Friday, March 2, 2012

From Sweatshop Manager to Shell Game Player

I’ll say this about Apple.  They at least seem to have recognized that, now that it seems as if the eyes of the entire world are on Foxconn, they appreciate the need to clean up their public image.  What better way to do this than to promote Apple as a significant provider of American jobs?  Here is how Don Reisinger reported the strategy for his The Digital Home blog on CNET News:

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company today released the findings of a study conducted by the Analysis Group that found that it has either "created or supported" 514,000 jobs across the U.S. That figure includes 304,000 current jobs across a wide array of industries, including engineering, manufacturing, and transportation. The balance comes through the so-called "iOS app economy."

Fortunately, Reisinger has been in this game long enough to know better than to take any such claim at face value.  Therefore, he did some math.  Without even venturing into any questionable issues of that “app economy,” he came up with the following results:

In studies such as these, figures need to be taken with a grain of salt. Apple currently only employes [sic] 47,000 people in the U.S. And although its claims that the iPhone and iPad, among other products, have increased manufacturing jobs across the country make sense, not everything holds up. For example, Apple is staking claim to the workers at FedEx and UPS that deliver its products to customers, without acknowledging that even before the iPhone and iPad were around, they had jobs delivering other packages.

The math might also be a little fuzzy. In order to arrive at the employment figures, Analysis Group took the entire amount Apple paid out for goods and services this year and applied that to the Type 1 employment multipliers used by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In other words, it's a lot of guesswork.

In other words the whole analysis amounts to the latest generation shell game.  If you want to join our Government in playing that shell game with Apple, I bet there’s an app for that!

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