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Derek McGowan

relative value of producers?

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I'm writing on my cell so I may not be fully clear. I thought this was a simple question so I'm hoping my current format will not produce problems beyond typos.

My question, purely out of curiosity, is whether rand explicitly stated a value system to rank producers. It's clear that she abhor the takers and she holds contempt for the crony capitalists, so they are ranked lowly, but did she ever distinguish between a successful producer who works in their line of passion or an equally successful producer who simply gives the people what they want?

If neither breaks rules, is honest and provides exactly what they say they will, when they say, but one is following a lifetime dream and the other is an opportunist. Is one "worth" more in the same way that roarke was "worth" more than the other architects in the fountainhead?

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I am not familiar with an explicit statement of Rand's in answer to that specific question, but I would wager she may have answered along the lines of.. which individual is happier, more fulfilled seeing as though men are ends onto themselves. I say this based on what I would think her reaction to what 'rank' would mean in this context. Rank implies a standard.

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The easy answer is no.

... but did she ever distinguish between a successful producer who works in their line of passion or an equally successful producer who simply gives the people what they want?

Consider Hopton Stoddard in The Fountainhead. While he had inherited three fortunes, for over seventy years in business his sole concern was making money. He invested in Broadway plays, farm mortgages, factories, and contraceptives. When Howard Roark met Stoddard, Roark was repulsed. Moreover, he was shocked and surprised that apparently for once his own "radar" or "intuition" had failed him. It is stated more subtly in a page of prose.

That said, it is important to distinguish the aesthetic symbols about human nature from the mechanics of the marketplace. Ayn Rand was what some today call a "lipstick feminist." Literally: she wrote about the importance of lipstick to a woman's self-esteem. She did not say whether Coco Chanel was more or less worthy than Bonne Bell or Helene Curtis.

Rand was a good friend of Ludwig von Mises. Mises wrote The Anti-Capitalist Mentality which makes two related, contrasting points. Intellectuals complain that their books do not sell as well as murder mysteries. Those murder mysteries typically expose the upper class as decadent. Like science, the market is amoral: lightbulbs serve libraries and bordellos alike.

For Rand, the moral issues centered not so much what how you earn a living as on who you are inside. Who you are determines what you do.

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did she ever distinguish between a successful producer who works in their line of passion or an equally successful producer who simply gives the people what they want?

Just a random off topic thought...

To combine the two would resolve the question.

Greg

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I think speaking of the "relative value" of anyone is the first step down a road no one should want to travel.

You're right. It's a question better rendered moot.

Greg

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