Bill Black: NYT DealBook Praises Steve Jobs’ Serial Felonies

Naked Capitalism has the post Bill Black: NYT DealBook Praises Steve Jobs’ Serial Felonies.

The fact that Silicon Valley “deeply revere[s]” a serial felon who targeted workers (globally, see my prior columns on China) and shareholders (he secretly backdated stock options in an effort to make himself even wealthier) should be deeply disturbing, even to Deal Book.  (I joke: if DealBook had appeared as a character in The Wizard of Oz it would have simultaneously represented “no brain, no heart, no ethics, and no courage.”)  Jobs’ CEO counterparts knew about his serial crimes because they were conspiring with him to form the cartel suppressing workers’ wages and because his backdating scam was made public.

We should also stress that Microsoft was found to have violated the antitrust laws (the Bush administration deliberately gutted the remedy for those violations of the law) and that Robert Tillman’s (a prominent white-collar criminologist) empirical work has found that high tech firms were particularly likely to have engaged in accounting and securities fraud.  That requires a hard look at Silicon Valley’s culture.  While Ayn Rand, von Mises, and von Hayek all stressed the evil of elite fraud and the legitimate, and vital role of the government in acting to deter and punish such frauds, the culture of Silicon Valley is increasingly dominated by wealthy libertarians who are far more radical in their hostility to democratic government, their disdain for ethics, and their opposition to the government preventing fraud.  The “Kristallnacht” lunacy is a perfect example of the depraved culture that can emerge when you mix the worst strands of Silicon Valley’s and finance’s contempt for ethics into a single package.

This is one of the reasons why I could never be a fan of Steve Jobs, nor of Apple Computer. Bill Gates was no happy alternative. That is why, of the three computers I have, two of them have a variant of linux (Kubuntu) as their primary operating systems and the third has Kubuntu installed as a virtual machine. The two mobile devices that I have use an Android operating system.

The financial damage that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have done to the world is only half the story. The technological anti-competitive behavior of these two companies has probably set back the the state of the art in computers by decades.

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