Amazon’s tax arrangements are nothing short of a work of art. Bravo! by David Mitchell

Amazon has come in for plenty of stick for paying so little tax in the UK. But its actions display such impish wit that it’s hard not to revel in the majesty of a terrible thing well doneThere’s something fishy about Google’s motto, “Don’t be evil.” I’m not saying it’s controversial but it makes you think, “Why bring that up? Why have you suddenly put the subject of being evil on the agenda?” It’s suspicious in the same way as Ukip constantly pointing out how racist they’re not – which my colleague Charlie Brooker said on 10 O’Clock Live was, “rather like someone who’s just moved in next door saying, ‘Hi, I’m Geoff, your non-dogging neighbour.'”But we mustn’t assume that the maxim was an attempt by executives to draw a line under some diabolical brainstorm, in which the internet giant pulled itself back from the brink of green-lighting a scheme to grind our bones to make its bread. It could just as easily have come out of a discussion of the possibility of doing good. “Always do good”, “Try to do some good” or “Be good” might have been previous drafts of the motto before they concluded that goodness was as impractical as malevolence was distasteful and decided on “Don’t be evil” as more realistic in a modern business environment. “Settling for one notch below altruism” is all the slogan really means.

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