Yaron Brook, chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute’s board of directors, delivered the Adam Smith Institute’s annual Ayn Rand Lecture on “The Morality of Finance” on November 13, 2017, in London, England.
The Federalist recently published an adapted excerpt from Yaron Brook and Don Watkins’s new book In Pursuit of Wealth: The Moral Case for Finance, in which they indicate why Ayn Rand’s philosophy is “indispensable for understanding and defending the morality of finance.”
Financiers don’t create the products that enrich our lives — they help grow the businesses that create the products that enrich our lives. Yet many people believe on some level that finance is immoral. Maybe not totally. Maybe it has some redeeming features. But at best it is regarded as a necessary evil. If our economic well-being depends on a vibrant and innovative financial industry, why does no one speak up to defend finance?
Myth: The Great Recession was caused by free-market policies that led to irrational risk taking on Wall Street. Reality: The Great Recession could not have happened without the vast web of government subsidies and controls that distorted financial markets.
For those in the Orange County, California area, join the Ayn Rand Institute Saturday, February 25 at Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa for a discussion on the state of the culture and of the Objectivist movement in light of the new administration in Washington, D.C.
Myth: Finance was deregulated during the 1980s and 1990s, laying the groundwork for the 2008 financial crisis. Reality: Although some financial regulations were rolled back during the late 20th century, the overall trend was toward increased government control.
The Myth: New Deal regulation of the financial system made the system safer. The Reality: New Deal regulation of the financial system failed to address the real source of the problems that led to the Great Depression and laid the foundation for future crises.