»Atlas Shrugged« by Ayn Rand is considered one of the most influential political books in the United States. The novel sees egoism as a virtue and advocates strict laissez-faire capitalism. But times have changed – think of 2008 and 2010. Aren’t we already living in meta- or post-capitalist times? Who really stands symbolically for Atlas today? Who are the supporting (or »producing«) people of our society? Is it the CEOs of the Big Tech companies, the mega corporations? Or is it the 99% of the population who enable a small elite to accumulate more and more wealth while their own situation becomes more precarious and the burden on their shoulders heavier? Aren’t the »looters« of today more likely to be the Tech Giants who grab the data of their users and exploit the privacy of each individual solely for their benefit? Haven’t government subsidies, and thus taxpayers, made the (digital) inventiveness of Zuckerberg, Bezos and Co. possible in the first place? Yet these men act like techno-feudal lords whose online platforms have become monopolistic markets and private, digital fiefdoms. Shouldn’t we shrug the burden of this new serfdom as quickly as possible and thus prevent a Matrix-like future? Do we really want to shift our lives into a 3D metaverse where we exist as digital serfs?
BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
Big Tech, also known as the Tech Giants or Big Five, is a name given to the presently five largest, most dominant, and most prestigious companies in the information technology industry of the United States. The Big Five consist of Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft. The Tech Giants are the dominant players in their respective areas of technology, namely: e-commerce, online advertising, consumer electronics, cloud computing, computer software, media streaming, artificial intelligence, smart home, self-driving cars, and social networking. They have been among the most valuable public companies globally. Big Tech companies typically offer services to millions of users, and thus can hold sway on user behavior as well as control of user data.
»Atlas Shrugged« (1957) by Ayn Rand: Based on a fictional plot, Rand unfolds her philosophy of Objectivism. Rand draws a sharp contrast between the constructive »producers« and the destructive »looters«. According to Objectivism, egoism, inventiveness and efficiency are the highest virtues. Accordingly, selfishly producing big industrialists are the »engine of the world«. From an Objectivist perspective, all state intervention is immoral. Selflessness, traditionally considered a virtue, is, according to Rand’s analysis, one of the core causes of the failure of systems like socialism. According to Rand, every act of selfless help rewards neediness instead of ability, and educates people to be lazy and to demand for no reason instead of solving their problems themselves through work.
Choose the red meta!
THE MIND BOTANIST