Howard Roark and the Collective

Howard Roark and the Collective

by Jon Rappoport

April 4, 2017

Why go to fiction to learn about power?

Because in art we can see our visions. We can see ideals and archetypes. These fictional characters have the energy we strive for.

When Ayn Rand, the author of The Fountainhead (1943), was asked whether Howard Roark, the hero of her novel, could exist in real life, she answered, with annoyance, “Of course.”

Her implication was: don’t you have the desire to discover your own highest ideals and live them out?

Roark is an architect who creates buildings no one has imagined before. His refusal to compromise his vision is legendary. He suffers deprivation and poverty and rejection with an astonishing amount of indifference. He is the epitome of the creative individual living in a collective world.

For reasons no one can discover (must there always be reasons?), Roark has freed himself from The Group. Perhaps he was born free.

Roark’s hidden nemesis is a little man named Ellsworth Toohey, an architecture columnist for a New York newspaper, who is quietly building a consensus that has, as its ultimate goal, the destruction of all thought and action by the individual for the individual.

But Roark, in his personality, spirit and force, is The Exception to the Rule.

He stands as a force that transcends the complication of Need and, instead, is pure Desire.

Desire, plus intelligence, plus creative power.

Whatever dross may once have existed in Roark’s character has been burned away.

Rand allows us to see that society encourages everything an individual does and thinks that keeps him from being self-sufficient. That is what society, in its advanced stage of dissolution, is for.

Therefore, as Roark moves through space and time, he ignites in others, without trying to, all the emotions that signal their self-betrayal: shame, fear, disgust, resentment, hatred.

Their dedication to endless compromise remains intact. They tell themselves whatever stories they need to, in order to protect their second-hand existences.

They enact the range of feelings that allow for entombment in The Group.

These days, when people talk about “self-improvement,” they unerringly manage to avoid the starkness of these matters. And this is why the so-called “helping professions” fail.

Those who own the systems that run the world enforce, celebrate, champion, and fund life-by-need.

Drug dealer and his addicts—that’s the societal model.

But then, what of community? What of family? These are often thrown in the face of The Fountainhead as accusations, as if Rand wants to stamp them out and leave them in the dust.

The obvious answer is, which community, which family? Are the individuals intact, or are they sacrificing themselves to an “ideal” of diminishing their power?

The Matrix has an entrance, a gate on which is transcribed, “Reduce your vision and surrender your separate power.”

Yes, “separate.” A word that is now considered taboo. “Separate” was what we defended before we “understood” that the only salvation was attained in “coming together” and melting down.

We can even find this Melt in physics. The latest version of coming together is the interpretation placed on quantum entanglement, in which atoms light years apart react simultaneously from a stimulus placed on either atom. We are supposed to believe that the whole universe is arranged as a spontaneously reacting Whole, with no part distinct from another. And this is confirmation that the Collective is the preferred pattern of life in every venue. In other words, political collectivism mirrors cosmic collectivism.

Are you sensing something strange here? You should be.

Once upon a time, in a document called the Constitution, separateness was considered a key element. There was separation of church and state. There was separation of the rights of an individual from what the state could arbitrarily do to the individual. There was separation among the three branches of federal government, a plan enacted to limit overall federal power. There was separation of the enumerated powers of the federal government from the far more numerous powers of the states.

DISTINCTIONS that created separation were absolutely necessary. Making and abiding by such distinctions were made possible by minds that could think, minds that could utilize logic—rather than minds that boiled down in a puddle of gray sameness.

Roark is shown to us as a man who stands separate from the mass, the crowd, the mob, the group, the collective, the majority, the minority. He isn’t seeking permission or approval or praise or consensus for his work, his art, his buildings, his creations.

The stunning intensity of his Desire isn’t watered down by a Need to be drawn into what the group wants or accepts or believes in.

The hallmark of The Matrix is a collective lens, through which the individual is supposed to view his life, his work, and the world.

“I see what everybody sees, and they see what I see, and we all see together.”

Talk about fiction. The collective lens is built, step by step, piece by piece, along a path of self-betrayal and corruption.

To speak about individual freedom while living and seeing and thinking through the collective lens is a contradiction and impossibility of titanic proportions.

“I have the inalienable right to see things as others see them. To melt down what might, in other circumstances, be my Separate Vision. To melt it down for the sake of the Whole. So that I might better serve others.”

Well, thank you for your sacrifice. I’m sure a gold star is waiting for you in some cosmic classroom. Now, if we all sacrifice all the time, someday soon we will all be invisible. We will all live in the great mouth of a great nothing. No one will have power. No one will be free. But we will speak as if we are free.

Our false words will sound important. Our rhetoric will, perhaps, convince us and everyone else that freedom still exists.

We will, in fact, be speaking like those politicians do, the ones we accuse of acting on ulterior motives.

Modern leaders have found their power through promoting a concept of endless need. This need can never be solved, it can only be accommodated.

Groups are educated and tuned up to demand more. They must have more of this and more of that. Without limit.

The individual, if he is thought of at all, is depicted as a bundle of needs.

Naturally, when someone defects, he is looked at as a betrayer. Actually, he is exposing the game.

That is when things become interesting.

That is when life takes over.

Exit From the Matrix

(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

69 comments on “Howard Roark and the Collective

  1. cheryll says:


  2. barn moose says:

    getting what you deserve
    oh it is so good so good so good
    so you speak so you dream

    but what
    of the unspeakable
    undreamable unlived unbeknownst

    blow by…

  3. Terri says:

    I love when you talk like this Jon. As Jesus said, man can not live upon bread alone… These higher ideals are truly food for the soul.

