Not that he gets that this is the point he’s making:
Down the years, the corporations seen as guilty of amoral capitalism – from Nestlé through Monsanto and Exxon to the multinational banks and beyond – have been separate enough from most people’s lives to allow them to be painted as the evil Other, and loudly decried. The rising controversy about Google, by contrast, is a case study in something much more insidious and sophisticated: a company apparently indulging in some of the worst aspects of corporate behaviour, but because it is both stupendously well branded and tightly woven into our view of ourselves and the wider world, still looking as unassailably titanic as ever.
In 2012, revelations about Starbucks’s tax affairs made talk of a boycott fashionable; indeed, the following year, the company registered its first-ever UK sales fall. Yet for three years, Google’s tax avoidance has bubbled away in the news and calls for any kind of collective action have never got further than a few comment pieces and a bit of noise on social media. Four years ago, one tweeter nailed the obvious reason why. “That’s it. I’m boycotting Google,” he wrote. “Apart from their maps. And their search engine. And the docs. And Gmail. Other than that, we’re over.”
Quite so, the value to us of a producer is the value to us of what they produce. Not the tax they pay.
So, Google produces lots of value for us: what’s the complaint?