Speaking to Sky News at a conference in Northern Ireland, Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak has condemned the company's tax arrangements. The company has recently come under international scrutiny for minimising its tax bills.
Apple itself, you'd think, would say, 'My gosh, there's systems. We have to go for the way we can maximise our profits.
For example, I know some people who are, like, lawyers. They work in California, but they pretend, they make it seem like they work in Nevada, so they can avoid the high state income tax.
That's ethically wrong. On a personal level we always know when it's wrong.
For a corporation, there's no such thing as personal ethics. It's like you will do anything, any scheme you can, to maximise your profits.
Ben Southwood of the Adam Smith Institute disagrees. He argues that minimising corporation tax payments can be good news, and not just for firms.
Corporations may be not be people, but they are made up of people, and therefore are bound by the diktats of ethics. The question is not whether or not firms are required to act ethically but whether or not acting ethically requires firms to pay their taxes.
And since nearly every economist thinks corporation taxes are bad ways of raising revenue, it may well be that managers in firms are required to avoid and evade taxes as much as possible.
Doing otherwise could hit investment and wages and give an upward supply side shock to prices—all particularly bad in the context of the stagnation or weak recovery in most major economies.