Atlas shrugged is a novel written by Ayn Rand and published in 1957. It is one of Rand’s famous novels and the last one which she wrote during her career as an artist. The idea behind writing the novel was to empower the shakers and movers of a nation in fighting for their rights. The term atlas refer to the pillars of a society, that is the people who put a lot of effort and determination in their work but are exploited and are not rewarded according to their work. Rand recognizes another group in the society, the majority, who work below average and expect to have the same standards of living as the atlas. The novel is to some extent a fiction that explains the exploitation faced by employees in their places of work.
This paper explains and gives a wider significance of the words, “to make money, hold the essence of morality”. It also gives the ideas that oppose the maxims “money is the root of all evil”, and “money is the root of all good”. Rand novel explores the history of china when people were taught on the real meaning of morality which means to share.
People were encouraged to work according to their ability but every citizen would receive equal reward. Distribution of resources was based on needs rather than their potential to work. This high morality in other words referred to as, the altruism, is still held by many Chinese. In the past, no one was allowed to hold private property and everything was owned by the society. Every individual was allowed to enjoy this property as a way of maintaining harmony in the country. Monopolies were seen as areas of exploitation of employees and that’s why private property was discouraged. The essence of morality was viewed as a way of fighting poverty by ensuring that all citizens live equally irrespective of the ability to work or education.
However, Rand strongly opposed altruistic view. According to her, altruistic is a way of suppressing the people who work above average ability and hence it would never be a means of maintaining harmony in a country (Younkins, 101). Rand recognized that, the worship of moral codes would result in moral hazard because they do not give incentives to work and no matter the efforts one puts, he is entitled to receive the same reward as his neighbor who spends the whole day in the house. At first, those below the average will become wealthy because they may receive a share of the wealth that belonged to the minority group who happen to be the above average workers. However, the minority are not naive as to realize the exploitation imposed on them and may refuse to work or to show their intelligence. Instead of a nation living happily thereafter, it will continue experiencing a decline in its economic performance as long as the moral codes are held. Lack of incentive to employees will result in a declining economy as they withhold their ability and intelligent. People with the capability of becoming the pillars of the society will hind their intelligence to prevent themselves from exploitation, and as a result, the incapable will occupy high occupations in the government or industries, not because they have the ability to move them, but because, the minorities (smart people) have refused to be exploited.
Production will continue to drop as a result of poor management until the government realizes the importance of incentives to workers. However, if the government continues to hold moral codes (as in the case of Washington), production will continue to drop. In Rand’s book we find that, the pillars of the society (atlas) were not satisfied with the way world was performing in the essence of morality (Younkins, 173). They wanted to bring change to the society because they were confident that, they were responsible for bringing converting it. However, they became enemies to the public for trying to divert from moral codes. They still held their position and were confident that a nation would not grow economically if moral codes were valued at the expense of employee recognition.
In the story of Atlas shrugged, Rand opposed the maxims that, “money is the root of all evil”. Many people believe that, the evils that exist in society are a result of money, however this is not true. Rand asserts that, money act as the exchange medium where goods are produced (by men). If no goods were produced, money would just be pieces of paper.
To get money, you have to earn it through applying the ability one has. That’s why we have doctors, artists, teachers, farmers, and the list is endless engaging themselves in different activities. Rand refuted the claim that money is the root of all evil and observed that, for one to survive, he needs money. Money is honestly earned by those who have the ability and are willing to work. It is given out to compensate efforts made by others. Money circulates from one person to another making live bearable for all. For instances, the pieces of paper we hold in our pockets can not be transformed into bread by use of guns. We have to go to the baker and exchange it with some loafs of bread.
On the other hand, the baker uses it for other goods as well as for purchasing raw materials for more production (Younkins, 117). Without money (or a medium of exchange) it would be difficult to live since no one would be willing to work. They are things we cannot be able to produce even if we wanted to and therefore we have to respect the people who have the capability of producing them by offering money in exchange for their products or services. In order to access electricity we have to pay some money to go to the people with the knowledge and capability of producing it. In turn this money is used to pay rent, obtain food and other necessities required for survival (Younkins, 118).
Therefore, we cannot define money as the root of all evil because it is a measure of value for everything on earth. It becomes evil if it is misused. For, instance, there are people who use money for sexual satisfaction or to obtain favors which they do not deserve for certain services. People do not become wealthy by chance but because of their willingness to put their mind at work for inventions and discoveries. Money is just a tool and a means for satisfaction but can not termed as the root of all good. Money can be used to buy everything one wants but can not buy happiness or love.
It is for one to recognize want he wants in life and use money as a tool to help him reach his dreams. Money cannot be used to purchase intelligent for a person who does not want to be intelligent nor can it be used to buy respect for the hopeless.
Younkins, Edward Wayne. Any Rand’s Atlas shrugged: a philosophical and literary companion. New York: Ashgate Publishing, ltd., 2007.