Atlas Shrugged

by: Ayn Rand

Part Two, Chapters IX–X

We can now be certain that the track worker with whom Eddie dines must be connected to the destroyer in some way. It is no coincidence that Daniels (and earlier, Dannager) disappeared immediately after Eddie happened to mention to the track worker Dagny’s plans to try to stop them. Furthermore, the worker’s interest in Dagny seems personal, given his abrupt reaction to learning she and Rearden are lovers.

Rand uses Jeff Allen’s detailed account of the chaos at the Twentieth Century Motor Company to illustrate the devastating effects of collectivism. For Rand, the ideas behind the plant’s radical management are not just bad ideas, they are pure evil. She intends the plant’s story to be an object lesson in the perils of Communism. Under the system at the plant, income was based on need, not performance. Using need as a basis for policy is the system’s fundamental flaw, for a number of reasons. First, need has no absolute definitions; what is a need to one person may be a luxury to another. Second, rewarding income based on need removes incentive. If production is separated from income, there is no reason to produce, since a worker will receive income anyway. Finally, ability becomes a liability when those determined to be ablest are given more work but not more income. The biggest winner under such a system is the person with the most need and the least ability. This fact makes it inevitable that a community should dissolve into chaos and mistrust, and that production should cease. From Jeff Allen, Dagny also learns the true story of John Galt. She now knows that he is a real person and that he was the first to resign from the plant. His vow to “stop the motor of the world” indicates that he may be the destroyer she seeks. He may also be the inventor of the motor. She is more determined than ever to find him.