U of L Gets $1 Million to Offer Courses on Ayn Rand's Ideas

by ekramer on August 7, 2008

The University of Louisville’s College of Business has received a $1 million dollar grant to create a course and other activities based on the economic philosophy of the late Ayn Rand. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The grant comes from the BB&T Corporation, whose CEO, John Allison, calls Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” “the best defense of capitalism ever written.” Since 2005, the banking company has granted millions of dollars to more than 25 schools to teach students about Rand’s philosophy of objectivism.

Economics professor Stephen Gohmann has been recommended to head the program. Although Rand developed her ideas in the mid 20th century during communism’s rise, Gohmann says they’re still valid.

“There’s been lots of studies on economic freedom and if you look at countries that have a lot of economic freedom, they’re the ones that grow,” Gohmann says. “The ones that don’t have much economic freedom such as Zimbabwe — in terrible shape. And, so, her point of view still holds today.”

Gohmann says he plans to present Rand’s ideas alongside those of other philosophers.

“I want to look at different points of view — some writings by Marx and Adam Smith and then also Ayn Rand’s writings, and do a comparative analysis and let students debate and discuss all these issues,” he says. “I think it’s important for them to see different points of views and to figure out what they think.”

The class will debut in the 2008-2009 academic year.

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