One can agree with this point by saying that the entrepreneur is a necessary condition for the creation of economic value. But Rand treats the entrepreneur as a sufficient condition. The entrepreneur creates the value of goods and everyone else gets in his way (in Rand the pronoun is always "he," even when he is a woman). Governments are leeches on the value he creates; organized labor siphons off more of it. Who could blame the hero of Atlas Shrugged, John Galt, and his like if they should take their marbles and head off to form their own society, leaving the parasites behind?
But in truth the entrepreneur, though very much a necessary condition for the production of economic value, is not a sufficient condition. An entrepreneur will get nowhere without a capitalist or a government agency in charge of a budget to finance his or her ideas; the production will require a labor force; it will need to make use of public infrastructure and a framework of the rule of law; and the fruits of the production will be of no value if no one wants them. Thus the creators, entrepreneurs, investors, taxpayers, legislators, jurists, workers, and consumers are all necessary conditions for the production of the value that we find in the marketplace; but none of them, including the entrepreneur, is a sufficient condition: none can make it happen alone.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
The simplistic flaw in Ayn Rand's philosophy
Ayn Rand's fallacy is ignored by most of her adherents. It involves a basic logical confusion between what is a necessary condition or a sufficient condition. A necessary condition is one of multiple requirements. A sufficient condition is the complete set of requirements.