As a child, I watched The Jetsons, a 1960s cartoon comedy series that followed the lives of an American family in a high-tech future. Nearly 50 years later, when I thought that future would have arrived, robot maids do not do our cooking and housecleaning, we do not work three-day weeks, and our cars do not fly through the air. There are ways in which our world closely resembles the world of The Jetsons, though: we can communicate easily all over the world, by text, voice, or video; and we can retrieve information and music almost instantly from vast storehouses.
Steve Jobs helped to make those futuristic dreams a reality, not just for a few people, but increasingly for everybody. Asian peasants and African cattle herders have cell phones; in a decade they will have knockoffs of the iPad as well. I am writing these words on an Apple Power Mac G5. It is both the most powerful and the cheapest computer I have ever owned. I paid $50 to buy it as surplus from a company that was upgrading its computers last year. The G5 was a technological marvel when Steve Jobs introduced it in 2003, but it is worth little more than scrap metal today. That is a breathtaking pace of progress.
The future of free banking is inextricably linked to the computers, cell phones, and other personal electronic devices that Steve Jobs did so much to envision, develop, and popularize. If there is a way to bypass central banking, it will use the networks of these devices, as some people are already trying to do. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.