Don Watkins

Ayn Rand Institute


  • Laissez-faire capitalism
  • Social Security
  • Entitlements
  • Income inequality
  • Poverty
  • Morality of business
  • Morality of capitalism
  • Executive compensation
  • Government regulations
  • Government & Business
  • Science & Industrialization
  • Culture & Society

Don Watkins is one of today’s most vocal opponents of the welfare state and coauthor, with Yaron Brook, of the national best-seller Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government.

A fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, Mr. Watkins studies Social Security reform, the welfare state, and the moral foundations of capitalism. He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and TV programs, and speaks regularly at conferences and university campuses, including Stanford, Brown, University of Virginia, and the University of Chicago, and he frequently debates supporters of the welfare state. Mr. Watkins is the host of a weekly podcast on the welfare state, The Debt Dialogues.

A columnist from 2010 to 2013, his writings have also appeared in The Guardian, USA Today, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, Investor’s Business Daily, The Daily Caller, and, among many others.

Mr. Watkins is an alumnus of ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center. His latest book is RooseveltCare: How Social Security Is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance.

Career Roles

Writer and Editor

Rand's ideas; Policy issues
Ayn Rand Institute
2006 – present


Capitalism; Entitlements; Social Security
Ayn Rand Institute
2006 – present

Selected Work

Talks & Lectures

"America Before the Entitlement State"

"The Three Stories of Capitalism"

"Who Is Ayn Rand?"

"Not Your Brother’s Keeper: The Moral Bankruptcy of the Entitlement State"

"Ayn Rand’s Free Market Revolution"

"Why Business Should Not “Give Something Back”

"What’s Really Wrong With Entitlements"

"Changing the Debate: How to Move from an Entitlement State to a Free Market"

"What Ayn Rand Can Teach Us About Selling Capitalism"

Articles & Essays

End the Debt Draft March 13, 2014

"Bernie Madoff, Steve Jobs, and Wall Street Greed" September 26, 2013

“The Corrupt Critics of CEO Pay” (with Yaron Brook) May 2009

Media Interviews

"Is Income Inequality to Blame for Economic Problems?" December 19, 2012

"Profile of Don Watkins" November 06, 2012

"Life Before the Nanny State Front Page" January 11, 2012

"Don Watkins on the Welfare State" July 16, 2013

"Wealthy Face Minimum Millionaires Tax" April 13, 2012