The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Drowning in Profits

Feb 16, 2015

After Apple announced record profits of 18 billion dollars in three months, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “the cash we don’t need, we want to give it back. We are not hoarders.”

Of course, it’s to the wealthy investors–the capitalist class–that Apple is “giving back,” not to the consumers who bought Apple’s overpriced products, not to the viciously low-paid workers Apple exploits around the world. Over the last two years, Apple has given away over 100 billion dollars to the very wealthy. It did this by boosting its dividends, and boosting the price of Apple stock by buying up a lot of it. Nonetheless, Apple’s profits have been growing so quickly, the company can’t give this money away to the capitalists fast enough. Estimates are that Apple’s cash hoard increased from about 130 billion dollars last year to about 145 billion dollars currently.

Apple is not alone among the biggest U.S. companies in collecting cash faster than it hands it over to capitalist investors. Last year, financial analysts at Moody’s estimated that U.S. firms were sitting on some 1.6 trillion dollars in cash at the end of 2013, nearly double the level of 2008. And that’s not counting the big financial companies and banks–which have much, much more.

Indeed, as Moody’s pointed out, the cash piles of some of the biggest corporations rival those of some of the major governments around the world. “Putting that number into perspective,” said one Moody’s analyst, “the cash hoard of corporate America is greater than the total international reserves of Japan.

Thus, the wealth produced by workers all over the world increases the power and wealth of a few big companies, and enriches a few wealthy capitalists and speculators.