Sometimes it costs your dignity:
Apple CEO Tim Cook:
“I think that we have a responsibility as a business to do business in as many places as we can because I think business is this huge catalyst. I believe in what Tom Watson said ‘world peace through world trade.’ I have always believed that.” https://t.co/RPrDMRZrxF
— Stephanie Hare (@hare_brain) November 24, 2021
Charles Rollet helpfully pointed out the origin of Tom Watson’s little slogan.
Unbelievable. Tim Cook is favorably quoting the 1930s @IBM slogan “World Peace Through World Trade” touted by IBM’s famous CEO Thomas Watson. But this was the same line Watson used to protect IBM’s huge business with Nazi Germany per @IBM and The Holocaust https://t.co/l5uK2o6gxW pic.twitter.com/YXb1QYjwXB
— Charles Rollet (@CharlesRollet1) November 24, 2021
But it’s not just Tim Cook. Here’s Jamie Dimon today.
— Bloomberg (@business) November 24, 2021
Add these to the pile where Charles Munger of Berkshire Hathaway responded to questions about the months-long disappearance of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma by saying that Ma had been “arrogant” to criticize the Chinese Community Party.
The idea that businesses can merely pursue “shareholder value” to the exclusion of other values is false. All these men now understand that their job includes defending the Chinese Communist Party from criticism. This doesn’t just affect their private statements; it will also affect their advice to U.S. policymakers.
Note that there is no elite omertà about criticizing Russia, with whom we do very little trade.
There is no such thing as free trade with communist nations. The remaining question is how much more this misadventure in doing good while getting rich is going to cost the rest of us.