Greed In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

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The word “utopia” was coined to describe an imaginary place in which everything is perfect- which is juxtaposed next to greed, one of the seven deadly sins. Ayn Rand, unlike most of the general populous, views greed not as a sin; but as a virtue, necessary for the well-being and improvement of both society and self. In Atlas Shrugged, the innovators and hard-workers in society isolated themselves at Galt’s Gulch to punish the common men who rode on the backs of their success. While the outside world would view the abandonment of society as selfish and greedy negatively, Rand sees these traits in a different light. Rand’s belief that socialism ruins societies by allowing others to take advantage of and rely on others can contribute to…show more content…
The geniuses believed that the looters would continuously rely on the minds and inventions of the thinkers if not forced to work on their own, and hoped that without the thoughts of others, the common man could reach the state of mind that the strikers have- a state in which hard work for the sake of oneself and a sense of self are critical. In the utopia of greed, each citizen fends for and rises to greatness only for themselves. Rand’s Objectivism philosophy echoes clearly in the mission and pledge of the strike: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” Despite their decision to make a strike as a team, the motivation of the strikers is to benefit nobody but themselves- specifically, oneself. The isolation of the world’s geniuses to Galt’s Gulch was to force society to either seek greatness or crumble. The geniuses of society, on the other hand, would be working to create their world on the ashes of the society they have left behind. When only the best remain and there is no weakest link to leech off of the other’s ideas and hard work, the utopia of greed could make…show more content…
In the strike, the citizens participating selfishly keep their thoughts, creations, and inventions to themselves. For example, Galt destroys his inventions simply to keep the common man from using them, and Danneskjold goes as far as to steal from those who relied on them to take back the riches. This selfishness is what fuels their greed, and their greed goes hand-in-hand with individuality and ownership- traits that are essential in Rand’s philosophy. The ability to drive oneself simply for the sake of themselves is what makes characters of the strike, like Dagny, such a stark contrast to others, like Taggart. In today’s society, characters like Dagny seem to be cold and selfish because they do not consider the needs of others in their mission. Their philosophy that the ability to survive should only be burdened on oneself is considered extremely greedy. But in Rand’s perfect world- the utopia of greed- these characters and their greed are ideal citizens. In the utopia of greed, citizens strive for self-improvement, and to be better, for themselves. The common man in Atlas Shrugged is too easily placated by materialistic items like money, and are too lazy to put in the work required to improve themselves. They are content with riding on the backs and successes of the inventors, thinkers, and geniuses. The fall of this society, plagued with those who do not work for the sake themselves- or at all, is

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