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Imagine a world where sixteen hour days and .70¢ hr is the prevailing wage. Now imagine the company you worked for earned $10B in profit in 2010 and by all accounts will make $30B in profit in 2011. Now finally put yourself in a work setting where the chairman referred to the employees as "animals" and managing them gave him "a headache". The aforementioned chairman also hired a zoo keeper to give a 'peptalk' to his senior managers.

The place I am referring to manufactures many of those high tech gadgets you probably have in your house. Companies like Apple, Sony, Nintendo and HP, among many others are produced by Foxconn.

920,000 jobs

That’s the number of employees Foxconn has as of 2010. You might not have ever heard of Foxconn however We’ll bet you’ve bought some of their stuff before. Yea. In one campus….ONE CAMPUS. Foxconn has 300,000 to 450,000 workers which are employed in Shenzhen China at the Longhua Science & Technology Park, a cramped, walled campus  sometimes referred to as “Foxconn City”or “iPod City”. Covering about 1.16 square miles (3 square km).

On the surface it would appear as a college campus with dorms, tennis courts, and swimming pool.

But look closer at the "dorm rooms" and you will usually find 8 people living in one room.

In a 12-by-12 cement cube of a room, Daisey counts 15 beds, stacked like drawers up to the ceiling. Normal-sized Americans would not fit in them.

Look closer still.

If it looks like a prison you are not too far off. Why the bars?  Well Foxconn has a problem with jumpers.

Lets rewind back to 2010 when it was first making headlines. By spring of 2010 it was being reported that Shenzen had at least 10 successful suicides take place at the Foxconn factory/city.

This week, international attention has focused on the enormous Foxconn factory in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, where 13 workers have tried to commit suicide in the first five months of this year, with 10 succeeding. Hours after Foxconn's chairman, Terry Gou, took reporters on a tour of the industrial complex Wednesday in an attempt to ease concerns, a 23-year-old man jumped to his death from a dormitory balcony. And on Thursday, a 25-year-old man who had worked at Foxconn for only two months slit his wrists in his dorm room, but survived.

The working conditions are literally out of Upton Sinclairs "The Jungle". Where workers stand for 12 to 16 hours a day. 13 days of work before a day off. Factory gates manned by guards with automatic weapons.
Mike Daisey who does a one man stage show "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" reports that:

Daisey visits other Shenzhen factories, posing as a potential customer. He discovers that most of the factory floors are vast rooms filled with 20,000-30,000 workers apiece. The rooms are quiet: There's no machinery, and there's no talking allowed. When labor costs so little, there's no reason to build anything other than by hand.


After 13 attempted deaths, 10 successful in iPod City, and promises to change conditions you might have thought some improvement would have been made since 2010.

By the spring of 2011 at least 14 workers had killed themselves so the Foxconn executives came up with a new idea to change the problems plaguing the factory cities in Chengdu or Shenzen. This new idea ... a no suicide pledge they forced workers to sign.

As far as working conditions the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories. They claimed that:

  • Excessive overtime was rife, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. One payslip showed a worker did 98 hours of overtime in one month, the Observer reported.
  • During peak periods of demand for the iPad, workers were made to take only one day off in 13.
  • Badly performing workers were humiliated in front of colleagues.
  • Workers are banned from talking and are made to stand up for their 12-hour shifts.

One employee was quoted that "She said they were made to work illegally long hours for a basic daily wage, as little as £5.20, and that workers were housed in dormitories of up to 24 people a room."

In Chengdu, working between 60 and 80 hours overtime a month was normal, with many breaching Apple's own code of conduct with the length of their shifts.
The investigation also found that employees claimed they were still not allowed to speak to each other on the factory floors.

Foxconn Spokesman Louis Woo: 'But we are working to change it.'

Surely after two years and multiple deaths we should be happy to report that conditions have improved at Foxconn.

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry was reportedly entertaining Taipei Zoo director Chin Shih-chien onstage when he asked Chin "how animals should be managed" and instructed Hon Hai executives present to listen carefully to the zookeeper's advice.
"Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache," Gou said, according to the website run by Taiwan's China Times News Group.

Well they did implement the mandatory "no-suicide" rule since last year. And just to insure that there would be full compliance with this new mandate they have also installed new safety procedures that will ensure compliance. Nets!


Not to be deterred though the factory workers upped the ante. Just last week around 150 Chinese workers at Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer, threatened to commit suicide by leaping from their factory roof in protest at their working conditions.


The situation was resolved with no jumpers this time.

Usually around this time the discussion turns to the bottom line. Even with all the bad publicity Foxconn profits continue to make new highs


Apple has also not suffered any setbacks.


How much less money would Apple make if those 400,000+ manufacturing jobs were based in the USA.  A billion less? Two? FIVE? So instead of making 14 billion last year they would have only made roughly 10 billion in profit. Or this year Instead of being on pace for 30 billion they would only make 25 billion in profit?? What kind of impact would almost a half a million manufacturing jobs have in the U.S. economy?

