8th June 2016
Why Ayn Rand will always remain on the fringe, as a pop-capitalist. No serious policy work can be based on her intuitions.
I’ve critiqued Rand (who was quick to attack superb economists like Friedman) on a blog and on my FB page:
Ayn Rand did go to some extremes, on occasion. She is very good at an intuitive level but remains only tangentially relevant to the actual governance of any society because she has very poor foundations in the theories of economics, nor a sense of economic history or political history.
She thought she had invented something new. Actually not. There were many precedents to her way of thinking, and many people had gone into much greater depth on a number of issues. She – being ignorant and arrogant in many ways – couldn’t understand them and simply trashed their views.
Ayn Rand was a promoter of pop capitalism; and a very good one at that. But no, no one should base their ideas on serious and complicated issues based on her views.
Friedman, Mises, Hayek, Buchanan, etc. operated on an entirely different plane which she could not even begin to grasp.
Ayn Rand operated on intuition, not on analysis. Her intuitions were mostly right. Her problem is that since she is not constrained by the reality of actual governance, she went off on many a tangent, making her essentially irrelevant to the actual governance of any society.
You definitely need to understand serious economics before bringing Ayn Rand into the picture. She brought no new insight into economics, nor understood the concept of economic analysis.
Just like no textbook on philosophy will acknowledge Rand, so also no textbook in economics will do so. Her problem was that her intuition was good but she repeatedly failed in the rigorous analysis of anything. Her views on taxation are a joke. Her support for bribery of government by businesses is contemptible.
Rand has a place in life, mainly to give a shock to people smitten by socialism. But she has no solutions for the real world.