Hey Apple and Chipotle: Get Real About Corporate Social Responsibility!

Have you heard about last week's annual investor meeting for Apple? Head honcho Tim Cook told investors who questioned the company's commitment to sustainability to go piss up a rope and dump the stock.

Is that a good idea or a bad idea? I'm not sure but, as I write at Time, a lot of the discussion about corporate social responsibility is just good old-fashioned B.S.:

Can we get real about corporate social responsibility (CSR), the idea that businesses shouldn’t just increase returns for shareholders but also benefit for free the larger world around them? Between Chipotle’s cryptic warning that global warming threatens the planet’s guacamole supply chain and Apple CEO Tim Cook seemingly forsaking return on investment (ROI) for social causes, CSR’s stock is spiking like Pets.com in the late 1990s.

“People, not profits” may be a powerful slogan but it’s a really stupid business plan, mostly because it assumes the two priorities are mutually exclusive – and that businesses that go belly up have any chance of helping anybody. So when a “visibly angry” Tim Cook told Apple investors who question man-made climate change to “get out of this stock” at the company’s annual shareholder meeting last week, he wasn’t really putting ideology over profits. In an economy where many people are willing to pay a premium to feel good about themselves or morally superior to less-enlightened souls, he was bidding up his company’s stock price.

Read the whole thing.

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  • Caleb Turberville||

    It really offends environmentalists that most people value the utility of computers and money more than other, ecological resources. They hate it that people don't share their views.

  • ||

    Steve Jobs must be seriously rolling over in his concrete-entombed crypt. As soon as he hibernates dies, the company he brought to the top gets turned into Retardville, with a mongoloid as its mayor.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Sorry, he's a Barner.

  • wareagle||

    hey hey hey.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Good! Karma's a bitch.

  • Sudden||

    Retardville

    There's an app for that.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Steve Jobs was dumb enough to rely on 'alternative therapy' to fight his cancer.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    exactly.

  • Zeb||

    So only FDA approval is good enough?

    I'll agree that most supposed alternative therapy is silly bullshit, but that doesn't mean that everything that might be called that is necessarily ineffective.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    How'd it work for ole Steve?

  • Pulseguy||

    Most people die if they get pancreatic cancer. I doubt it did anything, positive or negative.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    acupuncture, Whole Foods juices and crystals have nothing to do with the FDA.

  • Zeb||

    I know that. My point was that there may well be some valid things hiding among the bullshit. Things that are hard to distinguish from the bullshit because they can't be studied or used like regular drugs without jumping through the FDA hoops. The "big pharma is evil" crowd also has a bit of a point when they say that big corporations don't have much incentive to develop or do FDA approval for things that people could make or get cheaply from other sources.

    I guess that is a bit much to expect people to read into one snarky retort.

  • Sevo||

    Zeb|3.7.14 @ 3:42PM|#
    "I know that. My point was that there may well be some valid things hiding among the bullshit."

    If so, we won't find it from folks killing themselves.

  • Zeb||

    Wha?

    They won't, but we might.

  • Sudden||

    An interesting segue to a moment of irony I experienced last night. I attended an art competition in Silver Lake where 20 artists competed to create the best artistic decoration of a Red Bull cooler. Now, the collection of people there was a perfect amalgamation of the idle young, staycationing on the trust fund 20-something hipster crowd of Los Angeles.

    Walking around, you get the sense that all these people felt that TEH KORPURASHUNZ ARE RUINING DA WURLD! as they raged against the machine, comfortably enveloped by like-minded artists like themselves. The irony that they were competing in an event that was pure marketing seemed largely lost on them. Perhaps the Red Bulls and Apples and Suburus of the world are merely the TOP. MEN. of the business world.

    With each passing day, a new piece of evidence presents itself in my life that I am the only person capable of recognizing cognitive dissonance.

  • Zeb||

    I am the only person capable of recognizing cognitive dissonance.

    I think it is more that most people don't care. The anti-corporate shit is just social signaling. It doesn't matter if it is true or if they are consistent about it. That's not the point.

  • ||

    Yabut....guess what I saw in 7-11 yesterday for the first time since Hostess blew up?

    Yes. Yeeeeeeesssssssss.

  • anon||

    Saw, or bought? Cause it looks like you bought those just to take a pic of them!

  • ||

    They have this little thing nowadays called Google Images.

    The ones I bought were white, and they were too fresh. They need a little time to cure.

  • ||

    Suzy-Q's are better.

    When I was growing up my mom would take us to the Hostess thrift shop to stock up on near-expiry snack cakes for our lunchboxes. Those were awesome times.

  • ||

    So Kristen, you're saying you like snowballs? You said it!

  • ||

    No need for a link - I ain't no spring chicken.

