Atlas Shrugged is a stupid book, Ayn Rand is a stupid woman, and John Galt’s ideas are stupid. That said, none of them are nearly this stupid. Rand’s novel isn’t about a world in which executives who build companies based on a lot of incorrect decisions, then pay themselves millions of dollars while bankrupting their firms, then come to the government hat-in-hand asking for bailouts, then find that the bailers-out want to attach some strings to their hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds and then go to hide out in Galt’s Gulch. That doesn’t make any sense at all.
If the folks running Citigroup and Bank of America and AIG were good at their jobs, we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. That’s the point. But they weren’t good. They lost staggering sums of money. Their companies went broke. They had to beg for taxpayer dollars. You don’t get to do that and then turn around and “go Galt.”
I have a couple of things to add to this.
1) Is it possible that Ayn Rand pulled off some sort of great Andy Kaufman-esque ruse on everyone? The snippets I have read are so laughably bad, they must be satire.
2) I find it weird that a lot of people by-and-large accept the notion that the people at the top are by definition more talented than those under them. Yeah, it happens. But it also doesn't happen. Take a look around where you work. Are the people in charge there because they are extraordinarily talented? Maybe they are. But just as likely they knew the right people, or at least they managed to hoodwink the right people. You know who I'm talking about. That guy. I can't imagine it being all that different in the financial sector.