By: Chris Tell
It's a massive waste of time. I told Mark so but he wouldn't listen. He still sat down to watch elections taking place in New Zealand, his new found homeland.
No matter where you're located in the world, if you watch TV - which I don't - then you're likely to find it pretty tough staying away from the media circus that follows election campaigns like a swarm of magpies circling a fish and chip packet.
It's the same story every country I find myself in. Politicians convincing those who are listening, which is regrettably a lot, that they're as necessary as penicillin, and further promising all manner of absurdities. That these absurdities, or promises have the life expectancy of a veal calf never seems to phase the hoi polloi who keep coming back for more each election year. This time "my guy" is going to fix things. Right!
You can't complain about this. Sure they make me want to exhale liquid, but criticizing politicians for failing to deliver on promises is like criticizing your underwear for not making very good french toast. Taking a look at the lineup of political candidates from all around this ball of dirt leaves you with a niche group of sociopaths sporting the collective intelligence of a box of nails.
This got me to thinking about Apple (AAPL:NASDAQ).
About 2 years ago I severed the PC umbilical cord, ditched Microsoft software and delved into the world of Apple, purchasing a trusty little Macbook Air. Along with my iPod which I use for running, it's the only Apple product I've come into contact with.
I've been impressed and am now amongst "the converted". I can now watch mindless politicians such as this guy try to explain that Guam will capsize, all without my system crashing. Excellent! Honestly, I haven't had any issues with the product at all.
It got me to thinking. Why doesn't Apple run for office?
They clearly know how to get things done. They promise and deliver and have brought products into the world which people willingly pay for and desire. They've employed entire suburbs of people, and the turnout for their product launches are spectacular.
(Taken in Hong Kong a couple days ago: customers queuing for the new iPhone.)
Why not indeed?
Technology has advanced at an unbelievable speed since I was a wee tot wetting my pants, so I ask myself why has politics not advanced at all? We still continue to parade these podium donuts out with the inevitable disastrous results. No wonder sales of Tylenol and Xanex are going through the roof.
Let us for a minute consider 3 stereotypical political campaign promises and deal with them one by one:
- Provide jobs
- Reduce taxes
- Provide better quality services and products
Provide jobs: Firstly, government don't provide jobs, plain and simple. They can get out of the way to allow for job creation, as Peter Thiel tries to explain to this TV anchor, but they most certainly do NOT create jobs. Secondly, the so called "jobs" they do create are created out of a monopoly position and/or are unnecessary and a net deficit to society. Not one government job could not be done by the private sector better and for a profit. Side thought: I know I've already made some readers irate so please do me a favour and send your hate mail to email@example.com.
Apple, on the other hand, employs nearly 600,000 people in the US alone, and has created countless more jobs on the periphery of their products.
Reduce Taxes: Taxes will go down. OK, for anyone capable of 5th grade math, which excludes a large swathe of the population, this is basically saying that the cost of government to the consumer will go down. Unless you're based in one of the rapidly growing markets of the world take a look around you and see how this one is playing out.
Apple, of course, don't tax customers but we can see that the cost of Apple goods has remained pretty consistent with inflation so while it hasn't reduced it's cost to consumers hasn't increased either.
Provide better quality services and products: Oh boy. Where to start? Healthcare, schools, infrastructure, policing. Then there is the incredibly tedious, mindless waste of time paperwork in order to get anything done. When was the last time you had to fill out some government paperwork?
If it's anything like that which I've experienced, it likely involved a stack of documents, in paper not digital format. Let's now compare this with anything which Apple put out. Anytime you fill out something on your iPhone it uses witchcraft to correct your poor spelling, it syncs with your other devices seamlessly thus helping those of us who regularly leave things lying around as we're able to find documents, emails, websites, effortlessly... and it fits in your little pocket. Try that with a stack of government paperwork.
Better quality of products: The first iPhone out was 7 years ago and was reputedly an 8GB model for $599. At the time it was an amazing device. Today's latest version is arguably twice as good, with 16GB, will launch a rocket if you could actually figure out how it all works, and costs less than 10% more at $649.
I think on those 3 campaign topics Apple beats any of the candidates I've seen anywhere. They deliver.
Apple, on the other hand, deliver to people all over the world videos of Asian men falling off motorcycles, sports results, and woman playing with themselves in Ohio. In short Apple, like Google and a hundred other private companies out there actually know and understand their market and clientele. Politicians, on the other hand, simply profess to be working for their clientele and market but clearly don't have a clue.
Based on the above I feel pretty confident that if we put Apple in charge they'd run a country for the better. For starters parliament or it's equivalent where you are would be replaced with a war room full of innovators, excited, energetic smart people looking to create not destroy.
A side benefit would be that those little men who currently screw so much up would be forced to go find a real job.
Who's with me?
"We may have to force people to get together in terms of picking a particular type of technology and starting to build to that technology, as opposed to everybody exercising their right to buy their own system, you know, at will." - Michael Chertoff, 2nd US Secretary of Homeland Security under George W Bush, and Co-author of the US Patriot Act, possibly the most destructive piece of legislation ever written
Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.