    And I like Sno Balls, FTR.

  • ||

    I realize that you are aware of the connotation, Kristen. The link was for the young'uns. And your mom, who I understand reads this site avidly.

  • ||

    And your mom, who I understand reads this site avidly.

    Only if someone gathered up all her ashes and reanimated her...

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    "arise, chicken...chicken arise!"

  • Brandybuck||

    There is no word so innocent that Urban Dictionary can't find some slang usage to gross you out with.

  • anon||

    I first heard of snowballing about 20 years ago. Pretty sure that predates Urban Dictionary.

  • ||

    I wouldn't think Kevin Smith originated it, but since he had Scott Mosier playing Willam 'Snowball' Black well before large portions of the internet had been invented, I'd say it certainly didn't start with UD.

  • Brandon||

    I've asked this before, but does anyone else remember apple cinnamon or some similar flavor twinkies? I swear I had them once when I was a kid, and they were amazing. They had like a sort of cinnamon-pudding filling instead of the cream. I NEED TO KNOW THIS WASN'T A DREAM!

  • Brett L||

  • Sudden||

    You're welcome

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Corporate Social Responsibility = "Kick down that payment to my non-profit of choice, or shall smear you with bad publicity."

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's really just part of public relations and branding. That's all it is in a publicly traded company, unless they also have some gimmick for ripping off the government.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's not to say that individual executives might not have personal commitments to causes that they push in their roles as executives, but if it interferes in the business' financial success, they won't remain in those roles for long.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It may be both of those, but leading the charge is some single-issue band of true believers, tossing paint at the walls, kicking and screaming in their high-chairs, if the KKKORPORASHUNS are insufficiently devout in their corporate social responsibilities.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's nice and all, but, in the end, you'd better bring home the earnings. If not, you'll be unemployed. Those freaks can't really make that happen.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    These anti-empiricists who want to invest only in companies with a right-wing worldview should follow Cook's advice and get out of Apple altogether.

    Maybe they could get into Qualcomm (who makes the CPU for iPhones).

    Nahh, that won't work either. The founder hosts Obama fundraisers.

    OK, Google then.

    Ahhhh - fuck it.

  • Sudden||

    DERP.

    8%

    relocated from the Oval Office to the residence

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

  • Knutsack||

    So you're saying that Obama is in bed with corporate money just as much as any other president? How progressive of him!

  • AlexInCT||

    ^^^THIS^^^

    And these people give him money becase they know that they will be made to pay far more otherwise.. That doesn't make bama the good guy BTW butt-plug

  • The Last American Hero||

    Remember how Obama promised during the primaries to run his campaign with public funding?
    Remember when McCain offered to help him follow through on his pledge and take public money for the elections if Obama would?

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|3.7.14 @ 2:22PM|#
    "These anti-empiricists..."

    Hey, 8% assshole! Have you read Matt's comaprison between Reagan and your fave lying bastard?
    "Mourning in America".
    No words more than 3 syllables, so idjits like you can read it!

  • anon||

    Apple CEO Tim Cook tells Investors Who Care More About Return on Investment than Climate Change: Your Money is No Longer Welcome

    Sounds like a great time to start shorting Apple stock.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If I want to fund some sort of climate change bunker or whatever, I'll do that with money allocated for that purpose. For my investments, however, I want to maximize my ROI. Thanks.

  • ||

    Hide out in the Florida coal mines. I hear those are the safest place in any sort of apocalypse, particularly one of the rising-oceans variety.

  • Floridian||

    Jokes on you. I've calculated the ocean rise and I'll be sitting on prime beach front property in a thousand years.

    Check and mate my friend.

  • ||

    Otisville?!?

    We all have our little faults. Mine's in California.

  • Jan S.||

    Actually, it was Otisburg. A little bitty place.

  • Sudden||

    When geothermal activity causes California to break off from the mainland U.S. and become a banana republic (literally shaped like a banana too!), living in Downtown L.A. will afford me access to the political power center of the newly independent dystopia since it will almost certainly be making L.A. its capital. I will then become the Doug Stamper to the rising Frank Underwood of this new socialist hellhole and benefit from the largesse collected from the sweat of working stiffs.

  • ||

    Escape from LA

  • ||

    Learn to swim learn to swim learn to swim learn to swim learn to swim...

  • Brandybuck||

    Progressives never put their money where their mouths are. In San Francisco Bay Area, the conservative/libertarian upper middle class live in the hills, but the progressive/liberal upper middle class live right on the coastal flats.

    WTF? If you believe that global warming is going to cause sea levels to rise eight feet in the next fifty years, then why the fuck did you pay premium to live on two foot elevation landfill lagoon?

