Thank you, Steve

by Russ Roberts on October 5, 2011

in Beautiful

He filled the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. Wish he were still with us. Grateful that he was here.

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{ 114 comments }

Richard W. Fulmer October 5, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Someone once likened prosperity to a large pool of water. We strive throughout our lives to add little thimblefuls of water, raising the level of the pool for everyone. Steve Jobs added water by the barrel. RIP

Scott October 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm

He truly represented what free minds and free markets can accomplish. Very sad day for for all.

Krishnan October 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Only in the US of A. A Steve Jobs is impossible to imagine anywhere but here. He changed everything – for the better. What a colossal loss indeed – for his family, Apple and the world at large.

Economic Freedom October 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

That’s probably true. I remember speaking about this to a young fellow from France a few years ago, a graduate student in a Parisian business school. He asserted that people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates — guys with no college education and, more significantly, no college diplomas — would never be successful in a country like France. “It would never be permitted” was the way he put it.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 12:07 am

Yep. It’s very sad. If you don’t get into the Polytechnique, you’re done.

Economic Freedom October 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Thank you, Steve.

Requiescat in pace.

Don Boudreaux October 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Indeed.

What a loss to humanity is his death. But what a blessing was his life.

Anotherphil October 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm

And by the extent of his influence, we are reminded how unique and special every person is-how anything that hinders their pursuit of the fulfillment of their unique skills is an offense against all humanity. We are fortunate he was borne here and lived to adulthood.

How poorer would the world have been if this one man would have been born in Soviet Russia, come of age where his talents would have been put to the service of the state, instead of humankind.

-also we are reminded that the reaper pays no respect to

Anotherphil October 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm

also we are reminded that the reaper pays no respect to any accomplishment.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 12:11 am

It’s worse than that. His services would only be put to the services of the state if the state allowed it. The state was much more interested in crushing talent than exploiting it.

A Steve Jobs could only happen in a place like this…used to be.

Observer October 6, 2011 at 12:58 am

Anotherphil

I am not replying to in any way “defend” the USSR. However, you are badly mistaken about whether a soviet style system can exploit engineering talent. The best contrary evidence is the Soviet re-engineering of the B-29 in two years into the TU-4. You also need to recall who is building Apple’s products—such is not happening in a “free society,” and the challenges have to be very substantial. In sum, my point is that you misjudge what people can do other other circumstances

Economic Freedom October 6, 2011 at 2:39 am

I am not replying to in any way “defend” the USSR.

No, but you are about to defend collectivism — as if the USSR were simply a good idea gone bad.

However, you are badly mistaken about whether a soviet style system can exploit engineering talent.

No one said that a tyranny cannot exploit anyone’s talent to serve the ends of the state. In fact, statist tyrannies are highly adept at doing just that.

The best contrary evidence is the Soviet re-engineering of the B-29 in two years into the TU-4.

Hey, that’s way cool! And these TU-4s were consumer items that were sold in easily accessible retail outlets throughout the country, and which made the lives of all good comrades easier and more interesting, right? No? (Oh. You mean, it was state exploitation of engineering talent in order to improve state-controlled military hardware? I see. Was the Soviet Union made wealthier because of transforming the B-29 into a TU-4? Yes? No? You don’t know? You never asked? You never thought about it? Whatever. Anyway, thanks for proving Methinks1776 and Anotherphil correct.)

You also need to recall who is building Apple’s products

“Insert Part A into slot B and solder the little metal wire to Part C” is not quite “building” an iPhone or iPad, except in the most literal sense. The products are designed by Apple — meaning the hardware and software functionality, not just the aesthetics — and “put together” by labor in China. What the Chinese are doing is no different in principle from building a Heath-Kit (i.e., constructing an electronic device by following detailed instructions thought up by someone else who designed the device to begin with), except on a massive scale.

—such is not happening in a “free society,” and the challenges have to be very substantial.

You demRats just kill me. Back in the 1960s and ’70s, when Mao was murdering 70 million Chinese in his Cultural Revolution, you said nothing, nada, niente, about China not being free. You creeps thought China was a great society to live in, and that Mao was a “man of the people.” Now that China has at least some genuine liberalization and privatization, and as a result, greatly raised its standard of living, you cry “slavery!” I used to think the libtards’ problem was one of ignorance; they lacked any real foundation in economics and knew little about history. Now I think their problems are both psychological and moral.

vidyohs October 6, 2011 at 7:37 am

@Economic Freedom

“Now I think their problems are both psychological and moral.”

It is all one can expect of those with broken brains.

Anotherphil October 6, 2011 at 8:40 am

Jobs was not an engineer. He was an entrepreneur and a designer.

In any case, The TU-4 was not re-engineering, it was duplication and theft. I’ve seen the video of the technicians who spoke of fretting because the order (direct from “Papa Joe”) was to build an exact duplicate of the stolen B-29, which was impossible because it wasn’t built on the metric system. The Soviet union survived as long as it did because of industrial espionage.

Anyway muirbot, the pedigree of your thought process, er emotions is pretty obvious. You are a red dreamer like Samuelson “It is a vulgar mistake to think that most people in Eastern Europe are miserable.” or his declaration IN THE LATE 1980′s that the Soviet system was workable and underestimated.

anthonyl October 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

Soviet style reengineering is wasted talent! I don’t want my fello mericuns ta have those mind-numbing assembly jobs. Amerians have more remunerative things to do.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm

A close family member of mine headed the engineering team to “re-design” colour television from technology stolen from the United States. Hilarious. I think they made it worse.

Chucklehead October 5, 2011 at 10:28 pm

My first spreadsheet was done on a Apple IIe
My first Mac was a Mac Plus.
My first network was Appletalk
Keep skating where the puck is going to be.
Thanks Steve & Steve

Mesa Econoguy October 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Same here, began programming on an Apple II.

Then Apple II+ ( ? )

Still have my Mac 520c somewhere in the garage downstairs. Elegant OS.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 12:15 am

Do you remember the miracle of the Apple 2E? My friend had one. Oh, how these things changed our lives.

Mesa Econoguy October 6, 2011 at 1:31 am

Yep.

Apple (Jobs) purchased the Xerox GUI, and drove GUI perpetually. But they were geared to innovation from the outset.

Bill Gates accidentally cobbled DOS together (after DEC turned him away), and pretty much built a business by accident, with minimal innovation, but nearly unanimous corporate adoption.

Lotus, Altos, VisiCalc, all gone, or absorbed into Apple-style interfaces.

