A snippet from the April 24th issue of The Week, answering the question “What is Atlas Shrugged about?”
The evils of government control. Rand’s fourth novel describes a dystopian United States in which industrialists and the rest of America’s “producers”—oppressed by government regulation—are persuaded by the novel’s hero, charismatic inventor John Galt, to forsake the world of mediocrities, parasites, and “second-handers” (i.e., the altruistic) and go on strike. (See below.) The strikers, or “Atlases,” retreat to a mountain hideaway, where they build an independent, unregulated economy. The strike stops the “motor of the world”—factories close, skyscrapers crumble, people riot, pirates roam the seas. The litter-strewn streets become hunting grounds for beggars and criminals. In the end, the socialists who have provoked this catastrophe beg Galt to take over the economy.