A congressional inquiry placed the blame for the 2008 financial crisis squarely at Greenspan’s feet, and, under questioning by members of the House, Greenspan admitted that there must have been “a flaw” in his Randian worldview.
A flaw, yes, but where did it really come from?
The answer will surprise even the most avid Rand fans. The fundamental idea underlying her objectivism was a twin ideology known as rational egoism—the belief that rational action always maximizes self-interest. And Rand, who wielded the phrase “second-hander” as a cudgel against her enemies, had herself borrowed this idea from the scribblings of her countryman, a Russian writer named Nikolai Chernyshevsky, whose 1863 utopian novel, though critically mocked, became an inspiration for Rand’s generation of the early 1900s.
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