Eric Alterman on Apple’s maestro, who died in October:
… The [Apple] stock could have continued to soar even if the pay and conditions of these workers’ lives were built into the cost of an iPhone or an iPad. People would have kept buying the products, and other companies would have been forced to follow suit. But Jobs didn’t care. He even instructed Obama that the United States had to behave more like China in the manner in which it encouraged corporations to act free of regulations or concern for their employees and their environment.
A second issue raised by Jobs’s life and death is all that money he accumulated. When New York Times “DealBook” editor Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote a column before Jobs died, wondering why he seemed so stingy with his fortune—noting also that he did away with all the company’s charity programs (which were restored after his departure in August) — Sorkin addressed the topic so gingerly, I half thought he feared Jobs would send a thunderbolt from the sky to disable his typing fingers …
How ironic that the media love to celebrate this alleged icon of ’60s idealism at the expense of poor, square Bill Gates, who is devoting the better part of his fortune to improving the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people…
If we must have billionaires, better they should ignore Jobs’s example and instead embrace the morality and wisdom of the great industrialist/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie: “The man who dies… rich, dies disgraced.”
Well written, and well-timed. When Jobs died, I thought “Don’t speak ill of the dead,” even after seeing all those glowing tributes from people who avoid like the plague pondering what a good life is and isn’t. But it’s time to take off the black armbands and, for the sake of accuracy, acknowledge the guy for what he was — a master of technology, a brilliant inventor, an astute businessman, and a cold, stingy creep.
Footnote to Alterman: I can live without an iPod Classic that holds 27,000 songs, or even 5,000 songs. I’m not sure there are 5,000 songs worth downloading.