Atlas Shrugged was Rand's last completed work of fiction. It marked a turning point in her life—the end of her career as a novelist and the beginning of her role as a popular philosopher. Due to the success of Rand's novel The Fountainhead , she had no trouble attracting a publisher for Atlas Shrugged. This was a contrast to her previous novels, which she had struggled to place. Even before she began writing it, she had been approached by publishers interested in her next novel. However, her contract for The Fountainhead gave the first option to its publisher, Bobbs-Merrill Company.
After reviewing a partial manuscript, they asked her to discuss cuts and other changes. She refused, and Bobbs-Merrill rejected the book. Hiram Hayden, an editor she liked who had left Bobbs-Merrill, asked her to consider his new employer, Random House. In an early discussion about the difficulties of publishing a controversial novel, Random House president Bennett Cerf proposed that Rand should submit the manuscript to multiple publishers simultaneously and ask how they would respond to its ideas, so she could evaluate who might best promote her work.
Rand was impressed by the bold suggestion and by her overall conversations with them. After speaking with a few other publishers from about a dozen who were interested, Rand decided multiple submissions were not needed; she offered the manuscript to Random House. Upon reading the portion Rand submitted, Cerf declared it a "great book" and offered Rand a contract.
It was the first time Rand had worked with a publisher whose executives seemed enthusiastic about one of her books. Random House published the novel on October 10, The initial print run was , copies. The first paperback edition was published by New American Library in July , with an initial run of , Dutton in , with an introduction by Rand's heir, Leonard Peikoff.
The novel has been translated into more than 25 languages. The working title throughout its writing was The Strike , but thinking this title would have revealed the mystery element of the novel prematurely,  Rand was pleased when her husband suggested Atlas Shrugged , previously the title of a single chapter, for the book. The significance of this reference appears in a conversation between the characters Francisco d'Anconia and Hank Rearden , in which d'Anconia asks Rearden what advice he would give Atlas upon seeing "the greater [the titan's] effort, the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders".
With Rearden unable to answer, d'Anconia gives his own advice: "To shrug". The novel is divided into three parts consisting of ten chapters each. Robert James Bidinotto said, "the titles of the parts and chapters suggest multiple layers of meaning. The three parts, for example, are named in honor of Aristotle's laws of logic Part One is titled 'Non-Contradiction' Part Two, titled 'Either-Or' Atlas Shrugged is set in a dystopian United States at an unspecified time, in which the country has a "National Legislature" instead of Congress and a "Head of State" instead of a President. The government has increasingly extended its control over businesses with increasingly stringent regulations.
The United States also appears to be approaching an economic collapse , with widespread shortages , constant business failures , and severely decreased productivity. Writer Edward Younkins said, "The story may be simultaneously described as anachronistic and timeless.
The pattern of industrial organization appears to be that of the late s—the mood seems to be close to that of the depression-era s. Both the social customs and the level of technology remind one of the s". Clearly the Cold War is not going on any more, though there is no reference to how it ended and who emerged as the victor; there is in fact no reference of any kind to the Soviet Union or Russia , nor to World War II. Other countries are mentioned in passing. Most countries of the world are implied to be organized along vaguely Marxist lines, with references to "People's States" in Europe, South America and India, which are economically supported and sustained by the United States.
There is a reference to a People's State of Germany, which implies that Germany had been united and possibly that the Communist East Germany swallowed the Western one, and a reference to the People's State of Britain offering its Crown Jewels for sale which might imply that the British Monarchy had been abolished. Characters also refer to nationalization of businesses in these "People's States" - for example, the proclamation of Chile as a People's State is accompanied by the nationalization of the D'Anconia copper mines. On the other hand, the United States itself does not call itself "A People's State" and remains at least verbally committed to free enterprise - though making life increasingly difficult for entrepreneurs.
The visiting British Socialist who makes a brief appearance in the book  calls the United States "The only country on Earth backward enough to permit private ownership of railroads". All along the book there is the ongoing distinction between the "true" entrepreneurs, who seek to make profits purely by their own innovative efforts, and the false ones who benefit from government patronage and are counted among the "looters" - for example, the difference between Hank Rearden and his rival steel producer Orren Boyle. The economy of the book's present is contrasted with the capitalism of 19th century America, recalled as a lost Golden Age.
Dagny Taggart , the Operating Vice President of railroad company Taggart Transcontinental, attempts to keep the company alive against collectivism and statism amid a sustained economic depression. While economic conditions worsen and government agencies enforce their control on successful businesses, people are often heard repeating the cryptic phrase "Who is John Galt? It sarcastically means: "Don't ask important questions, because we don't have answers"; or more broadly, "What's the point?
