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Steve Jobs: Engine of Market Process

Thursday October 6th, 2011   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 5:46am PDT   •  

Logo by Lisa Versaci.
HT: Dan Smith

Often on this blog we talk of all the wealth destroying actions of politicians and government. Today I think it is important that we celebrate the life of a hero of capitalism and markets: Steve Jobs.

As this century’s entrepreneur, Jobs shaped the world we live in through constant innovation. His vision has led to improvements in people’s lives around the world, even among folks who don’t use or even approve of Apple products. The amount of wealth created by Apple is absolutely stunning—and all of it was created through mutually beneficial, welfare enhancing exchange.

As Steve Horowitz at Coordination Problem writes:

Unlike the political and military heroes of war we too often celebrate, Jobs is a hero of peace. He made his money through persuasion not at the point of a gun, and through mutual benefit not oppression and exploitation. Those of us who really desire a peaceful society should not celebrate those who were victorious in war, but those who created value through peaceful, voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange—exchanges that happen billions of times every single day. And we should do it no matter whether what was exchanged was electronic bits of magic, food for us to eat, or financial instruments that improve the movement of capital. They all create value and improve our lives, and all of their benefits are deserved.

Jobs changed the face of business and industry. In this video, you can see Jobs explain his vision of the future of his headquarters in Cupertino, CA to the city council just a few months ago. At about the 11 minute mark, Councilwoman Wang asks Jobs “What can the city residents expect to benefit from this new campus?”

Watching this video puts the difference between profit seeking firms and government into sharp clarity. Government attempts to extract resources from the productive. Ms. Wang asks for free wi-fi for her constituents, unappreciative of all that Apple has and will do solely by making profits and generating more income inequality.

What would the world look like if most of our choices were made in politics, rather than markets? I shutter to think. Michael Munger elaborates this point by discussing the story of Steve Jobs, illustrating the magic of the market and the importance of the entrepreneurial process.

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

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October 2011