  • Sudden||

    Living on the hills above the cities would be nouveau riche and othering

  • Overt||

    Because if they moved, problem solved. Much better to force drastic economic sanctions to prevent said catastrophe.

  • Pulseguy||

    I live on the water. My house is about 25' above sea level. My neighbor, a staunch environut, has a house that is about 5' above sea level. Our local paper ran an article in 2007 saying that by 2012 we would have 20' sea level rises. All the neighborhood was up in arms. The environut was most vocal. I asked if his home was going up for sale. 'No, why?', he asked. Because your house will be under water in a few years!!! He said he thought about it, but was going to wait to make sure it was correct. When I pointed out his house would be unsellable once it was obvious it was correct, he still said he wanted to wait. Total liars.

  • Brett L||

    March 26 in Houston! Going with an old HS chum.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Here's something interesting that I learned last year: There's a hill in Central Florida, near Lake Wales, where Bok Tower is located. It's something like 300 feet above sea level. This location was above water even when the rest of the peninsula was not.

    I intend to buy this hill, just to hedge my bets. Even without any massive warming due to AGW, there's natural warming and, of course, nuclear warming.

  • ||

    And it makes a perfect location for an artillery battery, too.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good point. There's also an old mansion on property that I can seize, and the tower itself might be useful as a defense tower. I can also berth my zeppelin there.

  • Swiss Servator, alles klar?||

    "Tell the servants to drag the 15 pounders here, here and here. Also, send the powder barrels and extra shot to the arsenal. Oh, and send out gin and tonics"

  • Floridian||

    I live in Orlando and was thinking about visiting Bok Tower. Is it nice?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, I like it quite a bit. Gardens, trees, ponds, a carillion they play live on occasion, etc. There's also a view into the valley where Lake Wales is, which is a positively surreal experience for Florida.

    For extra money, there's an old mansion you can tour, too.

  • Floridian||

    Neat. Thanks.

  • BigT||

    Floridian, I presume you are familiar with Mt Dora. We visited it last month during our 'get-out-of-winter' vacation. Quite nice.

  • Number 2||

    Somebody remind "Apple Head Honcho" Tom Cook that he works for the shareholders, not the other way around, and in cases of disagreement, he's the one who leaves, not them.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    There's no sugar coating it, I've bought my last Apple product. Bought my first with the iPhone 5. Unimpressed. And definitely not impressed enough to support such drivel about social responsibility.

    Fuck off and die in a fire Apple.

  • ||

    I will never knowingly give Apple another dime of my money after the shitty iPod Mini and the shitty iPhone (first gen) I bought. Cheap (but not the price) and shoddy is all I can say.

    That being said, I do enjoy the iPad Mini I won in a raffle and it's not as craptastic as the iPod or iPhone I had.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I like the iPad. I do not like the iPhone.

  • Brandon||

    I like that KOTOR has been ported to the iPad. And that it actually works, unlike the Steam version.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm replaying KOTOR right now. It's been a few years. Primitive as it now seems, I fucking love it. What a great storyline! Better than the prequels. Wish they'd made the third game rather than the MMO, which probably kills any chance for a third single-player game for quite a while.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    There's no sugar coating it,

    15 yard penalty, failure to complete the meme. Repost comment downthread.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I liked my iPhone 5. Of course I was coming from a Droid 2.

    I have since however bought a Nexus 5 and went noncontract with Straight Talk. Even better, when I sold my iphone on swappa I came out up $100.

  • Zeb||

    I like Macintosh. Though I don't like the new hardware as much as my 5 year old MacBook. Why would anyone think it was better to have a battery that you can't replace easily or a HDD and memory that you can't replace or upgrade yourself (well you can and I have, but you know what I mean). I don't see myself ever buying any iNonsense, though.

  • ||

    arvay 7 hours ago
    Once, American capitalists like Andrew Carnegie had a vision that reached beyond profits. They knew that society at large was indispensable and worthy of serious measures to improve it, by people with power and money. Now, our "leadership" class is riddled with narcissistic ignoramuses who think profit is all and the rest will take care of itself. They are busy destroying the society that nurtured them.

    So kudos toCook, who has both talent and an education in more than a balance sheet.

    I thought the Left hated Carnegie. Did that change recently?

  • ||

    Cognitive dissonance is a way of life for some, Warty, just like using your timesuit to go back in time and have sex with yourself is a way of life for you. Did you find your penis yet?

  • ||

    I found a penis.

  • R C Dean||

    Just one?

  • Juice||

    There's like 5 or 6 dicks in here!
    LEPER WHORE!!!

  • Tim||

    They revere Reagan now too.

  • Brandon||

    See, the thing is, you could negotiate with Reagan, he was REASONABLE, not like these ideologues who have taken over the Rethuglikkkan party today.

