How Apple Games The System To Avoid Paying Its Fair Share Of Taxes
There is a never-ending stream of people who want to project an image of Steve Jobs and Apple, as an extension of Jobs, that should be worshipped as some messianic cult hero. Hero-worship is a delusion. What we as human beings can apreciate are the timeless virtues oftentimes exhibited by imperfect leaders. People who are able to rise above the human condition to achieve virtue and truth for all people. People like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, William Lloyd Garrison, Mother Jones, Mahatma Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and countless others. And, as I noted in the last post, the nameless faces of average, every day people who achieve no notoriety yet whose actions make the world a better place. Each of us acting selflessly has an ability to change the world. Even if it is the momentary kindness granted a total stranger. I’m sure Steve Jobs had those moments in his personal life just like everyone else. But, the cult-status many in society have granted Jobs and Apple for his professional accomplishment is perplexing and disturbing as it pertains to what values modern society appreciates. Personally, I don’t see what would classify him as a leader to society or humanity.
To be frank, from what I am aware of, including direct comments from associates, personal acquaintances and business partners going back decades, and repeated business practices at Apple, Jobs had a pattern of behavior that some might classify as disturbing. Look, I am far from someone who should be judging anyone else. We all make mistakes and I have made my fair share. We are all simply human. This isn’t about judgment or criticism of Steve Jobs. I don’t know Steve Jobs from Adam. I wouldn’t even remark of this except for the tremendous onslaught of what I classify as misinformation and propaganda that is so pervasive in our society across a wide range of issues. The cult-like status that Jobs and Apple have achieved points to a reality that is quite different than that projected. A projection that is built upon the billions upon billions of dollars of marketing hype meant to propagate an image that isn’t grounded in any type of reality. If Jobs was brilliant at anything in particular, it was creating an image that wasn’t necessarily reflective of reality. I think we call that propaganda. In dystopian America it is called marketing.
There is a clear difference between people who make random mistakes and those who exhibit a lifetime of repeated mistakes or disconcerting behavior. The former is simply part of life. Unfortunately, most people only truly learn life-positive altering change by failure and by mistakes. It’s just part of being human. We sometimes need to peer over the edge or even fall into the abyss to realize our perceptions of self and reality aren’t reflective of truth. Failure is most certainly the most profound method of learning. We learn through failure what can never be taught through success. That is, we learn that our belief system and perception of reality and self may be flawed or even delusional. Hopefully, mistakes and failures make us better. I’m talking less about business mistakes than I am about mistakes that impact the essence of who we are. Hopefully those failures and mistakes make us more human. In other words, more compassionate, more accepting and able to see beyond our own perceived needs. Needs that are oftentimes sought at the expense of others.
But, then there are people who seemingly exhibit a pattern of not learning from mistakes or failures as it pertains to the essence of who we are. But they, in fact, simply experience the same personal mistakes over and over and over. Those people are almost without exception very driven by the self and disconnected from their humanity. They aren’t able to see how their actions impact other people and the world around them. Their perception of self remains a delusion. Those people who have risen to levels of authority in the corporate state seem to reflect a rather disturbing consistency in how others are treated. How other human beings are valued. Or, more pointed not valued.
I typically take he said-she said issues in anyone’s private life or comments made by people in business with a grain of salt. There is almost always a motive that is well-beyond the obvious. Most often that motive has an ego-driven agenda. But when I see a lot of people making the same type of remarks over decades coupled with a laundry list of major issues showing a lack of conscience in how business decisions were made and business practices were conducted, well…… then I tend to follow the wise prophets Cheech & Chong - if it looks like shit, smells like shit and tastes like shit, it probably is shit.
I probably won’t win any brownie points for making pointed remarks about a person who recently passed away, but truth is truth. Rewriting history out of political correctness is a major issue in our society. Political correctness serves no purpose other than to subvert truth, rewrite reality and squelch debate over substantive and serious issues. Political correctness is a tactic of control that is meant to subvert reality.
The truth is many of Apple’s business practices could be construed as exploitive or even predatory on a very large scale. Corporations aren’t good or bad. Their actions are simply a reflection of corporate leadership’s values. In Apple’s case, they are a reflection of Jobs’ values. That’s surely not the image Apple pays billions upon billions of dollars to project, but let’s be frank; if Apple treated customers the way it treats countless people within its sphere of influence and control, I doubt it would be in business today. There are surely countless numbers of apologists who would state that Apple was simply doing what every other company was doing. Indeed, they would be right. How many examples throughout human history can we count to where others made this same rationalization for their behavior? But everyone else was doing it. There was nothing I could do. I was simply following orders. Apple never spoke out against any of the exploitive practices of corporate capitalism we see today. In fact, to the contrary, they defended it in many public statements and showed a conscious resistance to change and they even swept it under the rug at times.
Apple creates a compelling user experience. I respect them for doing so. And, Steve Jobs clearly understood that the user experience, created by excellence coupled with billions upon billions of dollars of hype, was more important than counting beans as so many corporate executives do. But, if our economy was a merit-based system, there would be literally thousands upon thousands of companies like Apple providing superior quality and craft to consumers and customers. And, if our economy embraced merit-based democratic economics or democratic capitalism, Apple may not even be able to separate itself from a pack of other great companies. It is even plausible to consider that it may not have even survived. Some time, I’ll write more about this dynamic and refer back to this post.
It really should be no surprise along with all of the other well-known but glossed over dynamics about Jobs and Apple, that when we pull back that facade paid for by massive marketing and propaganda campaigns, that Apple games our society and humanity in countless ways. That includes how it manipulates and deceives society to writhe its way out of paying its fair share of taxes. Of how Apple takes more than it gives to humanity.
It’s no irony that we mocked for years that high corporate tax rates were a sham and a lie perpetuated by political propaganda. The data was and is incontrovertible. And, now the very few honest voices who remain in the mainstream media are starting to pull back the veil of deceit and lies perpetuated by corporatist fascist shills and their political marionettes. Truth always finds a way. It’s just a matter of when.
Apple, like countless other corporations, succeeds in large part, through the force of the state. And, that often manifests itself through politicians turning a blind eye to countless self-evident deceptions and untruths. Deceptions and untruths that reflect a systemic lack of virtue and conscience.
The leaderless society marches on.