If anybody should have been a fan of Steve Jobs and Apple, it was me. I used an early Macintosh computer at Presidio Middle School in 1987. I went to Reed College, where Jobs spent a semester and studied calligraphy. He spoke at the college’s convocation ceremony my freshman year, and the Reed computer lab was full of Macs and the black NeXTcubes that Jobs created in between his stints at Apple.
And yet I never became an Apple fanatic. In my eyes the iPod was unappealing, the iPhone unaffordable, the iPad unnecessary. I still don’t see why people would camp out overnight for them, and the fact that they do makes me begrudge the Apple products that I have—belatedly and without fanfare—adopted.
As an individual, I am embarrassed that I could have been so wrong (and peeved that my father seems to be unloading so much of my inheritance at the local Apple Store :). As an economist, I am delighted to live in a market-driven society where Jobs could be proven to be so right.
Update: Also worth reading is Mike Daisey’s “Against Nostalgia” (NY Times, Oct 6). I saw Daisey’s one-man show, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, when it came to Seattle earlier this year. Daisey’s show makes excellent food for thought, especially when combined with a view of the hardships I’ve seen here in China. (Many people work incredibly hard, and I can understand why they might see working long hard hours in a sweatshop making Apple products as a step up.) Intro macro classes could benefit greatly from chewing on these whole-wheat matters instead of just passing off the white-flour lessons about how trade benefits everyone, and I’m happy to say that my Cartoon Intro to Macro spends 3 chapters (Trade and Technology, The Classical View of Trade, and Complications) exploring these issues.