  • Paul.||

    Well, because that was back when politics worked. Plus the left learned to love trickle-down economics. Except the left's version of trickle-down econ is when a corrupt official from the state takes your money and gives it to Solyndra his friends.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Sort of how the Left hated Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush and now doesn't. They always try to appeal to the past to make the new crop of people they hate "be reasonable"

  • JW||

    They are busy destroying the society that nurtured them.

    By selling the public products and services that they want?

    Those evil BASTARDS!

  • R C Dean||

    Regardless of anyone's views on global warming, for a CEO to tell his owners to piss off if they disagree with him on an issue that has nothing to do with the company shows a colossal failure of judgment.

    I almost with I owned some Apple, just so I could sell it. Their current CEO is, in my opinion, unfit for the job.

  • anon||

    I almost with I owned some Apple, just so I could sell it.

    That's the beauty of a short sale.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    So when does the derivative suit start? Cook has just openly stated he breaches his fiduciary duty on the regular.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Depends on the projected ROI for the green investment.

    Less than five years? Bad return. Throw it out 20-30 years? Cook will win that lawsuit in minutes.

  • Cytotoxic||

    the projected ROI for the green investment.

    MY SIDES ARE UNDER SEVERE STRESS.

  • ||

    I hate to take his side, but he's right given the political context.

    That is, anyone willing to call him on his FYTW tirade will have to pursue the 5-10 yr. payoff that can be calculated by investment bankers and actuaries. If he kicks his defense 30, 40, or even 50 yrs. down the road the actuaries have to cede to the 'SMEs', futurists, and prognosticators.

    Also, the people pursuing for $$$ reasons are going to want their $$$ now whereas the people pursuing for ideological reasons just look mean besmirching Cook's name until his green-ROI becomes red.

  • Paul.||

    You know who else kicks things 30, 40 or even 50 years down the road?

  • Swiss Servator, alles klar?||

    Starfleet Command?

  • Brandon||

    Shrike is assuming the government will be able to bail out the "Green" companies indefinitely.

  • AlexInCT||

    Brawndo will fix that...

  • Floridian||

    Advice Request:

    For you smart money guys, does it matter who holds your IRA? I'm changing jobs and want to roll my 401k into a traditional IRA. My bank (USAA) has IRAs and I want to use them because I'll have all my money in one place that I like doing business with, but I don't love them enough to waste money if there is a better option. Thanks in advance.

  • R C Dean||

    I would not have any account with any company that trades for its own account. USAA does not, so they are a good choice IMO. I don't believe Fidelity does, either.

    The danger of having any funds with a company that trades for its own account is that if (when?) they fuck up their own trades, your account with them is available to them to cover their losses.

  • Floridian||

    Thanks. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to money, so I live below my means and try to save as much as I can in my 401k. I've never had to transfer a 401k and our HR lady said the easiest way to take my 401k was to put it in an IRA.

  • ||

    Have fun when the government decides it needs your IRA/401k. Which should within a few years now.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    ???

    I don't think it can just be appropriated. Taxed, perhaps. Where do you keep your money, a mattress?

  • ||

    I've diversified my funds. I keep some in your mom, and some in RC's mom. There's a lot of room so I haven't had to branch out from that yet.

  • anon||

    I don't think it can just be appropriated.

    Considering there's already discussion about seizing retirement accounts to plan your retirement for you (all for your own good), I'd say that about one of the most naive thoughts you could have.

  • Sudden||

    But it can't be simply appropriated because its not money, its investments and partial ownership of companies. In order to convert it into money, it needs to be sold and in order to be sold it needs a market of other people to sell it to which would not exist in the post-annexation of retirement accounts world.

    The only other way around that would be if the government took control of all these stock and bond investments without selling but rather owning the stocks and then becoming the controlling shareholder of every company in the U.S., but that would be full fledged communi.....

    oh wait, now that I think about it, I can see this regime doing that.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Believe what you like. There's space between paranoid cynicism to the 10th degree and naivete.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    ???

    Episiarch has gone full Conspiracy Theory wingnut lately.

    He never really had a unique voice anyway but now he is just Glenn Beck style douchey.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama is locking all us white people up in FEMA camps first. That is my big worry.

  • R C Dean||

    It will be a slow-motion appropriation, by changing the tax laws to say that a tax-advantaged retirement account needs to own X% of Treasuries. That X% will rise over time, and before they're done, most of your retirement account will have been transferred to the feds in exchange for IOUs.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The run on those accounts will be massive. You can't even introduce a 1% requirement without people like us, the Tea Partiers etc. all cashing out and buying metals in about 10 seconds. I'll take the tax hit just to do it, too.

