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Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 59 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal.
This section contains 482 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal Study Guide

Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal Summary & Study Guide Description

Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand.

Plot Summary

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand is a collection of essays about capitalism. It is not a book on economics but a series of essays on capitalism or more appropriately, what Rand calls the moral aspects of capitalism. Most of the articles collected for this book come from newsletters or lectures and papers. There are contribution from Ayn Rand, but also Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan and Robert Hessen, all of them discussing various aspects of capitalism.

Rand presents her views of capitalism and other economic systems in this book. Her novels reveal her views through the various characters, like John Gait in Atlas Shrugged, who make comments and observations about various situations. Rand has a system called objectivism that is applied to all of the situations she analyzes. Objectivism results in the avocation of various principles. It all begins with the concept that man exists and because there is existence, there is a reality existing independent of all. The only chance man has of understanding reality is through reason. Objectivism consists of three aspects: objectivist epistemology which is basically reason, objectivist ethics which incorporates the role of self-interest and individualism and objectivist politics which is basically concerned with capitalism. This is the approach she takes to her analysis and observations about human nature and capitalism because objectivism finds its basis in laissez-faire capitalism.

Man differs from other animals in that man can think. Since man can think, he can work out his own means of survival. However, man needs a system based on individual rights in which to function and the only system that guarantees individual rights is the capitalism. So most of the book is concerned with comparing and contrasting capitalism and statism and man's nature and existence in both systems. Capitalism is the only system that allows for the rationality man requires. Statism, many other systems and even the Catholic Church, take an altruistic view of the situation. However altruism, according to Rand, is anathema to capitalism. Capitalism is based on the individual and the individual rights whereas altruism is based on man doing things for the good of the community or the country. Man himself is unimportant. Rand considers altruism to be the cause of many problems in a society because man cannot exist for long in this kind of situation.

This book exhibits the objectivism which is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. She is concerned with capitalism because she does not find any other system in which man can exists that allows him the rationality and individual rights he needs in order to function. Rand presents various issues, like big business, war, the student protest movement of the sixties, and altruism within the context of objectivism. This is a good book to read for those looking for a way to learn the philosophy of Ayn Rand to see how it is applied to various real world situations.

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This section contains 482 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal Study Guide
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Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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