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Steve Jobs And American Capitalism

  

In the aftermath of the recent passing of Steve Jobs, it is instructive to consider Mr. Jobs in the context of ongoing liberal thinking and rhetoric, and, in particular, the ruminations, such as they are, of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. 

Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, was the visionary founder of Apple who has been properly mourned and reflected upon across the media world.  This is, after all, the man who created products we didn't realize we needed - and then sold them to us by the millions. 

Jobs achievements are well known: In 1984, he produced the Apple Macintosh computer, which, with its icons, desktop, menus, and mouse, made computing intuitive and accessible to the general public.  Later, he came up with all the iGadgets: the macs, pods, phones, and pads.  He transformed the way we listen to and purchase music with iTunes.  He engineered the now ubiquitous "apps.”  (Along the way, he popularized computer-animated films with Pixar Animation Studios.)  He glamorized computing with his sleek designs and smooth interfaces, and he and his products came to define "cool" (unlike, say, his nerdy counterpart at Microsoft, Bill Gates). 

In the process, he transformed the world. Indeed, we live in a Mac universe today authored by Steve Jobs.

But while Jobs was unique in many ways and delivered to the teeming masses one innovation after another, he was by no means the first in this country to revolutionize the way we live. 

There is a great American tradition of invention and technological creativity.  Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell, and many others, great and small, added insights and products that altered our reality, and created vast new wealth and opportunities. 

Such innovative, entrepreneurial activity occurred in the context of the capitalist or free market system; that is to say, through the pursuit of one's self-interest (referred to, in some corners, as "greed"). This system has created unimaginable prosperity for our country and it's citizens; it has also made America the envy of the world. 

But where does a Steve Jobs or any of the other great geniuses and entrepreneurs of our nation fall in the purview of the left, the Democratic Party, or the denizens of the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd? 

How do such as Jobs and others like him stand in the judgment of those decrying endlessly the "millionaires and billionaires"? 

Steve Jobs, a self-described Buddhist, was also a ruthless, billionaire capitalist; he headed the second most valuable corporation in the world and was worth $7 billion.  He would be, as the OWSers like to say (while texting on their iPhones), part of the despised “1%”. 

But where would we be today without Steve Jobs?  

What would we do without those slick new devices, the increased efficiency and productivity they offer, and the sheer pleasure of using them?  And what would the tens of thousand of employees who depend on the profitability of Apple for their salaries and benefits do? 

It is given that a businessman or inventor who develops a successful company or product will benefit more than his individual employees.  A Steve Jobs will earn multiples more than his janitor.  Still, the janitor is happy for his job and does not begrudge him.  He grasps what many liberals fail to: that while capitalism bestows substantial (and unequal) wealth to businessmen and innovators, it equally confers substantial benefits to the rest of society by creating employment and providing goods and services that are desired by consumers.  It also generates sales, salaries, and profits that are taxed to provide revenue for the government.

In a free society with a dynamic capitalist economy, there will be inequality, including, by definition, a top 1%.  Indeed, the left’s hatred of income disparity has become the centerpiece of its ideology (along with an obsession for race and gender).  The only way to eliminate disparity, though, is to render everyone equally poor (excluding, of course, the ruling elite) – by imposing a top-down, centralized, socialist police state such as is seen in North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Cuba, or the former Soviet Union and its satellites. 

The European social-welfare model, favored by many liberals in America, is also a failed prototype as we witness the collapse of Greece (to be followed, shortly, by Portugal, Italy, and Spain), which threatens the whole of Europe. 

Credit downgrades, stalled economies, structurally high unemployment, escalating deficits, high taxes, entrenched public unions, withering bureaucracies, costly regulations, aging (and shrinking) populations, large influxes of immigrants hostile to the dominant culture, exploding welfare states that cannot be rolled back without chaos in the public square, all characterize Europe today (and a preview of what awaits us).  No, the debt ridden, stagnant, entitlement state is to be avoided.

In the midst of recession, Jobs unveiled his wondrously successful iPad in 2010, and sold more than 20 million devices with some 20 copycat tablets attempting to exploit the wave he created.

Edison developed the light bulb, phonograph, and moving pictures that lead to whole new industries and untold millions of jobs in the wake of his epic inventions. 

