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Unformatted text preview: In order to fully understand Ayn Rand's theme in Atlas Shrugged, we must contrast it with its opposites. Objectivism's claim that the mind is the fundamental means by which man survives contrasts with the claims of the two dominant philosophical schools of modern western culture, Marxism and Christianity. The Marxists maintain that manual labor is the means by which human beings produce economic value: Muscle power, not brain power, creates wealth. Marxists believe that the physical workers create economic commodities and the capitalists exploit the workers. Ben Nealy, the contractor with whom Dagny is stuck after McNamara's retirement, expresses Marx's belief succinctly when he claims, "Muscles, Miss Taggart, that's all it takes to build anything in the world." Ayn Rand's answer to Marx is contained on every page of Atlas Shrugged. How much manual labor (muscle power) does it take to create Galt's motor, Rearden's Metal, or Wyatt's innovative process of extracting oil from shale? In real life, how much muscle power was required to innovative process of extracting oil from shale?...
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