What are the answers to this complicated problem? You have yet another American Co. exploiting a foreign workforce with subhuman conditions and wages. Union organizers are thrown in jail for attempting to change these horrible working conditions. Raising wages is not the "end-all" solution and would create its own set of problems. Are these people better off than working in the rice fields?

Somewhere in the middle lies a solution.


Update: This is not meant to spotlight Apple as the "evil". Foxconn produces many products for Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Dell and HP as well.

Originally posted to joeshwingding on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 08:37 AM PST.

Also republished by Protest Music and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (231+ / 0-)
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  •  Okay, so, having done a bit of cursory (50+ / 0-)

    research about Foxconn, it turns out that they service other electronics manufacturers than just Apple.

    While I understand that you are trying to pressure one company here, I think that it is really important that people understand that Apple is not the only electronics manufacturer that contracts with this company because that does change how the battle to help these workers would play out in real terms.

    I recommended your diary, but would hope that you would update with a fuller list of companies that contract Foxconn's manufacturing services.

    Thanks.  This is an important issue.

    •  Actually I did include a partial list (39+ / 0-)

      in the second paragraph.

      Thanks for the rec. Those are the best compliments.

      I'm not really trying to pressure Apple or any other company but trying to generate a discussion on solutions to this problem.

      •  I am not sure how I missed that list. (15+ / 0-)

        Sorry.  I just think that all those people buying Amazon Kindles might also be aware.  And I wasn't surprised to see the Wii on the list of electronics that they manufacture either.

      •  no reason not to! (39+ / 0-)

        Daily Kos: Apple and Unbridled Capitalism

        I'm not really trying to pressure Apple

        corporations functioning in a democracy should be open to criticism.

        it disgusts me when economists gloat about china's 'growth' when this is the human price for it.

        i heard the mike daisey's 'short-form' version of his stage show on 'this american life' podcast, and it was spellbinding. he really cuts to the bone with his tone and pacing, preceding his expose with a confession of being the ultimate apple fanboy, pulling his macbook pro into 45 pieces every night 'to relax', compressed-air cleaning the bits (!), then putting it back all together again.

        softened by his merry admissions, prepare to be flattened by his remorseless disclosures about the obscene working conditions these poor people have to work in.

        steve jobs was a genius for sure, but his refusal to open his factories in his own country, just so iphones can be cheaper, is shitty karma.

        his surname 'jobs' should make us think a bit...

        check out mike, he speaks terrible truth with a twist of wit.

        thanks for this diary, this is so important... i love mac stuff too, but this is very troubling, and we need to make this known far and wide.

        why? just kos..... *just cause*

        by melo on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 11:47:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  His point is that the author picked a specific (12+ / 0-)

          one to use in his title, which thoroughly distorts the breadth of the point he's trying to make. ALL of these companies need to be pressured to force Foxconn and any other 'assembly' contractor they use to take the steps necessary to insure that the workplace their product is made in is as safe and humanitarianly run as we would expect our own workplace in that company's US or Japanese or ?wherever? facility to be.


          Conservatism is a function of age - Rousseau
          I've been 19 longer'n you've been alive - me

          by watercarrier4diogenes on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 12:01:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  China also has a problem (16+ / 0-)

          Consider that Shenzen was nothing more than a fishing village 10 years ago and now has a population of a million.

          Yes the wages and conditions are horrible. I think the condition solution is obvious but what about the wages? Should they be doubled? What would that instantly do to the local economy.

          Should they machine up?

          China has 1.4Billion people and the largest concern with the government is civil unrest. By doing manual assembly versus machine they can put more people to work.

          I dont believe there is an easy solution to a real problem for China. As American consumers we can make a difference and I love Mac products, but this concerns me.

          •  This article is in the NY Times..... (28+ / 0-)


            on roughly the same question.  If you can't be essentially a wage slave living in a dorm, ready to be marched out to overtime so Apple can make a deadline, you are not a competitive worker.

            Frankly the article made me sick to my stomach and made me regret every Apple product I have bought recently.  I have been trying to avoid buying Chinese stuff for some time, but unless as consumers we are willing to only buy products made with less oppresive working conditions, we won't affect this.  

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 02:09:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good article (12+ / 0-)

              Americans cannot, nor should they try, to compete with Chinese or Indian labor.
              We do not have the labor resources that these entire countries can throw at a job. And American consumers are too apathetic to even care.

              Free trade, a mantra of corporate America, is killing our economy, exploiting foreign labor and creating profits for a select few that are simply disgusting for any moral human being.

              Those jobs wont come back unless laws change that tells company bottom lines that if you want to do business here it will be in your best interest to create jobs here. China puts something like a 40% tariff on foreign imports .. obviously the US market would not stand for that and thus change the way they do business.

              At minimum US corps should demand working conditions be humane and provide the same worker safety as US based corps.

              •  Bull. We are the most productive workforce on (17+ / 0-)

                the planet.  We automate.  We figure out much better, faster, safer ways to manufacture and assemble.

