I was reading Atlas Shrugged this past week. It is a long and difficult journey through the book. But every second of reading it was worth it. When I finished, I was exalted.
I am posting an edited excerpt from the book. This was being said by Francisco de Anconia, one of the books’ heroes ; addressing a general gathering but directing it towards Hank Rearden.
“So you think that money is the root of all evil? “Have you ever asked what is the root of money?
Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is made possible only by the men who produce.
When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor–your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.’ To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss–that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods.
Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find.
But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires.
Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth–the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him.
If so, then your money will not give you a moment’s or a penny’s worth of joy. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it.