An interesting dispute has now erupted between Apple and the EU over $14 billion in taxes that the EU says should have been paid to Ireland over the past decade. Instead, because the EU says that this shortfall is giving Apple favours, it now propose to punish Apple with a fine.
Not only has this aroused the ire of Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple but also the US government. This is very curious because the US is supposed to be friendly to the EU. At least it was a few weeks ago when President Obama chastised Britain for contemplating leaving the EU.
Since then there’s some (French) rumour that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which has been in negotiations between the US and the EU for the past eight years, is now in its death throes. Perhaps the US has now given up on seeing any future for the EU. As well it might, seeing that the EU is retreating more and more into its own tariff-fortress walls with every passing year.
The dispute is “interesting” rather than significant because it is only one of many disputes that are going on between major multinational corporations and governments. The latter are constantly trying to muscle in on the activities of big business in order to increase their taxation. The former are constantly trying to remain as free as possible from depredations.
All this is to be added to the normal competition that goes on between businesses and also between governments. It’s all a reminder that once we started to leave hunter-gathering behind us 10,000 years ago, we haven’t yet managed to develop suitable organisations that make for Good Lives for all of us at work and leisure.