What happens in Atlas Shrugged?
Rand’s fourth novel describes a dystopian United States in which industrialists and the rest of America’s “producers” – oppressed by government regulation – are persuaded by the novel’s hero, charismatic inventor John Galt, to forsake the world of mediocrities, parasites and “second-handers” (ie those foolish enough to care about altruism and looking after the needy) and go on strike. The strikers, or “Atlases”, retreat to a mountain hideaway, where they build an independent, unregulated economy. The strike stops the “motor of the world”: machines break down, factories close, Fifth Avenue shops are boarded up, skyscrapers crumble, people riot, pirates roam the seas. The litter-strewn streets become hunting grounds for beggars and criminals. In the end, the socialists who have provoked this catastrophe beg Galt to take over the economy. To whom does the book appeal? People more scared of governments than bankers. Many right-wing pundits and bloggers in the US see shades of socialism in