Compare this with the bungling efforts of Washington to manufacture jobs through enormously expensive and futile "jobs" programs. 

In a nation of 300 million, there are other Jobses and Edisons, ready to share their genius with the rest of us, creating stunning innovations, wealth, and economic growth. 

This will lift the nation from its doldrums, not whiny, redistributionist nostrums from the left.  

 

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Comments

  • Diana Bays

    November 16, 2011

    Dr. Moss

    Is it even ethical for you to have a political blog stating so much hatred for liberals? Do you not know you have liberals as patients? My daughter was a patient of yours until she read this blog. As a liberal I know I would not have you as a Dr. knowing how much you hate liberals.

    Throughout your blog you are making nonfactual statements against President Obama and the Democrats.

    I for one do not want to know the political orientation of the Doctor treating me.

  • Randall W. Gregory

    November 16, 2011

    Dr.Moss,
    Please keep up the good work. Another well-written article, to the point, full of obsvervable facts and insight. I, for one, would never base my selection of a physician based on the doctor's political beliefs.

  • Harvey Chaimowitz

    November 16, 2011

    Brilliant writing, but there you go again, trying to scare the hell out of gullible followers that to be a liberal is to be communist, provably bull, since the first people to die at the hands of the communists were the liberals who despised dictatorship of any kind. That's where the communists joined the fascists in murdering their common foe, the liberals, who always fight for what is fair for all, not just for wealthy doctors with a political sense of grandeur. And to blame the liberals for the Occupy Park Bench and bang-all-nighters is a flat-out lie, since those cretins have no respect for either side of the political debate as long as they can chisel concessions from any group who sees them as a political asset. Name me one liberal politician above city councilman who has made an appearance among that group. And then you have to scare your dupes about the violently anti-American immigrants you refer to, so hostile to the American way. Where did I hear that crap before? Oh, yeah. That's what rightwingers said about the Irish, then the Jews, then the Italians, then the Chinese, then the Japanese, now the Hispanics--all those groups that hate America but just happen to be America now. Isn't it a wonder how as soon as they are assimilated, they turn on the next group arriving and accuse them of hating America? Just like your father hating the kind of music you listened to and you hating the music today's kids listen to. What is the country coming to? Electing a half-black man to the highest office? Just a few years ago, he'd be lynched for speaking to a white woman. Were those killers liberals? Liberals do NOT kill business. Communists do that. Liberals need the fair taxes of earners to build a society that pleases everyone, not just Teabloggers, born with a paranoid need to hoard pennies in Switzerland.

  • Eric Kleeman

    November 17, 2011

    Very well written piece. Additionally, I don't recall ever reading anything "nonfactual" about President Obama or the Democrats in Dr. Moss' blogs. There are opinions about which direction certain policies are going to take us, or what should be done instead, but nowhere do I see "non-factual statements." As long as Dr. Moss doesn't let the political affiliation of his patients affect his treatment of them, which I can assure you he doesn't, then there is nothing unethical about speaking your mind as a physician.

  • Ted Kass

    November 18, 2011

    Yes there are great innovators in our country and they are resented for the superior gift that earns them vast amounts of money.

    But consider who represents the people of no talent that resent them. These people gamble on sports,and play lotto, instead of putting up some money to go into business for themselves or seeking to make the effort to help themselves to obtain the education that can help them rise in the workplace. Non productive people are those who resent the successes of others.

    Now take the people who are protesting against Wall Street. They raise the point that these banks and financial institutions evade taxes, do not play by the rules, etc. etc. Yes they do have a point but like the hippies in the past they seek to work outside of our system and by gathering the left wing communists, the mentally unstable troublemakers and the great unwashed in Parks,they make a mockery of the laws of our society. Had they run a candidate, proposed legislation or even called for the public to withdraw its money from a
    " corrupt bank" they might have accomplished something other than ruining a neighborhood, spreading filth, and fighting with the police. I personally believe that the hippies destroyed this country.

    I for one have found that neither the left nor the right do anything other than making sure that they achieve tenure in their jobs. These people MUST be replaced by individuals who really care about the job and our country. In this case I do not see the two party system functioning.

    Maybe we will get lucky and a committed, charismatic and honest person will run for the presidency of this country.

    Am I dreaming?

    Ted Kass

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