Friday, December 15, 2017

Apple And Amazon Share An Ugly Truth - They Exploit Us

Apple and Amazon share an ugly truth and that is their strong ties to America's government has in many ways allowed them to create a persona or facade that far outshines reality. This allows each company in its own way to exploit us while masking the huge amount of income they pluck from our government on all levels. Years ago I penned an article titled, "The Poison Apple" where I questioned how Apple remains the darling of so many Americans while stories continue to surface on how those they have contracted to make their products abuse their workers? This coupled with the widespread criticism for its environmental practices and tax avoidance schemes would have caused major damage to the corporate image of most companies resulting in large protest outside their offices and massive boycotts of their products. We should remember, Apple is a company that Fortune magazine has called the most admired company in the United States and in the world, this is a company that the Economist called a "phenomena" and questioned if "it was a bubble" even years before its stock price soared.

A More truthful Apple Logo
A week ago I had decided to again post about "tax dodging" Apple because the corporate tax rate is a topic currently very much in the news. The crux of that post was focused on the Paradise Papers that revealed the murky dealings by the world's largest corporation, helping it pay a mere 3.7% in corporate taxes in 2017. This is a fraction of the worldwide average and well below the 20% slated in our new tax bill. In the leaked documents, it detailed how Apple attempted to find different avenues at securing its worldwide profits, which accounted for roughly 55% of its total income in 2017. In August of 2016, Apple was ordered by the European Commission to pay €13 billion in taxes, which Tim Cook called 'total political crap' at the time.

It is as if people are totally blind to the less tasty side of Apple that appeared in a 2006 report written on working conditions at factories in China where the contract manufacturers Foxconn and Inventec produced the iPod. The article stated that one complex of factories that assembles the iPod and other items had over 200,000 workers, that lived and worked in the factory. Employees regularly worked more than 60 hours per week making around $100 per month and were required to pay for rent and food from the company.  This generally amounted to a little over half of the workers' earnings. Add to the history of worker exploitation the fact that since Apple manufactures in China it creates few jobs in American. Is the typical Apple user so self-centered that they just don't care, or do they lust for the product so much that they bury and ignore their social conscience?  These consumers are even willing to pay higher prices to lock themselves into a closed system tightly controlled by Apple.

For a moment let us put aside Apple and explore some of Amazon's corporate tactics as well as some of the recent stories and the evergrowing political tilt of the Washington Post which is owned by Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos. Lurking in the back of my mind is that it was the Washington Post and not a newspaper located in Alabama that broke the Roy Moore story which has turned many women against the Republican party. Because of Amazon's strong ties with the government and what is often referred to as the "deep state," we should be concerned about whether certain forces are making a concerted effort to shape public opinion. It must be noted many of these parties appear to be at war with our current President. This brings up the question of just how much of the Roy Moore story that has had huge ramifications across society is a coincidence or if a strong hidden agenda is at play.

Bezos Has Moved Into Shaping Public Opinion
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon has indeed had a good 2017 and in the last few weeks, he has claimed the title of the worlds richest man. Among the goals of this online retail mogul is replacing workers with robots which his company will both build and market plus controlling one of the most influential news media giants in America, the Washington Post. This high-flier is also the head of Blue Origin, a company with big plans to pioneer the frontier of space. Last but far from least as Amazon's CEO Bezos ties this all together with Amazon Web Service or AWS. This is a cloud service which also collects data and has strong ties to the government. This means they know when you are sleeping, they know when you're awake, they know when you are bad or good. This all constitutes a great deal of power in the hands of one man.

As to the common link these companies share, both receive and feed at the tit of our government and receive a great deal of American tax dollars. We should never forget that in America the government and schools use taxpayer money to buy countless numbers of Apple products produced in China adding to Apple's credibility and helping to carry tax evading Apple to the next level. While this is happening the United States Postal Service bends over backward to deliver Amazon products at a loss and the American government pays out billions to AWS for its services in collecting and storing data on American citizens. This money adds to Amazon's war chest and feeds its ability to continue exploiting the brick and mortar stores that line the streets of our communities. These are the real businesses that provide jobs to millions of Americans. All in all, it is a bit ironic that so many people are infatuated with these two companies that seem hell-bent on taking far more from us than they are willing to return. To us not so enamored with these two companies the fact is, we just don't get it.

1 comment:

  1. I can't agree more with what you wrote. Apple has always left a distaste in my mouth, and I never got the whole Apple controlled OS environment, and "lunatic" fan base that they enjoy. It's a cult, really it is, with brainwashing, and denial front and center.

    Of course, Microsoft is now forcing updates on us also, and is making installing of certain software a pain as well, in the name of security. Which I understand to a degree, but still, I like my OS to be left alone generally and give me the option to do updates.

    As for Amazon, could Jeff Bezos be anymore arrogant and prideful? I believe that pride comes before a fall. What secrets are just waiting to come out to the light of day about Bezos, or Amazon? The mass media can't cover up stuff forever.

    They would be rich if they treated their employees well and made their products in America. But not nearly as rich, which I guess is a problem in their eyes.

    All I will say is this, these guys are lucky we live in a fairly civilized republic, as opposed to a state like China or the former Soviet Union. Guys like Bezos, Clinton, Obama, etc, who attempted to fight against sitting gov't leaders would find themselves in front of a firing squad after quick and speedy trials. Hmmm.... I guess there was some benefit to those governmental systems after all. :)