Title: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, fiction or fact?
Authors: Michelle Albert Vachris; Elizabeth Samios
Addresses: Department of Economics, Christopher Newport University, Luter 223, Newport News, VA 23606, USA ' Department of Economics, Christopher Newport University, Luter 223, Newport News, VA 23606, USA
Abstract: Ayn Rand's 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged describes a society stifled by an ever increasing amount of economic regulation in the form of laws, directives and plans. But could such fictionalised overregulation ever take place in real life? This paper compares the fictional regulation of Atlas Shrugged to actual legislation that has been passed in the USA. We demonstrate how the Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule, the Equalization of Opportunity Bill, the Colorado Directives, and Directive 10-289 have real-world parallels. Plans to create communities similar to that of Galt's Gulch have even been attempted. In addition to providing an analysis of how Atlas Shrugged is reflected in our economic reality, the paper demonstrates how this work of fiction can be used in the classroom to foster the study of economic regulation and economic freedom.
Keywords: economic regulation; teaching pedagogy; economic freedom; Ayn Rand; Atlas Shrugged; novels; USA; United States; economics education.
International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2016 Vol.7 No.2, pp.135 - 151
Received: 01 Jul 2015
Accepted: 20 Apr 2016
Published online: 03 Sep 2016 *