It’s longstanding tradition on The Left Call to challenge overarching narratives and mainstream premises. And with that in mind, if you are looking for an example of what is wrong with our capitalist society, look no further than recent stories about Apple Inc.
Erica Ogg over at GigaOM writes that it’s “Too soon to tell if it’s the beginning of the end for the Mac.” OK, so not necessarily the death of Apple, but it still sounds dire, right?
GigaOM — With just one quarter of dipping Mac sales to go off of, it’s hard to make a pronouncement about whether the Mac’s growth days are over. We’ll need at least another quarter of shrunken sales before we can start legitimately wondering if the Mac is losing steam.
OK, so one more quarter and then we might be able to start nailing up that coffin?
And then tonight on ABC World News, I watched an entire segment devoted to Apple. In this half-hour news program, they asked: Can apple invent the next big thing? During his introduction to the segment, David Muhr said, “Tonight, many questioning whether the loss of Steve Jobs has hurt the company for good.” — Really? — And who exactly are these “many” you speak of?
Alright, so this isn’t a new line of thinking. And even on this blog I’m forced to admit that common wisdom (at least one of those things is accurate) does posit that Apple owe’s much of its success to the late Steve Jobs. And so I guess if that’s true, then I guess it’s possible Apple could lose its way. It happened before.
But why all the recent speculation?
Well, the key word is indeed “speculation,” because Apple reported a record quarterly profit. You would think that news would be greeted with cheers, but instead, our capitalist society decided it didn’t like something in that quarterly report. Just look at the headline over at CNN Money: (“Apple sells 48 million iPhones, but profit squeezed“) — Would it matter at all if I told you that Apple’s previous sales record for iPhones was 37 million? But nope, that doesn’t matter, because Apple still made a huge profit, it just wasn’t as big as people “speculated” it could be. And would you call that profit “squeezed” if I told you it happened to be the second largest profit ever by a U.S. corporation?
CNN Money — The company sold 47.8 million iPhones during the past quarter, shattering the record of 37 million that it set a year ago when the iPhone 4S debuted. It’s a stunning number, considering that supply chain woes limited iPhone 5 availability throughout much of the quarter.
That helped Apple record a quarterly profit of $13.1 billion, the second highest profit ever earned by a U.S. corporation — bested only by Exxon Mobil’s record-setting $14.8 billion quarter from the fall of 2008, when oil prices were at an all-time high.
And so the latest rumors of Apple’s demise indeed have been greatly exaggerated. I’m no Apple fanboy. I honestly don’t care if Apple succeeds or fails. My intent here is to get people to snap out of it — to wake up from this collective delusion. We need to stop judging the success of companies based on increasing quarterly profits. In the end, our capitalist society simply is unsustainable on a finite planet.