Apple loyalists quickly proclaim the wonders of Apple and its dead co-founder Steve Jobs, but is that company the ideal example of what our country needs to rebound? Apple, the shining light of technology and entrepreneurship, might lead all other companies by value, but it falls far short of setting a positive example for Americans to follow. It’s illicit attacks on Samsung around the world and its failure to honor its moral obligations as a corporate citizen are disturbing signs to say the least.
That Apple has created wealth is indisputable. Its creative products have set the standard for at least two industries and continue enriching shareholders. The company reportedly employs 60,000 or more workers, a payroll at which none should snicker. Therefore, calling for more companies like Apple seems natural.
Get more of a good thing
Technology giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft employ thousands of workers, but are they the cure for the nation’s economic woes? Not hardly. In fact, the opposite is true. These giants have – at least in part – been the problem, not the solution.
How many Apple’s can we sustain?
Although Steve Jobs was undoubtedly successful, can everyone form a company of that size and value in such a short time? No. Even though some of the best ideas remain un-thought-of, the nation and the world cannot create enough demand for enough products to sustain large numbers of giant technology corporations.
Not all jobs are American
Well-publicized reports of workers in China killing themselves to escape the inhumane conditions of iPad and iPhone assembly lines are a vivid reminder that Apple’s 60,000 jobs are not all American. Many of them are in China, Taiwan, Bangladesh and other countries that profit from the misery of oppressed human beings. This is hardly a plus for the United States.
As long as we allow corporations to exploit slave labor (and ignore American labor), we will continue to see huge companies profit to no-one’s benefit but the shareholders.
Jobs, what jobs?
Even worse, Apple has relatively few jobs per its immense, record setting profits. Altogether, Apple, Google and Amazon employ just over 100,000 people, a stunningly low number considering the wealth those companies have created and absorbed. As politicians, social planners and hyper-capitalists fondly dream of more of these corporate success stories, they should remember that for the billions of dollars of wealth they create, very few go to work as a result.
The jobs Apple creates are in China where its partner Foxconn put up nets to catch workers who try to leap to their deaths. Foxconn also forces its slaves to sign no-suicide statements promising they won’t kill themselves.
Apple is such a great employer; people would rather die than have the privilege of building iPads. That’s the kind of jobs Apple creates. Did I mention Apple enslaves children and also poisons its enslaved workforce?
Apple, North Carolina
Consider the much-ballyhooed Apple data center project built in Maiden, North Carolina. Politicians trumpeted the benefits of having Apple move in. In fact, in exchange for the privilege of hosting such a big-name company, Apple received tax incentives and other costly perks. What did North Carolina get in exchange for millions of tax dollars and millions more in lost tax revenue? 50 jobs.
Reminds me of Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot, one of the most famous traitors of all time, sold out Jesus Christ for thirty silver coins. After he did his dastardly deed, he realized that his treachery was not worth it. His actions led to the death of an innocent man; thirty pieces of silver was all he got. North Carolina was like Judas; all they got was 50 jobs.
State and local governments promised to bring economic revival to the region, but only 50 people got work from it, many of them were imported from out of state. Once again, the public trust was betrayed to a giant corporation in exchange for a pittance.
Unlike Judas who felt remorse, the North Carolina politicians that sold their souls to Apple are unlikely to repent.
Oh yeah, Facebook did the same thing in North Carolina; Amazon is doing the same thing to South Carolina.
The moral dilemma
A straight capitalist would applaud all these giant corporations for providing a product people want at a price they can afford while delivering impressive ROI to their shareholders. That is only part of the story.
Apple can afford to hire Americans to do its work, but it refuses. As the Bible says, “To him that knoweth to do good, but doeth it not; to him it is sin.” Apple knows Americans are hurting from its business practices. Thousands of jobs (many more than thirty) could be created here. Thousands of slave-workers in China and other countries could be spared the abuse and inhumane conditions Apple has imposed on them. Apple could do good, but it won’t.
Apple is so exceedingly wealthy that it could commit half of its profits to create a moral hiring practice and still be more profitable than almost every company on earth. Like Google, Microsoft and almost every other giant corporation, Apple chooses money over morality and greed over social responsibility.
Early American corporate success stories were notable because they lifted up the entire country. They shared the wealth with thousands employees who were able to earn a living wage as a result of their success. Nowadays, American ingenuity pays off only to shareholders and select foreign and domestic power brokers.
More Apples? No Thanks
As long as corporate giants like Apple refuse to fulfill their moral responsibility to the country that made their greatness possible, we do not need more of them.
Sure, Apple and others have remarkable products and remarkable stories to tell. Those who dare read between the lines, however, find another story that modern power brokers hope will never be told.