Lord Sacks, the UK’s chief Rabbi, has slammed Steve Jobs, blaming the recently passed Apple CEO, and the company, for creating a consumer-driven society and an “egocentric culture” in Britain today, according to a report from the Daily Telegraph.
Sacks, who represents the UK’s 300,000 Jewish population in his capacity as Chief Rabbi, claimed that Apple’s products are directly responsible for inspiring a rise in self-obsession in the country:
The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTune, i, i, i.
When you’re an individualist, egocentric culture and you only care about ‘i’, you don’t do terribly well.
Sacks also criticised Apple’s brand and marketing campaigns which he believes causes those who do not have the latest device to be unhappy:
If in a consumer society, through all the advertising and subtly seductive approaches to it, you’ve got an iPhone but you haven’t got a fourth generation one, the consumer society is in fact the most efficient mechanism ever devised for the creation and distribution of unhappiness
The comments came as Sacks spoke at the 70th anniversary meeting of the Council of Christians and Jews in Manchester last week, during which he also raised his concern that British Jews are not respecting the Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Rather than spending time with the family, many are out shopping rather than being grateful for what they have, he claimed.
In contrast to Sacks’ argument, there is greater evidence to show that the growth in smartphones and tablet computers is helping give greater access to information to people than ever before. How people choose to use the technology, it could be argued, is entirely up to them and it is quite ridiculous to blame Apple for — what Sacks perceives to be — attitudinal problems.
Apple didn’t create consumerism, and blaming one person, let alone Steve Jobs, for encouraging is failing to look at the bigger picture.
Religious leaders are commonly accused of being out-of-sync with society and young people in general and Sacks comments, which come across as patronising and condescending, are likely to be dismissed by many of those he is trying to reach with his message.
Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S, has proven to be the company’s most successful yet. The phone registered 4 million sales over the first weekend after launching and sold out in countless markets across the world, causing chaos in Hong Kong in particular. The iPhone 4S is still to launch in a number of international markets, with India next on its list.