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Alan Greenspan's 'The Assault on Integrity' from Ayn Rand's 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal'

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Uploaded on Feb 6, 2011

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'The Assault on Integrity' was an article that originally appeared in a newsletter: The Objectivist, published in 1966 and was reprinted in Ayn Rand's 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal'.

During the 1950s, Greenspan was one of the members of Ayn Rand's inner circle, the Ayn Rand Collective, who read Atlas Shrugged while it was being written. Rand nicknamed Greenspan "the undertaker" because of his penchant for dark clothing and reserved demeanor. Although Greenspan was once recognized as a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism, some Objectivists find his support for a gold standard somewhat incongruous or dubious, given the Federal Reserve's role in America's fiat money system and endogenous inflation. He has come under criticism from Harry Binswanger, who believes his actions while at work for the Federal Reserve and his publicly expressed opinions on other issues show abandonment of Objectivist and free market principles. However, when questioned in relation to this, he has said that in a democratic society individuals have to make compromises with each other over conflicting ideas of how money should be handled. He said he himself had to make such compromises, because he believes that "we did extremely well" without a central bank and with a gold standard. Greenspan and Rand maintained a close relationship until her death in 1982.

'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal', is a collection of essays, mostly by Ayn Rand, with additional essays by her associates Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan and Robert Hessen. The book focuses on the moral nature of laissez-faire capitalism and private property. The book has a very specific definition of capitalism, a system it regards as broader than simply property rights or free enterprise. It was originally published in 1966.

Ayn Rand born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, February 2 1905 -- March 6, 1982), was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand migrated to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935--1936. She first achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. Over a decade later, she published her magnum opus, the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged, in 1957.

Rand's political views, reflected in both her fiction and nonfiction work, emphasize individual rights (including property rights) and laissez-faire capitalism, enforced by a constitutionally limited government. She was a fierce opponent of all forms of collectivism and statism, including fascism, communism, socialism, and the welfare state, and promoted ethical egoism while rejecting the ethic of altruism. She considered reason to be the only means of acquiring knowledge and its advocacy the most important aspect of her philosophy, stating, "I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."

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