Ayn Rand vs. ethics of care: Capitalist economics and women on welfare




Thompson, Kelsey

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The objective of this thesis is to examine how the political ideology of capitalism that heavily permeates today's culture and is so prominent within the popular novel Atlas Shrugged constructs our values in such a way as to marginalize women. I examine the ways in which freedom, independence, morality, and equality are thought about within liberalism and relate them to Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged to demonstrate how people who do not fit these values are considered less than citizens. I juxtapose this with a focus on how freedom, independence, morality and equality are constructed within a feminist ethics of care so as to more wholly include women within the realm of citizenship. I use this discussion to provide an alternative to the constructions of values that happen within capitalist political ideology and demonstrate ways in which these values can be envisioned without being marginalizing. I relate this to a discussion of women on welfare and how their testimonies provide a call to recognize the untruths and inequities of liberalism. These testimonies argue for a different societal construction of women on welfare that subverts the mainstream perception and aligns with a feminist ethics of care. I also investigate ways in which liberalism is currently prominent in mainstream ideology to emphasize the present effects that this is having on women and women on welfare.


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