I bought a pack of gum yesterday, and for a moment, I marveled at the power of capitalism that makes thousands of people work together to produce this wonderful chewy thing for a total stranger. Even people who *like* me would never go to that kind of trouble to meet my need to burn off nervous energy and reduce fidgeting. It’s only the fact that they can profit off my need that makes them want to meet that need, and so long as their selfish motive keeps the gum coming, I have no problem with their profiting from it.
Ask any person whether altruism is better than selfishness, and 99.9% of respondents will say, “Of course!” But in Ayn Rand‘s view, it is not altruism, but selfishness that makes the world go round. Altruism might spur you to buy me a pack of gum, but it would require selfishness, and profit motive, to spur you to *make* me a pack of gum.