.net framework is a different story.

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 1:47 am

Gates created what the world wanted at the time — cheap computing power. Jobs created works of art that had flat learning curves, and were too expensive for average people, until recently.

Both men served the world in different ways, but I will miss Mr. Jobs much more, and I was awestruck by his creative genius. We are lucky that the world grew wealthy enough to afford his artwork in time for it to continue to grow as far as it did.

Josh S October 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

And both men have “gone Galt” in their own way–Gates by stepping down from Microsoft and devoting his energies to giving wealth away rather than create it, and Jobs by leaving us entirely. Perhaps a wise bureaucrat will fill their shoes.

vikingvista October 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I was a latecomer. I didn’t start PC programming until my parents bought me an Apple IIc. Before that, my friend had a II+ and hundreds of pirated games. I’m not defending the misdeeds of children, but I do have very fond memories of time spent with my friend on his Apple II+, and the wonder of every new adventure in software. Nobody can ever take that away.

I was the subsequent owner of a series of Macs. I have to say, however, that I found Mac programming at the time very frustrating, slow, and hard to debug, and the GUI seemed to be a big part of that. The PC programming environment that I later wound up in, seemed much more stable, particularly for numerical methods and data manipulation tasks that could be readily programmed for the more advanced MS-DOS console, without concern for the user interface.

I suspect this has changed since the Mac moved to *nix.

Josh S October 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Yes, it has…emacs, latex, just about every *nix app you want is now in OSX.

vikingvista October 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Sounds like it was a great move for Apple. I wonder if it would’ve happened without Jobs’s temporary exodus from Apple and into NeXT. I mean, maybe giving Jobs the boot turned out to be a good idea after all, but for unexpected reasons.

Jeff Neal October 5, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Steve Jobs rest in peace.

Maybe someone should make the point that, even while the praise his genius and entrepreneurial spirit, the MSNBC and BHO crowd remain busy destroying the world that nurtured his unique gifts. Isn’t he just a “fat cat”. Didn’t his inventions cost people jobs? Think of all the typists who don’t have work b/c of his word-processing software, e.g.

Stone Glasgow October 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Strange how Apple gets a pass on the greedy-corporation rhetoric, especially when they didn’t donate to charity and poor people can’t afford much of what they produce.

Perhaps elitists and progressives feel that serving the poor is wrong. They feel that everyone should have what Apple creates, and not anything at Walmart or McDonalds, and if people want the prices and quality provided by those companies — too bad; I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.

LowcountryJoe October 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I’ve been waiting for some idiot to criticize Jobs for being a greedy, wealthy man….and send it as a Facebook status update from their i-product while totally missing the irony of it all.

Jeff Neal October 5, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Bet you didn’t wait as long as you might have guessed. Very predictable indeed.

MSNBC followed their glowing coverage of Jobs’ career with a Maddow interview of some BHO cabinet secretary recommending that the government take over the job of delivering internet access to rural America – and, as you point out…no sense of the irony or the silliness of their suggestion.

Mesa Econoguy October 6, 2011 at 12:04 am

I would like to think Steve would understand that, and frown.

I don’t know if he did.

Al Gore is on the Apple Board of Directors

http://investor.apple.com/faq.cfm?FaqSetID=6

Mark October 6, 2011 at 3:00 am

Steve may have been a liberal, but I think he would have understood that.

Watch Steve Jobs presentation to the Cupertino City Council in regards to the new apple campus. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtuz5OmOh_M

I watched this video a while back so I am going from memory here . . . At the end of his presentation, the mayor asks Jobs if he will install wifi throughout the city of cupertino and provide free access to its citizens.

Jobs says that apple brings millions in tax revenue to the city of cupertino. If city council wants to use its tax dollars to bring wifi to its residence, they are free to do so, but apple had no responsibility to bring free wifi to the city’s residence.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 12:17 am

Jobs was a liberal. He gets a pass. It’s okay to be rich as long as you’re a liberal.

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 1:51 am

Maybe learning how the world works isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I might choose the blue pill, were I presented with the choice today.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

The blue pill means holding a gun to the heads of others (if I understand “blue pill” correctly). I can’t ever choose it. But, I’m not talking about Jobs. I’m talking about the left’s acceptance of his wealth because he was a liberal – in the modern sense of the word.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 8:14 am

Actual liberals like the Kochs are despised by the totalitarian left.

vikingvista October 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm

You have to be rich to afford liberals.

Stone Glasgow October 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm

The blue pill is blissful ignorance, skipping along with rainbows and unicorns in your head, faithful that hope and change are just around the corner.

Ken October 6, 2011 at 12:23 am

Kevin Williamson says it pretty well with:

That old Motorola cinderblock would cost about $10,000 in 2011 dollars, and you couldn’t play Angry Birds on it or watch Fox News or trade a stock. Once you figure out why your cell phone gets better and cheaper every year but your public schools get more expensive and less effective, you can apply that model to answer a great many questions about public policy.

Regards,
Ken

Economiser October 6, 2011 at 12:57 am

That was a beautiful read. Thank you.

Ken October 6, 2011 at 3:08 am

Economiser,

Glad I could brighten your day.

This is particularly pertinent: I saw a bunch of people very well-served by their computers and telephones (very often Apple products) but undeniably shortchanged by our government-run cartel education system. The economic illiteracy of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, along with some regular Cafe readers, is truly astonishing. That and the inability to recognize the prosperity of markets and the poverty of government paternalism.

Regards,
Ken

Mark October 6, 2011 at 3:11 am

I would be interested to know what the price of a blackberry was ten years ago, in today’s dollars. Compare that price to an entry level iPhone, which sells at a subsidized price of $50.

In addition to price compare that blackberry, and its limited capability of email, contacts, calendar, and phone to the iPhone, and everything that it can do.

kyle8 October 6, 2011 at 7:07 am

To be accurate make sure you compare it to average hours worked and not just price.

Stone Glasgow October 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm

The iPhone improved my life more than any single purchase I have ever made, and my first Apple computer was an almost religiously satisfying experience.

It’s too bad he was able to patent everything. Absent patents, who knows how many improvements may have already been added to what his genius produced.

Jeff Neal October 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Why would you want to take away his property right in those inventions? Why would you want to take away his profit potential? Without the ability to patent his products, he’d never had invented them.

Stone Glasgow October 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm

This is like saying that the Olive Garden would not exist if other restaurants could copy their recipes. They continue innovating, just as Apple does (did?), and keep their methods to themselves. Others try to copy and improve upon what they have done.

