Ayn Rand and Today's Business Ethics

Essay by gygUniversity, Master's April 2004

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This paper is intended to give an overview over what would Ayn Rand think about today's ethics business. In order to understand her I have divided this paper into three parts. The first part is a brief summary of her life to understand the background that leads her to develop her objectivism theory. The second part is a description of what her theory is, what are the essential parts of objectivism, how this theory was developed and its importance nowadays. Finally, the third part explains the approach of her theory to the current status of business ethics and the point of view of her followers to the current financial scandals in the business world.

I. Who was Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was born Alisa (Alice) Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. Her father owned a pharmacy and her family enjoyed a comfortable fixed position. She received a good education.

She was a remarkable student, she was even able to read and write before she attended elementary school. Her father's pharmacy was confiscated by Bolshevik authorities after the Russian Revolution. The anti-Semitism of the Czarist regime and the anti-capitalism of the Communist regime do not seem to have endeared her to government intervention in private affairs, something which she was to oppose throughout her political life . This fact changed drastically their status of living making them struggle for the basic needs as everybody else at that time.

Rosenbaum studied history at the University of Petrograd; however her goal was always to be a writer. She left the Soviet Russia in 1926 and came to America under an invitation of her relatives, knowing that she would never go back to Russia. As explained by Longley "In America, she took the first name Ayn (rhymes with "line") and...