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Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8) 
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Post Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)

Please use this thread for discussing the above chapters. You're welcome to create your own threads too.



Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:03 pm
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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Chapter VII The Exploiters and the Exploited

Another example of Dagny kick-buttitude:
Quote:
She looked at the spikes in the rail at her feet. They meant the night when she had heard that Summit Casting of Illinois, the only company willing to make spikes of Rearden Metal, had gone bankrupt, with half of her order undelivered. She had flown to Chicago, that night, she had got three lawyers, a judge and a state legislator out of bed, she had bribed two of them and threatened the others, she had obtained a paper that was an emergency permit of a legality no one would ever be able to untangle, she had had the padlocked doors of the Summit Casting plant unlocked and a random, half-dressed crew working at the smelters before the windows had turned gray with daylight. The crews had remained at work, under a Taggart engineer and a Rearden metallurgist. The rebuilding of the Rio Norte Line was not held up. p.126

The following seems like erratic behavior on her part, ignoring the findings of experts on Reardon metal. Jim & Dagny Taggart:
Quote:
"That report of the special committee of the National Council of Metal Industries — what do you think of it?"
"You know what I think of it."
"They said Rearden Metal is a threat to public safety. They said its chemical composition is unsound, it's brittle, it's decomposing molecularly, and it will crack suddenly, without warning . . ." He stopped, as if begging for an answer. She did not answer. He asked anxiously, "You haven't changed your mind about it, have you?"
"About what?"
"About that metal."
"No, Jim, I have not changed my mind."
"They're experts, though . . . the men on that committee. . . . Top experts . . . Chief metallurgists for the biggest corporations, with a string of degrees from universities all over the country . . ." He said it unhappily, as if he were begging her to make him doubt these men and their verdict.
She watched him, puzzled; this was not like him. p. 133

Sounds very dangerous, risking her company by ignoring the experts. On edit: Dagny would soon be disturbed/heartened by the news stories of a Government report from The State Science Institute report as this showed how weak their findings actually were, see quote below. However, this was later - Dagny didn't know this when she forged ahead with Reardon metal - are risk takers always rewarded this way?
Quote:
It may be possible that after a period of heavy usage, a sudden fissure may appear, though the length of this period cannot be predicted. . . . The possibility of a molecular reaction, at present unknown, cannot be entirely discounted. . . . Although the tensile strength of the metal is obviously demonstrable, certain questions in regard to its behavior under unusual stress are not to be ruled out. . . . Although there is no evidence to support the contention that the use of the metal should be prohibited, a further study of its properties would be of value. p.141

The reason the State Science Institute issued such vague but ominous statements will be revealed shortly...



Last edited by LanDroid on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:34 pm
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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
A bum in a diner gives strange clues to the ID of John Galt.
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"I know who is John Galt," said the tramp. "It's a secret, but I know it."
"Who?" she asked without interest.
"An explorer," said the tramp. "The greatest explorer that ever lived. The man who found the fountain of youth. Give me another cup. Black," said the old bum, pushing his cup across the counter. "John Galt spent years looking for it. He crossed oceans, and he crossed deserts, and he went down into forgotten mines, miles under the earth. But he found it on the top of a mountain. It took him ten years to climb that mountain. It broke every bone in his body, it tore the skin off his hands, it made him lose his home, his name, his love. But he climbed it. He found the fountain of youth, which he wanted to bring down to men. Only he never came back."
"Why didn't he?" she asked.
"Because he found that it couldn't be brought down." p.137

Doesn't that sounds like a Spiritual journey? So now we have too oddball heroes, a world explorer and a pirate?



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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Spoiler alert Not sure how we deal with these, but here is an explanation for most of the shennanigans against Dagny's pursuits.
Quote:
"Dr. Stadler," she said, "I think I must tell you the meaning and the consequences of the fact that the construction of my branch line is being stopped. I am stopped, in the name of public safety, because I am using the best rail ever produced. In six months, if I do not complete that line, the best industrial section of the country will be left without transportation. It will be destroyed, because it was the best and there were men who thought it expedient to seize a share of its wealth." p. 146

And here's the reason a Government institute is attacking Reardon Metal.
Quote:
"If you consider that for thirteen years this Institute has had a department of metallurgical research, which has cost over twenty million dollars and has produced nothing but a new silver polish and a new anti-corrosive preparation, which, I believe, is not so good as the old ones—you can imagine what the public reaction will be if some private individual comes out with a product that revolutionizes the entire science of metallurgy and proves to be sensationally successful!"