The fashion industry is the same. If you support IP laws for computers, you should logically be upset about the lack of IP laws for recipes and clothing design, and wonder how any innovation occurs in those industries when ideas can so easily be stolen.

Economic Freedom October 6, 2011 at 3:45 am

Absent patents, who knows how many improvements may have already been added to what his genius produced.

This is like saying that the Olive Garden would not exist if other restaurants could copy their recipes. They continue innovating, just as Apple does (did?), and keep their methods to themselves. Others try to copy and improve upon what they have done.
The fashion industry is the same. If you support IP laws for computers, you should logically be upset about the lack of IP laws for recipes and clothing design, and wonder how any innovation occurs in those industries when ideas can so easily be stolen.

Logically? What you don’t know about logic could fill a big book — a big book on logic. If there were no IP laws, a guy like Jobs either wouldn’t bother innovating in computers at all because he wouldn’t be able to protect his intellectual property, or he would go into the restaurant business and “innovate” a new lasagna. The world would be poorer with no Apple products and one more Olive Garden franchise.

The anarcho-libertarian position that ideas are not “things” or “goods”, and cannot therefore be protected by property rights is dumb. They adhere to this silly position really for one reason only: as anarchists, they simply hate anything the state does on principle. To compare technological invention with a culinary recipe — as if the former were merely the same sort of rearrangement of already existing ingredients which themselves were products of nature as the latter — is simply to live in a mental state of denial. Many technological inventions, in fact, are denied patent protection precisely because they are judged by the patent officers to be nothing more than a new “recipe” for an already existing “dish” invented by someone else. Fashion is similar: a new concatenation of sartorial elements — a hood that covers the front of the face instead of the back of the head; pants that go over the arms, and sleeves that fit snuggly around the legs, for example — may or may not be aesthetically novel, pleasing, or exciting, but in any case, it hardly allows any sort of new interaction with it by the wearer, who would still have to step into it “one sleeve at a time.” On the other hand, a new synthetic fabric that has new kinds of technical capabilities — Gore-Tex, for example, as well as others — can be patentable, though shoes made from Gore-Tex are not, for obvious reasons: the new powers of such shoes — e.g., their ability to let skin-moisture flow out, but prevent water from coming in — has nothing to do with its “shoe-ness” and everything to do with the material out of which the shoes are made. That’s why a new design for fabric molecules can be patented, but a new design for shoes cannot. It’s not a difficult argument to grasp, but anarchists — “hippies of the right” to borrow a succinct epithet from Ayn Rand — choose not to see it.

I’m often amazed at the number of otherwise intelligent, pro-liberty people who believe the anarcho-capitalist silliness about the drag on innovation in a free society supposedly caused by the existence of patents, and by the concept of Intellectual Property more generally. That probably covers 99% of those at the Mises Institute.

In sum: the basic fallacy in the anarchist position is that they equivocate on the term “innovation.” They think that there’s only one sort of innovation — “rearrangement of already existing parts” — and that the prime examples of such innovation are food recipes and fashion design. They erroneously believe that a computer company which envisions, designs, manufactures, and distributes a new kind of consumer device that never existed before — e.g., a “smartphone” — is simply the same sort of “rearrangement of already existing parts” as a new pasta dish created by the chef at the Olive Garden. It isn’t. Even the chef at the Olive Garden recognizes that. Anarchists erroneously believe that the biochemists who work at a pharmaceutical company, and who research, design, manufacture, and distribute, a new kind of drug molecule that targets, e.g., pancreatic cancer, is simply a “rearrangement of already existing parts”, no different from a new, snazzy shirt collar by Geoffrey Beene. It isn’t. Even my tailor knows this is bunk.

dsylexic October 6, 2011 at 5:29 am

why arent you paying royalties to the inventors of the english language or the wheel or CERN for the WWW? why should patents end or be of arbitrary time periods? it is purely arbitrary
american dominance in the aerospace industry was at its peak ftom 1915-1970s -when there was a patent pool-as poorly implented as the london gold pool.but business was great.innovations didnt stop.in fact the US govt had to prevent the wright brothers from implementing their patent rights in 1915 -because the wright brothers had prevented any real production of aircraft for american military use.
the govt giveth and taketh away the patent monopoly.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 8:17 am

EF, I used to agree with you, but I think it’s worth considering that you might be wrong on this. I’m still reading more about it, so I’m not sure. However, I’m starting to understand the case against IP.

Observer October 6, 2011 at 10:32 am

Economic Freedom

here is your kiss of death—

I agree with you 1000 percent

good ideas cost a fortune to conceive and implement—no one will put up the salt without prospects of protected returns. Ben Franklin knew a lot more about inventing that the posters here.

The critical issue for any effort, since the Great Pyramids were built, is how to finance such

vikingvista October 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

IP support, at least to the extent that people claim it is required for effective innovation, or that without it there would be some sort of economic collapse, is an example of status quo bias.

The incentives of IP likely inhibit innovation. Without IP, business people innovate because the competitive marketplace encourages them to make their products more efficient and appealing to consumers. And he is encouraged to continually innovate to keep his lead. Competitors can then innovate upon those innovations in numerous and unpredictable ways, though not without a catch-up cost, and market lag. With IP, those numerous innovations are hindered by state suppression and licensing costs, and the initial innovator is encouraged to innovate just once (a jackpot incentive), then spend the rest of his energies in court suppressing further innovations.

And of course IP is fundamentally incompatible with a peaceful voluntary society.

Josh S October 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

IP laws make innovation more profitable and copying less profitable. Getting rid of them would make innovation less profitabel and copying more profitable. There are tradeoffs either way; neither is an unqualified good. I think having some IP protection seems to be better than none at all–note how the locus of software innovation is in the IP-friendly West, not pirate-friendly Asia. I suspect that allowing Chinese iCopies to be sold in the USA would not result in an even faster, leaner Apple, but would simply collapse the company entirely.

vikingvista October 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

“IP laws make innovation more profitable and copying less profitable”

Certainly more profitable for the one-time innovator, who happens to strike the jackpot (there are countless inventors who will affirm that innovations are like that). Innovating upon innovations is considerably less profitable when you have to pay licensing fees or court costs, and may have it all confiscated in the end. A culture of continuous market-driven innovation, with unrestricted widespread innovating upon those innovations, may very well generate considerably more profits, and innovations, overall.

