Who is John Galt?

By Alex P. Vidal

“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.”— John Kenneth Galbraith

In 1993, when the Panay Electric Company (PECO) applied for extension of its franchise, we covered the public hearings for several days at the old Sangguniang Panlungsod building in Iloilo City.

A barangay captain from Molo district asked the PECO representatives if they were willing to refund the “unauthorized” generation and distribution charges in the bills once they were given extension of their franchise for another 20 years, which was eventually approved in Congress.

Nobody from the PECO made a commitment for a refund even as they justified the controversial additional charges in the tense public hearings.

It seemed “refund” was a prohibited word for the PECO then.

That was 30 years ago.

Today, under the More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) we are shocked to hear the reports that consumers who religiously paid their dues in the past 36 months would get a refund of their bill deposits.

At least 20 eligible consumers were reportedly identified for last month, but only 15 have submitted their refund applications.

On July 7, 12 Ilonggo consumers received their deposits, ranging from P2,500 to P8,000, during a simple ceremony at the MORE Power office in Iloilo City.

It seems the word “refund” is having a Renaissance under the MORE Power today.

To borrow the words of the Tagalogs, “sana all.”


This is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world–and did.

Atlas Shrugged is a massive paean to capitalism and depicts a world where corporate CEOs and one-percenters are the selfless heroes upon which our society depends, and basically everyone else — journalists, legislators, government employees, the poor — are the villains trying to drag the rich down out of spite, when we should be kissing their rings in gratitude that they allow us to exist.

Rand’s protagonists are Dagny Taggart, heir to a transcontinental railroad empire, and Hank Rearden, the head of a steel company who’s invented a revolutionary new alloy which he’s modestly named Rearden Metal.

Together, they battle against evil government bureaucrats and parasitic socialists to hold civilization together, while all the while powerful industrialists are mysteriously disappearing, leaving behind only the cryptic phrase “Who is John Galt?”


Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction, but as far as many prominent conservatives are concerned, it’s sacred scripture.

Alan Greenspan was a member of Rand’s inner circle, and opposed regulation of financial markets because he believed her dictum that the greed of businessmen was always the public’s best protection.

Some politicians have required their staffers to read the book, while others have announced grandiose plans to build their own real-life “Galt’s Gulch,” the hidden refuge where the book’s capitalist heroes go to watch civilization collapse without them.

Reading Atlas Shrugged is like entering into a strange mirror universe where everything we thought we knew about economics and morality is turned upside down.

We’ve already learned some valuable lessons from it.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)