(Dagny's) head dropped. She said nothing. p. 146

I mentioned a two-pronged attack in an earlier thread - those withdrawing resources from society and those trying to destroy investment capital. Now it has become more complex. Shall we add businessmen attempting to seize the capital of others and academic jealousy? How many heads does this Hydra have?



Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:27 pm
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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Hi LanDroid, I don't think Dagny was taking a risk when she decided to stick with using Rearden Metal when she initially discussed this with Jim. The so called "experts" in the field have been shown not to support the facts or their expert opinions but to do what is "the best" for society. A great example of this is the newspaper reporters who are told not to look for facts or to report. Back to the original subject though, Dagny had reviewed all of the tests that Rearden provided her with and she was able to review and determine that the metal was stronger and safer than what they were currently using. The State Science Institute's statement is just like the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog and the Equalization of Opportunity Act. The Science Institute since it is owned and operated by the government does not want to be demonstrated as incompetent because they have spent significantly more money and more time and come up with nothing. I would also note in the quote above- they are chief metallurgists for the biggest corporations - these would be the competitors of Rearden Metal and so they have no interest to see it succeed. Rand has shown repeatedly that the biggest corporations and those that run them do no want competition (Associated Steel - Orren Boyle, James Taggart - Taggart Transcontinental) because they do not run efficient businesses. The government passes legislation so that they can continue to operate and so that they are protected. From their political subterfuge, they get both the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog bill passed which benefits Taggart in Colorado and then the Equalization of Opportunity Bill which helped Boyle because it hurts Rearden. This goes back to chapter 3 where Taggart, Boyle and Mouch (supposedly Rearden's man in Washington) are discussing how to help each of these bills to get passed to benefit the other (but without actually talking about it).

In these chapters (7&8), we get the second mention of who John Galt is which Lan mentions above. The first being that he was the wealthy searcher for Atlantis, now that he searced for and found the Fountain of Youth - both of these places considered to be places of fantasty but that don't really exist, the way hope and light and purpose no longer really exist for the majority of people inhabiting Rand's novel.

Otherwise in these chapters we find out who some additional movers are, with the majority of them being in Colorado. I was surprised frankly that the John Galt Line was finished so quickly...I was expecting this to take much longer so now I'm wondering where Rand will be taking the story from here...granted we still have to find out who John Galt is.

I found to be interesting was the the title of Chapter VII The Exploiters and the Exploited. Ironically, the majority of the characters feel that Rearden, Conway, Ellis Wyatt and Dagny are exploiting society by making too much money and not giving anything back, but these are really the people who are exploiting them. For instance, Hank's mother asking him to give his brother a job and a salary because he needs it (yet he knows nothing about the operations and has no desire to work and doesn't want to learn) and then she criticizes him for his refusal to only hire people who want to work or know what they are doing. Another example is when Rearden has to loan Larkin the money so that Larkin can buy Rearden's ore mines because of the Equalization of Opportunity Bill...what a slap in the face for Rearden, which he lets Larkin know how he feels about this.

And a passage that I expect will come to have more meaning as we continue to read: Dagny describing the train's motors
Quote:
They are alive, she thought, but their soul operates them by remote control. Their soul is in every man who has the capacity to equal this achievement. Should the soul vanish from the earth, the motors would stop, because that is the power which keeps them going...the power of a living mind--the power of thought and choice and purpose.
p231 of my text.



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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Sal10e Your quote embodies Rand's beliefs. Dagny is really Rand's alter ego, speaking for her in the pages of Atlas. In her biography she is quoted as actually speaking as in this quote. She lived in a world of her own making once she fled to America and Atlas is the embodiment of that world.

Quote:
They are alive, she thought, but their soul operates them by remote control. Their soul is in every man who has the capacity to equal this achievement. Should the soul vanish from the earth, the motors would stop, because that is the power which keeps them going...the power of a living mind--the power of thought and choice and purpose.



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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Quote:
(Dagny) twisted herself in a slow, faint movement, her breasts pressed to the desk; she felt the longing in her muscles, in the nerves of her body. Is that what you want? Is it as simple as that?—she thought, but knew that it was not simple. There was some unbreakable link between her love for her work and the desire of her body; as if one gave her the right to the other, the right and the meaning; as if one were the completion of the other—and the desire would never be satisfied, except by a being of equal greatness. p168

Ummm. Just weird. Know anyone who has emotions or sex urges like that? (Yes! I've got to spend Yes! more time Yes!Yes at the office! Yes! Yes! Oh God! Yeeessss!!!) Another example where indeed a heroic character has emotions, but they are stunted or twisted. I wonder these emotions are going ... and do they expose part of Rand's interior life?
Quote:
sal10e wrote: For instance, Hank's mother asking him to give his brother a job and a salary because he needs it (yet he knows nothing about the operations and has no desire to work and doesn't want to learn) and then she criticizes him for his refusal to only hire people who want to work or know what they are doing.

