A Tribute to Steve Jobs and American Capitalism

Steve Jobs will go down in history as one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs.  As my generation read about Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford, the next generation will be inspired by Steve Jobs.  Ford, Edison and Jobs forever changed the world in which they lived.  They were determined, creative, and brilliant.  There is not a single American that has not in some way been affected by Apple products, whether it is an IPhone, a computer, or an IPod.

The commercial success and acceptance of their exceptional products made all three of the above-mentioned gentlemen very rich.  Unfortunately, the grand fortunes of society’s great producers often bring about envy and dissatisfaction of less talented people.  The common man on the street believes that the “rich” have too much.  He then joins his fellow looters to persuade government to plunder the fortune of the genius in the quest for “justice” and “equality.”  However, it is my opinion that the wealthy genius owes nothing to the common man.  The average citizen, by using the products of the genius, has already received a relative reward even greater than that of the genius.

The United States has roughly 400 million people.  99.9 percent of those people, me included, could never have invented an apple computer.  If someone had locked me in a room 40 years ago, provided with food, water, and all of the technical information available to Jobs and his associates, I would still be in that room and there would be no computer.  In fact, in a few short years they would pull my rotten carcass out of the room.  All that would be left in the room would be the original technical information, a scratch pad filled with my feeble notes, and my stench.  There would be no computer, no IPod, no IPad, and no IPhone.  It takes a Steve Jobs, not a Don Salyards, to make a computer.

The Reward/Effort Ratio favors the Consumer, not the Genius:

To conceive, design and produce the original IPod required tremendous effort and intelligence on the part of the genius (Jobs).  Let’s say the genius provides 1 billion “effort units” to produce the first IPod and receives a reward of one billion dollars for his trouble.  The reward/effort ratio of the genius is $1 billion in reward/1 billion effort units, or $1,000,000,000/1,000,000,000 = 1.  The dullard (average citizen) trades a small amount of his unskilled labor (say 20 hours) to purchase an IPod for the sum of $200.  Yet, with that purchase he reaps tremendous rewards (thousands of songs on the same mobile device, the “wheel” that allows him to find songs in a matter of seconds, and great portable sound).  By purchasing the IPod the dullard receives a reward worth $1,000 but expends only $200 worth of labor effort.  Steve Job’s reward/effort ratio is 1.  The dullard’s reward/effort ratio is 5.

For just a few dollars the average citizen can avail himself of the full pleasure of the genius’ invention.  Yet, the genius can receive no large reward unless he pleases millions of average citizens.  Such is the “genius” of Steve Jobs and such is the “genius” of capitalism.

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