Thursday, 24 May 2012

Prepare the tumbrils

This is Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. You may have heard of the company.

In this interview, he reveals two interesting things. The first is that despite the business's motto being 'Don't Be Evil', he's simply an old-fashioned vicious capitalist bastard - check the joy with which he espouses 'brutal' structural changes to European economies, particularly slashing wages. 

The second is his smug - and entirely correct - assumption that CEOs should be treated as oracles who should never be questioned. The interviewer raises Google's sponsorship of 100 science teachers under the Teach First scheme, which provides highly-qualified new graduates to schools for low wages. Schmidt describes it as Google doing their bit. 

This is a direct lie. According to a Conservative MP, Google made £700m profit on £2.15bn sales in the UK in the last financial year. It paid no taxes at all

Taxes pay for schools, and schoolteachers and healthcare and defence and transport and libraries and social workers and clean air and pensions and all the other things that Google's customers and employees need. 

Teach First personnel earn between £17,500 and £21,000 (for London-based staff). So Google are handing over between £1.75m and £2.1m. If Google paid corporation tax at the full rate of 24% (i.e. 16% less than individuals earning over £42,000), it would pay £168m in tax. 

So rather than Google 'doing its bit', it is in fact saving £166 million which could be spent providing schools with science teachers and other public goods. 

Which means that Mr Schmidt is a lying barefaced thief who thinks that dropping a few coins in the begging bowl is somehow a form of corporate social responsibility. 


Alex said...

Times may have changed but when my year's cohort signed up for teach first (around the time of the first recession) it was on the understanding that you'd do so for 2-3 years in a deprived London school before being guaranteed as position at one of several banks/accountancy giants/consulting firms. So, when they inevitably complained about how they were being exploited and mistreated by long hours, poor pay and lack of training, I found myself unable to muster the sympathy they felt they deserved.

The Plashing Vole said...

I gathered the same thing myself - it's reminiscent of the old Eton outreach house in the East End of London. Revolting.

Anonymous said...

I very much doubt that google will be paying the full amount for each teacher. Schools pay for the salary of their teachers. It's only the training that TF organises and this will probably mostly come from the government and as you say, taxes.

The Plashing Vole said...

That's even worse! What a disgrace.