Atlas Shrugs Because He Just Doesn't Care

I came across this quote from Ayn Rand as one of the posts on the AEIdeas blog:

"If workers struggle for higher wages, this is hailed as 'social gains'; if businessmen struggle for higher profits, this is damned as 'selfish greed.' If the workers' standard of living is low, liberals blame it on the businessman; but if the businessmen attempt to improve their economic efficacy, to expand their markets, and to enlarge the financial returns of their enterprises, thus making higher wages and lower prices possible, the same liberals denounce it as 'commercialism.'"

That sounds nice. It sounds right: businessmen try to improve their efficacy, expand markets, enlarge returns, and make higher wages and lower prices possible.

In the real world, however, things are quite different:



Or, looking at the averages of corporate profits and wages, both as a percentage of GDP:

The last chart is from November, 2011, and needs updating, but it's all too clear: corporate profits are going up at the same time that wages are going down.

And Atlas and his ilk continue to shrug.

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