Free Markets, Free People

There are certainly more comprehensive tributes, but this is my favorite so far. From Steven Horwitz:

Unlike many, I am not an Apple-phile. I honestly don’t get the emotional relationship people have with their products. HOWEVER… there is absolutely no doubt that Steve Jobs is a symbol of all that is right with markets and capitalism. This is a man who became very, very rich by making many people’s lives (including my own) very much better. He was a master at creating value and persuading people that they wanted things they didn’t know they wanted. He should be part of the pantheon of human heroes.

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.

Thanks for everything Steve and thanks for making the world a better place one peaceful, cooperative exchange at a time.

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7 Responses to

  • He left broad shoulders for others to stand on.

  • I agree completely with this viewpoint, I was never a big Apple guy, even though Windows is infuriating, PC was always much much cheaper and in the past you had to wait almost a year before you could get the latest software for an Apple.
    But I celebrate Job’s accomplishments. I just wish he had been as pro-capitalist politically as he was financially.  Like many west coasters with a technical background, when he thought about politics at all it was a shallow, unexamined liberalism.

  • My thought to the article writer is this:  the military/political heroes who gave us our system of government and freedom did not need Steve Jobs; however he needed them to deliver what he did.

    • Don,

      I don’t think Steve is saying military heroes are unnecessary, he is saying we need to start celebrating those who create change through voluntary exchange. We often celebrate people who change the world through violence, or through political action which forces involuntary actions that change the world.

      • “is saying we need to start celebrating those who create change through voluntary exchange”
        That’s because we forgot men like Carnegie and Ford, or because we didn’t forget them, we were taught to climb up their views with a microscope and tear down what they did because of the things they believed while doing them.
        We’ll get there with Jobs I suppose, some people can’t let things slide because they’ll never rise to the level of a Jobs, or a Ford, or a Carnegie, and since they can’t rise, they have to tear down to get to the same height.
        Horwitz may have forgotten those guys changed everyone’s life 100+ years ago like Jobs helped do to ours, but with regard to life changing innovation, and reaching everyone, they’re in the same class.