The “Robber Barons”
In this 1966 radio interview, Ayn Rand argues that nineteenth-century industrialists were unjustly vilified by the epithet “robber baron.” Pointing out the need to distinguish between businessmen who get rich by production and voluntary trade, and those who get rich through government favoritism and legalized coercion, Rand observes that all the evils popularly ascribed to capitalism were actually caused by government interference in the economy. Her detailed historical analysis centers on the transcontinental railroads, with discussions of coercive monopolies and the phenomenon of controls breeding more controls. She also argues that the antitrust laws are non-objective and unjust.
The recording is 26 minutes long.