Not that we don’t have that compounding of innovations already to a great degree. IP is as imperfect in practice as it is in theory, and it is often quite easy to legally get around it with only minor insignificant changes.

Apple is a great example. I’m sure Apple has spent millions on patents, and yet there are several other legal copycat smartphones, computers, and tablets on the market. It is good for us that this competition encourages Apple to maintain its innovation lead, and not rest on its laurels. It is also good for us that such relatively easy mimicry encourages other firms not only to push Apple to innovate, but to perhaps venture off on innovations of their own.

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Viking is very correct; IP laws encourage patent holders to spend more time stopping others and less time improving their own product. The development of the steam engine is another great example of this:

“Ironically, not only did Watt use the patent system as a legal cudgel with which to smash competition, but his own efforts at developing a superior steam engine were hindered by the very same patent system he used to keep competitors at bay. An important limitation of the original Newcomen engine was its inability to deliver a steady rotary motion. The most convenient solution, involving the combined use of the crank and a flywheel, relied on a method patented by James Pickard, which prevented Watt from using it. Watt also made various attempts at efficiently transforming reciprocating into rotary motion, reaching, apparently, the same solution as Pickard. But the existence of a patent forced him to contrive an alternative less-efficient mechanical device, the sun and planet gear. It was only in 1794, after the expiration of Pickard’s patent, that Boulton and Watt adopted the economically and technically superior crank”

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

The fundamental difference between intellectual property and physical property is that theft (and duplication) of IP is harmless to its victim. If I steal your car, you are without a car. If I copy your car, you are left unharmed.

The claim that innovators would not develop new products if they knew others could simply copy their ideas is (as Viking stated) status quo bias. The argument seems very similar to claiming that a 100% income-tax rate would stop people from working, but is fundamentally different. Innovators can protect their ideas, methods, and processes from theft; but no one is able to legally avoid having their earnings stolen by the high tax rate.

Even if we assume that innovation would not occur without IP laws, what is to stop Edison, upon the discovery of a new light bulb design, to contract with a manufacturer (or build a factory himself), to create millions of bulbs before releasing them to the market at monopoly prices? As others scramble to copy his design and materials, he would become wealthy as a direct consequence of his invention. This is a primary reason that Apple was so financially successful — keeping its designs and products a secret until millions of them flood the market, and competitors scramble to copy them. Notice that even with IP laws, Apple still behaves as if they do not exist in order to capture the full value of innovation.

Patents on various parts of Apple products only serve to throw a wrench into the efforts of competitors, just as patents on flywheel design slowed the improvement of the steam engine.

WD40 is another good example. Its inventor chose not to patent his “recipe” of chemicals, because it would only afford a short period of protection. Instead he chose to closely guard his methods and ingredients, and to this day it has not been successfully copied. The secrets that the WD40 company now protects are almost exactly the same as the secrets of any wildly successful food, like Coca Cola… or Sabra hummus, which are exquisitely balanced and nuanced flavors that are as impossible to reproduce as WD40. Why, then, is it possible to patent an industrial lubricant, but not a soda recipe?

I have developed several commercial recipes, and I can tell you that intellectual property is every bit as relevant to the process of converting plants and animals into a meal is it was to the process of turning rocks (metals) and trees into steam engines.

Additionally, protecting intellectual property is prohibitively expensive; so much so that even a relatively wealthy person cannot reasonably afford to patent and defend what they invent. Protection is effectively afforded only to very wealthy companies or individuals. It is not logical for me to pay taxes to support the courts and judges, socializing the costs of property lawsuits that do not involve me. Claiming that I benefit indirectly by encouraging innovation is like claiming that I benefit from (and must pay taxes for) roads even if I don’t use them.

Economic Freedom October 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm

@ vikingvista:

The incentives of IP likely inhibit innovation.

Love that “likely” hedge. In other words: this might be true in Rothbardonia, Galt’s Gulch, or some other Fantasyland; but in the real world where everyone else lives, you have zero evidence that this is so. OK. I can accept that.

Without IP, business people innovate because the competitive marketplace encourages them to make their products more efficient and appealing to consumers.

Cool! That must be why we see such impressive non-IP innovation in the restaurant and fashion industries, but in the poor old computer industry — for shame! — there’s so little innovation, because everyone’s too busy hiring lawyers to chase down frauds.

And of course IP is fundamentally incompatible with a peaceful voluntary society.

Man, you are a freakin’ GENIUS!!! I always wondered why there was such violence in the computer industry and peaceful cooperation in the fashion industry (haven’t you ever noticed how everyone in the fashion biz loves one another?). Now I know why. A very tightly reasoned argument on your part (as usual). Thanks!

Economic Freedom October 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm

@ Stone Glasgow:

The fundamental difference between intellectual property and physical property is that theft (and duplication) of IP is harmless to its victim. If I steal your car, you are without a car. If I copy your car, you are left unharmed.

Wow!

Er, uh, no one simply copies the engineering design of my car in order to hang it on a wall in the basement and admire its aesthetics. They copy it in order to claim “I was the one who designed this!” and then manufacture a car based on the design and sell it — sales that ought, by right, to have gone to me, since I was the one who created the engineering design. There is economic harm done by means of fraud.

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

EF,

Did you ignore the rest of my points on purpose?

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 9:59 pm

EF,

If you write a song and I copy it digitally, how have I harmed you?

If I invent a bow and arrow in my cave, should it be illegal for you to see what I have done, and build one too? Is it proper for you to come to my cave and punish me for building a similar bow and arrow?

vikingvista October 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Stone,

Don’t bother. Just when you think you’ve engaged him, you discover Mao Dung has hijacked his moniker, and all sorts of weirdness ensues.

Your points are good ones. Like all status quo biases, one only has to identify and then step away from the inherited assumptions for a moment and you see the substance of them start to diminish. We all grow up being force fed the beliefs that the IP activists spew, so its not hard to see from their perspective. It’s the stepping back for a broader perspective that is the challenge.

Economic Freedom October 7, 2011 at 12:12 am

@ Stone Glasgow:

>>The fundamental difference between intellectual property and physical property is that heft (and duplication) of IP is harmless to its victim. If I steal your car, you are without a car. If I copy your car, you are left unharmed.

Answered in previous post. Once more: there is no law forbidding anyone from merely copying anything — cars, music, movies, designs, software, etc. The issue is whether someone can copy something that someone else created and (i) sell it to people at a profit, and (ii) fraudulently claim that he was the actual creator.

>>The claim that innovators would not develop new products if they knew others could simply copy their ideas is (as Viking stated) status quo bias.