Her brother James , the railroad's president, seems to make irrational decisions, such as preferring to buy steel from Orren Boyle's unreliable Associated Steel, rather than Hank Rearden 's Rearden Steel. Dagny attempts to ignore her brother and pursue her own policies. She soon realizes that d'Anconia is actually taking advantage of the investors by building worthless mines.
Despite the risk, Jim and his allies at Associated Steel invest a large amount of capital into building a railway in the region while ignoring the more crucial Rio Norte Line in Colorado , where the rival Phoenix-Durango Railroad competes by transporting supplies for Ellis Wyatt, who has revitalized the region after discovering large oil reserves. Dagny minimizes losses on the San Sebastian Line by placing obsolete trains on the line, which Jim is forced to take credit for after the line is nationalized as Dagny predicted.
Meanwhile, in response to the success of Phoenix-Durango, the National Alliance of Railroads, a group containing the railroad companies of the United States, passes a rule prohibiting competition in economically-prosperous areas while forcing other railroads to extend rail service to "blighted" areas of the country, with seniority going to more established railroads. The ruling effectively ruins Phoenix-Durango, upsetting Dagny. Wyatt subsequently arrives in Dagny's office and presents her with a nine-month ultimatum: if she does not supply adequate rail service to his wells by the time the ruling takes effect, he will not use her service, effectively ensuring financial failure for Taggart Transcontinental.
In Philadelphia , Hank Rearden, a self-made steel magnate, has developed an alloy called Rearden Metal, which is simultaneously lighter and stronger than conventional steel. Rearden keeps its composition secret, sparking jealousy among competitors. Dagny opts to use Rearden Metal in the Rio Norte Line, becoming the first major customer to purchase the product.
As a result, pressure is put on Dagny to use conventional steel, but she refuses. Hank's career is hindered by his feelings of obligation to his wife, mother, and younger brother. After Hank refuses to sell the metal to the State Science Institute, a government research foundation run by Dr. Robert Stadler, the Institute publishes a report condemning the metal without actually identifying problems with it. As a result, many significant organizations boycott the line. Although Stadler agrees with Dagny's complaints over the unscientific tone of the report, he refuses to override it.
Dagny also becomes acquainted with Wesley Mouch , a Washington lobbyist initially working for Rearden, whom he betrays, and later notices the nation's most capable business leaders abruptly disappearing, leaving their industries to failure. The most recent of these is Ellis Wyatt, who leaves his most successful oil well spewing petroleum and fire into the air later named "Wyatt's Torch".
Each of these men remains absent despite a thorough search by politicians. Having demonstrated the reliability of Rearden Metal in a railroad line named after John Galt, Hank and Dagny become lovers, and later discover, among the ruins of an abandoned factory, an incomplete motor that transforms atmospheric static electricity into kinetic energy , of which they seek the inventor. Eventually, this search reveals the reason for business leaders' disappearances: the inventor of the motor is John Galt, who is leading an organized strike of business leaders against a society that demands that they be sacrificed.
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Dagny's private plane crashes in their hiding place, an isolated valley known as Galt's Gulch. While she recovers from her injuries, she hears the strikers' explanations for the strike, and learns that Francisco is one of the strikers. Galt asks her to join the strike. Reluctant to abandon her railroad, Dagny leaves Galt's Gulch. But Galt follows her to New York City , where he hacks into a national radio broadcast to deliver a long speech 70 pages in the first edition to explain the novel's theme and Rand's Objectivism.
The novel closes as Galt announces that they will later reorganize the world. In David Harriman published a massive volume called "Journals of Ayn Rand", based on hitherto unpublished Rand manuscripts, giving much information on the writing process of Atlas Shrugged as of other Rand books, and relating earlier story lines which were discarded and planned characters dropped from the final version . Among other things, Harriman noted that Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden were not originally meant to be lovers. Rather, in the earlier version she was having an affair with a fellow railway executive, a rather flawed character, while he had a mistress who was as nasty as his wife - making his misery complete.
In the original version Rearden also had a sister named Stacy, as bad as the rest of his family. Rand originally planned to include a Catholic Priest, Father Amadeus, who would have had an important role as Jim Taggart's confessor. He was depicted as a sympathetic and well-meaning character, who finally meets John Galt and joins the Strike.
