Going Galt in India. Sales of Rand Skyrocket in World's Largest Democracy

October 19th, 2009

via Jennifer Burns on the surprising popularity of a libertarian hero in India | Foreign Policy. (H/T Instapundit)

At tea parties and town halls nationwide, amid outrage over government bailouts of Wall Street banks and Detroit carmakers and the supposed socialization of health care, protesters speak of “going Galt,” refusing to work in what they see as a socialist economy, just as Rand’s hero John Galt did.  But all this makes a certain amount of sense. Perhaps more surprising is the Ayn Rand boom that is building in another mass democracy: India.

Not only do Indians perform more Google searches for Rand than citizens of any country in the world except the United States, but Penguin Books India has sold an impressive number of copies — as many as 50,000 of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead each since 2005, a number comparable to sales there by global best-seller John Grisham.

In a culture that forces the individual to subjugate himself for the good of the collective, Rand’s works tower as a beacon of liberty and sanity. I am not surprised that it is so prevalent now, especially in a culture like Indian.

For many Indians, she is a tonic of modernization, helping to inspire a break with India’s collectivist, socialist past. Rand’s mixture of capitalist boosterism and self-empowerment is an irresistible combination for a range of Indians, from think-tankers to corporate barons to pop stars.

My favorite quote was “Gargi Rawat, a correspondent and news anchor for top tv channel ndtv and a former Rand admirer, says Rand’s theory of the supremacy of reason and the virtue of selfishness adds up to “the antithesis” of Indian culture, which explains the attraction for Rawat in her youth and for many rebellious Indian teens today.”

I’m glad the Gospel of Rand is spreading the World Over.

Update: Thanks to Ilya Shaprio at Cato@Liberty Blog for the H/T.