that the Green New Deal would cost at least $10 trillion, which if spread out over 10 to 30 years would in fact cost thousands of dollars per year per household. Clearly people are conflicted between what they believe should be done and what they are willing to pay for...
Grégoire Canlorbe: According to a popular opinion, left to its own devices, capitalism inevitably tends to a monopoly economy. An economy in which there is no competition. In a monopoly environment, the dominant companies can freeze competition and entrepreneurial initiative. In this regard, any monopoly is problematic, even the monopoly of the local baker or shoemaker. Without competition, the quality of service slips. And innovation becomes an expensive nuisance unless it wildly jacks up profits. As a fine connoisseur and renowned debunker of anti-capitalist arguments, how would you assess this widespread analysis? Stephen Hicks: Free-market capitalism is the most anti-monopolistic system there is, as entrepreneurs are creative in developing new products and improving old ones. The profit motive of course incentivizes that creativity, as does the natural creativity that individuals exhibit when they are free to pursue their own lives. Think of the music and electronic industries, for example, in the last one hundred years—how endlessly innovative they have been and how prices have gone down, precisely because they’ve been mostly free markets. Think of the music and electronic industries, for example, in the last one hundred years—how endlessly innovative they have been and how prices have gone down, precisely because they’ve been mostly free markets. Problematic monopolies have only existed when governments made them—either by granting exclusive charters or other special...
The fearful blaze ravaging Notre Dame Cathedral came under initial control, this evening. Parisians then gathered on Cité Island in the Seine River, at the very center of Paris, to sing together as night fell. French President Emmanuel Macron announced that despite terrible losses, the structure had been saved, and the 1,000-year-old triumph of French Gothic architecture would be rebuilt. Already, some had begun to recall that some 180 years ago, it was the great French Romanticist novelist and poet, Victor Hugo, whose genius saved the Cathedral. In fact, it was the power of Romantic literature to lift men's hearts that is credited with re-igniting public love of the Cathedral and so rescuing it. In fact, it was the power of Romantic literature to lift men’s hearts that is credited with re-igniting public love of the Cathedral and so rescuing it. It often has been noted that a chief theme of Notre-Dame de Paris (in the English version, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) is the architecture of the Cathedral—its greatness, its beauty, its meaning. Hugo began the novel in 1829 (it was his first, he was known only as a poet and dramatist) to rouse the French public to the neglect and destruction that were overtaking the structure. The architecture long had been neglected, or destroyed, and replaced by new buildings or parts of buildings in a newer style. As shocking as it seems, today, the medieval stained glass panels had been replaced with white...

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