Rand wrote quite extensive and detailed sections involving this character but ultimately dropped him. The Strikers are eventually to build a new and better world, and having a priest among them implied that the Catholic Church would have a role in this new world - which Rand did not want. The above had the result that in the original version, James Taggart was a practicing Catholic and found religious excuses for his misdeeds, while in the final version he is not overtly religious and is not a member of any Church. James Taggart's collapse - in the final version brought about through his direct confrontation with Galt - was originally intended to be caused by Father Amadeus telling him: "Sorry, Jim, I can't help you - I am on strike".
Harriman noted that Rand relished writing that scene and regretted having to drop it from the final version. There was originally included among the staff of Taggart Transcontinental a British exile, who had been a shipping magnate and who became a hunted fugitive for sinking his ships rather than letting them be nationalized. After the character was dropped, his defiant act was attributed to Francisco D'Anconia. In one of them she abandons the railway and goes to live in Galt's New York apartment, refusing to come back when her brother Jim comes seeking her.
In a diametrically opposite plot outline, she is furious with Galt for destroying the world's economy, betrays him to the police and bursts out crying after he was taken away. The story of Atlas Shrugged dramatically expresses Rand's ethical egoism , her advocacy of " rational selfishness ", whereby all of the principal virtues and vices are applications of the role of reason as man's basic tool of survival or a failure to apply it : rationality, honesty, justice, independence, integrity, productiveness, and pride.
Rand's characters often personify her view of the archetypes of various schools of philosophy for living and working in the world. Robert James Bidinotto wrote, "Rand rejected the literary convention that depth and plausibility demand characters who are naturalistic replicas of the kinds of people we meet in everyday life, uttering everyday dialogue and pursuing everyday values. But she also rejected the notion that characters should be symbolic rather than realistic. My characters are persons in whom certain human attributes are focused more sharply and consistently than in average human beings".
In addition to the plot's more obvious statements about the significance of industrialists to society, and the sharp contrast to Marxism and the labor theory of value , this explicit conflict is used by Rand to draw wider philosophical conclusions, both implicit in the plot and via the characters' own statements. Atlas Shrugged caricatures fascism , socialism , communism , and any state intervention in society, as allowing unproductive people to "leech" the hard-earned wealth of the productive, and Rand contends that the outcome of any individual's life is purely a function of its ability, and that any individual could overcome adverse circumstances, given ability and intelligence.
The concept "sanction of the victim" is defined by Leonard Peikoff as "the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil , to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the ' sin ' of creating values". If it turned out to be me, I have no right to complain". John Galt further explains the principle: "Evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us", and, "I saw that evil was impotent Rand's view of the ideal government is expressed by John Galt: "The political system we will build is contained in a single moral premise: no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force", whereas "no rights can exist without the right to translate one's rights into reality—to think, to work and to keep the results—which means: the right of property".
At the end of the book, when the protagonists get ready to return and claim the ravaged world, Judge Narragansett drafts a new Amendment to the United States Constitution : " Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade ". He is also "marking and crossing out the contradictions" in the Constitution's existing text.
This implies that the protagonists intend to hold a new Constitutional Convention to which Narragansett's proposed amendments would be presented. In fact, already while isolated in their valley, they had taken the act of minting gold coins bearing the inscription "United States of America - One Dollar" implying that they regarded themselves as the legitimate government of the United States. In the world of Atlas Shrugged, society stagnates when independent productive agencies are socially demonized for their accomplishments.
This is in agreement with an excerpt from a interview with Playboy magazine, in which Rand states: "What we have today is not a capitalist society, but a mixed economy—that is, a mixture of freedom and controls, which, by the presently dominant trend, is moving toward dictatorship. The action in Atlas Shrugged takes place at a time when society has reached the stage of dictatorship. When and if this happens, that will be the time to go on strike, but not until then".
Rand also depicts public choice theory , such that the language of altruism is used to pass legislation nominally in the public interest e. Rand's heroes continually oppose "parasites", "looters", and "moochers" who demand the benefits of the heroes' labor. Edward Younkins describes Atlas Shrugged as "an apocalyptic vision of the last stages of conflict between two classes of humanity—the looters and the non-looters.
The looters are proponents of high taxation, big labor, government ownership, government spending, government planning, regulation, and redistribution". Some officials execute government policy, such as those who confiscate one state's seed grain to feed the starving citizens of another; others exploit those policies, such as the railroad regulator who illegally sells the railroad's supplies for his own profit. Both use force to take property from the people who produced or earned it. The character Francisco d'Anconia indicates the role of "looters" and "moochers" in relation to money: "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 not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or the looters who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. The novel includes elements of mystery , romance , and science fiction. Ruddy if a screenplay could focus on the love story, Rand agreed and reportedly said, "That's all it ever was".
Technological progress and intellectual breakthroughs in scientific theory appear in Atlas Shrugged , leading some observers to classify it in the genre of science fiction.