                Apple and the others took the easy way out.. no investment in automation or robotics necessary.. throw cheap people at the problem.  It's disgusting.

                We could likely do those jobs with a comparatively much smaller percentage of workers.  But, yes.. it would cost more. And that is all Apple and HP and the rest of them care about.

                •  Part of the blame should go to Wall Street... (11+ / 0-)


                  Because Wall Street tends to favor stocks in companies that don't load themselves down with too many expensive capital assets like factories and automation equipment.

                  Wall Street's ideal is pretty well exemplified by companies like Apple and Nike -- essentially, design and marketing houses that outsource all the actual manufacturing work.

                  Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                  by TexasTom on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 05:37:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I think you misunderstood (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Food Gas Lodging, victoria2dc

                  my statement.

                  We cannot compete with the massive amount of physical labor resources that these countries can throw at manufacturing.

                  They can automate also, machine up, use robotics all that technology already exists. But they dont utilize it, why? Because they are busy trying to put people to work.

                  Just like the US there is more DEMAND for jobs than actual jobs.

                  Now isnt that interesting?

                •  Read the article (17+ / 0-)

                  Read the article, it's quite interesting. The reason that Apple moved manufacturing from the US to China wasn't wages; wages are a small percentage of the cost. The real reasons are:

                  1) The US has destroyed its ability to manufacture, so Apple couldn't staff in the US. Apple estimated that it could take them 9 months to hire enough industrial engineers to run their manufacturing in the US, and in China they hired the same number in 15 days.

                  2) The world's manufacturing has moved to the Pacific Rim, so it's more efficient to manufacture there because the suppliers are all there. "Need 1m screws? The factory is two blocks over. Need the screw modified? You'll have it in three hours." So even US manufacturers (e.g. Corning, who makes the glass in the iPhone) set up manufacturing in the Pacific Rim, to be where their customers are.

                  Of course, if the US hadn't adopted "free trade" in the 70's, and destroyed its ability to manufacture goods, things might be different. But mass market manufacturing in the US is dead.

                  Note that Germany, and Japan, countries that have higher wages and more regulation than the US, are able to compete quite effectively. But then, they have an industrial policy that encourages manufacturing, and training engineers, etc., to be world class. We don't.

                  •  Need workers.... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    wake them up and march them from the dorm for overtime.  Need a building....the government will build it for you.  Need engineers?  Government will train them for you.

                    Our government doesn't do this entirely for our manufacturers, but they do build industrial parks and have worker training.  We are a less compliant culture.  And the guy wi the training couldn't keep his job while everything was being shipped to China.  It is complicated, but one thing is for sure, we aren't competing on a level playing field.

                    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                    by murrayewv on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 05:46:22 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  This was true 50 years ago: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  We are the most productive workforce on the planet.

                  You should take a look on more recent developments and ask yourself: In which sectors can the American industry really compete?

                  You'll be shocked.

                  There's a reason why America's main exports are movies, software, franchising, and weapons...and the valuable services of the financial industry, of course.

                  Productive, my ass.

                  "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

                  by aufklaerer on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 04:55:38 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Issue for Apple is not wages or productivity (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  It is supply chain.

                  Same applies in many industries.

                  For example, I've worked with garment companies in China.  Even if the wanted to move work to the US at US prices it would be difficult or impossible.

                  If you want to make bras in the US where will you find a lamination company that can laminate lace onto fabric and increase production at short capacity?  Where can you find mechanics who know how to fix sock knitting machines?  Where can you find designers who know how to program a sock machine to make a sock with a particular pattern and shape?  Where can you find companies that can provide an order of custom buttons and trims with a 3 day turn around?  

                  It goes on and on and on.  It takes decades to build up the industrial ecosystem that makers of complex products rely on.

                  I'm working now with some people looking at helping move low end Chinese garment companies to cheaper countries.  It's brutal - you can't bring just one company over.  You need to strike deals with suppliers and suppliers' suppliers to set up co-located operations.

                  The US has lost this and getting it back will be difficult or impossible.

            •  I had a different response to the same article. (18+ / 0-)

              It's rather lengthy, but a good read for anyone interested in the subject...
              NY Times: How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work

              It wasn't about Apple's "unbridled" capitalism. What I gat was how America has failed at producing a workforce which is competitive in the world electronics manufacturing market.

              Apple tried to keep their manufacturing in the US, but the, at the time, struggling company had to move their manufacturing  in order to stay competitive.

              In its early days, Apple usually didn’t look beyond its own backyard for manufacturing solutions. A few years after Apple began building the Macintosh in 1983, for instance, Mr. Jobs bragged that it was “a machine that is made in America.” In 1990, while Mr. Jobs was running NeXT, which was eventually bought by Apple, the executive told a reporter that “I’m as proud of the factory as I am of the computer.” As late as 2002, top Apple executives occasionally drove two hours northeast of their headquarters to visit the company’s iMac plant in Elk Grove, Calif.

              But by 2004, Apple had largely turned to foreign manufacturing. Guiding that decision was Apple’s operations expert, Timothy D. Cook, who replaced Mr. Jobs as chief executive last August, six weeks before Mr. Jobs’s death. Most other American electronics companies had already gone abroad, and Apple, which at the time was struggling, felt it had to grasp every advantage.

              The Chinese are serious competitors. For the glass on the new iPhones Jobs had it produced in the US by Corning. But to cut and grind the glass for the phones was a huge task. What did China do to get the bid? Lots...

              When an Apple team visited, the Chinese plant’s owners were already constructing a new wing. “This is in case you give us the contract,” the manager said, according to a former Apple executive. The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory. It had a warehouse filled with glass samples available to Apple, free of charge. The owners made engineers available at almost no cost. They had built on-site dormitories so employees would be available 24 hours a day.

              The Chinese plant got the job.

              How do we compete with this?...

              “The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.”
              Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.

              In China, it took 15 days.

              I'd say the problems run much deeper than Apple out to make a buck.

              "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

              by BlogDog on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:34:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, but that takes the romance out... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Food Gas Lodging, auapplemac, BlogDog

                Because Apple is seen as "trendy," it automatically becomes prime target, even if it's one of a hundred in the same situation and kept its manufacturing in the US longer than most.

                Multiple-platform for twenty or so years now, I've always observed with great amusement the envy and rage the mere existence of Apple generates in what is fortunately a fairly small minority of tech geeks. Human rights is merely one more excuse, now that "PCs have far more programs" has pretty well reached the end of its shelf life.

                When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

                by sagesource on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:08:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Making a buck is a huge factor (3+ / 0-)

                It makes people uncomfortable to learn that the machines they use are build by companies that exploit workers.

                You imply that Jobs had no choice. He did have choices as do the present directors of Apple.

                The best excuse that they could come up with is that it would take nine months to come up with 8,700 industrial engineers. The article didn't state that Apple couldn't find the engineers, only that it would take nine months. Nine months? That's a poor excuse. In fact it's a decision that was looking for an manufactured excuse.

                But for the sake of argument let's ignore the outsourcing of jobs (which I might add was absolutely terrible when Bain did it). From the article you cite it appears that the Chinese were falling over themselves to accommodate the needs of Mr. Jobs. Gaskets next door. Screws a block away. A brand new wing built "in case" they received the new contract.

                The Apple company and Mr. Jobs had some influence. Perhaps they could have made receiving that new contract contingent on Foxcom paying their workers better, reducing their hours and improving he working conditions. Apple chose not to do so. Why? Perhaps they were unaware of the situation, but I rather doubt it. They definitely know about it now. I think a more reasonable answer is the bottom line.

                A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

                by slatsg on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 08:16:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Heh. You know what happens if you do that, right? (0+ / 0-)

                  Then the Foxconn recruiters start selling the jobs - you can't get the job unless you pay the recruiter RMB 10,000 or if you're his type maybe he lets you have the job for a blow job.

                  This happens at a lot of factories that increase salaries over the local wage rate for social compliance reasons.  The workers end up no better off but the factory becomes a stew of corruption - the workers pay the recruiters for their jobs, the recruiters pay the HR managers for their jobs, the HR managers pay the head of HR for their jobs, and the head of HR pays the factory manager for his job.

                  The factory owners hate this - it's even worse than having to raise wages because once you get this culture it spreads into procurement, admin, etc. and suddenly everyone is stealing from you, including the people who are supposed to be stopping workers from stealing from you.  I worked with one factory in Pakistan where workers were stealing equipment components, throwing them out the window to confederates who would come to the factory door the next morning trying to sell them back at a lower price than buying replacement equipment.

                  The only people who lose out in an arrangement like that are the people at the bottom - the workers - since they can't extract rents from anyone below them.

            •  Avoiding Chinese products... (5+ / 0-)

     virtually impossible.  

              Are there any MP3 players built outside of China?  Laptops?  Computer speakers?  In too many instances the choice is buying Chinese-built or not buying at all.  (And, yeah, I know that good arguments can be made for the latter choice...but that's a somewaht separate discussion.)

              Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

              by TexasTom on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 05:35:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My Mp3 player is from Iceland. No shit. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TexasTom, Odysseus

                The company is called 'United' and it says 'Made in Iceland'. It was a gift, so can't take credit for not buying Chinese.

                Pressuring the transnational corporations seems to be the most effective way to bring about change in the working and living conditions of Chinese workers. Apple is fair game, as are all the other manufacturers.

                "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

                by aufklaerer on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 05:02:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I also read the NY Times article, (0+ / 0-)

              with consternation. I don't buy Apple products because I don't like their arrogance. The MP3 is not made by Apple alone. As an example of vulture capitalism, Apple has to be singled out and shamed. Steve Jobs had the gall to tell the White House that those jobs are not coming back to America. He had such a sweet deal with Foxxcom he was proud of it, ignoring the human cost and the cost to the Country that enabled his wealth. The article pointed out the expediancy in scaling operations and the speed of production. At what human cost I ask? As if the planet would be in peril if an i phone with a better screen were delayed by a month! Shame on Apple and the pox on your houses.

          •  The Answer is More Jobs for More Workers (6+ / 0-)

            Yes, using people instead of machines makes sense in some places.  But that doesn't mean people must be treated like machines.

            Instead of squeezing inhuman labor and hours from your employees, you increase your labor costs by employing MORE workers.

            More money into the local economy and workers' lives are improved.

            Of course, that cuts into corporate profits and/or increases product costs.  Few companies do that willingly, without pressure from governments, customers, organized labor and related counter-forces.

            Yet, that must be a goat - unless we all want to live in a right-wing or libertarian dystopia. Occupy!

            Surprise, we live in a Left-Of-Center Nation! Act accordingly.

            by VA Gal on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:17:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't matter what brand you buy (5+ / 0-)

            consumer electronics are all made this way.  It's why we have a disposable gadget culture.  Without slave labor, there wouldn't be disposable gadgets.

            By disposable, I mean you plan on replacing gadgets/computers within 2-5 years when they become obsolete.

            "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

            by Subterranean on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:35:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They would not become obsolete (6+ / 0-)

              Because we would NOT be willing to replace them so quickly, if they cost us more.  Frankly, it's the culture of Cheap that creates the culture of Throwaway.  You don't throw away things that cost you a bundle.  You conserve, repair, and re-use.  It's the ability to produce and dump on the market for less than the costs of repairing an existing product, that enables our profoundly wasteful eagerness to constantly have the Newest, the Biggest, and the "Best" (most recently advertised bells & whistles), to the point where a sufficiently critical mass of consumers upgrades equipment leaving those who WANT to conserve, being FORCED to upgrade due to compatibility issues.

              A nasssty little item called a "tariff" could fix this issue overnight, if it didn't violate the religious tenets of Modern Capitalism.  Old-fashioned Capitalism had no such compunctions, with Tariff structures underpinning the original development of pretty much all industrial powerhouses.

            •  That's just not true. Paying 3-5% per unit (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kurt Sperry, Ivan, Naniboujou, BradyB

              more so that the producers of this technojunk could make a living wage wouldn't somehow price it all out of reach.

              Fear is your only God.

              by JesseCW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:46:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's Jobs' great gift to us. Way cool! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Just another pirate, imo.  What exactly did he (himself) invent?

          •  Social unrest is desired. (3+ / 0-)

            Does anybody still remember that China is a communist country? Aren't we suppose to fight communism? China revolution to democracy is desired. That is the real solution. Working conditions are horrible in China because they are dictatorship country, period. Change it to democracy and horrible working conditions will eventually disappear.

        •  Jobs couldn't have opened factories (3+ / 0-)

          in the US even if he wanted to. We haven't been training manufacturing engineers for decades at the level required. Of course, we could always steal them from Europe and Asia.

          •  We haven't been training manufacturing engineers.. (10+ / 0-)

            ...because the jobs don't exist for them once they graduate.

            If Jobs and his counterparts were willing to open factories in the US, I think we'd see people lining up to enroll in the appropriate programs to get those degrees.

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 05:42:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm one of the Engineers America could have had (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, The Wizard, mustang dvs

              I put in a few months at one of America's best engineering schools, at the beginning of the Clinton Presidency.  Speaking of that time period, to the best of my knowledge, what you're saying is true.  I was hearing tremendous negativity about the job market, in general.  Specific to what I wanted to do, at orientation one of the school officials got up and said "Many of you guys are thinking about going into Aerospace.  Don't go into Aerospace, you will not get a job."  When I'm on my deathbed, I know I'm going to look back and say that was a key turning point in my life.

              To the best of my knowledge, the private sector is truly not making the investment in American workers it needs to.  There were only 300 students in the freshmen class at the very elite private school I went to.  On day one, every one of those students should have had a big corporation begging to sponsor them.  Are engineers not more important than ball players?  But the private sector is all about maximizing wealth transfer to the .1% .  Not only do they fail to invest in the next generation of Americans, they'll bring in H1B labor breakers to drive down the wages of the Americans who do manage to get an education.  They bring down wages to the point where you might as well stay in the hood and sell drugs, or get your education as a plumber.    

              All that aside, I can say I was guaranteed a job as an engineer by the public sector, with the caveat that it be as an officer in the Army, and that my degree be Mechanical Engineering.  

              I can say, to an extent, America was willing to invest in me as an Engineer.  But - the scholarship I had still left my family trying to cover far more expense than they could.  Some people have told me I should have gotten a job to pay for tuition - well, this was a very expensive place to go to, and I was trying to hang with the top students in the world.  While physically exhausted by Ranger PT.  Maybe you've heard the saying, "cheap, good, fast - pick any two."  The sentiment applies- you can try to do it all but while reaching for more of one thing you'll lose a bit of another.  I made my best go at being a soldier and a Mechanical Engineer (although I didn't want to be either).  I won my Ranger Beret, and, despite being so drained from Ranger training that I was falling asleep in classes, I kept up a passing grade.  I wasn't the top student, but I was beating students who didn't get up early for PT.  And they were very smart guys, some of the smartest in the world!  

              The country, either public or private, needed to pick up the finances.  Somehow the decision was made that this wasn't worthwhile.  

              Now America asks, where are our Engineers?  I wonder . . .

              The R does not stand for Republican.

              by Jack the R on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 12:02:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Cheaper iphones, maybe. Bigger profits for sure. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          melo, hooper

          If cheaper products were the big concern they would be cheaper and profits lower.

          republicans have a point about job creation. If we ended regulations about how people here are paid or treated and if they could trash environment freely we'd have more jobs here

          Was so sad when I first learned about this and when Jobs died I was sorry that this issue came to mind right away. It comes whenever I think or Apple or Jobs
          They are not the only ones doing it, all the sadder. They are the ones we think of as cool. This isn't cool.

        •  You have no idea what true poverty is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac, Odysseus
          it disgusts me when economists gloat about china's 'growth' when this is the human price for it.

          This is not a price.  It is a huge benefit.

          Migrant workers literally fight each other to get through the mobs applying for jobs at companies like Foxconn.  They do that because it is one hell of a lot better than the alternatives.

          I speak Chinese and I've trekked up in the mountains in Western China where people don't have those opportunities.

          There are villages where no one washes for the whole winter because no one has hot water and it is too cold.  Building a communal village bath house with hot water is a major social advance in places like that.  I've seen 10 year old kids who have dropped out of school to work on the family vegetable plot or to gather Chinese medicine herbs in the local forests.

          Having a family member with a factory job and the "4 Golds"  (China's equivalent of SS, Medicare, etc.)  is a major advance for these people.  It can literally mean that children in the extended family make it through the winter.

          These jobs are not pretty, but they are a heck of a lot better than the alternative.

      •  Well dear diarist... You should be! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I'm not really trying to pressure Apple or any other company but trying to generate a discussion on solutions to this problem.

        Solving the problem?  

        Occupy Apple
        Occupy Al Gore (does he still sit on the board?)
        Occupy the others on the list

        Kick ass and bring the jobs home!  I don't know how I managed to have missed this story for so long!  Thanks for telling it here and at this time.

        Yeah, we all love our Macs, don't we?  I love mine and it's the first one I've ever had.  I don't even know how to use it, but if I had known it was made by slave labor in China, I would not have purchased it.

        So we like Apple, but if we LOVE AMERICA, if we want our country to survive this man made/corporation made SCREWED up mess, we better occupy and treat them like we would treat any of the Wall Street gangsters!  It's true.  Think about it.  :-)

        This makes me sick.  I hope you organize something.  Get the word out.  Talk to Keith O and ask him to put pressure on Gore (ha! his boss).  

        Let us save lives, the economy, the world and restore our ailing and sick country back to life.

        •  Very few would be willing to criticise Apple. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Being thought of as uncool is death in America.

          We are sheep.  

          •  I have no problem criticizing Apple. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joeshwingding, victoria2dc, Odysseus

            The reason I asked is that Foxconn gets business from tons of equipment manufacturers and ONLY taking Apple out of the equation isn't going stop this company from doing business the way they are.  If you want change, you have to pressure all of the companies that do business with them.

            •  Fine then. Let's do that... (0+ / 0-)

              What is the purpose of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Everywhere?  Because we go after the banks and the media don't you think it's time to bring the tech industry back home take back our jobs and our place as the FORMER technology leader of the world?  They must make sacrifices too.  What about the millions of jobs they could create here... now is the time.  If not now, when?  Will there ever be another chance like this?  I doubt it seriously.

            •  Yes, but we have to start somewhere, and Apple (0+ / 0-)

              has made themselves a great target by claiming to be so special & different.

              Their arrogance is stunning.  Remember when they used John Lennon as a pitchman...Lennon having died before Apple's time?

          •  Well it is time that this heard of SHEEP turn (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the other way and walk up to the mountain top.   Steve Jobs should earn his SUPERHERO status this time.  Al Gore could fix this if he were so inclined.  Why are people dying for my Mac, your iPhone, your iPad?  Something is wrong here, don't you think?  I am very disappointed.

    •  Yes, singling out Apple is counterproductive (4+ / 0-)

      This is how ALL of our gadgets are made.  It's the reason we have so many gadgets.  If these workers were treated like human beings, we wouldn't have disposable electronics, and thus consumer technology would be so different as to be unrecognizable.

      You can't simply avoid purchasing iPods and end this misery.  It will take a change in culture, and that change will have to come from the workers, because history shows that consumers don't give a fuck.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:32:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The reason to focus on Apple... (8+ / 0-) because many folks here like to think of Apple as being hip, trendy, and progressive.  While it may be the first two, it sure as hell isn't the third.

      Needless to say, there's not many folks labelling those other companies as being anything other than standard greedy multi-nationals.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 05:32:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Apple has a different customer base (4+ / 0-)

      and has different solutions available as a result.

      Apple customers will, overwhelmingly, agree to pay 2-3% more for a product that they know was produced under Fair Trade conditions.

      Fear is your only God.

      by JesseCW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:23:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the other companies will continue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to use Foxconn which doesn't solve the worker's fucking problems does it?  I can't believe how many people don't understand that if you get iPads off of their production line the goddamned Kindles will still be manufactured by that company - and the workers lives actually could be worse since that product is designed to be cheap - as cheap as possible - therefore it is highly likely that more worker exploitation is needed to produce it.

        Please note what I said in my original comment here:

        Apple is not the only electronics manufacturer that contracts with this company because that does change how the battle to help these workers would play out in real terms

        •  If you can't solve the whole problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          don't address it?


          So, it was a huge waste of time for Starbucks customers to bust their shit and get them to start offering fair trade coffee and chocolate, and to stop sourcing any slave coffee period?

          Because...Folgers and Maxwell House didn't change overnight?

          Even though the competition latter did pressure them to begin to change they way they do business, and conditions actually are improving throughout the industry?

          Sorry.  You're wrong on this one.  History makes it clear.

          You can't, btw, exploit people worse than working them 35 hours straight until their kidneys shut down and they die.  You really can't.  We're at maximum here.

          Your argument that the Kindle line is somehow worse than the iPad line just isn't supported by any report about Foxxcon ever released.

          So, why don't you want Apple to change?  Why don't you want Apple to offer slightly more expensive products free of this sort of exploitation?

          Why does it make you angry to even think that they might make this change?

          Fear is your only God.

          by JesseCW on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 10:57:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can't solve the whole problem - don't (0+ / 0-)

            address it? That isn't at all what I was saying.  Not even close.

            Dealing with these factories is like playing whack-a-mole.  There has to be industry-wide pressure applied.

            •  I just refuted your argument, and then (0+ / 0-)

              you repeated it as if I hadn't.

              You get to industry wide pressure one step at a time.  One major key to begin bringing that pressure to bear is to first give consumers a choice.

              Focusing on Apple can do that - and it can do it more effectively if people stop trotting out pathetic excuses for what Apple has done or trying to distract from it with 'spread the guilt around' arguments.

              Everyone trying to deflect, distract, and defend here is acting as an agent for a horrifically inhumane system.

              Fear is your only God.

              by JesseCW on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 01:50:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not trying to defend or deflect. (0+ / 0-)

                I see value in calling out each of the big players including Apple.  But I don't see value in people not being informed about the fact that there are more players than just Apple.  In fact, I could see people feeling like they were duped if they didn't understand.

                I think that you misinterpreted my comment to mean that I wanted to dilute the intensity of the initiative or felt protective of Apple neither of which is the case at all.

                I saw a comment in another diary about this talking about how consumers needed to choose other companies' products because Apple is the bad guy - that's the ignorance that ultimately allows Foxconn to go uninjured because people decide that "anyone but Apple" will solve the problem.  That is not the case in this situation.

        •  Well then APPLE will finally earn it's SUPERHERO (0+ / 0-)

          status and will be even more successful because we can write diaries about how Apple is really the company we thought that they were.  I bet the people in AppleLand aren't too happy about the release of this information to the general public.

          Good.  Occupy Apple!  Tweet them.  Occupy Al Gore!  Tweet him too.  Why not take action that could actually change this damn economy?  Aren't you tired of buy cheap Chinese JUNK?  I'm not saying Apple makes cheap Chinese junk, as they say is assembled in China but... but what?  Get Gore off his butt and let him do something for this country.  People still listen to him even though climate change is happening.  

  •  I guess Apple didn't take the "don't be evil" (10+ / 0-)

    pledge.  Maybe they should.

    I don't know if it is available, but a handy guide to products made by this company would be a great addendum to this diary.  I don't own an IPod or an IPhone or an IPad, but there are probably other products that should be avoided until this company can do some work on their human rights and working conditions.

    #Occupy Wallstreet - Politicians will not support the movement until it is too big to fail.

    by Sychotic1 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 08:54:34 AM PST

  •  A TDS horrifying segment (17+ / 0-)


    The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Fear Factory
    Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 08:57:53 AM PST

  •  I have enough. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joeshwingding, melo, gjohnsit, Matt Z, Marie, hooper

    I have the computer, the cell phone, the mp3 player, the DVD player, the TV.

    I know this AND know that the minerals used to make these items are also mined out of Africa.  I also know the carbon footprint to make these items has an enormous price.

    And I heard it here

    No more new tech for me.

