The financialisation of Apple
Critical paper on the way in which Apple is short-changing societies by acting as a financial investor when handling its enormous company profits instead of reinvesting it into the real economy.
The multinational shrewdly minimises its corporate costs through the relentless offshoring of production and related activities to low-wage countries and tax havens. Its accumulated returns far outstretch Apples capacity to reinvest its earnings productively. As a result, Apple increasingly operates like a large institutional investor, investing most of its mounting cash pile in financial markets.
The case of Apple does not stand on its own but is just one example of corporate financialisation. The overall outcome of these developments is paradoxical: Never before were corporations more awash with cash, outside of a small group of corporate managers and shareholders hardly anyone is benefiting. On the contrary: corporate financial investments reinforce troubling trends of high unemployment, rising debts, inequality and fiscal austerity in Europe and the US an precarious and badly paid jobs in the Global South.
To contribute to a more balanced and sustainable economy, multinational corporations should be forced by governments to:
- pay their fair share in taxes
- pay decent wages
- invest their cash reserves in productive rather than financial assets