Growth of greed

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It was surprising that both Brian Monteith and Michael Fry (Perspective, 19 and 20 August) penned columns promoting the political ideal of Libertarianism without mentioning the biggest influence on this creed, namely the self-proclaimed philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand.

The late Rand espoused the idea of complete separation of government and trade and regarded public health schemes as an attack on the human rights of medical doctors. Such ideas may sound slightly dotty, but her influence on business thinking in the US is enormous and her adherents include Alan Greenspan.

Her two most successful novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, have over the years sold millions of copies.

Her philosophy is cited by her supporters as helping to liberate markets throughout the world and by her detractors for encouraging the “greed is good” attitude of today’s business leaders.

Either way, her influence on the reality of modern life is 
undeniable.

To those who want to learn more, I recommend the (mercifully short) The Virtue of Selfishness. On the other hand, your readers might feel the title tells them all they need to know.

Gavin Fleming

Grassmarket

Edinburgh