Defaming Frank Quattrone--Again. Someday, I should like to assemble a book comprising nothing but the libels and slanders against capitalists that have become a permanent feature of our history books. Among them would be: that  J.P. Morgan sold flawed rifles to the Union Army, that John D. Rockefeller cheated the Widow Backus--and that Frank Quattrone ordered his subordinates to "clean up those files."
Many Americans—and even more Europeans—employ a pre-modern ideal when judging the market economy. According to this ideal, individuals enter occupational niches, perform specified tasks, and receive appropriate material and reputational rewards via society's structures. Sociologically, it is a clockwork view of the economy: One does not take a job to make money; rather, a person does his job and society arranges to have money and other rewards flow back to him.
BOOK REVIEW: Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell. Little, Brown and Company. 320 pp., $27.99 Begin with the title. An “outlier,” in statistics, is an observation so far outside the general range of one’s data as to indicate a possible source of distortion. Thus, if I may draw on Steve Sailer’s critique of Outliers, when you send out your research department to discover the average net worth of college dropouts, and they come back with a figure in the hundreds of millions, you do not roll out a program for selling yachts to that demographic group. You ask if they happened to interview someone named Bill Gates. In that data set, Gates is an outlier, and his economic condition doesn’t tell you much about the typical wealth of people lacking bachelor’s degrees.
An inquiry into fraud (or indeed into direct physical coercion) must begin with an inquiry into rights. For neither fraud nor coercion can be distinguished perceptually from legitimate activities. An assault and an old-fashioned, bare-knuckled boxing match look much the same. But the former is coercion and the latter not because, in the latter case, there exist prior agreements between the parties. Likewise, the pattern of deceit that goes into a con and the pattern of deceit that goes into a surprise party look much the same.
Early in her novel Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand presents us with a scene aboard a train that is entering Philadelphia. “An office building appeared, close to the tracks. The big neon sign on its roof lighted the interiors of the coaches as they went by. It said: Rearden Steel. A passenger, who was . . .

Subcategories


Donate to The Atlas Society

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please consider making a donation. Our digital channels garner over 1 million views per year. Your contribution will help us to achieve and maintain this impact.

× Close Window
Anthem Slider

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive the most recent news and articles directly to your inbox.