I just started reading Atlas Shrugged a few days ago for no other reason than it looked like it would take a while. Since, I have found myself unable to put it down. Her ideas, which I am just becoming familiar with, on the moral nature of business enterprise is intriguing. I am only halfway through but have stumbled upon a contradiction I cannot sort out and would like to discuss.
It is made quite clear that the heroes of the text believe profit seeking as a virtue. Ayn Rand seems to point to gain and self-interest as the true motive force of the world, and not something to be ashamed of but rather extolled. In a speech by Francisco D’Anconia about the nature of money ,during James Taggart’s wedding, seems to indicate that money is a means by which man exchanges the best effort of his mind for that of the best effort of other men; that his effort is worth the effort he recieves and both parties gain.
My question is thus, if a man exchanges something of equal worth in such transactions, can one ever truly make a profit? My answer leads me to believe that only those who do not justly deserve what they recieve can ever profit in a business transaction. The true quest for profit is that of the looters who seek to seize that which is unearned. Doesn’t then profit seeking serve as a contradiction within Rand’s view of the world?