Irrelevant. No one forces an inventor to patent his invention. Inventors voluntarily choose to make use of the IP legal mechanisms.

>>The argument seems very similar to claiming that a 100% income-tax rate would stop people from working, but is fundamentally different. Innovators can protect their ideas, methods, and processes from theft; but no one is able to legally avoid having their earnings stolen by the high tax rate.

Another irrelevant point. Why are you even broaching the subject of an income tax, to which people MUST submit. There is no “must” involved in IP. The government does not force IP on any inventor or creator. IP legal mechanisms are offered by government and innovators voluntarily choose to make use of them. Only frauds complain the system.

>>Even if we assume that innovation would not occur without IP laws,

Once more (this time, with feeling:) NO ONE IN GOVERNMENT FORCES CREATORS TO PATENT THEIR CREATIONS.

>> what is to stop Edison, upon the discovery of a new light bulb design, to contract with a manufacturer (or build a factory himself), to create millions of bulbs before releasing them to the market at monopoly prices? As others scramble to copy his design and materials, he would become wealthy as a direct consequence of his invention. This is a primary reason that Apple was so financially successful — keeping its designs and products a secret until millions of them flood the market, and competitors scramble to copy them. Notice that even with IP laws, Apple still behaves as if they do not exist in order to capture the full value of innovation.
Patents on various parts of Apple products only serve to throw a wrench into the efforts of competitors,
>>Yet for some reason, patents on competitors’ products managed not to throw a wrench into the efforts of Apple. Maybe it was because Apple wasn’t interested in fraudulently taking credit for someone else’s innovation. Gee, ya think?
>> just as patents on flywheel design slowed the improvement of the steam engine.
WD40 is another good example. Its inventor chose not to patent his “recipe” of chemicals, because it would only afford a short period of protection. Instead he chose to closely guard his methods and ingredients, and to this day it has not been successfully copied.

Thanks for proving my point. Once more with feeling: HE CHOSE NOT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE AVAILABLE IP LAWS. FINE. NO ONE FORCES HIM TO DO SO. ERGO, YOU CANNOT ANALOGIZE IP LAWS TO TAXATION AS YOU DID ABOVE.

The secrets that the WD40 company now protects are almost exactly the same as the secrets of any wildly successful food, like Coca Cola… or Sabra hummus, which are exquisitely balanced and nuanced flavors that are as impossible to reproduce as WD40. Why, then, is it possible to patent an industrial lubricant, but not a soda recipe?

Food and beveridge recipes can be patented. Like any other kind of innovation, certain criteria must apply.

>>I have developed several commercial recipes, and I can tell you that intellectual property is every bit as relevant to the process of converting plants and animals into a meal is it was to the process of turning rocks (metals) and trees into steam engines.

Sometimes. Not always.
>>Additionally, protecting intellectual property is prohibitively expensive;

All expenses are costs; all costs are opportunity costs; all opportunity costs are subjective. You don’t get to determine what is “prohibitive” or not. Only the inventor decides that. If the costs are too great, then he need not take advantage of the IP laws, because . . . NO ONE COMPELS HIM TO SEEK IP PROTECTION. As your WD40 example proves.

>>It is not logical for me to pay taxes to support the courts and judges, socializing the costs of property lawsuits that do not involve me.

As Goethe quipped: Life is short; art is long. I don’t have time to debate the lunacy of the anarcho-capitalist position regarding “polyarchy” or “competing governments.” Go online and read linguist Geoffrey Sampson’s nifty article contra Rothbard and anarcho-capitalism. I have a hardcopy; if I can find the URL, I’ll post it. Suffice it to say that without a limited gov’t, society would balkanize into little fiefdoms, each with some head honcho — formerly a “private security firm” that took over. Rothbard is a real nut when it comes to his Utopian assumptions about how such societies would presumably work. You must be very young since you seek Utopia. I seek a workable society that is as reasonably free as possible.

Economic Freedom October 7, 2011 at 3:25 am

EF,

If you write a song and I copy it digitally, how have I harmed you?

Straw man. Let’s define the context more narrowly and more clearly.

If I write a song and that song is PUBLISHED, with my name on it as the composer, and I intend to sell copies of that song — either the sheet music or a recorded version — for my profit, then you are stealing profit from me if you represent yourself as me — if you represent yourself as the composer — by making copies of the sheet music (or recorded version), putting your name on it, and selling it for your profit. That’s fraud — a category of force initiation — and we could have a society in which we discourage such action via IP laws; or, in lieu of that, the three of us could discuss it calmly and try to work things out: you, me, and my Glock. Those are the alternatives. (Actually, there’s a third alternative: I will simply stop writing music. I’ll do something else in some other industry where it’s understood from the get-go that there will be lots of copycatting and plagiarism: I’ll go into the fashion business or the restaurant business, two industries you’ve set up as examples of fantastic innovation that the stagnant computer and electronics industries would do well to admire and emulate.)

Now here’s a completely different scenario: I write a song — forget about whether or not it’s published, recorded, and distributed for sale. I simply write a song that you overhear through my open window (and again, forget about whether or not you were intentionally eavesdropping for the express purpose of secretly hearing my new composition, or whether you were waiting for a bus and happened to overhear it by accident). You quickly notate the song on a piece of music paper you have in your pocket (or you secretly record the song on your iPhone). Then you proceed to do absolutely nothing with it: you don’t try to publish it yourself under your own name; you don’t sell it on iTunes as a Stone Glasgow original; you simply hang the sheet music on your wall and stare at it — you could even cross out my name and pencil in your own; or you keep the sound file on your iMac desktop — you could even rename the file, putting yourself as the composer. But you do nothing with these changes: you don’t distribute the song and you don’t seek customers for the purpose of getting profit. THAT’S ALL FINE. We can already do these things now. Anyone has the right to buy a Mac, for example, deconstruct it, put it back together, and hang a sign on it that says “This is an original iGlasgow Power PC”. As long as it stays in your basement, that’s fine. Who cares? It’s fine to copy and plagiarize . . . so long as you don’t attempt to profit from it by selling it to other people.

If I invent a bow and arrow in my cave, should it be illegal for you to see what I have done, and build one too? Is it proper for you to come to my cave and punish me for building a similar bow and arrow?

Profound questions. To be honest, I haven’t the slightest idea how to think about any sort of property rights, let alone IP rights, in a hunter-gatherer, non-division-of-labor, non-capitalist, cave-dwelling society, in which the very concepts of “property” and “rights” have not taken hold yet. I admit it: ya’ got me. Earth to Stone: Can we keep the examples more or less rooted in current political and economic reality?