    Osho talks a lot about these same concepts. He was such a threat to the collectivist nightmare many countries banned him and the CIA had him killed. He is alive and well thru his teachings and still gives great advice and comfort.

    The first step to being free is breaking ties from the family who have indoctrinated you into slavery and collectivism. If one can not be honest in this regard, and build a strong foundation of sovereignty, one shall not be free. Once you have honestly evaluated and done this, telling the rest of the world to F themselves is pretty simple. Being left with your authentic self is pure relief and happiness soon follows.

    Jesus also said to take the log from your own eye before removing the speck in your brother’s eye. This log would be judgments and beliefs that were given to you that you may or may not realize you have and are shaping your life and affecting your vision, so your life is not your own.

    The above only applies if you wish to change your life and feel true happiness and peace.

    The interesting thing is when you focus on the self, your vision expands to greater than before, and you tap into the great I Am, the higher self or the no- mind, where “miracles” come from. This is truly living to the fullest, in color, transcending the black and white of a pleasantville existence. Now you can truly be of service and anything you put your attention to shall be blessed.

    • Mr Langly says:

      You cannot, literally, live onto your self. The very act of language is a societal implication. We exist in society that imports all your needs to you, manufactured by unknowns the world over and their work feeds you, clothes you, shelters you, transports you, organizes you so you can survive. Try living completely by your self….impossible. A fantasy. And that is the real problem for the creative individual– a constant deal has to be made or you will die.

      • bob klinck says:

        Exactly. The world is full of lunatics who aspire to self-sufficiency. One only wishes that they would stop talking about it and actually try it. No more shelter, transportation, food, etc. involving the efforts of other people. No more pleasure from shared activities. No more relationships founded in love. The problem is not interdependency, but the undermining of freedom of association and the ability to contract out of others’ plans. The phantasm of self-sufficiency is undoubtedly being encouraged by the PTB to prevent a sane transition to a robotic production system in which all will derive the benefits generated by a compliant multitude of mechanical slaves.

      • Greg C. says:

        Roark needed clients for work, but they also needed him. An exchange between two people for mutual benefit is absolutely in line with personal self-interest. And since we are wired biologically with desires for a mate, therein lies another opportunity for mutual benefit – no sacrifice required. Rand incorporated these ideas into her novels. And if you think about if for a moment, you will realize that creativity fulfills needs by producing value that other people want. Creativity is the engine that keeps everyone alive (read Atlas Shrugged).

        • bob klinck says:

          Personal self-interest (which of course is not synonymous with self-sufficiency) is a thin reason for existence, which becomes ever less satisfying as one ages and matures. And the impulse to avoid sacrifice in ‘mating’ is simply cowardice. Rand had the shallowest conceptions of human relations, as her chief acolyte and sometime lover Nathaniel Branden eventually discovered to his lasting regret.

          • Greg C. says:

            I guess Brandon got sick of sacrificing his happiness to Rand’s idealism. Hey, wait a minute …. I think there’s a contradiction in there somewhere.

            • bob klinck says:

              If you read his book (“Judgment Day”), you will realize that, as is common in his profession, Branden himself was hopelessly flakey. Apart from changing his name (real name Nathan Blumenthal), a year after his first marriage he started an affair with Rand (real name Alisa Rosenbaum–another flake). These people “mated” like beasts in a field–indeed, like the two-dimensional characters in Rand’s attempts at fiction, a case of life imitating art. No commitment devolving from love was required. Poor Rand, the “Objectivist” who was an out-of-control demon of destructive passion in her private life, pathetically sought the consolation of her paramours’ assurances that (while having looks suited to her misanthropy) she had “good legs”.

            • Greg C. says:

              Yeah, their private lives were rather a mess. Too bad. You think everyone who likes the Fountainhead is in the same boat?

          • Terri says:

            You must know and love thyself before you are any good to anyone else, society in general, or yourself.

      • PJ London says:

        Congratulations, you just completely missed both the import of the book and of Jon’s analysis.
        You are the epitome of the antihero, ‘a deal has to be made’, compromise, settle.
        ‘Or you will die’, well many people would rather die than settle or compromise.
        It is very simple, decide what you will accept and what you will not accept. Having done that never compromise.
        Some people would rather shovel ordure for a living than steal a cent through theft or fraud, most will rationalise their theft, ‘everybody does it’.
        I feel very sorry for slaves such as you, never knowing what it is to be free, never knowing what it is to be a man.
        Separate does not mean being alone, it does not mean never co-operating, never trading, it means creating yourself in your own image, to your own standards, your own ethics and morals. Compromising these things, accommodating the lesser ideals, means joining the herd, accepting the mindset, and dropping to their level.
        Roark would rather be a carpenter than design crud.
        Once someone understands what is being put forward, they have the choice of aspiring to those standards or carrying on with the mob.
        Most people of course see only the words and never even glimpse the thoughts behind them.

        • bob klinck says:

          This article is about self-sufficiency. You seem to be the one whose reading of it is skewed.

          It’s a strange view of society that holds it to be inherently inimical to one’s inchoate conceptions rather than encompassing a vast resource for their development. How sad that you do not think you have anything to learn through association with others.

          • PJ London says:

            Well, if the article is about ‘self sufficiency’ then my grasp of English is horribly deficient.
            I thought it was about the ability to be separate from the herd. This does not require or even imply physical or societal separation.
            Rand, Twain, Orwell, Huxley, Buckminster Fuller were entirely separate although they lived in and with society and could not in any way be considered self sufficient.
            It seems that we view the world differently, and if my view is skewed, that is fine, it may be better attuned to Rand and Rappoport than you imagine. Galt’s Gulch was not called Prepper heaven.
            I am happy to march to a different drum.

