Free Markets vs Ayn Rand?

Most of the followers of Ayn Rand that I’ve encountered are also supporters of the Libertarian Party, and they desire a market free from government interference as the entity that will ensure most of the ideals Rand herself was an advocate of. Free markets are paired in their thought with the idea of putting one’s self first and letting others figure themselves out; selfish pursuits and worries only about oneself lead to the best possible outcome for humans, and everything will work itself out if this reorientation is undergone.

Contrary to their desires for this human initiative of self-involvement, what I find to be the case with markets is that they do quite a lot to have people constantly obsessing about the wants and needs of others to where their very own identity and vocations are lost in the process. Things sold in the marketplace are precisely things created in the hopes that someone else will choose to buy them. The market has become a place so utterly obsessed with what others are doing and thinking that probably more money is spent on propaganda attached to consumable goods and services than the actual goods and services themselves. The market encourages people to be constantly looking for trends outside of themselves rather than any sort of inner-calling to fulfill. Globalization seems to destroy any realization of the self by spreading it across too wide of an area, rather than enabling a self to go to a subtle niche where it can truly realize itself (if such a self is undergirding us that can potentially be brought to the surface, a separate debate).

The other half of the equation that might seem to redeem markets somewhat for a Randian is that any person gets to buy whatever they want to fulfill their self needs and wants, but of course the choices from which they are buying a good or service are completely limited by what others besides themselves chose to create. Thinking of myself, just about every thing I’ve ever purchased was also a thing I found some flaw with or something I’d like to be tweaked, but not being the manufacturer and not having the skills, I just had to settle for someone else’s design of the widget.

The dynamics of the market to pull a person apart have little to do with the fact that the government is fairly heavily involved in the markets in a variety of capacities ranging from corporate welfare and bond market manipulation to regulations and protectionism. This tendency of markets to make people obsess about everyone else is endemic, and any good Randian that sees this would henceforth want to distance themselves from such a mechanism. For the moment, a subsistence economy is called to mind as the modality in which Randian principles would more likely be realized; the creation of things that one themselves knows to be of value and will be sustaining and reaffirming of their energies, kept close to home and not diluted out in to the world of the masses.

Related (somewhat) Posts:

The Critique of Money, a part of

“We are being too idealistic”: The Critique of Money, b part of

In Defense of Libertarians (TMLF part 2)



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