Stone Glasgow October 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

EF,

I agree with you regarding the need for limited government, and I am not an anarchist.

I think you would do well to contemplate the nature of the bow and arrow question. Imagine that the cavemen have property rights and limited government, and think about how slow innovation would be if one were prevented from seeing an invention, like a bow, improving it to a compound bow, and being unable to sell the improved design.

Copying and improving what others have designed does not hurt anyone.

Economic Freedom October 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm

@ Stone Glasgow:

I think you would do well to contemplate the nature of the bow and arrow question. Imagine that the cavemen have property rights and limited government, and think about how slow innovation would be if one were prevented from seeing an invention, like a bow, improving it to a compound bow, and being unable to sell the improved design.

Copying and improving what others have designed does not hurt anyone.

If innovation is “too slow” (Q: by whose standard?) then how did they manage to come with two pieces of technology that complement each other: a bow and an arrow? Like Proudhon’s famous “All property is theft” quip, you actually seem to be think that all innovation is theft and alteration of someone else’s achievement, and that if we don’t allow such theft to occur, no one would bother to innovate. That’s why you oddly believe that there’s lots of great innovation in the fashion industry — hemlines up one year, down the next, up again the year after (true innovation, as anyone can see) — but little or no innovation in tech industries like computers, consumer electronics, and medical devices. You’re entitled to your own opinion, of course, but not to your own facts: remove your blinkers and look at reality.

It’s also very telling that you’ve now included the proviso that the bow-plagiarizer SELL what he copied, as opposed to merely copying it. Good. Regarding small, incremental improvements to someone else’s invention: this may come as a shock to you, but the US economy supports many “after-market” industries that supply consumers of someone else’s innovation with just those small “add ons” that slightly and incrementally improve the bow-and-arrow, the 9-mm semiautomatic handgun, the pick-up truck, the flat-screen HD television, or the laptop computer. These “add ons” are themselves patentable, but that does NOT mean that their manufacturers can take credit for having reinvented the bow-and-arrow, the 9-mm handgun, the pick-up truck, the TV, or the laptop. In other words, boychick, by adding on hubcaps, white-walls, and super-grip treads, tire manufacturers can NOT also claim that they have “reinvented the wheel.” I don’t think anyone believes this inhibits the incentive of tire manufacturers to keep inventing better tires. The inventor of laser-sights for bows and arrows gets credit for inventing an add-one called “laser sights”; he doesn’t get to claim that he’s completely re-invented the bow-and-arrow and that’s it’s now a completely novel product because of his add-on.

Stone Glasgow October 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm

My assertion is that it is a good thing when one man invents a bow and another improves it to a compound bow. With IP laws, the inventor of the improved bow cannot offer his bows to the world for 30 years. Do you understand that?

The same thing happened to the steam engine — many men after Watt improved its design, but could not offer their better engines to the world because of the patent. Do you see how patents stop innovation dead in its tracks?

Economic Freedom October 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm

My assertion is that it is a good thing when one man invents a bow and another improves it to a compound bow.

My counter-assertion is that IP laws don’t prevent him from doing so, as the huge after-market for product add-ons proves. IP laws, however, do prevent someone from usurping inventorship of the bow from the person who actually did invent it.

With IP laws, the inventor of the improved bow cannot offer his bows

“His” bows? An already existing bow that someone else improves doesn’t make it HIS bow. Inventing hubcaps and white walls doesn’t entitle someone to assert that he reinvented the wheel. Additionally, someone who improves some else’s bow and arrow — assuming these alterations really are improvements — can (i) try to sell this improvement to the holder of the bow-and-arrow patent by convincing him how much more profit he could make with the improved product, or (ii) try to become a partner with the original inventor.

The same thing happened to the steam engine — many men after Watt improved its design, but could not offer their better engines to the world because of the patent. Do you see how patents stop innovation dead in its tracks?

No, I don’t. I do see, however, what lousy research you do. Watt himself was unable to incorporate certain technologies into his steam-engine prototype because other parties held the patents. Did that fact stop his innovation dead in its tracks? No. Did he give up? No, he invented something else, which worked just as well.

THE MORAL: CONTRARY TO YOUR UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION, PATENTS DO NOT STOP INNOVATION DEAD IN ITS TRACKS, BUT INCENTIVIZE MORE INNOVATION BY MAKING IT NECESSARY TO LOOK AT PROBLEMS IN NEW WAYS.

INNOVATORS DON’T JUST GIVE UP AND ABANDON THEIR WORK BECAUSE THEY ENCOUNTER AN OBSTACLE SUCH AS ANOTHER PARTY’S PATENT. HISTORY PROVES THIS.

Anything else?

Stone Glasgow October 8, 2011 at 12:50 am

If Watt’s flywheel worked “just as well,” why did he want to use the patented version (that he discovered independently, only to find someone else built one before him)? And why did he move to the other version when the patent expired?

It’s very strange that you think that it’s reasonable to have a government bureaucrat deciding what “novel” inventions are, and helping innovators develop temporary monopolies protected by force.

Do you think other arbitrary decisions made by government are okay? Do you think other government enforced monopolies are a good idea?

kyle8 October 6, 2011 at 7:10 am

There are IP laws for recipes and clothing designs, they are just much more difficult to prove. This is one area I will never get behind my fellow libertarians.

You have some theory of the common good on your side, and I have 230 years of progress in the USA to point to that shows that copyright and patent law are good things.

Can they be abused? Sure, but so can anything.

Josh S October 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Actually, you can’t make an exact copy of anything in the fashion world. Counterfeit Gucci handbags and Rolex watches are in fact illegal.

Chris O'Leary October 5, 2011 at 11:24 pm

The WHOLE POINT of Apple is that they are able to do the same basic thing as everyone else but do it better and with more style. Even when people take direct runs at them, competitors tend to not really get why apple products are so often great and end up creating products that are no better than cargo cult copies.

Maybe Apple uses patents in some cases, but so often their competitive advantage is to move faster and better than everyone else, which makes patents at best only a relatively minor part of the story.

Chris O'Leary October 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

And, I would argue, the more that Apple relies on patents as a source of competitive advantage, the more you should worry about their long-term prospects.

Economiser October 5, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Agreed wholeheartedly. They’ve been amazing at staying in front of wave after wave of technological paradigm shifts just over the past 15 years.