      • Terri says:

        not impossible to someone who is not stuck in the collective and the mind. You obviously do not understand what i wrote and never will.

    • bob klinck says:

      You seem to have been unfortunate in the kind of family you had. Loving parents who are not obsessed careerists typically recognize the diverse characters and talents of their children and encourage their development. Of course this gets largely thwarted when the state, starting with the compulsory education system, begins to assert its superior claim on the life of the individual, which, of necessity, is most externally circumscribed in militaristic regimes.

      • Terri says:

        Bob, truly loving parents never give their children to the state and indoctrinate them into the slave system of collectivism. What passes for love is not love. Its nothing but lip service. Subservience begins in the home with the premise that children are property and parents are owners or you could say master slave. Obedience without question, or else you will be punished. Then humans grow up and act out this dynamic and you have fascism and violence.

        Until you can call this bluff, you will not be free. The people who raised me are dysfunctional control freaks, much like most, who society felt were model parents and the people around them would never admit this, because they would have to re think and question everything.

        • bob klinck says:

          I suspect strongly that you do not have children. Otherwise you would not pontificate so categorically. The adoption of an attitude of moral superiority to everyone else is typical of Libertarians and Marxists.

        • once upon a time there was a kite says:

          It’s very likely that being raised by a dysfunctional power addict (it’s very rare both parents are such, they’d brawl against one another all the time, wouldn’t they? Usually you find a lover of others’ obedience and a lover of his/her own obedience paired) is the single most likely condition to make one grow with the drive for freedom and independence I have and your messages indicate you too have, Terri.

          Then you start assessing and experiencing the outer environment, other groups… and see that everywhere it’s the same thing, with the sociopaths at the top, and, of course, everything (obedience, and manic controlling) is rationalized and disguised. They all care a lot about consciously believing that they are equals in “the group”. There is a lot of ritual niceties, smiles, “thank you”s (try not to obey and to hold on your ground, and see what those “thank you”s will morph into in a second).

          Then one day you stumble on the word “dulosis” in the dictionary, and think “Ah; the ants, too!”. Read something about other hominids’ tribes, and other social animals… and join the dots.
          And know it is a game that you can’t partake in.

          It feels cool, dusky. But it’s the background of your life and (in my case at least) you can not modify it.

          • bob klinck says:

            Pursuit of “equality” (which literally means “absence of quality”) has become practically a contemporary religion. It is a misdirection of human attention being inculcated by the PTB, because it serves as an all-purpose rationale for institutional control of all aspects of social life. Besides being impossible to realize, it conjures up a monstrous image of a static, monochromatic society. The natural tendency of growth is toward differentiation, but this is incompatible with the schemes of central planners, and therefore is suppressed.

            • PJ London says:

              Equality literally means ; ‘the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.’

            • bob klinck says:

              PJ–That might be a definition you find in a modern dictionary, but it is not the original etymological meaning, which is “out of quality”, or “having no quality” (which of course is the state to which a rigorous pursuit of “equality”, in which no one is allowed to possess a quality that someone else doesn’t have, must ultimately lead). Contemporary society is handicapped in its ideation by having a language whose connection to reality has been systematically subverted.

            • PJ London says:

              Actually the ‘e’ prefix has the usage ‘exit or leave’ from the original Greek.
              You are dissembling when you claim it means lack of or not having.
              ‘Out’ in this instance has the meaning exit or on the ‘outside of’, to pretend it means ‘lacking’ is dishonest.

  4. henry says:

    I like most of Rand’s fiction but it has a few problems. The dialog of her characters is too formal with little slang, euphemisms, or interruptions. Hitchcock movies have the same problem. Perhaps the capturing of dialog has improved over the last 50 years.

    The other problem is that her characters don’t grow. The heroes were born giants and the villains are were all born midgets. Nobody learns from their experiences and grow into being better people. her work might be better if a collectivists sees the end game of collectivism and then rejects it.

    Fiction that is promoted by collectivists is labeled “literature”. Fiction that is suppressed by collectivists is ignored.

    • PJ London says:

      There are a number of people in real life who do not use ‘slang’ , refuse to cloak their meanings in ‘euphemisms’ and do not tolerate ‘interruptions’, 40+ years ago, interrupting someone was considered extremely bad manners. Unfortunately, no longer.
      It must be said that you really should read the books again. Many of the characters both were developed in the plot and made changes and grew through the story.
      Dominique in Fountainhead and Dagney in Atlas Shrugged both had epiphanies as the hero stood firm. Keating, Webb, Ragnar and Fransisco displayed major changes and growth.
      It appears to me that perhaps you belong to the ‘other’ side. Mouch and Tooley may appeal to you more.

      • henry says:

        Dagney, Keating, Webb, Ragnar and Fransisco were all people who got things done. The only change that they made was move away from people who didn’t value them and impeded their work. They didn’t change their mindset, they changed their tactics. None of the collectivists ever changed their mindset.

        The characters in Rand’s fiction seem to be on a stage: first you say something then I stay on point in my response. Reality, today, is filled with non sequitur, double speak, and selective reporting. Double speak looks like the terms are more precise but, in fact, they are less precise. This is skill that is used widely today. The D.O.D. calls a hammer an impaction device so no one questions paying $600 for one. She attempts to show this BS technique (the dog eat dog laws that help the unproductive compete with the productive). Orwell demonstrated this much better than Rand. I think this is why the general public has never heard of Ayn Rand.

        In the American Revolution, the British lined up in the open wearing red coats and avoided aiming at leaders of the opposing side. The Americans hid behind rocks and trees, dressed in colors that made them hard to see, and they aimed at the leaders of the British troops. The guerrilla techniques won the war. The American Left are using guerrilla warfare against principled Americans. For the last 100 years, the Left has been winning. It is only recently where the real Americans have learned to effectively fight them. Rand’s lessons are red coats. They may keep you warm but they are not useful in fighting the war.