  • Sudden||

    I think the logical first step will be taxing the Roth capital gains. That is something that I not only view as feasible, but I've spoken with several financial planners who share at least some concerns over the same (albeit they'll still recommend Roths to young clients who aren't getting a match and have a long time horizon).

    That said, I don't think many people would cash out their 401ks at a 1% treasury requirement. And from there they'll simply rachet it up like the devil drawing a line in the sand/frog in room temperature water being brought to a boil.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Throw in a penalty with a Medicaid style look back and you'd be fucked before you could do anything about it.

  • Floridian||

    Serious question: where should I put my extra money? I don't have time to open a business and I don't know what to do with my extra cash except IRA/401k. I'm not smart enough to day trade, so what other option do I have other than spending it all?

  • Brandon||

    Hold on to your IRA/401K, there's no guarantee it will be seized. But don't put all of your excess cash into it. Money market accounts have provided good returns recently, or you could buy gold, guns, tools, real estate, any hard asset. If you had asked yesterday I'd have told you to buy stock in a Uranium mine or extraction company, but the run on that is over for a minute.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Money market accounts have provided good returns recently

    Say what?

  • Floridian||

    I saw an article that said because interest rates are low money market accounts don't make sense right now.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Yeah, money markets are providing nothing right now.

    I know it is popular around here to think that the government is going to steal your 401k, but I personally do not see it happening. I mean, I guess they could always steal your real estate holdings too, right?

    Just keep it simple and invest as much as you can in retirement. If you are maxing out, then you can move to a taxable brokerage account.

  • Floridian||

    My plan is to put 9% in 401k and 6000 in tradition IRA. All other cash goes to paying off student loans then mortgage. The area I need advice in is what to invest my IRA in. Hopefully my new 401k will have a target date fund like my last one did.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I just looked, USAA has Target retirement mutual funds but the fees are high.

    Comparing the expense ratio with Vanguard for the 2060 Retirement fund, it is .18%(Vanguard) vs. 1.11%(USAA).

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    And if you come back Floridian, Clark Howard gives pretty good advice for people such as yourself who want simple investing strategies:

    http://www.clarkhoward.com/new.....uide/nFZK/

  • Floridian||

    Awesome. Thanks M'Lady.
    /bows politely

  • Brandon||

    Noooo! Not money market, currency market accounts. Money market accounts are straight interest-bearing. Sorry, Floridian. International currency funds.

  • Floridian||

    Cool. Thnx.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You want a self-directed IRA and USAA is as safe (or better) than any but do they offer traditional brokerage services or just funds? Do you even care which?

  • Floridian||

    I'm not well educated in fiancé. From what I understand buying an index that matches the S&P 500 is the easiest way for someone to get a reasonable return over the long term without active management. Also management fees are lower than mutual funds. I have 30 more years to retirement so I don't mind risk right now. Also this won't be my primary savings, about 70K, I will have a new 401k at my new job.

  • anon||

    I'm not well educated in fiancé

    Don't worry, I'll take care of her for you.

  • Floridian||

    I should proofread moar. Finance of course.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    From what I understand buying an index that matches the S&P 500 is the easiest way for someone to get a reasonable return over the long term without active management

    A great low risk, low fee, low maintenance strategy.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The S&P has averaged 1.6% per year for the past 13 years.

    It has gained 23% in 13 years. It's a shit long term investment given the economic policies of the last decade and a half.

  • Floridian||

    What would you do FdA? I need something that doesn't require active management. An idiot proof investment if you will.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Buy land in Chile?

    Don't ask me. My investment history is abysmal. I buy high and sell low. Perhaps I could open an investment corporation and you could short me?

    My opinion is that there is a very good chance that our economy is unsalvageable. If true, hard assets, land/gold will be the only thing that will retain value.

    Of course, if I invest that way, I'll be wrong.

  • Floridian||

    Land you say? I do like telling people to git off my property!

  • nonluddite||

    That's a little disingenuous, since it also pays dividends--currently 1.8% (26% over 13 years at that rate).

  • brokencycle||

    USAA does offer brokerage services.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I like Vanguard & T. Rowe, but I don't know enough about USAA to know the difference between the other two.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I'm reminded of a point made in Basic Economics. Sowell was addressing the claim that there are non-economic values that the a free market doesn't account for and that government must therefore address. I'm paraphrasing, but his point was that there are no non-economic values. Markets simply reveal preferences, and sometimes people's preferences are not what they pretend them to be. "CSR" would seem to be a case in which markets are giving people a chance to express their supposedly "non-economic values". I may not always agree with those values, but I can't help but appreciate (again) how awesome markets are at giving people, even a minority of people, what they want. I suspect that fact is lost on a lot of the people who are so obsessed with social responsibility, though.

