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John Galt Should Not Have Been A Track Laborer

It would have been better if John Galt didn't take a job as a track laborer.

I respect the principle not to spend wealth from Galt's Gulch outside the valley. Don't create value there then bring it back to the regular world to aid non-members.

But Galt had better things to do with his time, like work in his lab, and I see a simple solution. Francisco could have simply given Galt a million dollars. Galt could pay him back in some way in the Gulch, or not, I don't think it matters too much. Francisco already had plenty of outside world money and wouldn't be harmed by giving some to Galt (he was in the process of destroying his outside wealth anyway).

Consider the effect on the outside world. In the one case, Galt does some minimally productive work, then spends money on food. In the other case, Galt doesn't do that work, then spends money on food. In both cases, the grocery store gets some dollar bills for their food, and Galt eats the same thing. In one case, an outside world company gets some extra help, though not of a kind or amount that made any fundamental difference.

If Galt just wanted to observe Dagny and chat with Eddie, he could have found another way to visit that was less time consuming than a full time job.

I don't see how Galt doing track laborer work was a good idea. I think it was a real shame he didn't spend most of that time doing physics, reading, thinking about how to recruit Rearden, etc, rather than doing manual labor. And I think the manual labor was unnecessary.

Elliot Temple on August 24, 2015

Comments (36)

Isn't a lot of manual labour the kind of work that you can think about other things while you do it? So Galt could have been thinking about physics problems, or about how to recruit Rearden, while working on the track.

Anonymous at 1:04 AM on August 25, 2015 | #2555
Manual labor is a lot harder than, say, sitting around a patent office (Einstein). It's TIRING, that makes it harder to think.

I'm sure Galt did some thinking on the job, but those circumstances made thinking harder.

Elliot at 9:08 AM on August 25, 2015 | #2557
Wasn't Galt working as a track laborer just for the surprise effect in the story of him being Dagny's own worker without her noticing it until near the end?

Anonymous at 3:50 PM on August 25, 2015 | #2559
Yeah, but I don't think the convenience of the book author is a good in-world reason for Galt to work that job.

Elliot at 4:58 PM on August 25, 2015 | #2560
Maybe he has better ways of thinking while doing physical labour and being tired than you do.

Or maybe he didn't work that much? He was on the books as a worker and appeared in a load of scenes sitting and talking, but how can we tell how much actual labour he did?

Anonymous at 2:56 AM on August 26, 2015 | #2562
Manual labor is hard. Don't downplay that or, bizarrely, personalize this to me.

Look at all the farmers of history who work in the fields and get BONE TIRED. Ask them how easy it is to read books and think about physics while living that lifestyle.

No, doing significant amounts of manual labor did not help Galt think better.

Elliot at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2015 | #2564
What would you recommend to people who still haven't found a way out of having to do manual labor or otherwise repetitive, menial work for money?

Anonymous at 4:46 AM on August 28, 2015 | #2566
Learn!

Elliot at 10:32 AM on August 28, 2015 | #2567
> If Galt just wanted to observe Dagny and chat with Eddie, he could have found another way to visit that was less time consuming than a full time job.

What other way? Having a job and renting a place nearby seems convenient. Wasn't he also convincing other great minds to join him in the valley? So he needed to be outside the valley to recruit them.

Ot maybe it was to not have the government investigate disappearances? Didn't other people have jobs outside the valley too? Like the philosopher?

Anonymous at 7:01 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3630
Rent a place nearby and not have a job, by go to the train station sometimes (less than 40 hours a week, and spending more of his time in places where he'd see Dagny).

Anonymous at 7:02 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3631
> Learn!

Learn what? The only thing I like to do is not something people would pay me for.

Anonymous at 7:02 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3632
Learn to like other things. Learn philosophy.

Anonymous at 7:03 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3633
> Rent a place nearby and not have a job, by go to the train station sometimes (less than 40 hours a week, and spending more of his time in places where he'd see Dagny).

Rent a place with what money? Money given to him by Francisco?

Anonymous at 7:04 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3634
yes

Anonymous at 7:04 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3635
it says that in the blog post. did you read it?

Anonymous at 7:05 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3636
> Learn to like other things. Learn philosophy.

Why should I have to like other things? Why can't I do what I love now?

In what does learning philosophy help me make money without suffering?

Anonymous at 7:05 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3637
helps you be less helpless

Anonymous at 7:07 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3638
Is there evidence he was actually a manual laborer except that time when Dagny finds him? Maybe he was just on the roll.

Anonymous at 7:08 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3639
> helps you be less helpless

in what way? i just want to do what i love. being told to like other things has been part of the problem that kept me stuck and in pain so many years, not of the solution. or can't you see that?

Anonymous at 7:09 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3640
Did you read the book carefully? Did you try to check it? Why should I do everything for you?

Anonymous at 7:09 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3641
> Did you read the book carefully? Did you try to check it? Why should I do everything for you?

everything? i didn't ask for everything.

kindle keeps crashing on me i gave up on using it. i'll look for my physical copy in a sec and check.

Anonymous at 7:10 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3642
> Why should I have to like other things? Why can't I do what I love now?

You don't have to. But it would help you to learn philosophy.

You can do what you love now, but you can do it *better* if you improve your ability to learn and think with good philosophy.

What do you love? Why don't you think you can get paid for it?

> in what way? i just want to do what i love. being told to like other things has been part of the problem that kept me stuck and in pain so many years, not of the solution. or can't you see that?

You're anonymous. It's impossible to see that about you without you saying a lot more about yourself.

Don't learn philosophy just because you're told to. You're right that doing that is a problem.

Anonymous at 1:37 AM on October 7, 2015 | #3653
What I want from philosophy is help doing I love a lot and feel good about doing what I love a lot like when I was kid. I want the urge and the guilt free happiness back.

Anonymous at 10:18 AM on October 7, 2015 | #3664
Is that an initial want, a starting point. Or is it a fixed, static agenda?

Anonymous at 10:19 AM on October 7, 2015 | #3665
I've found the quote, btw. Galt did work as a track laborer for 12 years.

Anonymous at 10:44 AM on October 7, 2015 | #3671
> Is that an initial want, a starting point. Or is it a fixed, static agenda?

it's all i want to do.

Anonymous at 11:29 AM on October 7, 2015 | #3679
How can I find someone who wants to support me as I learn to draw?

Leo at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4171
Find yourself

Anonymous at 2:43 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4172
So it's only good for Galt? Why?

Leo at 2:50 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4173
we can't read your mind. what's only good for Galt?

Anonymous at 3:52 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4174
> But Galt had better things to do with his time, like work in his lab, and I see a simple solution. Francisco could have simply given Galt a million dollars.

Leo at 4:47 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4175
oh you wanted monetary support?

well, become a Galt-quality philosopher and then teach some rich people some philosophy, like Galt did.

Anonymous at 4:51 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4176
you should just earn your money. be productive. do something good.

the reason for Galt to receive money as a gift is special circumstances. Galt could have made lots of money himself. the reason he didn't do that, and the reason he took the shitty job, was just because he was trying not to help the looters. in a better world, he'd make his own money, no problem.

Anonymous at 4:52 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4177
I thought the argument was that manual work is bad and a waste of time vs creative work.

I already earn my money.

I don't want to be a philosopher, I want to draw.

Leo at 5:10 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4179
Galt did creative work that was trivial to sell for millions of dollars. And he got there without handouts.

Do good enough work and you won't have a problem.

Anonymous at 5:18 PM on October 13, 2015 | #4180
I don't want to have to work for others and their expectations. I like to do on my own thing.

Leo at 10:47 AM on October 14, 2015 | #4184

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)