        • PJ London says:

          ” today, is filled with non sequitur, ” well you got that right. Somehow we got to ‘guerrilla warfare against principled Americans’.
          ‘None of the collectivists ever changed their mindset.’ much like everybody in real life then, which is why it appears that every country is engaged in a civil war, just as in the books.

    • Terri says:

      But Henry, how many collectivists in “real life” ever have an epiphany?
      I have found that the sappy lifetime stories they sell people are false and make people feel bad because in their own lives their families didn’t come together in a crisis, the abusive spouse never changes,etc. and causes self blame that they just weren’t good enough to facilitate a happy ending.

      This is of course untrue, unfortunately too many of us are taught we are responsible for other people’s behavior and berate ourselves for failing when the people around us never choose to be happy or healed.

      It takes alot of introspection and hard work to change and the majority of society is not willing or able to do so. I think its good villains are portrayed as inferior, today, gangsters and banksters are considered superior. A true hero is larger than life and through my experience and observations, I question the whole narrative of you grow thru adversity. What about adversity failing to crush one who remains true to themselves and remains larger than life? Those who are crushed perhaps were small to begin with and never had a chance. Perhaps this is a lie we tell ourselves collectively so we feel better about being witnesses to cruelty or being treated badly in a world full of immature, inconsiderate people?

      We are taught to feel better when those outside of ourselves do better. Isn’t that a trap? A type of victim mentality which leaves us putting our lives on hold and waiting for others to get it? What if we can be okay whether or not those around us grow or not? What if the very intention of being more than okay and choosing ourselves and living an impeccable life than spreads and gives more people the opportunity to choose the same?

      • henry says:

        Good questions. As children become adults they are confronted with a number or paradigms that help them organize their thoughts. One paradigm holds that you are responsible for your life another holds that it is safer to be part of a group. Let the leaders do the thinking and the individuals can remain like children. Once one has adopted one of these paradigms, it seems to be an overwhelming task to change paradigms because everything must be rethought. Any defect in their conceptual structure in their mind is ignored, if possible. If nobody is there to not let them ignore these defects, they will not reevaluate their structure.

        The American movement (those that hold that governments are instituted to secure the unalienable rights of each individual) is gaining ground because it has learned to fight the guerrilla war against the UN-American (collectivist) movement. Young adults have muddled minds. This is because of a concerted effort to dumb them down. Those that smoke pot are ripe for conversion since the collectivists will attempt to put the pot heads in a cage where they can be anally raped. Those that have had someone close to them die of a curable disease like cancer are ripe for conversion since the collectivists attempt to outlaw the cures. Christians are ripe for conversion since the collectivists (the corporate government is their church) ridicule, and criminalize, their religious beliefs. Unemployed/underemployed are ripe for conversion once their benefits run out. Unmarried women with children are not ripe for conversion since they are married to the corporate state. Experts are not ripe for conversion because the pyramid of experts, that they are a part of, is the building blocks of the corporate state.

        When the paradigm that they use becomes more complicated than the alternatives then they will go through the process of shifting their paradigm. The election of Trump is evidence that the number of Americans that are going through this process is not insignificant. The case must be made that the American principle is good and the UN-American principle is evil. People will migrate away from evil if they see it as evil.

        Charity use to mean that individuals would donate money to their church and/or civic organization and the organization would help those in need. To get the assistance, one would need to see those who voluntarily gave money to help them. This information helped the individual to realize that they have made mistakes in their life and if they followed the path of those who donated money, they would have a better life. The corporate state steals money from producers and gives it to those in need but does not give them the information that they have made mistakes. Instead of saying ‘thank you for helping me feed my children’, those receiving assistance now say ‘You rich A-holes are stealing my G*d damn money’. The average person is saying I don’t care about the poor, that is the government’s job. This is not working. When this idea is presented to the producers it makes them riper for conversion to become real Americans.

  5. Consensus view consumes just about everything including most “free thinkers”, as you are aware Jon.

    Even you struggle pressing those difficult buttons that are doomed to perennially offend.

    Credentials and “peer group pressure” are tantamount symbols of the establishment and elitism. I avoid them like the plague.

    How to do that and be popular also?

    Isn’t that an anathema?


  6. Lisa Moschetti says:

    Profound analysis! Thank you.

  7. jody says:

    Ignorance is a curable malady; stupidity is a terminable illness!

    Ignorance plus apathy is self-inflicted stupidity!

    • PJ London says:

      Ah, the great conundrum. Are today’s woes caused by ignorance or indifference.
      Personally, I neither know or care.

  8. jody says:

    The Fountainhead (1943) by Ayn Rand and The Road to Serfdom (1944) by Friedrich von Hayek were ahead of their times in predicting the threat to society and its economy if totalitarians occupy the seat of government power. We are there today and as Walt Kelly observed putting words in Pogo’s mouth, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    Only an ignorant, apathetic electorate could allow that to continue.

    Ignorance is a curable malady; stupidity is a terminable illness!

    Ignorance plus apathy is self-inflicted stupidity!

    • Bob Klinck says:

      Neither Rand nor Von Hayek exposed the ubiquitous control of the Money Power; ipso facto their analyses are flawed and serve a diversionary dialectical purpose. And surely you meant to say “terminal illness”?

