Apple CEO Tim Cook talked in a recent interview with The New York Times about a range of issues, such as Apple’s investments in the U.S., efforts to introduce coding curriculum in schools and colleges, and the moral responsibility that tech companies have to society. Cook gave the interview during his trip to Austin, where he announced an expansion to Apple’s Swift curriculum.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Image: Flickr

Why is helping the economy a moral responsibility?

Though Cook tried to connect all the topics together, his comments on moral responsibility to the economy grabbed much of the limelight. Cook also slightly compared the working of the current government with the government in the time of President Lyndon B. Johnson. While visiting LBJ’s Presidential Library in Austin, Cook said he is impressed with the work of his government.

“One of the things that hits you, all of the major acts, legislation, that happened during just his [Johnson’s] presidency,” Cook said. Then the Apple CEO said, “The government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional and isn’t working at the speed that it once was.”

So it becomes the responsibility of not just Apple but also other areas of society to “step up,” said Apple CEO.

Further, the Apple CEO said that he never intended to raise his voice on issues like climate change, education and job creation, but circumstances have caused him to be “thrust into the role.” Though other executives have also been speaking out on such hot issues, being the CEO of the most valuable company in the world does make your comments echo louder.

Cook has been using this leverage of his to great effect. He did it again in his interview with the Times.

“I think we have a moral responsibility to help grow the economy, to help grow jobs, to contribute to this country and to contribute to the other countries that we do business in,” he said. “I think there’s still probably a more significant group that feels my sole responsibility is to Wall Street.”

Apple CEO says he has no political ambitions

Apple is mainly focusing on apps and coding-related jobs, as this is the area in which the company has developed a growing job economy. The iPhone maker previously said that about 150,000 new jobs were created last year in connection with the App Store, and about $5 billion was paid to developers. Cook said the focus is mainly on community colleges, as they are more diverse than four-year schools.

Further, the Apple CEO said they are working to improve racial, gender, and geographic diversity when it comes to learning coding.

“Right now, the benefits of tech are too lopsided to certain states,” the Apple CEO said.

Cook also talked about his company’s green initiatives, boasting that 100% of the company’s power needs in the U.S. and 23 other countries come from renewable energy sources.

With so much talk around morals and government functioning, one obvious question that was asked to Cook was whether “his focus on jobs and speeches in front of American flags” suggest something bigger, like a presidential run.

To this, Cook said he already has a full-time job, adding, “I appreciate the compliment, if it is a compliment.”