Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is a book with the stated author of Ayn Rand
, but that also includes essays by Alan Greenspan
(now head of the US Federal Reserve
), Nathaniel Branden
and Robert Hesson
. Many of the essays within were originally published in The Objectivist
or The Objectivist Newsletter
The aim of this book is to provide a firm moral and philosophical defence of capitalism versus the (if you listen to Ayn Rand) great evil of statism. Whether you agree with it or not, the book provides a firm moral base for capitalism and outlines all the benefits it gives the individual.
The focus of the book is on individual rights (not legal or political rights, but abstract moral rights) and benefits, not the benefits to society as a whole, which is how people typically try to defend capitalism. This, Ayn Rand argues, is part of the problem: only by establishing a firm moral base for laissez-faire capitalism - one based on the rights of the individual and how to uphold them - can it be used against the typical altruist defence of statism. The book explains why Rand sees statism and altruism as an ultimate means to the destruction of man, not his saviour.
You will probably find fewer people who subscribe to the ideal in this book than the ideal in Das Kapital, but this might perhaps not be the case if everyone was aware of this moral and philosophical defence of capitalism. Rand's reasoning as to the morality of capitalism is persuasive and worth consideration by anyone who wishes to understand the conflict at work behind the doors of our society: that of liberty versus statism.
A good contrast to this book is Human Action by Ludwig von Mises, which advocates laissez-faire capitalism on the basis of the benefits to the collective race, in line with the philosophy of utilitarianism.