I resurrected this post from 2008. Yaron Brook was asked a question about the popularity of Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand‘s philosophy. His answer turned out to be spot-on, and consistent with what happens in moments of crisis in the capital markets.
Most readers of Ayn Rand make the connection between the logical decline toward an unsustainable collectivist system that ultimately collapses. When the government’s activities indicate overreach–going way beyond government’s rightful role–Ayn Rand’s popularity surges. It wanes in times of recovery.
The timeseries graph from Google Trends shows certain spikes that coincide either the economy or the government behaving badly, usually both.
The full question is “With free markets now in disrepute, what’s going to happen to the popularity of Ayn Rand’s most famous book, ‘Atlas Shrugged’?”
The answer comes from Dr. Yaron Brook, head of the Ayn Rand Institute in a Newsweek article dated December 10th (2008).
I think it’s going to go up dramatically. I think it already has. [People] are saying, “We’re heading toward socialism, we’re heading toward more regulation.” “Atlas Shrugged” is coming true. How do we get out? How do we escape? Unfortunately, there is no escape. Businessmen are panicking, and I think they should be panicking. Many of them understand that this was not a crisis of free markets. There was no free market to fail. What we have is a regulated market, and the regulated market has failed.
What do you think the government’s role should be in regulating the capital markets and our country’s corporations and financial institutions?