Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism stresses the virtue of productivity — the ability of human beings to create the goods and services necessary for survival on earth. Hank Rearden is the embodiment of this virtue. In his early teens, Rearden pushed himself to herculean efforts in the ore mines, refusing to acknowledge pain and exhaustion as legitimate grounds to stop working. Later, he bought the mines and worked virtually 20-hour days to build a vast, steel-producing empire. Through 10 years of prodigious effort, he created a new metal alloy far superior to steel. His productivity is legendary, even among the other industrial giants in the valley. Andrew Stockton, owner of the country's best foundry, says that Rearden would put him out of business if he ever joined the strike and entered the valley: "'But boy! I'd work for him as a cinder sweeper. He'd blast through this valley
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