Sunday, October 17, 2010

What do the following have in common: The i-Pad, Kids with Special Needs, Frederic Bastiat, and Adam Smith--More than you would think!

As a parent of a special needs child AND an economics teacher, this story from the WSJ: Using the iPad to Connect really inspired me.  The i-Pad is conferring "unseen" benefits on special needs children that even Steve Jobs admits he never saw coming:

""The rise of mainstream tablet computers is proving to have unforeseen benefits for children with speech and communication problems—and such use has the potential to disrupt a business where specialized devices can cost thousands of dollars.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in an interview that he hopes the easy-to-use design of the iPad has helped children with special needs take to the device more quickly, but that its use in therapy wasn't something Apple engineers could have foreseen.

"We take no credit for this, and that's not our intention," Mr. Jobs said, adding that the emails he gets from parents resonate with him. "Our intention is to say something is going on here," and researchers should "take a look at this.""
Frederic Bastiat and Adam Smith commenting on the nature of why people work to produce a good, such as the i-Pad, and the residual benefits that society enjoys from that pursuit:
"By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others."--Frederic Bastiat 
"By pursuing his own interest [every individual] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it...."--Adam Smith
This article is a great teaching tool as well---creative destruction, positive externalities, and competition come to mind first.  I highly recommend it to everyone to read....
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