Friday, 20 December 2013

The death of John Galt

I've been meaning to write this post for ages. It's about the democracy of ideas. We can only profit from our ideas when we share them with others, freely and without expectation of reward. By depriving the world of his ideas, John Galt chose his own death.

Oh, and there are guest appearances by Old Holborn, Bitcoin and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Read on here.



4 comments:

  1. Or as it says in the Bible, "Cast your bread on the waters"

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  2. having never read ayn rand, i gather that i'm just the opposite of john galt - i give all my ideas away free and never intend to profit from anything i create...and i reject the concept of possession of thoughts embodied by copyright...no so called creative thinking that i might be engaged in now is mine and mine alone; it's the culmination of all that has been added to my consciousness over my lifetime from the shared consciousness of others ..

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  3. Great article!

    One thing that I always found absurd about Atlas Shrugged was the idea that all of humanity owed all of its wealth to the few (hundred? thousand?) people who "went Galt". Literally every character in the book, save those who were allowed a place in Galt's Gulch, met with a bad end (to Rand, deservedly so!).

    The world of "Atlas Shrugged" was a very "top down" world, in that a few impossibly brilliant people created the vast majority of the world's wealth. One has to wonder what, if anything, Ayn Rand learned from the socialist calculation debate. I'm thinking that a couple of key points must have sailed right over her head...


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    1. One of the key points that she missed was the fact that ideas only acquire tangible value when they are shared with others. If your ideas stay inside your head and are never shared with anyone, they have no economic value.

      For John Galt to say that his invention "would have" brought prosperity to many is wishful thinking. He couldn't have known that for certain. His invention could have flopped, or it could have been superseded by a better invention. As Aslan put it, "no-one is ever told what WOULD have happened". Galt's assertion is fundamentally illogical. Until his invention became reality it was worthless. In a massive fit of pique at the prospect of having to acknowledge the vital role of others in making his ideas reality, he rejected the only chance he had of actually creating something of value.

      No genuine superhero would voluntarily withhold his talents from society.

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