You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer; it’s been all over the news with wall-to-wall coverage, and iCandle vigils have sprung up all over the world. Jobs is being remembered as a pioneer, a technological revolutionary, a visionary. Rightfully so.
But it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and the world owes a tremendous debt to Steve Jobs for something else. He was perhaps the greatest living example of ‘philanthropy’ in action.
While people like Warren Buffet are pleading with the government to raise their taxes and give away their wealth to sycophantic bureaucrats, Jobs showed time and time again that the best way to improve people’s lives is to create value and be productive.
Steve Jobs was one of the most productive human beings to have ever lived; he started several successful companies which directly employed tens of thousands of people. Indirectly, his businesses improved the livelihoods of millions across the globe, from Chinese factory workers to iPhone app programmers to Apple shareholders.
In building an empire and unimaginable wealth for himself, Steve Jobs enriched the lives and livelihoods of others by creating value. Not by forced redistribution. Not by giving things away. By creating value.
Ironically, just as I write this I am watching President Obama on Bloomberg Television trying to explain how many jobs his new plan will create– 1.9 million in his estimate:
“We’re just going to keep on going at it and hammering away… until… something gets done. I would love to see nothing more than Congres act… so aggressively.”
Politicians would do themselves and their constituents a great service by comparing their own track record for enriching people’s lives against Steve Jobs’ performance, and then kindly stepping out of the way. The path to prosperity is not paved in votes, but rather in freedom: the freedom to create, produce, risk work hard… and be rewarded for your efforts.
If you have the time, I’d encourage you to take a few minutes and read some of Jobs’ own words; there are boundless sources online that will praise his creativity, drive, and intellect, but perhaps no one is better suited to explain Steve Jobs than the man himself.