Steve Jobs: Innovation, Capitalism, and the American Dream

Opinion

 @cavanshays
on October 12 2011 1:32 PM

Steve Jobs represented everything that is right with America.

The Apple Inc. CEO embodied all that this nation is supposed to stand for - ingenuity and innovation; endless opportunity in a free market; and the ability for anyone willing to sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears to achieve the American Dream.

At his core, Jobs was an inventor. He can rightfully be aligned with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Alexander Graham Bell.

He was a pioneer who created products - new and groundbreaking products - that would change the world.

Jobs is to thank for a new way of thinking (the first computer for public use, Apple II); for a new age of film (Pixar); for a new way to love music (iTunes); and for a totally new way of life (iPad, iPhone, everything).  

Without a free market within which to work and develop, none of this would have been possible. And we would all be using PCs.  

His company has created thousands of jobs worldwide since it was founded in 1977 and has inspired other companies along the way.

Of course Jobs operated with a desire to invent and build for the greater good; but he also wanted to make money. He understood the current markets and he envisioned future markets. He utilized very carefully detailed marketing plans and packaging designs to create not just a product but an accessory almost as necessary and useful as a bodily appendage.

Most of all, he had eager and willing consumers who were - and still are - excited about these new innovations. Demand is the root of Apple's success.

Profits are not deductions from the sum of the public good, but the real measure of the social value a firm creates. Those who talk about the horror of putting profits over people make no sense at all, writes Kevin D. Williamson for the National Review Online.

With investments from Wall Street and shareholders alike, Jobs was able to transform the downtrodden Apple Computer Inc. into the powerhouse that we know as Apple Inc.

Hey, Occupy Wall Streeters, if Steve Jobs represents capitalism that makes it not so bad after all, right? With an iPhone in hand, it is hard to deny that simple fact.

Capitalism is a system of give and take, but everyone profits. Some may have more pennies in their pockets than others but this is immaterial. The collective benefits overall.

A free market allows individuals to dream, to build, to create. Without it, the Steve Jobs of the world would surely cease to exist.

There is no need for a painter in a world of gray.  

So what has Steve Job left behind? A company whose shares have risen more than 6,000 percent? Yes. Products that have changed the way the entire world connects and communicates? Yes.

Jobs is the pioneer of Manifest Destiny for the digital era.

More importantly, though, Jobs has inspired people to inspire others. In a time of vast uncertainty, economic turmoil, unemployment and hardship, Jobs' legacy is a beacon of hope.

The American Dream is not dead.

The American Dream is, of course, better categorized as a generic term that does not solely apply to one geographic region but rather an entire global community. It represents one principal notion - possibility.

Yesterday, Oct. 11, the winners of the Wendy Schmidt Oil Clean-Up X Challenge were announced. The contest was launched in July 2010 and asked inventors worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from ocean surfaces writes PR Newswire. The contest developed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The grand prize winner of $1.4 million, selected from 350 applicants from around the world, was Elastec/American Marine from Illinois.  

Elastec/American Marine developed a system that recovered 4670 gallons per minute, compared to the average 1100, with an average ORE of 89.5 percent oil to water recovered.

The company is described in the PR Newswire report as: A manufacturer of oil spill and environmental equipment known for innovation in machinery design, is a self-funded, privately held Midwest Corporation that has grown to become one of the largest manufacturers of oil spill equipment in North America. The company, which started over 20 years ago as just an idea, has grown into a 100+ workforce.

That was a long-winded approach to getting to the point. To make a long story short, this company is just one of many that displays astounding advancement. Elastec/American Marine aspired to improve, to make the world just a little bit better of a place.

Or take the two 17-year-old whiz kids who got over 250,000 unique hits to their website during their coverage of the Apple keynote event simply because of keen intellect and self-promotion.

In 2007, at 13-years-old these two boys developed a jailbreak iPhone app that generated more than one million downloads.

They may become the next Apple CEOs, or scientists, or Nobel Prize winners. Millions of others will likely, hopefully, follow suit.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish, is a motto that may have fallen to the wayside of the American lexis. But it is a phrase that needs to be said again and again. It is probably the most valuable four words anyone could ever be told.  

Jobs' most renowned brainchild will not go down in the history books as the iPhone or the iOS 5 or even Apple itself.

Jobs' brainchild is the reestablishment of the power of innovation, the asset of capitalism, and the endless possibilities of the American Dream just on the horizon.

 

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