The good folks at Marginal Revolution have a great running feature in which they flag countercyclical assets--that is, things that become more valuable or sought after when the economy nosedives. Today's countercyclical asset?

Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.

Huh. I wonder if all those new readers know that the most famous Randian of all now supports bank nationalization and tough regulation.

P.S. On the other hand, as one correspondent repeatedly reminds me, short-term seizure followed by quick re-privatization is probably more "free market" than endless subsidies to comatose banks.

--Noam Scheiber