Speaking plainly on profits

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2007-05-22 22:30

A businesswoman in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged opens a controversial new railway line, one violently opposed by the politically correct. She calls a press conference...

"The reporters who came to the press conference had been trained to think that their job consisted of concealing from the world the nature of its events. It was their daily duty to serve as audience for some public figure who made utterances about the public good, in phrases carefully calculated to have no meaning." Pressured to defend her reasons for opening the unpopular railway line, Dagny Taggart says: "Would you oblige me by taking this down verbatim? Miss Taggart says – quote – I expect to make a pile of money on the John Galt Line. I will have earned it. Close quote. Thank you so much."

Not something you hear enough of these days: "I expect to make a pile of money. I will have earned it." Making a pile of money is a good thing. Profit is good. You don't agree? Then check out the Galileo Blogger making the One-Minute-Case for Profit. Your minute starts now...

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Here is

Elijah Lineberry's picture

a good documentary on the subject.

From a Socialist perspective, alas, but it does show how economic reality and free(ish) markets have emerged during the last 50 years or so.

To give credit where it is due, Adam Curtis (the documentary maker) did give everyone profiled an opportunity to be interviewed and respond to general and specific allegations he makes...(and then proceeds to ignore their side of the story and march on with his anti profit mantras).


Scroll down to 'The Mayfair Set'.

(Part One is fairly irrelevant, but the rest of it is worth a look)

Just a couple of points, to show how biased and inaccurate it is in parts...

1. Sir James Goldsmith and Michael Milken never did any deals together, let alone to purchase Crown Zellerbach.

2. The shareholders of Slater Walker made substantial profits during the period the company was doing 'takeovers', something Jim Slater simply grew bored with and stopped doing by about 1971.

3. The idea of a "Clermont Set" is perpetuated in this documentary (along with various books and other media) and you should not take too seriously the claim such a 'set' ever existed as such.
Just because various people socialise with each other 2 or 3 times per month does not necessarily make them more than acquaintances.


Elijah Lineberry's picture

are a great thing!

Those not making profits are always critical of those making profits and the reasons for the criticism keep changing (it is hard to keep up at times).

What I have found during the last 15 years or so goes something like this...

1. There was criticism, when younger, for having an independent mind interested only in being a businessman, and rejecting the culture of "Employee-ism".

2. There was a universal consensus from friends, family, school that failure was certain to result from any profitmaking undertaking, with inevitable consequences of seeking welfare payments.

3. The initial business activity was a success...leading to substantial criticism because of my "selfishness" and "greed" at earning twice as much money as the critics at the age of 18, not to mention criticism because my contemporaries were living on a pittance whilst wasting their lives at University.

4. I heard constantly in the media at how "we as a nation need to save more" and when I started directing profits towards the Stock Exchange, the criticism was deafening!
The greedy, selfish, parasitical activity of...*horror* ...investing money and actually making *horror*..a profit.
("how dare you not be like Fund Managers and make losses all the time!")

5. I sold my initial business, a Publishing company, for a substantial capital gains tax free profit.
Which leads to all manner of criticism of how selfish I am, and how Widows and Orphans are going hungry because that profit is not shared with them.

6. The media and Government constantly tell us we need to 'Export' more, so our Nation earns more revenue from the rest of the World.
I enter the gold market, buying Gold in America, which has been sourced in Africa or South America, and then selling it in Europe and remitting the profits back to New Zealand.
The criticism of this is even more deafening...parasitical, greedy, selfish, speculative (etc. etc.)

...and I could go on and on.

Needless to say, a businessman/capitalist is damned whatever he does and the best thing is to ignore it...(whilst reading the latest Sotheby's catelogue)

I notice that none of the critics have amounted to anything during this time period, are very malcontented people, have left their futures "behind them" and if I said the Earth was round they would say it was flat.

Gosh, silly me! Sticking out tongue

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