Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Australia moves on IT business-as-unusual: "shifting profits into the ether"

Thank goodness for US leadership on corporate malfeasance, because without the US lead it is unlikely that anyone in any government elsewhere would ask the hard questions. What has happened in Australia this week is evidence for this incredible claim for US public interest exceptionalism in Congress. (Wow, did I just write that?)

The link Closing in? indicates that Apple has not told the entire story about its financial arrangements, its corporate structure, its unpublic culture or its active duplicity in poisoning civil society ideals.

As they say on the streets: pay your taxes you bastards! As they do not say enough in university political science departments, this is the time when interdisciplinary political theory is needed - bringing together IT business, industry policy, cultural policy and convergence-technology theory, with organisational theory, accounting, finance, ethics, history and criminal justice. "Secrecy jurisdictions" used by Apple and other IT firms, according to the article, include research on subsets of all these disciplines.  

There is no kind way to discuss Apple. It has been engaged in tax avoidance within an illegal corporate structure for years. Will we get a story about how Steve Jobs was part of this scam? He has been sainted by true believer fantasists on technology as part of the blind spot associated with technology promotion. For an uncompromising view on corporatisation through technology see Michael Adas Dominance by Design.
Furthermore, theorists of neo-liberalism will recognise the long tail unmaking social democracy in the actions of Apple and according to Adas, the role of the technology industry in diminishing public social life in favor of private interests.

On the same continuum, charity promotion by technology mavens who spend their massive wealth deciding on their pet projects - often freighted with emotion by appealing to suffering children, which makes their opponents seem mean spirited - is part of the larger picture of corporate malfeasance.  Billionaire IT gurus avoid discussion of privilege, poverty at home or the matters that should be dealt with in everyday life in the US or elsewhere, as they promote private choice as superior to public decisions making. It is degrading public culture by any other name.  

The culture of deceit that accompanies Information Technology is an unfortunate part of global corporate business culture. As I note in my recent article about drones, there is a distressing default  of wilful neglect in the culture.Killing The Thing You Love As long as we are not directly impacted by events, we are encouraged not to care.

Life mediated by digital devices constructs disinterest in participating in the lives of others, even while we "observe" with more intensity than ever before. We are more interested then ever.

The is the key philosophical move that the internet has produced. The contradiction extraodinaire, if you like.

The Internet allows pixilated people to populate the everyday. The visual turn that manifests every human attribute on the computer monitor, allows us to see with intense detail. Yet what we do is diminished. Those who have benefited most from the rise of the industry decide who gets a share in their riches - it's bye bye to the state as IT funded charities step in. Should the term charitiers be invented if it does not already exist?  

It is a mirror of the worst of Corporate America. It has taken the public for a ride. Corporate acolytes, sycophants and business school copy cats around the world follow suit. They offer computer users the "luxury" of more intense pixiliation in digital technology, then take the money and refuse to contribute to governance. Apple is just another corporation, cut from the same cloth as the rest of the double talkers, scam agents and monopoly players. (Hi, Bill Gates).

Banana republics are made of this. It would be correct to assume some US politicians do not like that option. Curiously, some Australians politicians and politicians elsewhere are pleased to follow the US lead in asking questions about the rotten apple.