only "Ayn Rander" (or objectivist, actually) on this board I felt I should state my response to this piece.
1. "In a previous Common Dreams op-ed, I pointed out how media and other corporations will suck up to government when they think they can get regulations that will enhance their profits. We see this daily in the halls of Congress and in the lobbying efforts directed at our regulatory agencies. We see it in the millions of dollars in trips and gifts given to FCC commissioners, that in another era would have been called bribes." - this is a major sub-plot of Atlas Shrugged, and is an idea Rand railed against. She was for the destruction of what she called "The Aristocracy of Pull" so in that paragraph you're actually agreeing with her.
2. Monopolies are impossible in a capitalist society. So long as there is the possibility for people to produce a product which is being monopolized, there will always be the opening for competition. You have to ask yourself what is wrong with the small businesses that allow themselves to be bought out? Were they weak-willed? Outmatched? It's not like Wal-Mart puts a gun to the head of local commerce owners and says YOU MUST SIGN OVER TO ME! Same thing with Microsoft.
3. There is nothing more democratic in the world than an individual dollar. The dollar is democracy. Want proof? What is a more political action - the one time you get to vote a year or the purchases you make with your money? Every dollar you spend keeps a company alive.
We have grown lazy here in America. We are afraid to take a stand.
I consider myself a laissez faire capitalist and when faced with the question of unregulated air emissions coming from the smokestacks of major industrial concerns I always have the same reply: If it is true (it can be vouched through the workings of an independant media) then we as democratic Americans should excercise the political power of our dollar and pull our money from everything controlled by that industrial concern - letting them know that we will not stand for their lax emmissions standards.
The same goes for any company you have a quarrel with. I, personally, will never, ever, ever buy a Coors Light product for the rest of my life because of the way their advertisements butchered some of my favorite songs (What a Wonderful World, in particular). That political stance, I believe, is thousands of times more democratic than voting.
Every business in the world stays alive because of the money WE THE PEOPLE pump into it. If you don't like the company, don't give them your money - and try your best to get others to join you. THAT is democracy.
4. I completely agree with this article in one respect. The blatant greed of many CEO's has to stop. There is a difference between making money and taking it. A CEO giving himself a millions-of-dollars raise while his company sinks (Disney) is anti-Randian and anti-capitalist, and has no grounds for the essay this is in reply to.
The beautiful thing about capitalism is a man has a choice. You choose to work for a particular company, you choose to accept the wages offered, you choose to stay with that company as time goes on. It's a free choice.
In government-run societies man is essentially born into servitude - be it as a potential killer (male 18-25) or merely a taxpayer (everybody else).
A CEO taking money from his business and giving it to himself is a deplorable thing - because that lowers the amount of money going into research and development to produce a better product. An employee who feels his boss's raise is unfair should quit. If enough of the employees feel their boss's raise is unfair (it should be common sense) then there is nothing wrong with making the free choice not to work for such a stupid douche-bag. I certainly wouldn't want to work for anyone who took money from the funds needed to make the company better and used it to finance some superfluous toy. And a real capitalist would never do that, unless he had no real reason to compete and stay ahead of the game.
And that I blame on untalented small-business owners afraid or unable to compete in a bigger market. The easy path is to just accept the check and be bought out. The noble path is to push your idea to its limit, and try to get people to give YOU money instead of the established and admittedly mediocre powerhouses.
If you're talented enough, the boss's decision to give himself a superfluous raise, and your quitting over it, will aid in the destruction of the man and his company. It's the same thing as the central idea of Atlas Shrugged - eliminate the talent, brains and skill from an organization of men (in this case by virtue of their disgust over their CEO's actions) and watch it wither and die............unless his corporation exists within America today and he can just be bailed out by the government.
Atlas Shrugged doesn't sound very fictional in that situation.