Picture of 19th-Century Capitalism/Romantic Literature (MP3 download)

19th-Century Capitalism/Romantic Literature (MP3 download)

By Ayn Rand


From 1962-1965, Ayn Rand conducted a series of radio interviews at Columbia University’s student run radio station, WKCR. The series, entitled “Ayn Rand on Campus,” covered a broad range of topics. This download includes two 1964 interviews from that series.

19th Century Capitalism 

Ayn Rand discusses myths and misunderstandings of capitalism, illustrating her points with historical examples from American history such as the railroads, land grants, monopolies, U.S. Steel, tariffs, antitrust laws, financial “panics,” public utilities, the Homestead Act, and the 1929 stock market crash. Rand also explains some common misunderstandings about capitalism involving “price wars” and coercive monopolies.

Rand’s discussion of the American Constitution includes her argument that the interstate commerce clause and eminent domain clause contradict the document’s purpose. Touching on the issue of tax reform, she explains how (and how not) to reform laws in order to move toward a free market system, and she offers suggestions on how the government of a free society could be funded.

Romantic Literature

In this interview, students question Ayn Rand on her views of romantic literature and the “ideal society.”

Rand gives her definition of art and explains the fiction writer’s ability to present things “not as they are but as they might be and ought to be.” She discusses fantasy as a genre of fiction, categorizes a number of famous authors such as Shakespeare, Kafka, Huxley, Nabokov and Dostoyevsky, and explains why she considers herself a romantic realist. She also touches on depravity in literature and addresses whether fiction should be didactic.

Focusing on the writing of Victor Hugo, Rand contrasts the view of man expressed in his novels with the views contained in his explicit philosophy, and she explains why she admires his fiction greatly.

In her discussion of what an “ideal society” might look like, Rand clarifies the function of art in life and explains why it is needed. Responding to a question about children, Rand discusses how children form values, how parents can help or hinder a child in his development, and why children would be the greatest beneficiaries of an “ideal society.”

(MP3 download; 56 min., 40.44 MB)

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