From Atlasphere founding editor Andrew Schwartz:
Peter Schiff, an economist known for predicting the current financial crisis, and a liberty-minded individual who lists Ayn Rand’s Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal on his recommended reading page, has announced that, pending sufficient support from other liberty-minded individuals around the country, he will run for senate.
He says his polling indicates that he has a real shot of winning against incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd – if he can win the Republican primary.
Schiff is a remarkably clear explicator of economic ideas, and an inspiring personality who does well in front of crowds [note, video's a bit dicey and includes some not-so-great stuff interspersed with Schiff talking to the crowd, but I think it's the only video there is showcasing this particular natural talent of his]), and well in popular media outlets [excellent, excellent video btw].
He says his polling indicates that he has a real shot of winning against incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd.
To make donations to his campaign (which will be returned if he decides he hasn’t enough support to run), visit schiffforsenate.com.
UPDATE: I just made a donation myself. Schiff has impressed me for a long time with the clarity of his thinking. If you’ve not seen the videos of economists laughing in his face when he predicted the financial crisis, they’re a must-see.
Los Angeles-based composer and screenwriter (and sometimes Atlasphere columnist) Mike Shapiro, fresh off the success of his ten-minute musical “The Alleged Adventures of Blenderman,” has written a new short work called “Change of Plans” which will be playing in Los Angeles from June 19th to July 5th.
Mike writes that “The show’s central theme of self-integrity might resonate with the Atlasphere audience.” I didn’t get a chance to see Blenderman myself, but I remember it received some nice awards. Given Mike’s legendary wit, it’s a safe bet that it will be funny, as well.
Writing for Bloomberg, Amity Shlaes has an interesting article about Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged. It begins:
Imagine a novel of more than a thousand pages, published half a century ago. The author doesnâ??t have a talk-radio show and has been dead for 27 years.
As for the storyline, it is beyond dated: Humorless executives fight with humorless public officials over an industry that is, today, almost irrelevant to the U.S. economy – - railroads. The prose itself is a disconcerting mixture of philosophy, industrial policy, and bodice-ripping: â??The wind blew her hair to blend with his. She knew why he had wanted to walk through the mountains tonight.â?
In short, you would think â??Atlas Shruggedâ? might be long forgotten.
Instead, Ayn Randâ??s novel is remembered more than ever. This year the book is selling at a faster rate than last year. Last year, sales were about 200,000, higher than any year before that, including 1957, when the book was published.
Some assumed the libertarian philosopher would fall from view when the Berlin Wall fell. Or that at least there would be a sense of mission accomplished. One Rand fan, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, wrote in his memoir that he regretted Rand hadnâ??t lived until 1989 or 1990. Sheâ??d missed the collapse of communism that she had so often predicted.
But â??Atlas Shruggedâ? is becoming a political â??Harry Potterâ? because Rand shone a spotlight on a problem that still exists: Not pre-1989 Soviet communism, but 2009-style state capitalism. Rand depicted government and companies colluding in the name of economic rescue at the expense of the entrepreneur. That entrepreneur is like the titan Atlas who carries the rest of the world on his shoulders — until he doesnâ??t.
See the full article for much more.
Thanks to Greg Feirman for the tip. Greg also says Shlaes’s book The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (2007) is a good read, for anyone interested in the topic.
From an Ayn Rand Institute press release:
Earlier this year Ayn Randâ??s prophetic novel Atlas Shrugged was selling at triple the rate it sold at in the beginning of 2008. Now the novel is soaring to even greater heights, and its trade paperback edition is currently in first place in the Classics category on Amazon.comâ??s best-seller list for sales in the United States. The 50th anniversary mass-market paperback edition of Atlas Shrugged ranks as #2 and the trade paperback Centennial edition ranks as #3. For several weeks Atlas Shrugged has been holding steady in the top 10 best-sellers in the broader United States Literature and Fiction category, and as of the writing of this release, different editions of the novel stand at #3, #5 and #6 in Amazonâ??s ranking.
As I’ve mentioned before, this could be the start of the most widespread and meaningful discussion of Ayn Randâ??s ideas in our lifetime.
Atlas Shrugged is currently ranked #28 on Amazon.com’s list of bestsellers … more than 50 years after its publication.
In the “literature and fiction” category, it is currently ranked #6.
(Thanks to Robert Bidinotto for the heads-up.)
From The Economist:
According to data from TitleZ, a firm that tracks bestseller rankings on Amazon, an online retailer, the bookâ??s 30-day average Amazon rank was 127 on February 21st, well above its average over the past two years of 542. On January 13th the bookâ??s ranking was 33, briefly besting President Barack Obamaâ??s popular tome, â??The Audacity of Hopeâ?.
Enough to give a guy some hope. The article continues:
Tellingly, the spikes in the novelâ??s sales coincide with the news (see chart). The first jump, in September 2007, followed dramatic interest-rate cuts by central banks, and the Bank of Englandâ??s bail-out of Northern Rock, a troubled mortgage lender. The October 2007 rise happened two days after the Bush Administration announced an initiative to coax banks to assist subprime borrowers. A year later, sales of the book rose after Americaâ??s Treasury said that it would use a big chunk of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Programme to buy stakes in nine large banks. Debate over Mr Obamaâ??s stimulus plan in January gave the book another lift. And sales leapt once again when the stimulus plan passed and Mr Obama announced a new mortgage-modification plan.
Whenever governments intervene in the market, in short, readers rush to buy Randâ??s book. Why? The reason is explained by the name of a recently formed group on Facebook, the worldâ??s biggest social-networking site: â??Read the news today? Itâ??s like â??Atlas Shruggedâ?? is happening in real lifeâ?. The group, and an expanding chorus of fretful bloggers, reckon that life is imitating art.
See the full article for more.
From Atlasphere member Greg Garamoni:
The audiobook version of Atlas Shrugged (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) appeared as the fourth most downloaded Adult Fiction audiobook on OverDrive‘s list of “Most Downloaded Books from the Library” for January 2009.
OverDrive describes itself as the leading global distributor of audiobooks and eBooks to libraries, schools, and retailers. The “Most Downloaded Books from the Library” lists (adult fiction, adult nonfiction, juvenile fiction, and juvenile nonfiction) are based on activity at 8,500 libraries in the OverDrive global network.
Atlas Shrugged has been on the list for six months. This provides clear evidence that people are still listening to her message (pun intended). This trend is a ray of hope as the dark politico-economic reality imitates her fiction.
Most Downloaded Books from the Library
powered by OverDrive
Published on February 1, 2009
Download Audiobooks – Adult Fiction
1. The Host, by Stephenie Meyer (Books on Tape)
2. The Associate, by John Grisham (Books on Tape)
3. The Appeal, by John Grisham (Books on Tape)
4. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)
5. 1st to Die, by James Patterson (Hachette Audio)
6. Scarpetta, by Patricia Cornwell (Books on Tape)
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)
8. Plum Spooky, by Janet Evanovich (BBC Audiobooks America)
9. 7th Heaven, by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro (Books on Tape)
10. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)
For some reason, today Amazon is offering the entire first season of Firefly for $17.99.
If you’re not familiar with Joss Whedon’s Firefly yet, well, get with the program.
I’ve heard certain Ayn Rand fans call it “probably the best television show” they’ve ever seen. I would tend to agree. It’s also one of those programs you can re-watch every year, and not get tired of it.