Apple’s Taxes (or lack thereof) and the US government
In 2017, Tim Cook, the CEO of one of the worlds biggest MNCs, explicitly demonstrated his power in relation to the US government. He made comments about how Apple keeps large amounts of its profits in overseas tax havens and he will refuse to bring that money back into the US until they lower the tax rate. People are not allowed to do this. But, because Apple is a large and important American MNC, they are able to use loopholes to defer paying taxes. If an American citizen were to publicly announce doing the same exact thing they would likely be persecuted but Apple is allowed to do as they wish, while simultaneously sounding as if they are almost threatening the US government. Cook didn’t just remark that Apple wouldn’t bring the money into the US, but that that Apple wouldn’t bring the money into the US until the US lowered the tax rate on the money. Meaning that if the US wants this money brought back into their economy they will have to cooperate.
In a situation such as this one, it is clear to see the incredibly power of this particular MNC, but it is certainly not an anomaly. The lenient tax policies, lax restraints on capital flow, and overall economic policy of the US has made it incredibly easy for Apple to become a powerful MNC, but rather than be grateful to their home country and bring their profits home, Apple strategically keeps as much money as possible away from the US. This is possible because they are not on a level bargaining field. Apple can do nearly whatever it wants without the US interfering because all in all, the US needs Apple more than Apple needs the US. At this point in Apple’s maturity it could easily be headquartered somewhere else in the world if it felt the US was no longer the best choice. If the US were to lose Apple there would not much they could do except try to coerce them back with more favorable policies. In light of this, it would be easy to adopt the dependency theory. However, it is important to consider that though many American government officials are heavily influenced by MNC wishes, they do not cave to their every demand. On the whole, having a large amount of American MNC activity overseas is still in America’s best interest, even if every MNC is not working in direct tandem with the government. The sheer presence and power of Apple as a corporation does a lot to support traditional American state hegemony, and it does inevitably produce millions of tax dollars for the US government.