Who is John Galt? And Why is He Scamming the City of New York?


From the New York Times, a Randian scam in the Bronx:

The John Galt Corporation of the Bronx, hired last year for the dangerous and complex job of demolishing the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street, where two firefighters died last Saturday, has apparently never done any work like it. Indeed, Galt does not seem to have done much of anything since it was incorporated in 1983.

Public and private records give no indication of how many employees it has, what its volume of business is or who its clients are. There are almost no accounts of any projects it has undertaken on any scale, apart from 130 Liberty Street. Court records are largely silent. Some leading construction executives in the city say they have never even heard of it.

That may not be as surprising as it seems. John Galt, it appears, is not much more than a corporate entity meant to accommodate the people and companies actually doing the demolition job at the emotionally charged and environmentally hazardous site at the edge of ground zero.

More on the Galt mystery here. (Hat tip: Billy M.)

On the centennial of her birth, Cathy Young surveys Rand's complicated legacy.

NEXT: Black-Market Education

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  1. Galt can take care of the demolition. The should hire Peter Keating to design the new construction.

  2. They’re on strike.

  3. Their bulldozers don’t seem to have gasoline engines…weird.

    Also, to find their office, you must penetrate the ray screen.

  4. Warren- You mean Roark can take care of the demolition. You’re thinking of The Fountainhead. Galt was in Atlas Shrugged.

  5. They could subcontract everything.

  6. In Fountainhead II, Roark and his buddy Tattoo opened an island theme park called Dream Atoll or something like that.

  7. 6

    I think its possible to reference two stories in one sentence.

  8. Eric-Sure, but Warren’s post doesn’t really make sense if he is referencing Galt, the guy who build the gulch. It makes perfect sense if he is referencing Roark, the architect who demolished a building.

  9. So I take it, the chances of being sued in court, accused of wrongdoing, or otherwise publicly attacked because of the emotional nature of the job, means that demolition companies will only work as subcontractors for a front company.

    The front company takes public heat, gets sued and goes bankrupt, etc, and the demolition companies can go on with their work.

    THe article did mention that a copy working under the Galt umbrella did get removed from a previous contract because of “integrity”… but that could very well likely be the phenomina from the first paragraph.

    Anyway, on a very unrelated Ayn Rand tip – Everyone should play the very Atlas Shrugged themed new videogame Bioshock! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioshock
    The best video game ever!

  10. Howard Who? Oh that clown. No you can’t hire some nobody like that for a big project like this. I’ll grant you he has some of Peter’s technical expertise but none of his style.

    They’ll have to use Rearden Steel for the skeleton.

  11. Rex cuts to the chase and solves the mystery. Post Haste.

  12. Anyway, on a very unrelated Ayn Rand tip – Everyone should play the very Atlas Shrugged themed new videogame Bioshock! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioshock
    The best video game ever!

    I agree it looks really cool but isn’t it actually anti-capitalist?

  13. Great, Ken Lay is co-opting John Galt.

  14. Cathy’s 100 years old? Well congratulations and many happy returns of the day!

  15. i’m so glad someone caught this. i remember thinking it was a typo.

    “I agree it looks really cool but isn’t it actually anti-capitalist?”

    not that i know of just yet, though if you’re a hardcore objectivist you will be pissed off at all the ruined greatness that could have been.

    at one point in the beginning a recorded voice says “the parasite feeds on three things – free minds, free men and free markets”

  16. I agree it looks really cool but isn’t it actually anti-capitalist?

    We are not Communists, we don’t have to accept or reject art on the basis of its ideological purity. The game is fantastic, even if it is anti-capitalist.

    That said, it is really more anti-Utopian than anti-Capitalist.

  17. and just to derail shit EVEN FURTHER, bioshock is kinda xboxified in that the beginning is definitely cut short and the mystery that would have been found in its spiritual prequels (system shock 1 and 2) has been drained away. it is a very beautiful shooter with a lot of truly amazing architecture and art design, great voice acting and the like, but definitely not so much a thinker as a run-and-gun.

  18. “One person who has spoken to Bovis executives, but who was not authorized to speak for the company, said it was likely that Galt would be formally fired within the week.”

    You can’t fire me. I quit!

  19. And Why is He Scamming the City of New York?

    Christ, we need a reason now?

  20. Christ, we need a reason now?

    Shelby wins.

  21. Shelby, welllll it is a magazine called REASON

    [ducks. runs off]

  22. “If people take anything intellectual away from this game, I hope it’s just ‘here some new ideas, think about them.’ But there’s no polemic in this except think for yourself. And watch out if someone is telling you that something is absolutely true.” It’s anti-zealotry, pure and simple. “That’s a message I think Rand would be very comfortable with. You have your own reason. All human systems are fallible.”

    That’s from Ken Levine, the designer of the game.


    That’s a really cool read. He says another thing about what makes the game work, is the sadness. You can tell the city would have been amazing, and it’s failure is a shame.

  23. “On the centennial of her birth, Cathy Young surveys Rand’s complicated legacy”

    Cathy Young is 100 years old? That explains the increased use of the word “whippersnapper” in her writings.

  24. Stop referencing books I have never read or will ever read NOW!

  25. Cute. They say in Bioshock! a plane crash survivor named Jack finds an under-surface city…. Could be a nod to TV’s Lost, which heavily alludes to Illuminatus!, Masks of the Illuminati, and Watchmen.

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