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Riggenbach adds, "Rand's overall message with regard to science seems clear: the role of science in human life and human society is to provide the knowledge on the basis of which technological advancement and the related improvements in the quality of human life can be realized. But science can fulfill this role only in a society in which human beings are left free to conduct their business as they see fit. We actually discussed how we were probably in the same snowball fight between East Quad and West Quad. Some 30 years later, they stood together at a podium on March 14, , to announce Orr would become the emergency manager of Detroit, effectively rendering then-Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council powerless.
Orr severed personal ties with Jones Day, the city's restructuring law firm. He immediately began a furious process of examining the city's books, cataloging its assets and preparing for talks with creditors. Protesters swarmed City Hall.
Behind the scenes, prominent clergy warned of possible civil unrest. The city was facing "what could have been a tremendously volatile situation," said Bishop Edgar Vann, longtime pastor of Second Ebenezer Church.
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These are very, very sensitive issues, especially for African Americans who have seen voting rights abrogated. The value of a Van Gogh? Snyder and Dillon had been watching Detroit's financial downward spiral for some time. In , they started strategizing fix-it scenarios with Ken Buckfire, a New York-based investment banker and Detroit native.
When a bankruptcy filing became in evitable, they all knew the Detroit Institute of Arts' multibillion-dollar collection would be a prime target for creditors. Orr's job was to craft a city restructuring plan the court would accept as fair and viable. The battle over the DIA was driven by Orr's belief that he would have to account to creditors for the value of the city-owned art.
Bruce Bennett, one of the city's lead attorneys, set up a conference call for April 19, , with DIA officials. His tone was friendly, his words were ominous. Louis for a museum association conference. The DIA team got a minute primer on municipal bankruptcy. As Erickson listened, she paced for 40 minutes on the hotel's terrazzo floor, until a colleague brought her a chair. Bennett referred to the art collection as an "asset," unnerving DIA officials, and he troubled Beal by asking uncomfortable questions:. As Erickson remembered, "The feeling he tried to project was, 'I will work with you on this.
A month later, the talk got tougher. The city lawyers were civil, but persistent. They said the DIA, to save the art, needed to contribute huge sums to the eventual bankruptcy settlement. Gargaro said those figures were impossible. Bennett looked down at the floor. He said there was nothing to stop Orr as emergency manager from canceling the DIA's operating agreement with the city, firing Beal and seizing the collection. Buckfire told Beal that he played golf with a senior vice president of Christie's and that the auction house was going to evaluate the collection by July — an insanely fast timetable Beal knew could never be met.
But Beal was shaken enough by the conversation that he went straight home to collect his thoughts instead of returning to the museum or even reporting in by phone. The museum believed it was fighting for its life — that selling even one painting would cause donors to flee, push county officials to cancel regional tax support and force the museum into a death spiral.
At a meeting on June 14, , Orr offered them just pennies on the dollar to settle billions of dollars of city debt and obligations. It was a last effort to reset city finances outside of bankruptcy court. Instead, furious creditors flooded the city with lawsuits. A few weeks later, the city's two pension funds asked a judge to block a bankruptcy filing, claiming pension cuts would violate the state Constitution.
Fed up as legal challenges grew and time ticked away, Orr's team decided to file for bankruptcy in mid-July. On Thursday, July 18, , they were waiting for the governor's approval, which Orr had requested two days earlier. Snyder's sign-off was required under federal bankruptcy law. But it ain't workin', they ain't listening, and you're starting to lose momentum and the initiative,' " Orr said. About 2 p. Labor lawyer Bill Wertheimer and UAW general counsel Mike Nicholson hoped to get a judge to convene an emergency hearing and issue an injunction preventing a bankruptcy filing.
They needed to beat the city to the punch, because once the city filed, other legal action would be frozen. The pair hopped in Wertheimer's Saturn Vue in Detroit. Wertheimer stepped on the gas, but horsepower was in short supply. As Wertheimer babied the Vue along I, Nicholson wrote a legal brief on his laptop to support an injunction. They briefly considered not telling the state, which was defending Orr's interests, about their plan to request the hearing.
But that would go against established legal etiquette. But that didn't mean the attorney general needed a long lead time, they concluded. They worried that the AG would immediately alert Orr's team. Orr received the governor's authorization shortly after lunch that day. The governor had slept on it overnight. Once I looked at those things, it was time to go," Snyder said in an interview. Even as the lawyers chugged along the interstate, the city began electronically filing its bankruptcy petition, amounting to thousands of pages. But the sheer volume crashed the digitally creaky system of federal record-keeping, commonly called PACER.
