Finding Galt’s Gulch

Galt's Gulch EmblemIn Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged there was a hidden refuge in a valley of Colorado where the people of ability had retreated to after relinquishing participation in American society. It was aptly nicknamed “Galt’s Gulch” by its inhabitants, though it was more properly named “Mulligan’s Valley” since it was the property of Michael “Midas” Mulligan, a banker and one of the first strikers to heed John Galt’s call.

The basic premise is that the United States has degenerated into an authoritarian, quasi-Marxist state, strangling business, innovation, and personal liberty in favor of an non merit-based egalitarian result. John Galt responds by convincing the productive and innovative people – the “Men of the Mind” – to withdraw from society and take their skills and visions with them, “stopping the motor of the world” by withdrawing the “minds” that drive society’s growth and productivity.

John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains and he withdrew his fire until the day when men withdraw their vultures.

— Francisco dAnconia
Atlas Shrugged, Part II, Chapter V

One thing that strikes me as odd – and more than a little frustrating – is that both Rand’s supporters and detractors view this as a Dystopian future, as if it wasn’t, in pragmatic effect, already well underway.

Ayn Rand’s Future Is Now

In the real world Galt’s Gulch aka Mulligan’s Valley isn’t some concealed refuge in Colorado; it’s the global marketplace and the Third World labor pool. Business leaders are finding Galt’s Gulch in many places outside of America’s borders and jurisdiction.

  • Decline of Manufacturing
    America no longer produces much domestically. Over the last 60 years there’s been slightly over of 66% drop in employment within factories inside the US and a commensurate rise in off-shoring manufacturing to places such as Mexico and China.
  • Decline of Innovation
    Scientific and technological advances are also, more and more, coming from overseas. Companies are now paying scientists in China, India, Singapore, and other foreign lands to perform R & D instead of using more expensive domestic scientists and research facilities.

The motor is already stopping. Corporations, faced with the inability to compete globally with less restrictive regimes and with lower order economies while using domestic labor and facilities, are already “striking” and moving more and more of their operations outside of America.

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4 Responses to “Finding Galt’s Gulch”

  1. ichabod Says:

    Hi jonolan;

    Atlas Shrugged and George Orwell’s 1984 were written by prophets or visionaries.

    The difference between America and Rome is that robots now perform much of what man used to. That makes many people who aren’t making money unwanted chattel on this planet as they require precious resources to survive.

    This is headed for part three of which the first two parts played out withing the last century

  2. jonolan Says:

    I don’t know if that trend will continue, ichabod.

    Hero of Alexandria invented the steam engine and the windmill in the 1st Century AD (Some claim Marcus Vitruvius Pollio mentioned the steam engine a century earlier) but neither caught on or were developed beyond “lab toys” due to the availability of cheap (slave) labor.

    We’re moving towards that again in the modern age with the globalists’ use of Third World labor.

  3. Charles Sifers Says:

    One thing that we’re going to have to move past, is the idea that humans need to continue to toil in the mines and factories, in order to be productive.

    We also need to get over the fallacy of “real currency”, in the form of silver and gold.

    We are on the verge of a new paradigm, and unless we are able to make the leap, then we are certainly headed toward collapse, where the whole process will start over again, until a civilization comes along that is able to grasp the next step.

    Jonolan, you are correct that Galt’s Gulch can be found in places like Costa Rica, where they have embraced capitalism, along with an eye to the future, including real-life sustainability.

    Unfortunately, to many “sustainability” is a limiting factor, but to those of us who actually live it, sustainability means using resources to their fullest extent, which opens up opportunities for even more who want to capitalize on the potential.

    We are at the crossroads, and it will take a major paradigm shift to simply survive, let alone thrive, but the opportunities are infinite, and we’ve really only gotten started on the journey.

  4. ichabod Says:

    Hi Charles;

    I totally agree with your analysis. “We are on the verge of a new paradigm”

    Jonolan, in China they are starting to look into ways to replace their “cheap” labor in factories as there are benefits to robots aside from accuracy, attendance, attitude about working conditions, etc.

    The only problem with idle people is they tend to get disruptive, even if their needs are met. I don’t agree with making people slaves or not paying a fair days wage for a fair days work, but people need to be occupied and realize a feeling of self worth and to take pride in something they enjoy doing.

    Maybe we should turn back the clock a generation or so ago. It appears that some of these issues were non existent back then. 🙂

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