  • John||

    Sowell is right. There is an entire principle of accounting that allows for the accumulation and depreciation of "public good will".

    It is not hard to see how something like the Ronald McDonald House helps McDonald's bottom line, if for no other reason than free advertising.

    Leftists only think that charity is not accounted for by the market because they have a puritanical view of charity. They think charity should be measured by intentions and sacrifices and thus charity that actually helps the giver doesn't count.

  • The Last American Hero||

    What ASC section are you referring to? Goodwill on McDonald's financials represents the amount they paid to acquire other companies in excess of the net book value of those companies. It has jack all to due with altruism or charity. Your second sentence is true, but there is no recognition or quantification of such in the balance sheet of McDonalds.

  • John||

    You are right. I forgot my definition of "goodwill".

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Next the wingnut anti-empiricist investors will demand that biotech companies ditch molecular biology in favor of Creation-based cures.

  • R C Dean||

    By "wingnut anti-empiricist", you mean CSR investors? Because the CSR crowd is chock-full of "frankengene" luddites.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    R C, I am disappoint. You know he's not actually arguing in good faith, right?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Remind me what CSR is, RC.

    For you NK, I actually am a very liberal small gov type. I know the conservatives here want to pretend we don't exist for some reason.

    I do care more about personal freedom than a point on the high end of the marginal tax rate.

  • Sudden||

    What is personal freedom is not the freedom to keep the fruits of one's labor?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    64% of it? 65% of it?

    A point won't put me back on the GOP Plantation. No chance. That is the difference on taxes.

    Of course drugs, prostitution, and gambling aren't legal yet either and I don't see Team Red going all out on those either.

    Both parties suck.

  • KPres||

    A point?

    Didn't Obama go from 35% to 40%? That's 5 points.

  • The Last American Hero||

    see also payroll taxes.

  • Special Agent Marc F Cheney||

    8% of it.

  • R C Dean||

    You know he's not actually arguing in good faith, right?

    S'okay. Neither am I.

    Remind me what CSR is, RC.

    Take a gander at the post your commenting on.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    F

    That wasn't even an 8% effort.

  • ||

    Watch out, dude! Tulpa doesn't like being graded!

  • Sudden||

    Tulpuppet, Epi. His name is Tupluppet

  • ||

    He went to Reed College, then?

  • Paul.||

    The corporate social responsibility beat is predicated on the notion that by definition, a corporation is hurting society, so society needs to get "something back" for all the damage being done.

    CSR’s stock is spiking like Pets.com in the late 1990s.

    Fun fact. The company I worked for (bought us out) was the Worst Performing IPO of the year until PETS.Com finally edged us out.

    We were so mediocre, we couldn't even be notably bad.

  • Sudden||

    I think I have found a way for libertarians to distinguish ourselves at future anti-war protests.

    "MAKE PROFITS, NOT WAR"

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Oooooh, I like.

  • Sudden||

    I intend on creating the artistic image of it for online distribution. Sort of my modern anti-Shepherd Ferry

  • RandomGermanDude||

    Used a sign with "MAKE TRADE NOT WAR" at an anti-war protest back in my home town.

    The look of some leftists (especially a former school teacher of mine) was priceless.

  • JW||

    The Space Jew Ferengi model. Very nice.

  • John||

    The Apple guy is an early favorite for ass clown of the year. When shareholders had the nerve to ask him why he is doing alternative energy shit rather than making money. His response was to have a temper fit saying that any evil AGW deniers should just not buy stock in the company.

    Hey dip shit, you are an employee of the shareholders. You are not Steve Jobs. You didn't build the company. It doesn't belong to you. You are the fucking hired help. You are entrusted with running the company. You don't own it.

  • Sudden||

    You didn't build the company

    Good work, Comrade!

    Sincerely,

    PresidentCommissar Barack Obama

  • John||

    If I own the company Sudden, I am perfectly free to run it in the ground in the name of green energy. If I am hired by the shareholders, I have a duty to make them money not pursue my green dreams.

    That was my point. And literally speaking, a hired CEO didn't build that. That is true.

  • Sudden||

    I understand the point you were making John and concur completely.

    I was just being snarky and mocking the dictator in chief. I am in a very snarky mood today.

  • John||

    My apologies for not getting the joke.

  • Mokers||

    I would think that renewable energy is a good hedge against a possible carbon tax. A company that builds a lot of renewable energy resources now would benefit from the impending regulatory scheme. They likely benefit from tax credits to build the renewable energy, then avoiding a possible carbon tax, and if there is a carbon trading scheme, they are ripe to sell credits and make money.