  9. Wallace Klinck says:

    The extremes of Ayn Rand’s abstract individualism and Marxist collectivism are fundamentally opposite sides of the same coin. Both are inspired by a metaphysic that abhors inheritance and insists on Salvation through works. This denial of inheritance leads to anarchic tyranny on the one side and organized regimentation on the other. Both ideologies are anachronisms which uphold the labour theory of value and the patent falsehood that “there is no free lunch.” They represent the destructive Marxian dialectic in action in a world where production is increasingly divorced from dependence upon labour, which is rapidly being replaced as a factor of production by automated process and artificial intelligence.

    Because of faulty conventions dictating the interaction between financial cost-accountancy and credit issue and cancellation by banking institutions, the price-system generates financial costs and prices at a greater rate of flow than it pays out effective consumer incomes. The price-system in unable to recover the costs of production through consumer purchases in each cycle. It is intrinsically non- self-liquidating and without some intervening factor could not function. In the modern multi-stage capital intensive economy, allocated charges in respect of capital and materials are brought in from a previous costing cycle and added to wages, salaries and dividends (which latter items are both costs and incomes). Prices surge ahead of effective cost-liquidating consumer purchasing-power. The system is allowed to (mal)function by mortgaging our future by means of exponentially expanding bank debt which permits us to acquire what we have produced previously only by incomes earned in respect of current production–incomes which will have been cancelled before the goods current in making come off the production line. The price-system is increasingly “out of sync.”

    The extension of bank debt continuously to mortgage our future is used (1) to finance waste and war production, (2) to finance exports in excess of imports, an impossible task for all nations, attempts at which engenders international friction ending in war, and (3) evermore to finance consumer debt as a growing burden upon the general public. The banks wrongfully claim ownership of the credit they create and issue as debt to monetize the real wealth of society–which they do not create. This is a blatant form of legalized counterfeiting. The new money required to bridge the growing price-income deficiency should be provided without being recorded as debt, being merely drawn down from a National Credit Account which would be an actuarial account of the nation’s real credit, i.e., all natural and human resources which if used for production would create financial costs and prices. This NCA would, however, always be growing because all appreciation of real capital would be added to it continuously.

    The new debt-free consumer credit should be issued as universal and equal National (Consumer) Dividends to all citizens as an inalienable inheritance and to retailers at point of sale, enabling them to charge Compensated (falling) Prices to the consumer. These measures would solve the old debate about the appropriation of existing incomes via taxation because they would facilitate distribution of final goods without any redistribution of earned income whatsoever. Labour would continue to be rewarded in accord with its diminishing role in production and the consuming citizen would be rewarded in accord with the contribution of non-labour factors deriving from our vast Cultural Inheritance.

    Marx erroneously identified the income of the “capitalist” owner as the source of the problem and sought a “solution” by expropriation of what he considered to be the “expropriators” of “surplus labour value”. Clifford Hugh Douglas, founder of the Social Credit movement identified the central economic problem as a failure to distribute wealth deriving from the Cultural Heritage. The existing unsound financial system surreptitiously appropriates the communal capital by legerdemain, rather than revolutionary seizure, by rightly charging the consumer with capital depreciation while wrongly failing to credit the consumer with capital appreciation. In his proposals for debt-free consumption credits Douglas resolved the whole issue of economic injustice, and his proposals would lead to a whole new basis of economic security for the individual which would liberate him or her from economic bondage and the constant threat of losing the limited and diminishing security provided by employment under the will of external personalities. This would provide immanent sovereignty with appropriate sanctions for the individual.

    • PJ London says:

      What a wonderful analysis. I am certain that you are a professor of economics or something equally profound.
      I had never thought to put words together in such a sequence. Masterful.
      ‘Because of faulty conventions dictating the interaction between financial cost-accountancy and credit issue and cancellation by banking institutions, the price-system generates financial costs and prices at a greater rate of flow than it pays out effective consumer incomes.’
      Ayn Rand herself could not have crafted such a sentence.
      Even Ellsworth could not have critiqued it better.
      Thank you for your illuminating insights.

      • bob klinck says:

        The sentence seems well-formed and clear in meaning to me. Why don’t you give readers the benefit of a logical critique, as opposed to insubstantial sarcasm.

        • PJ London says:

          Well perhaps you could guide me to what exactly is ‘cost- accountancy’ and what if anything it has to do with ‘credit issue and cancellation by banking institutions’.
          In any real world the two are totally unrelated.
          How does the ‘Price system’ whatever that means ‘generate financial costs at a greater rate of flow.’?
          It is nonsensical gobbledegook.
          Yes I have an accountancy, (including formal ‘cost-accounting’), finance and banking background, but I recognise nonsense when I see it.

  10. PJ London says:

    to Bob Klink @2:31

    Er, I thought Ayn Rand was writing fiction, telling a story, being entertaining.
    Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead did in fact demonstrate the ubiquitous control of money power by denying the heroes opportunity to be heroic, and then of course by providing the money and means for them to show their talents.
    I thought that it was rather simple to see the control that money exerts, but then that was me being simple, not sophisticated, like some people.

  11. bob klinck says:

    Rand never made an issue of the extraordinary anti-social privilege the financial institutions enjoy in being able to create the money supply out of thin air and bestow it on persons of their choosing. Just a detail not worthy of her attention, I guess! And presumably the giant dollar sign she had installed beside her coffin did not represent her final genuflection before the central planning monstrosity that is the Money Power!

    • Greg C. says:

      Klink, you seem to have an obsession about Rand, as if she were the devil incarnate. How dare she have a dollar sign on her coffin! How awful that she had an open affair during the swinging 60’s! (Many great thinkers advocated free love, she was not the first. Wm. Blake was one!) How dishonest that she changed her name for her writing career! (Ever hear of Samuel Clemens?) How dare she have “good legs.” Beastly, I say! Did I miss something?

