Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 1:48 pm | Fair 77º

 
 
 
 

Michelle Malkin: Steve Jobs and the Miracle of iCapitalism

Apple co-founder epitomized the fundamental principle that enriches self-interests — and the world

Here is your high-resolution teachable moment of the week: anti-capitalist, anti-corporate extremists of Occupy Wall Street mourning Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs without a trace of irony.

While the Kamp Alinsky Kids ditch school to moan about their massive student debt, parade around in zombie costumes and whine about evil corporations over poached Wi-Fi connections, it’s the doers and producers and wealth creators like Jobs who change the world. They are the gifted 1 percent whom the “99 percenters” mob seeks to demonize, marginalize and tax out of existence.

Inherent in the American success story of the iMac/iPhone/iPad is a powerful lesson about the fundamentals of capitalism. The “Occupiers” chant “people over profit.” They call for “caring” over “corporations.”

But the pursuit of profits empowers people beyond the bounds of imagination.

I blog on an iMac. When I travel, I bring my MacBook Pro. I tweet news links on Twitter from my iPhone. My kids are learning Photoshop and GarageBand on our Macs; they use metronome, dictation, video and camera apps daily. I use the technology for business, pleasure, social networking, raising awareness of the missing, finding recipes and even tuning a ukulele.

None of the countless people involved in conceiving these products and bringing them to market “care” about me. They pursued their own self-interests. Through the spontaneous order of capitalism, they enriched themselves — and the world.

One of my favorite economics essays from which I’ve drawn bottomless inspiration is Leonard Read’s “I, Pencil.” He turned a mundane writing instrument into an elementary study of free-market capitalism. What goes for the pencil goes for any of the products Jobs introduced.

“I have a profound lesson to teach,” Read wrote in the voice of a metaphorical lead pencil. “I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because — well, because I am seemingly so simple. Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this Earth knows how to make me.”

Read traces the family tree of the pencil from the Oregon loggers who harvest its cedar wood, to the California millworkers who cut the wood into thin slats, to Mississippi refinery workers, to the Dutch East Indies farmers who produce an oil used to make erasers. All of these people, and many more at the periphery of the process, have special knowledge about their life’s work in their separate corners of the Earth. But none by himself has the singular knowledge or ability to give birth to a pencil. Few will ever come in contact with the others who make the production of that pencil possible.

It’s not because they “care about each other” that they cooperate to deliver any one good. It’s the result of self-interest, multiplied millions of times over.

Read illuminates: “There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work.” This spontaneous “configuration of human energies” is repeated endlessly in our daily lives. Think of the countless and diverse people involved in producing a Slinky, jump rope or baseball, a diaper, refrigerator or Boeing 747.

And, of course, an iMac, iPhone or iPad.

Appreciating this voluntary configuration of human energies, Read argued, is key to possessing “an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.” Indeed. Without that faith, we are susceptible to the force of class-warfare mobs and the arrogance of command-and-control bureaucrats in Washington who believe the role of private American entrepreneurs, producers and wealth generators is to “grow the economy” and who “think at some point you have made enough money.”

The progressives who want to bring down “Wall Street” will snipe that Jobs was one of “theirs,” not “ours.”

He belonged to no one. He was transcendently committed to excellence and beauty and innovation. And yes, he made gobs of money pursuing it all while benefiting hundreds of millions of people around the world whom he never met, but who shed a deep river of tears upon learning of his death.

From “I, Pencil” to iPhone, such is the profound, everlasting miracle of iCapitalism — a triumph of individualism over collectivism, freedom over force and markets over master planning. To borrow an old Apple slogan: It just works.

Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Click here for more information. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >