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View Diary: Apple and Unbridled Capitalism (248 comments)

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  •  Based on American and European history (2+ / 0-)
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    hmi, lotlizard

    Here's what I think will happen with Foxconn and their workers; in fact, what is already happening: it will develop and increase the size of a relatively well-paid middle class in poverty-filled China. Along with their relative wealth will come political power. And along with that political power will come on-the-job improvements.

    Does that mean we should ignore what is going on there? No, obviously it doesn't.

    But I encourage you to think about what working conditions were here before our middle class gained real numbers and power. Looking back at my own family history, there were iron miners (my great-grandfather was killed on the job in an Ohio iron mine) and brickmakers. There were little or no unions to protect them; they lived in company towns and were basically dependents of their capitalist masters, not too differently from what is probably going on in no-middleclass countries all around the world, including in China with Foxconn.

    We can use media embarrassment to try to get American corporations to pressure Foxconn and other developing-country capitalists to provide safe and decent working conditions, and this undoubtedly will help. But in the end, I believe that the workers themselves must get the power, feel the power, and use the power to help themselves, like our American ancestors did.

    International labor should also be involved here: once a movement starts in a developing “competitor” nation, a little assistance can go a long way to empower them. Workers work for a wage: it is their capitalist bosses who compete for profits.

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