Yes and I like the summation by Hank's mother, "Virtue is the giving of the undeserved". Is it fair to say the contrary view is "Virtue is taking what is deserved"?



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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Hahaha... yeah, it seems like the more the book goes on the more it's turning 'on'. I think Rand was either very much repressed or had a very healthy sexual appetite. She gets carried away sometimes. At times it's almost as though her writing seems to be meant for horny neglected house moms. Maybe she put it in there so more females would read it and males would get attracted to women like Dagny.

I'm enjoying how the book is exploring more of the human-side of her main characters. That's much appreciated. Kind of getting weary of the, "he looked at her with a smile that said he was in pain but amused and tortured and she knew all his faces and there was something here but to be thought of later - now wasn't the time. Gee I wish he'd make me his property because I am worth him and he is worth me too. Slap me!" Alright, that isn't a direct quote but I bet you all thought it was! lol

Lan, I would be curious if Rand would say 'earning' rather than 'taking' - it depends on what you mean by taking, I guess (here, take only what you deserve Vs. take what you deserve by force). I think she would agree with you if you mean take only what you deserve/earn.



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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
In Ch.7 we find another person talking about who John Galt is, this time a tramp, who claims to know:

Quote:
“An explorer,” said the tramp. “The greatest explorer that ever lived. The man who found the fountain of youth.”
[…]
“John Galt spent years looking for it. He crossed oceans, and he crossed deserts, and he went down into forgotten mines, miles under the earth. But he found it on the top of a mountain. It took him ten years to climb that mountain. It broke every bone in his body, it tore the skin off his hands, it made him lose his home, his name, his love. But he climbed it. He found the fountain of youth, which he wanted to bring down to men. Only he never came back.” “Why didn’t he?” she asked. “Because he found that it couldn’t be brought down.”


Also in this chapter Dr. Potter from the State Science Institute thinks that the economy is not ready for Rearden Metal. Rearden repeatedly asks him whether or not Rearden Metal is good, which is the most important thing to find out and to know in regards to judging the metal itself, in which Dr. Potter dodges, until later he blurts out after Rearden asks:

Quote:
“Are you going to answer my question?”
The man shrugged. “Questions of value are relative. If Rearden Metal is not good, it’s a physical danger to the public. If it is good it’s a social danger.” “If you have anything to say to me about the physical danger of Rearden Metal, say it. Drop the rest of it. Fast. I don’t speak that language.”
“But surely questions of social welfare—”
“Drop it.”


So even if Rearden Metal is good, it’s then a ‘social danger”. In what way, exactly? Because of how good it is - because it is less expensive and better than steel. Because many products can be made out of it, instead of using steel, and last longer, and are stronger, and cost everyone less money. So how come something that is so good, be a danger? If steel is unable to compete in the marketplace with Rearden Metal, and if other goods made can’t compete with goods made with Rearden metal in price and quality, the simple fact that Rearden Metal is better than, more superior quality to, less costly than… why should Rearden Metal be punished because of that? Because it is good?

Rearden says:

Quote:
“Well, then, if you think the public won’t go for it, what are you worrying about?”
“If the public doesn’t go for it, you will take a heavy loss, Mr. Rearden.” “That’s my worry, not yours.”


Exactly right.
And if people are worried about riding on a bridge made of Rearden Metal - don’t ride over it, then.
If people are worried about the safety of a rail made of Rearden Metal, then don’t ride on it.
If people are worried about products that contain Rearden Metal, then don’t buy or use them.
It’s as simple as that.
Whether the metal is good or bad, people can, by their power of not dealing with Rearden in anyway whatsoever, eventually can get Rearden Metal off the market without governmental intervention in the economy, because of Rearden‘s “heavy loss“. It’s how the market can work in that way… but… if Rearden Metal is good, why would people not want to use services and products with it in it and pay less for those services and products, ones in which last longer, are stronger and lighter than anything in the marketplace being sold then? Hey, the choice is theirs. If people know the metal is good, they still don’t have to deal with him in anyway. They can keep the steel business running, by only dealing with steel, and not with Rearden Metal. It’s how the market can work in that respect. Whatever the fate of the metal, it must be decided upon in the marketplace, by the marketplace - not by governmental intervention in the economy, is Rand’s view and point.


