Smith: Money Improves and Extends Human Life

Professor Tara Smith from the University of Texas in Austin gave a lecture at the University of Iceland, sponsored by RNH, Monday 24 November 2014, on the moral message in the works of Russian-American novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand. The most influential female philosopher of all times, Rand expressed her political ideas in her novels which have sold in thirty million copies worldwide. AB Publishing has recently brought out three of her novels in Icelandic translations: The Fountainhead (Uppsprettan, 2011), Atlas Shrugged (Undirstadan, 2012) and We the Living (Kira Argunova, 2013). In her lecture, Smith discussed in particular two passages on money in Atlas Shrugged. Francisco d’Anconia gives a speech against the common view that money is the root of all evil. He argues that money is a medium of exchange which enables individuals to satisfy their different needs by free trade, without commands from above. Instead of stealing the goods which people desire, they pay for them with their money. In another passage in Atlas Shrugged it is explained that money also extends life indirectly. It buys time, enables people to satisfy more needs than before. In an order based on money and exchange people have to work ever fewer hours to satisfy their basic needs and thus can use more time for what they really desire, want dream about or aspire to, materially and spiritually. The lecture was well-attended. After it, Professor Smith answered questions from the audience, and then RNH held a reception on the University premises. Professor Smith’s lecture formed a part of the joint project by RNH and AECR on “Europe, Iceland and the Future of Capitalism”.

Here is a lecture which Professor Smith gave on Ayn Rand in Stockholm in 2014:

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