After all the cant and silliness of the debate about tax and morality it was refreshing to hear Eric Schmidt’s robust defence of Google’s tax strategy. He told Bloomberg:
“We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways. I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.”
“It’s called capitalism,” he said. “We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.” I found this in the Telegraph here.
No, it’s the rest of the political classes who are confused; who seem to have forgotten that maximising shareholder value is what companies are for, and that this one virtue trumps all others – especially when no law has been broken.
Socialists, Greens, people who believe in outlandish ideas like steady state economics or real fairness in society are often derided as romantics or fantsists, but I think the free marketeers trump us all. In the face of daily evidence of the single minded drive to acquire, control and create shareholder value that is modern capitalism they still try to convince us that there is a higher morality in all this. Grow up. Listen to Eric Schmidt and, if you want to change anything, try changing the law if you can.