What book might be considered to be the opposite of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged?
In Atlas Shrugged, Rand provides the reader with one possible utopian community through Galt’s Gulch. The people in Galt’s Gulch live in a capitalistic utopia where each individual produces to the best of their ability and trades freely with the community. In the Gulch is an inscription: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine” (Rand, 1957, p. 731).
This inscription is the oath that everyone in the Gulch must live by and it summarizes Rand’s vision of a Utopia. Anna Vesterinen and Paul Sims write in their article, Ten Visions of Utopia (2014), “Rand’s utopia is an expression of her philosophy of Objectivism, a place where the pursuit of one’s own happiness is the highest moral purpose” (p.32). In Utopia, Thomas More argues the opposite philosophy.
Everyone in Utopia works for the commonwealth, putting the wellness of the whole above the happiness of the individual. In contrast to the labor that takes place in Galt’s Gulch, the citizens of Utopia engage in farm work in addition to any occupation their community needs filled. More (1997) writes, “Kindness and good nature unite men more effectually and with greater strength than any agreements whatsoever” (p. 64). This idea is the opposite of Rand’s idea that men should never give freely of themselves and always put their own interests first. Rand and More offer two opposite versions of an utopian community.
More, T. (1997). Utopia (p. 64) (R. Herder, Ed.). London: Dover Publications.
Rand, A. (1957). Part 3, Chapter 1. In Atlas Shrugged (p. 731). New York, NY: Random House.
Vesterinen, A., & Sims, P. (2014). Ten Visions of Utopia. New Humanist, 129(1), 32-33.