Why Occupy Wall Street Protesters Should Not Ignore Steve Jobs


Since receiving news of Steve Jobs’ death on Wednesday, people have been laying flowers and half-eaten apples outside Apple stores around the country, and Tweeting furiously to pay their respects. At the same time, anger at corporate America is spreading across the country with growing criticisms of Bank of America and Citi Bank and the spread of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Juxtaposing these two movements raises an evident disconnect in the glorification of Jobs and in the anger that has been directed at big corporations for not giving back to society or creating jobs.

Recently, Bank of America announced a $5 monthly debit card fee that has been met with widespread criticism with accusations that they are not paying “their fair share of the bargain” and that they are responsible for “the middle class getting killed.”

While Citi Bank has faced heat for raising fees for its checking accounts and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan has been compelled to defend his company’s actions and its right to make profits, the recent praise of Apple has skimmed over the fact that Apple, too, is a big corporation making incredible profits and giving little back to society.

While Apple computers sell at more than $1,000 a piece and the company’s quarterly profits add up to over $7 billion, the company has no public record of corporate giving and has even been reluctant to permit apps on its devices that would serve to collect donations for charities and causes.

However, Apple’s lack of philanthropy is not the only thing that has been skimmed over.

Over the past few weeks, with unemployment standing at 9.1%, a common grievance that has been aired by many, including the Occupy Wall Street protestors, is the lack of jobs in the country.

Government and big banks are not creating enough jobs at the moment, but few have noticed that companies like Apple aren't either.  About two-thirds of Apple’s jobs are outsourced, with only 30 of the about 16,000 production workers for the iPod based in the United States.

Apple, of course, is not the only tech company to outsource production, but given the high prices charged for its products — with the average Apple laptop selling for a 114% premium to the average notebook — buyers who pay the "apple tax" should hold Apple to higher standards.

While Apple does not have an obligation to create employment in America or give to charity, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the company that creates iPhones, iPads, and all technology cool is still, at the end of the day, a company — making profits but not jobs — something for mourners and protestors alike to consider.

With the world’s eyes focused on Jobs and Apple, this might be the best time for the Occupy Wall Street movement to capitalize on the momentum and call Apple out for how little it has done for America and the economy.

Photo Credit: sHzaam!