Penn State

Sudip Ghosh - associate professor of business, Penn State Berks

Book Title: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Author: Ayn Rand

Book Description:

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal had a lasting influence on my personal and professional career. As an undergraduate student in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, the economics program was influenced by Marxian ideology as West Bengal was under communist rule. Higher education was the perfect conduit for disseminating communist philosophy. Anything related to capitalism was seen with skepticism and the market economy was never seen as a powerful force. Moreover, since independence, India embraced Russian socialism and modeled our economy after the Russian five year plan with least emphasis on the market economy. Given this backdrop, I was always intrigued by the success of western economies. I ran into a copy of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal mostly contributed by Ayn Rand, with additional essays contributed by Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, and others.

According to Rand, capitalism is the system that emerges among a group of free individuals, each applying time and reason to sustain his or her own life, each the owner of the means to do so, freely trading among themselves. This definition is all encompassing where Rand points out that the success of market capitalism is due to values held by the only moral social system, that is, one consistent with an objective theory of value and ethical individualism. My future works were influenced by ideals of free-market capitalism and laissez faire economies. It also allowed me to see the Middle East and the North African crises in a different light where so many countries around the globe are trying to embrace market capitalism with tremendous human sacrifice.


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