With the economy in a sustained recession, unemployment at or above nine percent for approaching three years, and tens of millions of Americans struggling just to put food on their table, perhaps few people or organizations have been showered with such hostility and ill-repute as have “corporations.” Yet, of all of the root causes of our current economic malaise, such contempt may nowhere be more misplaced.
Obama, after the shellacking his party took in the 2010 elections and with no end in sight to the economic downturn, has turned to finding a scapegoat or two to deflect blame for the anger and frustration America feels. His two favorite targets are Republican “obstructionism” and those evil, faceless corporations that steal from the poor to sate their insatiable greed.
Maybe he has a point though. After all, we all know that Steve Jobs became one of the richest men in the world as the head of Apple by hiring legions on thugs to go out across America to households and college campuses, brandishing guns and clubs and threatening violence if the poor masses did not give these brutes their money in exchange for little pieces of molded plastic and silicon and copper which Jobs called “Macs” and “iPods”, “iPhones” and “iPads”. His reign of terror was so complete that every time Jobs released a new version of these little pieces of plastic, hundreds and thousands of people would camp out overnight at one of his stores to give up their money in exchange for these gadgets, in the hope that by voluntarily doing so his thugs would not show up at their homes, schools and places of businesses and threaten them there.
Though I didn’t notice it at the time, techPresident’s Nick Judd makes a very astute observation about the recent Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP presidential debate on the economy:
- Number of times the Internet was mentioned by name in a debate about the economy: 2.
- Number of jobs that were in the American information sector in 2007: 3,496,773.
Texas Governor Rick Perry will unveil his economic plan in Pittsburgh (emphasis mine):
My plan is based on this simple premise: Make what Americans buy. Buy what Americans make. And sell it to the world. We are standing atop the next American economic boom…energy. The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down. My plan will break the grip of dependence we have today on foreign oil from hostile nations like Venezuela and unstable nations in the Middle East to grow jobs and our economy at home.
Seeing as nearly every site on the Internet has a tribute of some sort to recently deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, I won’t bore you with another. Needless to say, as one of the millions who has contributed some portion of his salary to Mr. Jobs over the years, he has had an impact on my life. But I see him as more than a guy who made me fork over hundreds for fancy MP3 players, smartphones, and more.
Steve Jobs was, in my mind, the quintessential capitalist. He is not a man who was known for great charity, in the traditional sense. Instead, he contributed to society in a way that is far greater than that. He created things that we actually wanted, and that actually made our lives more productive and happy. And in the end, we were more than happy to give him our hard-earned money because these were, in our estimations, things of VALUE.
This is an important distinction in a world where the media and those left-of-center tend to obsequiously worship only those wealthy who set up foundations and grants, or who lobby for taxes on their peers to be raised (see Obama, Bill Clinton, Buffett, and many others). Now, there is nothing wrong with giving to charity, if that is your choice. But it is indeed strange for anyone to be lauded for advocating the forced confiscation of wealth from others. It’s a strange mindset indeed.
Steve Jobs, on the other hand, was the opposite of this. He was not a political player in any major way. He just innovated and put forth new ideas, new ways of thinking, new technologies that we didn’t know we needed. In this way, he was the living embodiment of the truly beautiful relationships that a free market can create - a system wherein millions got gadgets they wanted, and Jobs became incredibly wealthy.
Written by Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Tech news site CNET has an interesting, but I suspect somewhat misleading, story today suggesting that text messages sent via Apple’s iMessage service—an Internet-based alternative to traditional cell phone SMS text messages—are “impossible to intercept” by law enforcement. Yet that is not quite what the document on which the story is based—an “intelligence note” distributed to law enforcement by the Drug Enfrocement Administration—actually says.
The DEA memo simply observes that, because iMessages are encrypted and sent via the Internet through Apple’s servers, a conventional wiretap installed at the cellular carrier’s facility isn’t going to catch those iMessages along with conventional text messages. Which shouldn’t exactly be surprising: A search of your postal mail isn’t going to capture your phone calls either; they’re just different communications channels. But the CNET article strongly implies that this means encrypted iMessages cannot be accessed by law enforcement at all. That is almost certainly false.
Looking for a way to encourage transparency in Congress, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has released a new app, WhipCast, for smartphone users to track votes, receive alerts, and track issues that are being tackled in Washington:
While Occupy Wall Street and other Leftists are whining endless about the rich and oppressive corporations and costing local taxpayers millions, Morgan Housel of the Motley Fool notes that many of these protesters would likely find themselves in the 1% income earners…in the world:
The recent Occupy Wall Street protests have aimed their message at the income disparity between the 1% richest Americans and the rest of the country. But what happens when you expand that and look at the 1% richest of the entire world? Some really interesting numbers emerge. If there were a global Occupy Wall Street protest, people as well off as Linda Frakes might actually be the target.
In America, the top 1% earn more than $380,000 per year. We are, however, among the richest nations on Earth. How much do you need to earn to be among the top 1% of the world?
That was the finding World Bank economist Branko Milanovic presented in his 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. Going down the distribution ladder may be just as surprising. To be in the top half of the globe, you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it’s $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000.
Of course, goods and services cost different amounts in different countries. These numbers only apply to those living in the U.S. To adjust for purchasing power parity, those living in Western Europe should discount their dollar-denominated incomes by 10%-20%, Milanovic says. Those in China and Africa should increase their incomes by 2.5-fold. India, by threefold.
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, died yesterday at the age of 56. Jobs is known as the genius businessman who made Apple Computers into a household name. What people need to remember is that Jobs was also the man who kick started a technological revolution.
I remember well the Apple Computers that littered school classrooms in the 1980′s. They had been around for a little while, but were still pretty basic. At home, I had a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. It was pretty basic too. However, the personal computer age had begun. Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak had an idea to put the Apple 1 computer into people’s homes. Wozniak was hand building the things, and Jobs was the business mind.
It’s important to remember that, despite the fact that Windows is on so many computers out there, it was Apple that first gave us a personal computer with a Graphical User Interface, or GUI. The GUI is also what we are all using on our Windows machines right now. Bill Gates might get the press today, but he lifted the idea of a GUI based operating system from Apple.
Jobs was indeed the mastermind behind a revolution. It was Jobs who deserves the credit, if one person can be credited, for the series of middle eastern dictators who fell this past spring. Were it not for computers in every home, the internet would never have bothered to come out from DOD and University walls to become what it is today. Therefore, disaffected citizens would never have had the means to communicate via social networks and coordinate protests that garnered freedom for people who had been oppressed by dictatorships.
I’ve never been an Apple person. I’ve never owned an Apple product. In an even remotely free market, I’m free to decide what products I want. However, I also recognize that many of the products I own owe some of their current features to something that Apple did first.