Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There's a lot of shrugging going on

A 30,000-foot view -- looking for Galt's Gulch in Colorado

My journey into 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand continues.

I'm at the 850-page mark with just a couple hundred pages to go.

It's been a topsy-turvy ride, with twists right and left. I keep trying to figure out how the book is actually going to end.

Maybe the last two main characters will stay in the real world and fight for what they feel is right. But then they may go to that hidden valley in Colorado (sometimes referred to as Galt's Gulch) and live life to the fullest without the interference of those who want to direct everyone's life.

I know the choice I would make in their situation. -- Or do I?

The book pits capitalists who strive to create and build, against those who want to control people and direct the businesses that capitalists own.

There is a great tug o war.

Personally, and I guess for a lot of travelers, I like what capitalists and entrepreneurs have developed. Whether some like it or not, they have made the world smaller.

Capitalist-developed cruise ships drop anchor at Cozumel, Mexico
Just 100 years ago (think the Titanic which sank in 1912), seeing the world as a vacationer was nearly an impossibility except for those with extremes amount of money. Traveling around the world  took time. A cruise ship back then would have been prohibitively expensive for most everyone.

Capitalists and entrepreneurs saw that people wanted to travel and nowadays, there are so many ships on the seas, competition keeps the prices low. And over the years navigational devices have been developed to make cruising even safer (but there's always the human element).

Don't want to cruise? 

What about flying?

Thanks to capitalists, it doesn't take 80 days to  circumnavigate the globe.  An around-the-world airline ticket runs between $2,500 and $4,000, depending on one's itinerary and you can take up to a year or as little time as you want.

And for those who prefer to be landlocked, Henry Ford came up with the answer for every man's dream of travel.

There's also the development of high-speed rail.

If any of the aforementioned had never been developed, we would not have known what we were missing.  But they are there, and we can blame the capitalists for it.

Now its back to those last 200 pages.

Next post: Oct. 2, 2012

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