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

Chris, I agree.

Stone Glasgow October 6, 2011 at 1:55 am

Economiser, I fear that Jobs was responsible, in large part, for that process. I will be as pleasantly surprised to see Apple continue its habit of genius innovation and dedication to creating functional products that actually work.

Josh S October 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm

But the reason for cargo-cult copies is direct copies are illegal. In China, there are factories cranking out exact iPhone and iPad replicas–right down to the logo–that are sold for a fraction of the price of the real deal. HP’s pad sucked because they couldn’t make an iPad, put OSX on it, and sell it at a low price due to having no R&D to recoup.

Economiser October 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Steve Jobs created a lot of brilliant, beautiful, and downright magical technology. His imprints are all over his competitors, and he has done as much as anyone over the past generation to push the envelope of technology and progress. For that I, and many others, are deeply grateful.

That said, I for one dislike the “walled garden” approach that’s been the hallmark of Apple products since the beginning. I’ve never purchased an Apple product for myself; the only Apple product I’ve ever used was a gift (an iPod). As wonderful as his products are, I’m also heartened that I can effectively opt out of the Apple world at my discretion. Free trade is also a beautiful thing.

Randy October 6, 2011 at 5:15 am

Yeah, the only apple product I have ever owned (an iphone) was forced on me. But I’m thinking that, while an earlier “greatest generation” had great generals and politicians, my generation had men like Jobs and Gates, and they created a truly better world.

kyle8 October 6, 2011 at 7:14 am

Agree, I always thought Apple products were way overpriced and so I put up with the often infuriating Windows.

Now, I would look closely at apple products. However, they still have one problem and that is having to wait for delivery of products you want to buy. They have not yet met their supply needs.

muirgeo October 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

What an amazing person. Thanks Steve Jobs

Wow …. almost sent this from my stupid work PC… then I remembered I had my iPhone.

Mesa Econoguy October 6, 2011 at 12:16 am

I’m fairly certain your work PC is not your problem.

But congratulations on posting while driving, Hugh S. Johnson.

Economic Freedom October 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I think you meant: “But congratulations on posting while drinking…”

Mesa Econoguy October 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Visionary.

Huge loss.

Adam Bitely October 6, 2011 at 12:17 am

This is a huge loss. Too bad a statue won’t be erected on the National Mall in his honor–as he has done more good for humanity than any of the conniving deceased pols who are memorialized there.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 12:20 am

My bet is you have a few “statues” of him in your house. I also bet he’d find that much more flattering.

Adam Bitely October 6, 2011 at 12:27 am

Yes, I have an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, iPod… His products stand like statues in my home.

Observer October 6, 2011 at 2:16 am

more good than Lincoln? Jobs couldn’t carry Lincoln’s law books to court

Captain Profit October 6, 2011 at 4:43 am

Actually, he could. All of them. For a couple quid apiece.
Abe’s fave, for example: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/commentaries-on-the-laws-of/id396273798

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

:)

SweetLiberty October 6, 2011 at 9:59 am

Brilliant rebuttal. Observer won’t get it.

Anotherphil October 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Of course not, he’s muirbot.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Still loving your “fungible” comment, Anotherphil.

Adam Bitely October 6, 2011 at 12:26 am

Yes, I have an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, iPod… His products stand like statues in my home.

DAVE October 6, 2011 at 12:28 am

God where did all that genius go

Rest in peace

DAVE October 6, 2011 at 12:59 am

Many believe that If one man amassed such tremendous wealth it would have to leave those around him somewhat poorer. Otherwise where did he take it from?

Yet we find in these last few hours that many millions of people if not more are mourning a man who enriched himself probably more than everyone I know combined. Why? Now that he’s gone and is no longer amassing wealth, won’t there be just a little more for the rest of us?

It would seem therefore that Mr. Jobs all the while he was enriching himself somehow managed to have us gain from him? How is this possible?

The above of course is a vexing problem only if you believe that Mr. Jobs “amassed” wealth. If you understand that instead of merely amassing wealth he had actually CREATED wealth, it would no longer be a mystery as to why we mourn his passing.

We mourn him because he enriched all of us.
Rest in peace Steve Jobs.

kyle8 October 6, 2011 at 7:16 am

JUST WAIT! The left wing attacks are coming, they are just letting a little time pass.

I know this as a metaphysical certainty because left wingers cannot possibly ever allow genius, hard work, exceptionalism, good products, wealth, or capitalism ever go without an attack.

Evolutionarily October 6, 2011 at 1:32 am

He practised a raw-food vegan diet–something incredibly unnatural to modern day humans who have been using fire to cook, and hunting animals for well over 200,000 years. We will never know but I believe it could be behind his early demise, or at the very least contributed to it.

For the best idea we have on what is the optimal human diet, based on modern medical science and evolutionary history (the stone age combined with the high-tech) check out Libertarian, and decentralized, complex economic systems studying Economist Art de Vany’s work: http://www.arthurdevany.com

dsylexic October 6, 2011 at 2:09 am

one data point and you dismiss vegan food already? scott jurek -the world’s foremost ultra marathoner is a vegan.so are many buddhist monks who live in the himalayas.
the human body and the influence of diet is incredibly complex to be boxed into a few equivalents of a Democrat vs Republican type classification

kyle8 October 6, 2011 at 7:19 am

I agree with you, but at the same time his vegan diet did not protect him from cancer. That is important to note because often the main argument of vegans is that their diet is so much healthier and will let you live longer, and specifically that we have a lot of cancer and heart disease in the USA because we eat so much meant and dairy.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 8:22 am

Kyle, no diet, no hedge (no insurance policy) exists that will protect you with 100% certainty from bad things happening.

In life, there is no security. Full stop.

The argument for a healthy (a lot are unhealthy) vegan, green-veggie based diet is that it greatly reduces the probability of cancer and other diseases and it allows the body to deal with disease better. The argument is not that it will prevent disease with 100% certainty.

Anotherphil October 6, 2011 at 9:03 am

The argument for a healthy (a lot are unhealthy) vegan, green-veggie based diet is that it greatly reduces the probability of cancer and other diseases and it allows the body to deal with disease better. The argument is not that it will prevent disease with 100% certainty.

The argument against it is that your DNA makes you an omnivore. Humanity, until recently didn’t have the luxury of arbitrarily rejecting certain forms of nutrition. In your mouth in the corners are teeth with a familiar shape-they are indeed vestigal fangs. No, we are not equipped to eat a steady diet of meat, and there’s evidence that contributed to the demise of the Neanderthals.

