Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
A novel by AynRand, first published in 1957. The theme of AtlasShrugged is the role of the mind in human society. Rand argues that independent thinking, and the creativity and inventiveness that comes from this, is the motor that runs the world. In AtlasShrugged she shows what she thinks would happen to the world if the "men of the mind" went on strike: the motor of the world would shut down, and civilization falls apart. This is a direct assault on the MarxisT LaborTheoryOfValue, which was popular at the time of writing. Rand suggests that a society will stagnate to the extent that independence and individual achievement are discouraged or demonized. Inversely, societies become more prosperous as they allow, encourage, and reward independence and individual achievement. Since independence flourishes to the extent that people are free, and since achievement is rewarded where people are allowed to keep the product of their efforts, Rand advocated libertarian capitalism. These considerations make AtlasShrugged a highly political book. Rand also argues that, since independence and individual achievement drive the world, these things are virtues and should be central to a rational moral code. She rejects the view that self-sacrifice is a virtue. These ethical considerations are prominent in AtlasShrugged.