Saturday, April 02, 2011

Did Ayn Rand foresee our future in Atlas Shrugged?

Any casual read of Ayn Rand's masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged" must leave the reader with an uncanny sense that she had foressen our present age back in the nineteen-fifties when the almost 1200 paged novel was first written.

A closer study of all the striking similarities between the book and the world created by our present crooked political leaders and their armies of moochers and looters, who depend on the maintenance of this corrupt rule, might turn such suspicions into racing certainties.

I spent my own working life in the international oil industry and therefore have an absolutely clear idea on what petroleum geologists thought of the prospects for shale oil as a future energy source, back in those days. I therefore consider this passage from the book as clear enough evidence for me of Ayn Rand's ability to discern the likely course of events. This passage appears on page 720 of the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Atlas Shrugged,  ISBN 978-0-141-18893-5, and was as follows:

"It was oil that ran in a glittering curve from the mouth of a pipe into a tank at the foot of the wall, as the only confession of the secret struggle inside the stone, as the unobtrusive purpose of all the intricate machinery - but the machinery did not resemble the installations of an oil derrick, and she knew that she was looking at the secret of the Buena Esperanza Pass, she knew that this was oil drawn out of shale by some method men had considered impossible."

A modern description of oil shale is here.

The movie of the beginning of the novel is released in two weeks time. It clearly must not be missed, especially given the attempts to block its distribution and its limited production budget, both no doubt caused by the fears of the fabulously wealthy, in terms of digital money, who have created our present nightmarish world.

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