Wants v. Needs

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Medvedev and Steve Jobs

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It’s amazing how much the world has turned since my last post.  A dead dictator, occupation of the world’s financial centers, and the death of a technology (marketing?) genius.  Oh yes, and lest I forget, an African-American is the week’s GOP frontrunner in the race to become Obama’s rival in 2012.  Say it ain’t so.

In particular, though, the death of Steve Jobs really affected me (and about a billion of my dearest friends).  It was emotional at first (a tear very nearly came to my eye thinking about playing the Oregon Trail on the old Apple IIs in my school’s computer lab), but now there’s a creeping sense of shame that maybe I and the rest of the world have been bamboozled by the greatest of bamboozlers.  Jobs managed to pretty much take over the world.  His reach was greater than probably any multi-national in history (ok, I might be making that up, but you get the picture).  And all because we wanted to be cool!

In my last post, I told of my fear of and distaste for the long arm of the internet.  I also pointed out that online behemoths like facebook were hell-bent on creating solutions for problems which didn’t exist:  Namely, our apparent desire to share our online habits with the world and its grandmother.  Well, Steve Jobs was a master at this (as many commentators have pointed out since his death).  He made us want things we didn’t need, which ran contrary to how most companies have been run since, well, that Roman real estate agency try to sell houses in Pompeii after Vesuvius erupted (ok, I did make that up).  All of this has made me start to think about when wants become needs.  If a desire is strong enough that it cripples you, is it then necessary to obtain it?  Wanting the new iPhone 4S may not fall into that crippling category, but it could be the start.  Think about those long lines outside every Apple stores each time a new product is released.  Do that many people even go out to vote?

I’m still thinking about this issue and will come back to it.  All I can say for now is:  Thank god Steve Jobs wasn’t in the drugs business or we’d all be smoking crack.

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