    I suspect the bigger thing is that apple wants a certain customer. They sell to people who care about good intentions and could give a shit about results. Walmart is sullied because they sell "cheap chinese crap", but Apple needs to build things in China to keep margins high just as much as Walmart or anybody else. Tim Cook saying shit like the above keeps people looking the other way because of intentions.

    It's all about projection for these people and Apple lets them project that they care about the environment.

    That being said, he definitely shouldn't shit on the shareholders.

  • John||

    If it makes business sense because "if we do this we will build a better brand with stupid people", that is fine. But he should explain that rather than telling shareholders to fuck off.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Apple's margins are much higher than Walmart's.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Partially because people are willing to pay more (much more) for their crap as a signaling method to others. Cook is trying to recreate the Apple mystique (and reinforce the signaling) as a forward thinking corporation, not thru design (like Jobs did) but by giving some lipservice to bullshit activism. It's a dumb move that is easily replicated and will not bolster their long term prospects.

  • John||

    It should be noted that one of the major contentions by both the government and several friends of the court brief in the pending lawsuit over the Obamacare mandate is that no company can be "religious". The contention is that since Hobby Lobby is a publicly traded company, its duties are strictly to maximize its share value and cannot include having any values other than that.

    I am not a corporate law expert. So I can't comment on the validity of that claim. I am skeptical of it, but it also seems reasonable. If that is true and a publicly help company can't have religious values, then it can't have all of these bullshit "social values" either. All of them are a betrayal of their duty to their shareholders.

  • Sudden||

    its duties are strictly to maximize its share value and cannot include having any values other than that

    Of course, opposition to forced subsidization of a particular drug would be in its best business interest as well.

  • John||

    I disagree with that position. There is nothing that says a company must make shareholder's money. The duty is to do what shareholder's want done. If shareholder's are okay with a company having religious values, that is their business. If they are not, then they should act to remove the CEO is doing such.

    What makes the apple guy such an assclown is that he was talking to shareholders. His view is that he is in no way answerable to them and if they don't like it, they should sell. Ah, no, they have another option which is take over the board and fire his dumb ass.

  • anon||

    There is nothing that says a company must make shareholder's money. The duty is to do what shareholder's want done.

    I'm just sayin', generally, what shareholders want done is for the company to make them money. Are there shareholders that don't want that? Sure. But they're fucking idiots anyways.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Bingo.

    My only problem with that line of thinking is that it should be incumbent on the shareholders to enforce that directive. If, for example, you had 500 shareholders who were all committed to green energy even though it doesn't maximize ROI, well, no one is going to sue anyway. But once someone does, it's pretty much an automatic loss.

    Here, though, you have government ascribing what should be the corporation's goals instead of letting the shareholders decide that for themselves.

  • John||

    The government demanding it is a big problem. But I think the government and the various corporate law profs who filed briefs in the Hobby Lobby case are wrong. A company should be free to have whatever values the shareholders can tolerate.

    If all or a majority of shareholders are okay with the company going green or refusing to pay for birth control for their employees, that is the shareholders' right.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    In theory I agree. In practice, at a minimum we should simply keep it to case law generated by the shareholders themselves.

  • John||

    The only reason I am sympathetic to the argument is that it is so difficult for shareholders to hold boards and CEO's accountable.

  • R C Dean||

    Back in the day, that was true, John. Corporations couldn't even make charitable donations, on the theory that money spent on charity should have been distributed to shareholders so they can donate it to charity if they want.

    Its easy enough for Hobby Lobby to argue that they believe that running an organization on Christian principles is how they maximize shareholder value. Corporate culture, work ethic, personal responsibility, etc.

    What's not so easy is for Tim Cook to argue that making actual investments in
    "green" projects that are known to be money-losers is going to maximize shareholder value.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Well, he can just argue later that it all goes into "goodwill". And he'll get E&Y or Deloitte to back him up on it.

  • The Last American Hero||

    That's not how goodwill works.

    Although the Big 8-7-6-5-4 will likely sign off on anything a big client like Apple cooks up.

  • ||

    Or at least split the difference on any liability.

  • John||

    I tend to agree with the older rule. Unless Cook can make a case that public good will makes up for the money lost, I think he is guilty of fraud.

    There is nothing special about "green energy" whatever that is. Suppose Cook were investing in pork belly futures and losing money. Claiming it was some kind of "social good" to do so wouldn't make his actions any more acceptable. So the claims that "green energy is good" don't work there either.

  • Brandon||

    Shrike already addressed that. In 20 or 30 years, which will, of course, be extended to 80 or 100 years when the 20 or 30 year claim doesn't hold up, the green energy investments will totally pay off.

  • GILMORE||

    "one of the major contentions by both the government and several friends of the court brief in the pending lawsuit over the Obamacare mandate is that no company can be "religious"

    I think this will fail under law.

