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Atlas Shrugged: Americans Still Look for Economic Answers in Ayn Rand’s Classic

More than 50 years after Ayn Rand's masterpiece novel Atlas Shrugged was first published, it is now a multi-part feature film.

The story, based on Rand's objectivist philosophy, is set in a "U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists," as described by the Ayn Rand Lexicon website. Its theme centers around the role of individual achievement and what happens when such is "undervalued, suppressed and demonized."

Sales for the book spiked during the financial crisis. Since President Obama took office, the book has sold more than a million copies.

Renewed interest and popularity of the book is no surprise to Yaron Brook, executive director and president of The Ayn Rand Institute.

"I think what Americans have come to realize is there a real parallel between what happens in the book and what is happening with the economy, with our politics and with our culture," he tells Aaron in the accompanying interview. People are "bewildered" by how bad the economy has gotten and the book offers answers and solutions to these problems.

So, what is causing the U.S. economic hardship?

The U.S. government. The same entity that says it is trying to dig the country out of the gutter, says Brook. He complains Washington has grown drastically in size, imposed more regulations and intervened when it was not necessary referring to the bank and auto company bailouts in 2008 and 2009.

"Yes, they have gotten out of some of these deals, but the government is still growing," Brooks says. "They created a precedent that is going to haunt us for many many years in terms of the ownership."

Has government grown too big? Tell us what you think!

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