Think of the human diet as an emergent order and veganism as a designed diet. We all know what pitfalls lie in such pretense of knowledge, right?

Jobs was brilliant, but by all accounts spiritually adrift and certainly not infallible.

It would be really sad if the silent evidence of his life is that his cancer was caused by a failure to ingest some essential nutient in meat, eggs or something else and we’ll never know it.

Anyway, he is gone and we will all follow.

Methinks1776 October 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Think of the human diet as an emergent order and veganism as a designed diet. We all know what pitfalls lie in such pretense of knowledge, right?

Humans ate meat as a condiment. We eat far too much now and not enough leafy greens. Populations eating a vegetable based diet (even if they eat some meat – you can’t get b-12 without consuming animal products and the guy who started the raw vegan diet died from b-12 deficiency) are healthier.

Look, the point is that even if we knew the absolute optimum diet, it would only reduce our probability disease. It wouldn’t prevent it with 100% certainty.

Eventually, we’ll all die – as you say.

Evolutionarily October 6, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I stated quite clearly “We will never know but I believe…”. If someone smokes a pack of cigarettes a day and dies of lung cancer, I think it is fair to say you suspect it was from the ciggies! Well that is how I feel about a raw-food vegan diet in relation to a healthy balanced ancestrally inspired diet.

Evolutionarily October 6, 2011 at 1:34 am

^ And his podcast with Russ Roberts on EconTalk: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/_featuring/arthur_de_vany

Blake October 6, 2011 at 1:37 am

Thank you Steve, you’ve left us immensely richer.

Sanjeev Sabhlok October 6, 2011 at 5:07 am
John Galt October 6, 2011 at 5:49 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc&feature=player_detailpage

Over my mantle is a picture of Nikola Tesla, the real life Prometheus who changed his mind and hid away his method for making the earth a free source of power for everyone in the world.
Steve, Woz, and many others created and shipped personal gulches within the means of even Zulu tribesmen or Innuit hunter-gathers.
In a life full of Lemmings, every year Steve outdid himself with a tastier glass of Lemming-Ade and left us refreshed enough to defer running off the cliff for another season.
Stay hungry, stay foolish, Laurene, Chrisann, et. al., keep making your dots and trust that enough Lemmings will connect them in beautiful elegant ways.

John Galt October 6, 2011 at 5:56 am

This is my new picture, he mentioned in his Stanford address linked above.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-N0WrvIsmg0Q/TcFO1DiiklI/AAAAAAAAArg/SwOx3Q3DhCA/s1600/tumblr_lk0lhj9ndp1qhrpvro1_500.jpg

SweetLiberty October 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

Steve Jobs took opportunity, sprinkled it with genius, and spent many years of hard work to bring to consumers an array of products which have enhanced a great many lives. Thanks, Steve! Hope there are many more like you to follow.

jfhiller October 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I, too, mourn the Jobs’ death. I was amused, though, at the irony of using Flash to embed the video for this post.

jfhiller October 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm

[edit] Forgive the typo: “… the Jobs’…”

muirgeo October 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different, narrated by Steve Jobs

Anotherphil October 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

The key words were “think” and “see”.

By rules, he didn’t mean the laws of supply and demand that you think can be suspended by the fastasy and whim of a few fellow travellers.

Economic Freedom October 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm

http://i.imgur.com/ZpZec.jpg

A small memorial starting to form in front of the flagship Apple Retail Store on 5th Avenue and 59th Street in New York City. The wrapped bouquet at the lower left of the photo was from me.

I took the liberty of including a small card in the bouquet that said:

“Thank you, Steve. — from your many admirers at CafeHayek.com

Marty October 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Would’ve Made Steve Jobs Proud

Dear Luke,

I’m the guy who brought in the shattered iPad the other day… You know, the bald guy with the horse voice… As promised, I’m sending you my essay on my first Apple experience… But before you go there, I’d like to commend you for your professionalism and your “presumed” foresight…

You made a surprising call… For, as you could see, I was readily amenable to your half-off offer… But at the last minute you exercised your latitude – either believing you’d win a lifelong Apple loyalist, or perhaps I just caught you at a good moment (did I remind you of dear-old Uncle Wally?) – and handed me a brand new iPad, free of charge…

Now if indeed your intent was to secure yet another iLifer, I’m sorry my friend, you failed… Of course I may very well continue to buy Apple in the future, but that would be if, and only if, Apple continues to produce the absolute best technology… And I assure you, the late great Mr. Jobs would have had it no other way – he surely didn’t succeed by giving stuff away… You see Luke, everyone, you included, will ultimately act in [what they believe to be] their own separate interests.  And that, as I hope you’ll come to learn, is precisely how it should be…  

You see, acting in your own (true) interest means, without exception, always being the very best you can be.  And that, whether we’re talking friendship, parenthood or business, means always acting in the best interests of the people in your life…  In other words, and I promise you, acting in the best interest of others is forever, unequivocally and without exception, acting in your own…

In this instance Luke, your generosity (granted, you were spending Apple’s money), my lack of loyalty notwithstanding, was not in vain after all… The experience was so unusual that the minute I stepped foot outside your store I was on the phone (iPhone), eager to tell any and all who’d listen about our encounter… Yes, your goodwill will indeed, I suspect, bring business Apple’s way… 

Given your youth, instincts and apparent intellect, I won’t expect to see you during my next Apple experience – you will surely have stepped onto your next rung by then… But I do ask that, when you take that step, you shoot me an email… I will eagerly consider whatever product or service you’re peddling at that time, and, if a purchase is in order, I will insist on paying full price… For it is indeed in my, and society’s, best interest that you succeed… I.e., the world needs more Lukes…

Sincerely,
Marty Mazorra

I actually have two Apple essays to share… Click…

What Makes Apple So Special

Apple (amazing!)

Here’s another you may enjoy…

Repeat Pizza

And here are some great works I suggest you read (or listen to on your iPod)…

Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
Free to Choose by Milton Friedman
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Globalization by Don Boudreaux

Economic Freedom October 7, 2011 at 3:44 am

Regarding anarcho-capitalism and Rothbard, the article I had in mind is:

“Why anarchy-capitalism is a non-starter” by Geoffrey Sampson, professor of linguistics. It was in the Free Life Archive, in The Journal of the Libertarian Alliance, Vol. 1: No. 2 Spring 1980. Can’t locate a live link now, but you might have better luck, or find a hard copy at the library.

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