Productive Achievement: Man’s “Noblest Activity”

Productive Achievement: Man’s “Noblest Activity”

Most thinkers throughout history have held a negative or, at best, neutral view of productive work. If not scorned outright, production has usually been viewed as having no moral significance. But Ayn Rand had a unique view of the human potential, central to which is the importance she accords to the act of production. Productive achievement, in her philosophy, is man’s “noblest activity.” This talk explores what Objectivism means by the virtue of productiveness and discusses aspects of our culture’s positive and negative attitudes toward producers and productive activity.

Onkar Ghate is senior fellow and chief content officer at the Ayn Rand Institute. Tara Smith, who participates in the question period, is professor of philosophy and BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism at the University of Texas at Austin. This talk was delivered at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 10, 2017.