Tim Cook And Social Responsibility

It’s true that Apple did nothing illegal. Neither had GE when we discovered how little taxes it had paid. And neither do any number of corporations who take advantage of tax loopholes. The disclosures open the door for serious discussion about the responsibilities of companies who use the advantages of the US to establish themselves and make healthy profits. It is troubling though that large corporations, especially when compared to what average citizens pay, can avoid their share of a tax burden. More troubling, at least to me, is the defiant and defensive attitude of Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, when he testified before Congress. Basically he said, we create jobs and that’s our social responsibility. Mr. Cook did not mention that Apple’s profit on each unit it sells is higher than that of its competitors, which to me adds to the issue of social responsibility. Social responsibility ought not to be something to shirk from, especially not for a company that is as wealthy as Apple. Taxes are part of meeting our social responsibility, an aspect of the social contract that exists between citizens and their government. It may not seem relevant to CEO’s like Tim Cook, but it should be.