In Rand’s day, humanity was trying to figure out how much a role government should play in markets. It looked like the world was being unzipped and falling into halves. On one side were state-planned economies, with their collective farms and military parades. On the other was the capitalist model, with our sleek, efficient, market-driven economies.
Here’s the thing, though:
Multinational corporations now dwarf most of the world’s governments, but we still treat them as if they’re individuals. Recent Supreme Court decisions have upheld corporate “human rights” like privacy and free speech, meaning, among other things, that they are protected from surprise safety inspections and they can spend unlimited sums to influence elections. They own most of the world’s available resources and are run for one purpose only: the generation of short-term profit. They demand efficiency, planning, and discipline, they reward unity and conformity, and they have even less respect for human uniqueness than their government counterparts. Big business is not an alternative to big government so much as it is the new totalitarian structure eclipsing it.
In the jungle, the biggest gorilla takes as much as he wants. It’s natural. Our problem is that through the creation of corporations and governments, we now have immortal gorillas who continue growing forever. Our situation is no longer natural.