Wertheimer and Nicholson called the attorney general's office as a courtesy. They arrived at Ingham County Circuit Court and filed for the emergency injunction at p. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina scheduled a hearing for 4 p. During that delay — and after decades of dysfunctional government, wasteful spending, irresponsible borrowing, white flight, suburbanization and deindustrialization — Detroit became the largest city in U. After chopping the filing into several pieces, the bankruptcy petition dribbled into PACER in chunks.
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The official time of the filing was p. Unaware, Aquilina convened the hearing. Wertheimer, wearing jeans because he had no time to change, ambled into the courtroom and quickly apologized for his attire. But it was too late. An aide informed Aquilina minutes later that the city had filed — and in bankruptcy, any lawsuits against a debtor are indefinitely delayed under a concept called the "automatic stay.
And what followed over more than 16 months was an epic, precedent-setting battle among , creditors over the future of Detroit. Rhodes, planning to retire as a full-time judge at the end of from the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, was suddenly faced with taking on a gargantuan case that could last a year or more. But the appointment offered him a chance at handling the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.
It also was a chance to help save Detroit. And with lawyers in financially strapped cities across the country closely watching the proceedings, he had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape bankruptcy law forever. Rhodes, a guitar-playing Ann Arbor resident with no obvious political ties, is known among fellow jurists and lawyers for his encyclopedic knowledge of bankruptcy law and commitment to jurisprudence.
Lawyers who practice in front of him describe him as alternately feared and respected for his high expectations — and his commitment to expedience. These are not issues easily decided. Rosen told colleagues he believed Rhodes had the temperament and management skills to keep the monster case on track. Rhodes was willing to take the case, but only if Rosen served as chief mediator. He wanted Rosen to lead the behind-the-scenes negotiating to bring the warring parties together — the more agreements reached outside the courtroom, the quicker the case could be settled.
Rhodes knew his colleague well — his persuasiveness, work ethic, self-confidence, even his outsized penchant for quoting Rosen's personal hero, Winston Churchill. He knew Rosen would be relentless. But Rosen hesitated to accept the role of mediator. As he later told friends and associates, his teenage son settled the matter when he asked his father, "What do you think Churchill would have done?
A chance encounter: Rosen set out to put together a team of mediators, mostly federal judges with broad expertise. They would have to get in the middle of a range of conflicting interests — from city workers and retirees to unions, art lovers and Wall Street bankers. He considered the difficulties ahead. Even with a crack team of mediators, only so much could be done without a new source of cash. Rosen knew the bankruptcy could drag on for years. As he later put it, "There would be nothing left of Detroit.
But a vision of what Rosen called the "Art Trust" was taking shape in his mind — and on the back of his legal pad. Rosen first approached Gov. They were old friends — Snyder had worked on Rosen's failed campaign for Congress in The Republican governor was already drawing criticism from the left and right over his Detroit policy.
Democrats mostly hated his appointment of an emergency manager, and conservative Republicans were adamantly opposed to any "bailout" for the city. Rosen's initial idea required the state to contribute cash to help pensioners and save the DIA's trove of priceless masterpieces. Snyder never said "no," but his staff made it clear: Rosen could expect no money from Lansing. The two knew each other slightly, since Noland's foundation funded some programs at Rosen's court.
As they discussed Detroit's bankruptcy case, Noland told Rosen to let her know if she could help. Before long, Rosen asked her to help assemble the heads of several foundations to come to a meeting. No specific request for money was mentioned, but the implication was obvious. Noland, soft-spoken but commanding great respect in philanthropic circles across the country, understood how unusual the request for money would be. Foundations generally stick to their declared areas of concern — education, or youth programs, or human services, or environment — and they don't just throw money at big problems.
But Noland was deeply committed to Detroit.
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After five years of shopping regularly at the store, Zupan said it is nice to see new products and owners who are 'full of love and compassion' for the island they live on. And, they are so helpful in guiding me when I have questions about products. The store has a brand-new look and feel, and I often see people hanging out in the store because of the welcoming vibe. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is keeping with the original owner's theme of high-quality natural health and wellness supplements, Jaynes said. Jaynes isn't new to the health world. Twenty years ago, she made and sold her own natural cleaning products.
Willow's Naturally even used to sell them. Her love for entrepreneurship and meeting new people is what made her decide to buy the health store. Other than vitamins and supplements, patrons will find many gluten-free snacks and local, seasonal produce. Natural and organic beauty products are also available inside the market.
For employee Kelsey Middleton, watching a local shop grow from customer input has been the best part of working the new store, she said.