Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Review: Free Market Revolution, How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government

Free Market Revolution –  How Ayn Rand’s Ideas can End Big Government
By Yaron Brook and Don Watkins
Reviewed by Robert Villegas
If you were offered a book about how to live without guilt and be more successful, would you be interested?  If it taught you that success is good and more is better, would you be intrigued?  If it helped you understand the incessant attacks on capitalism by politicians, journalists and social planners, would you check it out?
The book is called “Free Market Revolution, How Ayn Rand’s ideas Can End Big Government”.  Its goal is to clarify some important philosophical and economic issues and convince you that Ayn Rand’s ideas have the solutions we need for a civilized society.  It challenges some of history’s falsehoods and provides a new way of looking at economics.  It can help voters, students, business people and even politicians understand the factors that move society.
The authors, Yaron Brook and Don Watkins point readers toward a new moral and political theory that challenges the corruption of today’s world.  Ayn Rand was an iconoclast who, even today, stirs both anger and respect among the millions who read her books.   Her philosophy is a full-fledged integrated system with all the characteristics of a complete, consistent frame of reference.  Objectivism, as it is called, is entirely original. 
Mr. Brook and Mr. Watkins are enthusiastic salesmen for Ayn Rand’s ideas.  Their presentation is flawless.  Yaron is already famous as the Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute.  His stirring speeches and commentary can be found on youTube.com and PJTV, not to mention Fox News and other networks.  Don is a fellow of the institute and a perennial radio and television guest as well as an op-ed writer for Investor’s Business Daily and USA Today to name a few.
“Free Market Revolution” covers two key aspects of Ayn Rand’s philosophy: her morality of self-interest and her advocacy of laissez faire capitalism.  Rand’s philosophical approach creates an internally consistent and powerful argument for political freedom.  Find an energetic and innovative entrepreneur and you’re likely to find someone who has read Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged”.
Part 1 of the book is entitled “The Problem”.  It begins by setting the context for the book, discussing the recent resurgence of interest in Atlas Shrugged and explains the intellectual and economic malaise that needs Ayn Rand as antidote.  This section also analyzes the essential arguments of the left; especially the argument from need and the argument from greed.  It counters these arguments with the suggestion that liberating the un-free market will restore America’s once powerful place in the world.
Part 2 makes up the rest of the book and provides some of the most fascinating ideas ever put to print. It includes a re-evaluation of the concept of selfishness, the role that it plays in both life and the economy, and informs us of the discovery, made by Ayn Rand, that business success is not accomplished by predatory behavior but by innovation, production and win/win trades.  Brook and Watkins challenge the idea that economic transactions are “zero-sum” (which gets at the heart of the Marxist critique of capitalism).  The authors show that free markets are the engines necessary for improving human life.
In many respects, the book has the feel of a symphony.  It starts with a basic theme, allegro, stays there for a while as it develops; then boldly explores both harmony and rhythm; until finally, at the end, it finishes with a crescendo of energy and power.   By the time we arrive at the last chapter, entitled “Stopping the Growth of the State”, we have thoroughly examined the concept of selfishness and discovered its positive aspects and the role it plays in making society vibrant, innovative and life-enhancing; we've found a solid argument that declares capitalism to be moral; we’ve examined altruism and how it thwarts life and success; we’ve studied the division of labor, supply and demand, prices and their role in creating efficient markets; and we’ve studied how it happened that many people in society have moved from an entitlement morality to an entitlement mentality. 
The last chapter brings us full circle, exploring Rand’s philosophy further, identifying the major contradiction that has created our economic decline and provides a strategy that will end big government.
Both Yaron Brook and Don Watkins are competent writers, able to explain broad philosophical and economic concepts in a way that makes them real for the average reader.  This book is destined to become a manifesto for prosperity and peace in the world.  I highly recommend it.

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