    Volokh does too

    http://www.volokh.com/2013/08/.....-purposes/

  • John||

    I agree with Volkh. But if it doesn't, it calls into question a lot more than just religious values professed by corporations.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not even close, of course. This is actually a very well-established area of the law, generally speaking.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    I am a corporate lawyer (though probably not an "expert" just yet) and while I am not sure public/private matters from a legal perspective, it would as a practical matter. Directors of private corporations have the same duties as directors of public corporations and are thus open to shareholder litigation. But if Hobby Lobby is privately held by a few shareholders who hold the same beliefs, who's going to sue them?

    Here's a link to someone who is an expert: http://www.professorbainbridge.....sblog.html

  • John||

    No one. And that is why I think the claim is erroneous. If I and a hundred of my close friends want to set up a corporation that gives every cent of profit it makes to Greenpeace or the Catholic church, why is that not a valid corporation?

  • Paul.||

    But if Hobby Lobby is privately held by a few shareholders who hold the same beliefs, who's going to sue them?

    Probably a corporate lawyer.

    That's a joke, son.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    We don't sue.

    We (not me or my firm, of course) fuck up, which then leads to lawsuits.

  • Paul.||

    No, you think you fuck up, leading to meaningless warning labels, waivers and legal mumbojumbo that makes life harder for everyone, but hasn't stopped a single lawsuit.

    /bitterness

  • Lord at War||

    John-

    The contention is that since Hobby Lobby is a publicly traded company,

    Hobby Lobby is privately owned.

  • GILMORE||

    So I guess that Time Magazine and FP shared their design decision. Same owners?

    The curse seems less painful @ Time. At FP, its goddamn epic.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm guessing that was a big "Fuck you" to Carl Icahn.

    "How dare some asshole buy up a substantial ownership position in this publicly traded corporation and then try to tell me, TIM COOK- CEO!, what to do? Da noive o dat guy!"

  • Special Agent Marc F Cheney||

    As I understand it, his name is actually Activist Investor Carl Icahn.

  • PapayaSF||

    I think Tim Cook is right. Not because I'm a climate change alarmist, but because I'm fine with Apple doing what they think is best. E.g. using solar for new facilities may be cost-effective when considering future oil price shocks, etc. And the PR value of being more "green" will likely help sell products. If they believe in climate change and want to do things like that, fine, it's their money.

    Apple has always tended to do what they think is right, and not necessarily what is popular. Howard Roark was not totally devoted to ROI, either.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Apple has done no such thing. Jobs was notorious for not doing much cause stuff when he was calling the shots.

    But I agree, with their consumers, they get some lift from doing green stuff. So why not? But like anything you do for branding and public relations, it damned well better not interfere with actually making money, or you will be seeking new employment.

  • Mokers||

    Eh, Jobs was there when Apple got in bed with Product (RED). This is obviously a different scale, but like you said as long as Apple keeps their profits up, the shareholders won't mind. And think of all the derpy institutions that want to invest based on feelings. I am sure CALSTRS and CALPERS are loving it.

  • Special Agent Marc F Cheney||

    Howard Roark didn't have a fiduciary duty to any shareholders.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "I think Tim Cook is right."

    Whether or not he is right is some what beside the point. He lost his temper at legitimate questions from people who have every right to question his choices on green energy investments.

  • prolefeed||

    And so it is with Apple. The minute that Cook – or Virgin CEO Richard Branson, who congratulated Cook and wrote “businessess should stand up to climate change deniers”

    Said the guy who owns a fucking AIRLINE and cavorts around on a water ski towed by a boat burning a fuckton of fuel.

  • Another David||

    When you're as far into the stratosphere as Apple is, I really could not give less of a fuck whether the company is squeezing every last possible cent out every segment of their operation. If you're making so much profit that it's physically impossible to spend, by definition you're doing right by your investors.

  • OldMexican||

    Head honcho Tim Cook told investors who questioned the company's commitment to sustainability to go piss up a rope and dump the stock.


    ... piss a rope... hmm, and ... dump stock. Got it. Thank you, Tim Cook! I'll call my broker right away! I will buy me a few shares in Exxon while we're at it, and Koch Industries.

    "People, not profits" may be a powerful slogan but it's a really stupid business plan, mostly because it assumes the two priorities are mutually exclusive


    No, you don't understand. The assumption is that your customers believe they're mutually-exclusive and that you must then "get with the program."

    Just Google "Sustainability Certification Program" to see just how much businesses are willing to pay to put lipstick on a completely imaginary pig.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Somebody doesn't like having his faith questioned.

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    Hey Apple, dose Social Responsibility include Chinese slave labor?

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