Atlas Shrugged Part 2

July 29, 2010

 

In my last blog I told you that I am listening to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I am now finished with disk 35 of the 45 in the set! The book has three parts and I am on the final one.

The novel written in 1957 tells a story of people with the backdrop of war. This war is one that might be familiar today. It is the war of capitalism versus collective socialism. In the book those who build businesses by their own work, toil, risks and genius are increasingly plagued by the Looters. Looter is the term the ones that create wealth use for those that of mediocre capabilities that take from those that earn wealth by laws, taxes, fines, fees, etc, etc.

Dagny Taggart is the heroine of the book. She is the VP of Operations and granddaughter of the founder of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad. She lives her life to see the railroad grow, function, and prosper in execution of making trains run well, and on time. She lives by a code of business that requires people to pay for what they get and deliver what they were paid for. She is decisive, direct and knows what is needed to keep the company operating safely and profitably. She is part of what some call the good old boys network.

Her brother James is the president of the TT Railroad. He is a humanitarian multi-millionaire social snob; his biggest fear in life is to do something for the profit. Profit and greed are cursed by government and philosophically and supported by people that see it as a way to get something from those that make more – without really comprehending that their least successful people are more needy than themselves. Those that make all decisions of science and law based on social implications are running the world. But the humanitarians want to be comfortably rich – but also powerful and feared. Especially by those they hate the most – the people that built a fortune by doing something (Bill Gates –while he was still building MS). They too have a good old boys network.

The people of purpose and capability that can think, invent and operate – those that can bend raw materials to form cars, motors, electricity, and steel by the power of their own mind and will are starting to disappear. They are retiring, quitting and disappearing leaving the world of the looters to take a higher and higher part from those that are still around to create wealth for all of humanity that will not work for themselves. Even Judges that can decide a case based on the law are not wanted. The people, the Government, want Judges to decide cases based on need – rather than legal merits. “I want judges to be empathetic.”

And the world if falling apart.

Dagney knows there is a destroyer on loose – he is making the most productive people, good judges, bankers and workers in the world disappear. She and the other producers left working have to fight more desperate looters (and laws for looting) while they are scared of the destroyer. But, James Taggart is at the same time working closely with the government that hates profit. But since he is one of the enlightened industrialist that support looters and the siphoning off of money from TT and all businesses – the looters are willing to kill his competition and make him richer. In book Two, TT Railroad is doing well based on government subsidies, laws that suspend payment of dividends, and new laws to limit or cut competition. How long can this last with fewer people working to create the wealth that must be spread further?

Who is John Galt?

Today, BP Oil: Amid cries from many sources citing publicity blunders, death threats, and being labeled the most hated man in America – Tony Hayward will be resigning as head of BP Oil Company. Action and reaction are related. Perhaps future billion dollar oil companies will only hire politicians as the head of their corporation. Here is some information on the type of man the shouting people don’t want running a corporation that provides billions upon billions of dollars wealth to the United States.

http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=4172393&ticker=BP:US

Dr. Hayward graduated from University of Edinburgh in 1982 with a PhD in Geology. Dr. Hayward joined BP Plc in 1982 and served as its Group Managing Director. He served as Executive Assistant of Lord Browne in 1990 and two years later he moved to Colombia as Exploration Manager, and served as President of the BP group in Venezuela since September 1995. He served as Group Vice President of BP Amoco Exploration and Production since 1999. He served as a Director of Exploration and Production at BP since 1997, the segment in which he held a series of roles. He served as Group Treasurer at BP since September 2000 where his responsibilities included global treasury operations, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions and served as its Executive Vice President in 2002. He served as Chief Operating Officer for exploration and production of BP in November 2002. Dr. Hayward serves as an Executive Director of BP Solar International Inc. He has been an Executive Director of BP plc since February 2003. He has been an Executive Director of BP plc since February 2003.

Now would be the time the destroyer would talk to Dr. Hayward. Perhaps soon, Tony Hayward can shrug.

 

Kevin Totherow is a Business Development Manager of MES for Schneider Electric and a consultant for helping manufacturing clients manage their operations better. Kevin has been a controls engineer, consultant and president of Sylution Incorporated. He can be reached at (864) 252-6819 or by email at kevin.totherow@schneider-electric.com.

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