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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Ch. 8

The following scene, one can see the film adaptation of it in Atlas Shrugged Part 1, of which I thought was pretty well done:

Quote:
“Well, it’s like this, Miss Taggart,” said the delegate of the Union of Locomotive Engineers. “I don’t think we’re going to allow you to run that train.”
Dagny sat at her battered desk, against the blotched wall of her office. She said, without moving, “Get out of here.”
It was a sentence the man had never heard in the polished offices of railroad executives. He looked bewildered. “I came to tell you—”
“If you have anything to say to me, start over again.”
“What?”
“Don’t tell me what you’re going to allow me to do.”
“Well, I meant we’re not going to allow our men to run your train.”
“That’s different.”
“Well, that’s what we’ve decided.”
“Who’s decided it?”
“The committee. What you’re doing is a violation of human rights. You can’t force men to go out to get killed— when that bridge collapses just to make money for you.”
She searched for a sheet of blank paper and handed it to him. “Put it down in writing,” she said, “and we’ll sign a contract to that effect.”
“What contract?”
“That no member of your union will ever be employed to run an engine on the John Galt Line.”
“Why . . . wait a minute . . . I haven’t said—”
“You don’t want to sign such a contract?”
“No I—”
“Why not, since you know that the bridge is going to collapse?”
“I only want—”
“I know what you want. You want a stranglehold on your men by means of the jobs which I give them— and on me, by means of your men. You want me to provide the jobs, and you want to make it impossible for me to have any jobs to provide. Now I’ll give you a choice. That train is going to be run. You have no choice about that. But you can choose whether it’s going to be run by one of your men or not. If you choose not to let them, the train will still run, if I have to drive the engine myself. Then, if the bridge collapses, there won’t be any railroad left in existence, anyway. But if it doesn’t collapse, no member of your union will ever get a job on the John Galt Line. If you think that I need your men more than they need me, choose accordingly. If you know that I can run an engine, but they can’t build a railroad, choose according to that. Now are you going to forbid your men to run that train?”
“I didn’t say we’d forbid it. I haven’t said anything about forbidding. But . . . but you can’t force men to risk their lives on something nobody’s ever tried before.”
“I’m not going to force anyone to take that run.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to ask for a volunteer.”
“And if none of them volunteers?”
“Then it will be my problem, not yours.”
“Well, let me tell you that I’m going to advise them to refuse.”
“Go ahead. Advise them anything you wish. Tell them whatever you like. But leave the choice to them. Don’t try to forbid it.”


Here is the you tube “Dagny Confronts the Union”:



You tell him, Dagny. So nice to see a woman like her on the silver screen.

Also in Chapter 8:

Dagny had me laughing at different times during her interview before the first run, like this one:

Quote:
“Please do attend the opening. It’s on July twenty-second. The press is most eagerly invited. Contrary to my usual policy, I have become a publicity hound. Really. I should like to have spotlights, radio microphones and television cameras. I suggest that you plant a few cameras around the bridge. The collapse of the bridge would give you some interesting shots.”


I like this passage:

Quote:
She had not expected such a large crowd. They filled the platform, the tracks, the square beyond the station; they were on the roofs of the boxcars on the sidings, at the windows of every house in sight. Something had drawn them here, something in the air which, at the last moment, had made James Taggart want to attend the opening of the John Galt Line. She had forbidden it. “If you come, Jim,” she had said, “I’ll have you thrown out of your own Taggart station. This is one event you’re not going to see.” Then she had chosen Eddie Willers to represent Taggart Transcontinental at the opening. She looked at the crowd and she felt, simultaneously, astonishment that they should stare at her, when this event was so personally her own that no communication about it was possible, and a sense of fitness that they should be here, that they should want to see it, because the sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human being could offer to others.


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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
"... the sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human being could offer to others."

Thanks - meant to highlight that earlier. There are some peculiar value statements in this book, does anyone totally agree with that one?



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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Quote:
"... the sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human being could offer to others."

Thanks - meant to highlight that earlier. There are some peculiar value statements in this book, does anyone totally agree with that one?


Of course not. Achievement on it's own is a means to an end. It is part of the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is the greatest gift. It is the end on effect result. There are methods of spreading happiness that are better than to offer a "sight of an achievement".


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Post Re: Part One, Chapters VII–VIII (7 - 8)
Happiness is a gift? Interbane, why do you claim that?


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