Tag Archives: capitalism

Ayn Rand, the Movies, and the Idea of America

This article was originally published at FEE.org.

Ayn Rand’s monograph “Textbook of Americanism,” now published on FEE.org, is virtually unknown. Written during a decisive turning point in history, it was delivered by Rand personally to FEE’s founder Leonard Read in 1946. The monograph represents Rand’s desire to draw stark lines between an emerging postwar collectivism and the individualism she believed built America. She joined others in pointing out that collectivism had wrought the horrors the world had just endured.

“Textbook of Americanism” also represents her worldview as it came to be shaped by her childhood experiences with communism, her early love of film as a means of artistic expression, and her perceptions about the future of freedom.

As a young student in Russia at the dawn of the Bolshevik takeover, at a small theater for silent films, Rand caught her first glimpse of the New York skyline. The silhouette burned in her mind, a symbol of creative passion and unbounded achievement, outlining the edges of her growing philosophy of individualism.

Continue reading Ayn Rand, the Movies, and the Idea of America

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Bitcoin and the Ayn Rand Imagination

This article was originally published at The Atlas Society.

The Atlas Shrugged movie is now accepting Bitcoin to join their web forum, called Galt’s Gulch Online. Limited content is available for free to all visitors of Galt’s Gulch Online, but premium content, such as the new Atlas Shrugged Part 3 teaser trailer, is available only to “producers” who pay a fee. And that fee can now be paid in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a digital money sweeping the world and offering some degree of freedom from government currencies. It imitates the scarcity of a material currency (e.g. gold) by means of an algorithm, which places a limit on the amount of bitcoin that can be “mined” from its source by those who maintain the transaction ledger. As Rob Wile puts it, “It’s like a giant interactive spreadsheet everyone has access to and updates.”  Continue reading Bitcoin and the Ayn Rand Imagination

approaching anarchy

I’m really drawn to the individualist, market, and existentialist descriptions on this fantastic chart I found. Evolving from a starting point of classical liberal — basically I intellectually inherited minarchy as a default of Rand’s Objectivism, and hadn’t questioned it much until more recently.

Now I mostly just hold on to a vague minarchist position out of

  1. lingering skepticism about the development of gang warfare and “a market of force,”
  2. wide-eyed, beagle-like trust in the power of written laws to manifest justice,
  3. general reluctance to change my mind too easily, and
  4. the fun of annoying anarchists.

types of anarchism

 

Sexism against female entrepreneurs

A recent article at Feministing.com highlights a study showing that female entrepreneurs pitching an idea are less successful with investors than men pitching the same idea.

Maya Dusenbery says:

“You’d think folks in the venture capitalist and entrepreneurial communities–who presumably have far more faith in the invisible hand’s ability to identify and invest in the best ideas than an anti-capitalist like me does–would be seriously concerned by research like this that suggests gender bias is throwing such a major wrench in their visions of a perfect capitalist meritocracy. I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions they’re working on to address this.”

As an advocate of free-market capitalism, here are the solutions I suggest:

1. Advocate for libertarian feminism, combining the sound principles of free market philosophy with a mission to culturally construct a fully human femininity, and to correct for distortions of sexual identity against merit. (Similarly, advocate for libertarian social justice generally, correcting for distortions of all sexual identities and racial identities)

2. Create market corrections such as private “affirmative action.” If it becomes clear that value is being left on the table by not investing in female entrepreneurs, that becomes an opportunity for certain investors to make a profit by focusing exclusively on female entrepreneurs.

3. Make investors and venture capitalists aware of their potential biases with articles such as this one in Feministing. Thank you, Maya! — Truly, you and articles like these are part of the solution. Investors might correct for a certain amount of discrimination just by being more conscientious. CEOs might also integrate correction for this problem into their business’ mission statement, employee training, and other forums. It could be as simple as a reminder: “Be aware of sex discrimination. Don’t miss out on a great idea!”

4. Private civic institutions, “watch dog” groups, or any kind of voluntary groups for women entrepreneurs to join together and exchange information about which investors are promising and which ones show discriminatory behavior toward women. Develop lists of criteria; let journalists name good guys and bad guys. Much like the LGBT community identifies businesses which are friendly to their community as customers and employees.
(One of my favorites is Capitalist Chicks.)

Finally, this isn’t a solution, but an attempt to turn the question on its head: consider that if there is a cultural distortion about masculinity and authority, how much worse off female entrepreneurs would be in an economy controlled by political power, where authority is the “coin of the realm” instead of the dollar.

For more commentary on this issue, see my article Feminism and the Future.

Interview at Students For Liberty

I was recently interviewed by the wonderful Lexxie Monahan at Students For Liberty, as a profile for my involvement with Alumni For Liberty. I talked about my work at The Art of Reasoning and The Atlas Society, my passion for libertarian feminism, and how I became interested in liberty.

“I’ve also always been interested in the individual’s emotional and spiritual experience, inner life, and the existential and romantic aspects of personal freedom, independence, and creativity.”

I also talked about discovering The Atlas Society, and the beginning of a lifelong interest in the philosophical meaning of time.

“I signed up to give a speech about epistemology and concept-formation; it was not a very good speech. ‘Concept formation’ is an extremely broad and difficult topic: I was an undergrad trying to summarize it in 20 minutes. I was in way over my head, the entire time. But I had one moment where I articulated something well, and that was noticed — about how the measurement omitted in the Objectivist axiomatic concepts was the measurement of time.”

Read more, here:
Success in the non-profit world: An interview with Laurie Rice