In this 1990 lecture, philosopher Leonard Peikoff offers a business-savvy audience his perspective on whether free market capitalism can survive. Peikoff identifies three pillars of capitalism, examining each one’s status in the present day. He also also leads the audience through a quick sweep of American history, commenting on the decline in freedom over time.
For each pillar of capitalism—rational selfishness, reality, and reason—Peikoff expands on its nature, its crucial role in capitalism’s survival, its antagonists, and its current state. He also addresses related issues, including how:
businessmen present themselves as guilty hypocrites when they deny the inherent self-interested nature of business
America was not based on a Christian philosophy
free market capitalism requires a this-worldly orientation, in contrast to the other-worldly orientations of Christianity, environmentalism, and communism
the freedom to think and to act accordingly is crucial for the survival of capitalism
neither liberals nor conservatives are genuinely for free market capitalism
In his historical review, Peikoff discusses America’s founding, the importation of German philosophy into America’s universities, the Progressive Era and the New Deal, the decline of freedom after World War II, and why the Reagan Administration was a total fiasco from a pro-freedom standpoint.
Concluding that the prospects for free market capitalism are grim, Peikoff discusses the grounds for hope and the steps necessary to move in that direction.
Leonard Peikoff is an American philosopher who had a close 30-year friendship and professional association with Ayn Rand. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, is the author of three books, and has lectured on Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism for decades. He is considered the world’s foremost authority on the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
Recorded in 1990.
(MP3 download; 58 min., with Q & A, 42.08 MB)
The description of this product has not necessarily been reviewed or approved by Leonard Peikoff.