Steve Jobs personified capitalism and free markets in as pure and beautiful a way as the world has seen in the modern generation of industrial giants. His pursuit of excellence — his passion to make Apple the best and most profitable company it could be — enriched the lives of untold millions.
Jobs set a new standard for how a personal computer should work — i.e., it should be as easy to use as nearly any other home appliance. The industry was forced to follow Jobs' lead. His leadership in developing the iPhone completely changed the game — forcing competitors to quickly evolve beyond a device that flipped open to one that brought the entire digital world to one's fingertips. Jobs not only put the word 'apps' into our shared lexicon, but — against betting odds — made app-interface the present and future of digital media consumption.
And, under Jobs' leadership, Apple developed the iPad — the industry standard for the modern tablet. Not long ago, people sneered and snickered at the name, iPad — and boldly predicted the failure of Apple's big gamble. What fool would dare to try to establish a middle ground between a smart phone and laptop when none yet existed? Steve Jobs dared. He created a new market, out of thin air, and welcomed tens of millions of happy customers to Apple for his efforts.
Historians a century from now will place Jobs into the pantheon of America's greatest innovators and industrialists. And they should write that Steve Jobs was a mash-up of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and Walt Disney — an innovator and industrialist without peer in his era. It will be impossible to measure the jobs and wealth he created and the lives he enriched. Steve Jobs was the ultimate capitalist.
The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.