      • bob klinck says:

        This is strange. As you say, she worshipped money; she conformed to the sexual moeurs of her time; she imitated the custom of other writers (additionally, she strove to attain a “fashionable look” in order to impress others, she was addicted to nicotine, etc.)–yet she is virtually worshipped by her admirers as a phenomenally original and independent thinker.

        And it was not I passing judgment on the attractiveness of her legs; this was her own attempt to find something about herself, as time inscribed her alienating philosophy on her visage, that could physically appeal to the opposite sex.

        • Greg C. says:

          Worshiped by her admirers? She had a small cult following, but the rest of her admirers were simply admirers. Her books were fascinating, read over and over by some young people, because they affirmed the creative, productive impulse that is undeniable. They recognized it as something incredibly important to their present and future.

          Worshiped money? She was dirt poor for over half her life. No, she used the symbol of the dollar to stand for a fair exchange of merit – honesty, in other words.

          All healthy women like to think themselves as attractive in some way. Why fault her for that? Proves she was human, not just an intellect.

          My own mother was addicted to nicotine – she died because of it, but that doesn’t make her a bad person. Remember, this was a different time – smoking was normal – everywhere there were ashtrays, and you could smoke on airplanes! You’re scraping bottom in trying to find evidence to condemn her, but again, no real discussion of her books, which is all most of us are really interested in.

          • bob klinck says:

            She was a fanatical controller of others, cruelly tasking her closest associates with such embarrassing tasks as isolating her from critics and even sending “into exile” admirers whom she deemed insufficiently reverential toward her ideas–what Nathaniel Branden, her longtime alter ego, in a penetrating phrase called her “stylized universe”. While there was much of what I would, with my personal biases, consider to be “bad” about her, I am merely trying to establish that there was such a radical inconsistency between her preaching and her practice that it calls into question the credibility of her entire belief system. For example, while advocating the virtues of selfishness, with regard to realizing her projects she demanded total selflessness from her cult followers (“Judgment Day”, p. 382). While venerating logic, she was susceptible to tremulous shrieking fits of rage (p. 385), and even physically attacking someone who upset her (p. 387). Moreover, she could be consumed by fury, emotionally out of control, over personal frustrations without seeing how this did not cohere with her status as an Objectivist. That the leading exponent of Objectivism could herself deviate uncontrollably from its ideals surely should cause people infatuated with them to wonder about their validity.

            The problem is not that Rand was susceptible to human weaknesses, but that she claimed not to be and that she had a formula for bringing acolytes to her superior condition. Perhaps, as even tongue-lashed and hand-slashed Branden persisted in believing even after definitively escaping her wrath, Rand was genius, and the useful lesson her life taught was that genius untempered by humility is doomed eventually to reveal itself as foolishness.

            • Greg C. says:

              I agree, she was not a very likeable person. She drove her long-suffering husband to drink. The people around her should have known better. Rand turned her philosophy inside-out, adopted it to her own Russian psyche, in order to impose authoritarianism. But the novels have none of that – they contain very simple, bare-bones philosophy, a starting point only. Her life just shows that anything, no matter how true or noble, can be screwed up. Why should the way anyone acts determine what I think? Should I cobble together a philosophy from only people who seem to have it all together? Should we merely emulate the people who seem the most kind, warm, and compassionate? Or should we look to the ideas themselves, imagine where they could lead, realizing that they can produce multiple outcomes, both good and bad, depending on how we choose to live them?

              Rand, I think, chose to write the way she did in an attempt to escape her inner authoritarian demons. What she created in the process was valuable and good, it just wasn’t enough for her. It was incomplete – as all philosophies are. It is up to each individual to flesh it out.

  12. PJ London says:

    ‘never made an issue of the extraordinary anti-social privilege the financial institutions enjoy ‘ why would she, she was writing about engineers and architects. had she been writing about bankers then she would have.
    But with regard to money :
    “Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonourably; the man who respects it has earned it.

    “Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another – their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

    “But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride, or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologise for being rich – will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt – and of his life, as he deserves.

    When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

    “Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

    “Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper.”

    Seems she understood pretty well, perhaps the fault is not hers.

    • bob klinck says:

      What an abstract paean to money! She served the bankers’ agenda well.

      She implies, without stating so clearly, that in her ideal society the essential function of money is coercion: the ONLY substitute, if money be abandoned, is the muzzle of a gun. The choice is between being starved to death or shot. In the context of an economy of unprecedented superproduction, there is no criticism of these being the only alternatives on offer.

      I certainly would never say that money is evil. It is a marvellous invention–that, unfortunately, has been perverted into an instrument of domination when it could instead have served to enhance personal freedom.

      That the amount of money one will acquire is proportional to one’s possession of the “highest virtues” is typical Randian abstractionism. I am reminded of Meyer Lansky’s becoming “bigger than U.S. Steel”, or Bill Gates’ determined suppression of initiatives by those working outside the ambit of his control. Or Enron. Or the Clinton Foundation. The list of anomalies would stretch to the moon.

      For Rand, money is supremely “noble”. But apparently this is true of only a tiny part of it, the bulk being nothing more than a contemptible pile of paper: the quotations you supply place her in the camp of the fantasists who see normality in people’s making use of resources being conditional on their extracting a shiny metal from the ground.

      • PJ London says:

        Good grief, what are you smoking?
        Money is equated to honest value and value to production of valuable commodities.
        The speech is that without open and free exchange of value, then the only other resort is force.
        The only alternative to production is looting.
        Take off your silly blinkers and actually read what is in front of you.
        I detest the banking fraternity, but at least I understand it.

        “The issue which has swept down the centuries
        and which will have to be fought sooner or later
        is the people versus the banks.”

