One of the things I dislike most about both the Keynesian and mainstream economic paradigms is that they simply ignore the entrepreneur. Either the entrepreneur is simply assumed into the equation, as though what he or she does is “inevitable,” or, in the case of the mainstream, irrelevant.
Worse yet, the mainstream economists will throw in the phrase, “new technology,” as though a new technological product just appears as though by magic. (When one lacks a coherent theory of capital, nonsense or pure fantasy will fill the void.)
I write these words with the passing of Steve Jobs, whose genius was in the fact that he could see what others could and would not see. It was not just the technology that made Apple (AAPL) so influential and helped produce the Digital Age, but the fact that Jobs realized that technology meant nothing if people did not want to use it.
In celebrating the life and accomplishments of Steve Jobs, it is not that he made a lot of money, or even cared about it. He was not a political force, and Apple did not have a political action fund, nor was it a force in lobbying. While Jobs was alive, Congress and the President did not go after Apple in the way it went after Microsoft and other high-tech firms. Now that he is gone, it will be interesting to see if the federal government attempts to milk political funds from that company in the way that it has done to so many other successful firms that have demonstrated their vulnerability in the face of an unwarranted government onslaught.
No, Jobs was not someone who influenced elections or tried to make bureaucrats (and ultimately taxpayers) do his bidding. His work was much too important for anything like that, and the man truly changed much of his world — and ours.
I include a number of tributes to Jobs in this post, including this from:
The New York Times
Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal
The editors of the Wall Street Journal
Had Paul Krugman written a tribute, I would have included that, but so far he has said nothing, at least in the latest update of his blog. If Krugman has something, I will put it in.