Dagny sees "the sign of the dollar" imprinted on Kellogg's box of cigarettes--costing five cents in a pure gold standard. She asks what the dollar sign stands for and Kellogg's answer is:
The following is an excerpts from Atlas Shrugged, © Copyright, 1957, by Ayn Rand.
"The dollar sign? For agreat deal. It stands on the vest of every fat, piglike figure in every cartoon, for the purpose of denoting a crook, a grafter, a scoundrel—as the one sure-fire brand of evil."
"It stands—as the money of a free country—for achievement, for success, for ability, for man's creative power—and precisely for these reasons, it is used as a brand of infamy. It stands for the initials of the United States."
"Do you know that the United States is the only country in history that has ever used its own monogram as a symbol of depravity? Ask yourself why. Ask yourself how long a country that did that could hope to exist, and whose moral standards have destroyed it. It was the only country in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only country whose money was the symbol of man's right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself."
I am in total agreement with Rand on everything except I have to say that some wealth was acquired by force in the days of slavery, but will let Walter Williams talk about this one. I do feel it stands for achievement, for success, for ability, for man's creative power, along with the symbol of man's right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself. I also feel that the media/hollywood uses it as a symbol of depravity.