        Lord Acton

        • bob klinck says:

          Good quote from Acton. I’m quite sure you won’t find a comparable assertion in the writings of Rand, Hayek, or von Mises.

  13. Wallace Klinck says:

    PJ: You appear to be musing in irrelevancies or attempting to set up a straw man.

    Money is merely a tool or an instrument and has no moral qualities. Moral issues do come into play regarding the use that is made of money to facilitate the activation of real capital for production and to allow consumption of real wealth emanating from the deployment of real capital. Morality is an attribute of human consciousness.

    Realistically regarded, money in the modern world is simply accountancy and has no physical existence, which for convenience sake, is highly desirable. As a system of accountancy, money must be an accurate representation of reality. Otherwise by definition it cannot function properly as “money” and cannot be described as such. Money is almost certainly man’s greatest invention, without which the modern economy could not function. It has what is called “fungibility” which eliminates what in today’s complex world would be the insuperable physical inconvenience of barter.

    The only things that give value to “money” are real goods and services–those things that contribute to human life. Rare metals are relatively useless. They cannot be used for any life function except in the most limited sense. To accord them any significant relevance as genuine wealth is pure delusion and idolatry. Take away actual physical wealth and they would be valueless.

    As a system of representation our system of credit, or “promises-to-pay”, is a man-made system and should represent the realities of production and consumption. Unfortunately the existing system does not reflect reality because it does not correctly register real cost. It charges the consumer with capital depreciation but fails to credit the consumer with capital appreciation, which latter is always much greater than consumption. Realistically, the true cost of production is consumption. As such, the existing financial system robs society of the benefits of true technological efficiency, which should result in a falling price-level and increased leisure where the consumer gets delivery of product and the producer is enabled to recover his costs without facing bankruptcy.

    An honest system of money, or credit, must reflect the realities of production and consumption. It can only be called “evil” if it is manipulated to distort these realities though monopoly control exercised for special advantage. The modern system of banking is a Monopoly of Credit.

    • PJ London says:

      It is Fransisco’s speech from Atlas Shrugged. Any person who has read Rand would recognise it.
      Unfortunately you do not understand even the basics of money or economics, ‘money must be an accurate representation of reality’ a ridiculous inanity.

      Winston Churchill said, ”All previous attempts to base money solely on intangibles such as credit or government edict or fiat have ended in inflationary panic and disaster.”

      ” Unfortunately the existing system does not reflect reality because it does not correctly register real cost.”
      Cost is totally irrelevant, it matters not how many hours and effort you expend collecting and polishing turds, they are still turds.

      If you read the passage, it says to run from a man who tells you money is evil. It does not anywhere suggest that money has a moral quality. I suggest you look up ‘strawman’.

      The world will of necessity have to return to a form of barter.

      PS there are several Banking systems that are not part of the monopoly nor is ‘credit’ their primary operation. Look beyond your prejudices.

      • bob klinck says:

        You state, “The world will of necessity have to return to a form of barter.” And yet just before you quoted Rand, apparently with your approval, as saying, “the man who damns money has obtained it dishonourably”. Very confusing. It illustrates the hazards of excessive ratiocination disconnected from reality.

        Let all readers contemplate the virtually incomprehensibly complex world in which we live (and the many advantages it provides) and then try to imagine even a millionth part of it functioning on the basis of barter!

        • PJ London says:

          It is not at all confusing to anyone who reads and can comprehend English.
          Which part of “of necessity ” did you not understand?
          How and when did I ‘damn’ money?
          How can one have excessive reasoning, what you demonstrate is insufficient reasoning and thought.
          The situation is that the world’s currencies are going to go through a period where they are totally unstable and the world will again have to resort to trade in products and commodities.
          Already metals and energy are being traded without the intermediate monetisation.
          This is already happening on many fronts, but when (not if) the derivative fiasco unwinds, there will not be enough stability to allow for monetisation of trades.
          Your last sentence actually demonstrates a glimmer of understanding, the world is going to be a very different place.

          • Wallace Klinck says:

            PJ: The history of economics and of civilization has been characterized by a continuous movement away from barter which in the distant past was the method of exchange in primitive hand production methods of fashioning goods. This was prior to our complex multi-stage economy where intermediate products move along the production line by a line of credit issued by accountancy agents which we call banks. We operate on the basis of contract for future delivery and the credit system acts as an indispensable agency for transmitting information as amongst the different players in the system. Economic agents resort to barter only in desperation when the financial system fails to function properly in facilitating production and consumption. (This was one of the major causes of the war with Germany when the National Socialists by-passed the usual international financial trading system by direct barter arrangements with other nations.) The system fails to work properly because it increasingly lacks the liquidity required to render it functional. Restore that liquidity on a sustained basis by ensuring continuing effective adequate consumer demand and the problem is solved.

            I will pass over your gratuitous and unsupported comment that my understanding of money and economics does not even span the “basics”. I spent over six years in academia and have been exposed to the conventional ideas on the subject–with which I disagree profoundly. Their initial Puritanical assumption, i.e., that near full-employment is an appropriate socio-economic goal, is profoundly irrational. This is a mechanistic conception that misperceives the nature and purpose of life. Economics is simply a functional activity of men and women in the world and should be executed with minimal inconvenience to everyone concerned so that they may all proceed with other self-chosen activities.

            In this regard, the idea of cost is not only valid but pivotal. Production involves the expenditure of energy over time to the conversion of matter–which expenditure we measure in time-units. The fewer units of energy expended over time to obtain an equivalent or greater result, the greater is our efficiency–and the greater is the quality of our lives in terms of less waste, work and greater enjoyment of consumer goods and services. The true cost of production in physical terms is the rate of consumption relative to that of production. Because the later increases more rapidly than the former the true cost of production is continually decreasing.

