One more thing

Ap­ple opin­ion

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It’s easy to fall into the trap of think­ing the world’s go­ing to hell in a hand­cart, es­pe­cially if you read cer­tain news­pa­pers, but it re­ally isn’t. In many ways, the world to­day’s young peo­ple have in­her­ited is a bet­ter world than the one their par­ents were handed.

It isn’t per­fect, of course. We’re told to worry about Isis, and aus­ter­ity, and Ebola. But the gen­er­a­tion be­fore had the IRA, mas­sive un­em­ploy­ment and im­mi­nent ther­monu­clear war, and the gen­er­a­tions be­fore that had real wars, grind­ing poverty and hor­rific dis­ease. All things con­sid­ered, kids to­day have got it pretty good.

One of the big­gest im­prove­ments I’ve seen is in peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes. In my rel­a­tively short time on Earth we’ve moved from gay-bash­ing to gay mar­riage, from hor­rific racism to mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, from in­sti­tu­tion­alised sex­ism to some­thing ap­proach­ing equal­ity. There’s a long way to go, and there are ex­cep­tions, but the gen­er­a­tion com­ing up is more en­light­ened than the ones be­fore. You could call it Gen­er­a­tion OS X. I’m not sug­gest­ing Ap­ple is re­spon­si­ble for their en­light­en­ment, although I think the tech in­dus­try as a whole has helped to both shrink the world and open some eyes along the way. But to my mind Ap­ple is one of the few firms that re­ally con­nects with that gen­er­a­tion, not just through its prod­ucts but through its words and deeds as well.

Ap­ple isn’t per­fect of course, but in an age of ra­pa­cious cap­i­tal­ism it dares to think dif­fer­ently. Just look at its eco-friendly de­sign for Ap­ple Cam­pus 2 (see MF284).

Tim Cook’s Ap­ple says that di­ver­sity mat­ters, and that it needs to im­prove. Tim Cook’s Ap­ple is a proud sup­porter of LGBT rights. Tim Cook’s Ap­ple says cli­mat­e­change de­niers need to shut the hell up, and in­vests heav­ily in re­new­able en­ergy. Tim Cook’s Ap­ple strives to be more eth­i­cal, more en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble. And Tim Cook’s Ap­ple tells in­vestors that there are more im­por­tant things than the bot­tom line.

It’s easy to say those things when you’re the most valu­able com­pany in Amer­ica, but I think this at­ti­tude is part of the rea­son Ap­ple has reached those heights, and con­tin­ues to thrive de­spite the com­pe­ti­tion. Th­ese is­sues might not mat­ter to all, but they mat­ter to enough peo­ple in Gen­er­a­tion OS X to make a dif­fer­ence. If ri­vals copied Ap­ple’s ethics as dili­gently as they’ve copied Ap­ple’s prod­ucts, the world might be an even bet­ter place.

The gen­er­a­tion com­ing up is more en­light­ened than the ones be­fore. You could call it Gen­er­a­tion OS X

Gary Mar­shall can’t imag­ine what the world will be like when his kids grow up, although he sus­pects the weather will be a lot worse.

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