            From a monetary standpoint any businessman who must deal with the realities of carrying on a successful venture will assure you that the success of such operation depends absolutely on his being able to balance his financial accounts by covering his costs. The core problem is that he must charge financial prices which exceed the real or physical costs of production while he distributes effective demand only in respect of wages, salaries and dividends, having simultaneously to incorporate additionally in price materials brought in from a previous costing cycle. The resulting deficiency must be made up by increasing bank debt at all levels of society. Meet this deficiency merely by drawing upon the growing real credit of society and the problem of financial insolvency is resolved. Humanity can then proceed with its functional activities without anxiety over money–which realistically is, or should be, simply a means of accountancy reflecting rather than controlling our activities. There is no compelling need–and no possibility in the modern world whatsoever–of returning to universal barter because of monetary “failure”. We simply need realistic accountancy.

            Conventional financial accountants deal with arbitrarily balancing contra-entries which do not take into consideration real world conditions. As one accountant has said, accountants cannot define the nature or function of money because they are practicing a two-dimensional art in a three-dimensional world. In todays’ world labour is being rapidly displaced by technology and money must increasingly become an instrument of distribution rather than of exchange.

            • PJ London says:

              Your final paragraph amply displays the lack of any reality in what you write.
              I will not bother to respond to all the nonsense, but it was well demonstrated in the fall of the Russian economy that businesses and manufacturing got along rather well with barter.
              I can point to any economy that is not dominated by the banks, and show that barter or exchange value for value is common and ongoing. (Including exchange of resources now for delivery of product in the future. eg monthly salaries)
              Credit and credit creation, is the downfall of societies not the creator of civilisation.
              I quoted Churchill above, money without a commodity basis is bound to fail. Always has, always will.
              I have created and run successful enterprises (one of which grew to 400 employees) so I think that I understand 3 dimensional finance.
              Costs have nothing to do with value or price. Any fool with a street barrow can prove that.
              Which is why +80% of ventures fail, (especially if advised by MBAs and academics).
              Double entry book-keeping is not ‘arbitrary’.
              ‘Realistic accountancy’ WTF?
              Sunshine I am not learning anything from this discourse so I am going to terminate my side of the discussion. I come here to learn and have my thinking challenged by new ideas, not engage in juvenile back and forth.
              I mentioned in one blog, ‘My new years resolution was to suffer fools more gladly, but not if it takes up more of my time.’

          • bob klinck says:

            You ask “How and when did I ‘damn’ money?” Your contention that “The world will of necessity have to return to a form of barter”, stated with seeming equanimity, appears to me to favour the abolition of money. If I have misinterpreted your position, I invite you to explain it more fully.

            • PJ London says:

              I view my demise with equanimity, doesn’t mean I favour or approve of it.

            • bob klinck says:

              PJ–Bypassing the vitriol, I see by your last contribution that my understanding of your position was correct. I doubt if you will find, outside possibly of the company of those who have pledged allegiance to the “stylized universe” (see above) of Ayn Rand, many reflective persons who will think that barter makes sense in 21st century economies being supplied with material wealth by millions of industrial robots.

            • PJ London says:

              BK, I am done with W K and now with you.
              Your claim was, that I favour the abolition of money. I give an example which even a 3 year old would understand, and yet you blindly maintain the claim,which I never made.
              I am not in favour of barter over ‘money’.
              I have never made such a preposterous notion.
              What I said was that ‘money’ will fail, specifically the Western denominations, and that barter will become ‘of necessity’ the means of exchange.
              Now, I can’t make it any simpler than that.
              I am not talking about going to the grocer, I am talking about normal business and international exchange. Weimar and Zimbabwe show that you can have trillion dollar/mark notes and they are cheaper than toilet paper but can serve the same purpose.
              Greece has shown that even in going to the grocer, barter has its’ place.
              ‘Money’ is one thing and one thing only.
              It is a ‘promise to pay’.
              When the ‘thing’ that is to be paid is uncertain or changing then ‘money’ loses it’s purpose.
              At which point, the parties have to agree on something physical to exchange.
              Have fun, I am gone.

  14. Wallace Klinck says:

    PJ: Social Credit also says that “money will fail”, and is always failing, because the system we use is inflationary, generates ever increasing and un-repayable debt, fails adequately to distribute the end product of industry and to cancel the financial costs thereof. Indeed, C. H. Douglas predicted that the existing financial system would, under continuing conditions of technological displacement of labour as a factor of production, eventually become virtually non-functional. When money fails to perform its function as effective demand, people are driven to barter–not because they want to resort to it, but because they see no alternative.

    What Social Credit does claim is that, properly conceived, money is simply accountancy registering the generation of financial costs by producing industry and the subsequent cancellation of said costs by consumer purchases. Because of the conventional manner of accountancy and bank financing, distributed income is cancelled prematurely and will not be available to purchase the final product. Costs and prices advance rapidly beyond distributed incomes. Essentially, the consumer is charged with the cost of real capital depreciation but not credited with real capital appreciation. The only option we have to cope with this situation is to borrow more money, as bank-created credit issued as debt mortgaging the future, when in actual fact the physical cost of production is met as production takes place.

    A sound and sane financial system would ensure sufficient unattached consumer income always to be available to cancel the costs of goods awaiting sale and would ensure that prices were continuously falling with the physical cost of production as achieved by developing efficiency. Our system of faulty finance and cost-accountancy does not adhere in nature but is man-made. As such, it can be rectified to the advantage of citizens at large. There is no need whatsoever for any breakdown in the system which would drive people down the scale of evolution to rely on the inefficient ant cumbersome practice of barter.

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