    I will vote for Obama, and every Democrat I can vote for, in 2012.

    by Food Gas Lodging on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 09:01:42 AM PST

    •  I'm guilty as well (5+ / 0-)

      But please understand its not just Apple. Foxconn produces electronics for many other US/Multinational companies.

      So what is the solution? Do without electronics? I dont believe that Apple charging $1000 for an iPhone is even realistic as stated in the video. The market would not bear that cost.

      •  Not a luddite either... (5+ / 0-)

        But, I don't believe I need to upgrade anymore, considering my daily tech needs.  

        I  know that if I lost or broke any of the items I have, that I can find similar tech 2nd hand.

        There's no need buy NEW.  Always buying new contributes to the problem.

        I will vote for Obama, and every Democrat I can vote for, in 2012.

        by Food Gas Lodging on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 09:34:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  An iPhone built by decently paid workers... (9+ / 0-)

        ...would not cost anywhere near $1000 -- that's a chimera.

        The reality is that the actual assembly costs of that iPhone are infitesimal compared to the cost of the bill of materials.  An increase in the assembly costs would be far from the disaster that advocates of offshoring claim it to be.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 05:45:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's the same line of shit a different breed of (12+ / 0-)

        slavers trotted out again and again in the 1800's.

        Ending slavery was going to quadruple the cost of sugar in the British Empire.

        Slavery ended.  The price of sugar dropped by half in a decade.

        Ending slavery here was going to drive cotton prices so high we'd all have to go naked.

        Clothing prices plummeted in the 30 years after it ended.


        Fear is your only God.

        by JesseCW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 07:00:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The issue isn't wages, it's supply chain (8+ / 0-)

        The article said that manufacturing paying US wages would increase the iPhone price by around $45, a small percentage of a $700 device. The reason that it's not made in the US is that the US has destroyed its ability to manufacture, so Apple couldn't hire enough industrial engineers to run the factory and manage production, and most of the suppliers are in China. So while Apple does design, software development, marketing, etc., in the US, the actual manufacturing is in China.

        That might sound OK, but when you think about it, Apple employs 40K people in the US, but Foxcon employs over 200K people in China just for Apple's manufacturing.

        While Apple is a catchy name to use in a story, I'd blame Walmart more - they move a near infinite volume of product, and they push their suppliers so hard on cost that they not only have to move manufacturing to China, but they actually force manufacturers to cut worker pay and benefits.

        Personally, I'm happy paying a bit more, knowing that the company is treating people a bit better.

        •  Thats the truth (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The reason that it's not made in the US is that the US has destroyed its ability to manufacture, so Apple couldn't hire enough industrial engineers to run the factory and manage production, and most of the suppliers are in China.

          And the reason China doesnt go to automation is two fold. They need the jobs for the massive workforce, and machines are not as flexible when changes are required quickly.

        •  Well, except that it's Apple that's promoting (0+ / 0-)

          human rights abuses in the piece. They aren't just part of it; they are actively campaigning on its behalf by saying there's no way around it, which is an abject lie. When Walmart promotes human rights abuses in the NYT, we should single them out, too.

          Apple put themselves out there as advocates for the system, and we should feel no compunctions about saying they're bumping the evil up another notch by doing so. They are asserting that the uniqueness of their product trumps all moral concerns. That's grotesque.

           None of that means that everyone else isn't also complicit in evil. But only Apple is telling us they're so fucking special that they're just too good for humane labor.

      •  GM builds competitively priced cars in America (0+ / 0-)

        So do Toyota, Honda, BMW, etc . . .

        The R does not stand for Republican.

        by Jack the R on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 09:56:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Newt would solve this if elected (32+ / 0-)

    Poor children from teh inner cities who need to learn a work ethic could build iPods after school.  And they would fit in those tiny beds.  

    Problem solved.  Elect Newt.  

  •  Is a country that accepts products (27+ / 0-)

    made under those conditions far behind accepting those conditions for its own workers?
    I don't think so.

    Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real. It is time to act. - Al Gore

    by Burned on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 09:44:10 AM PST

  •  I'm as guilty as anyone of (10+ / 0-)

    purchasing products made in these disgusting conditions, but I am going to have a hard time buying these things going forward. I think this is a perfect example of what is wrong with our global economy. What is the Foxconn C.E.O. paid or worth? We know that Tim Cook just received an outrageous pay package

    How much of the global inequality is due to the current economic arrangement that encourages labor and environmental arbitrage? More importantly, how are we going to have any sustainable recovery as long as labor continues to have the life squeezed out of it? Here is John Stewarts great take on the situation:

  •  Meh, if it cost more than $7 to manufacture (15+ / 0-)

    an  iPhone, they might have to raise the price I pay from $399 to $599.

  •  If Apple paid employees a living wage... (14+ / 0-) would destroy global capitalism!

    (I've had millionaire Apple managers explain this to me on numerous occasions.)

    2010: An Unforced Error Odyssey

    by Minerva on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 01:27:24 PM PST

  •  The problem (33+ / 0-)

    isn't Foxconn. Foxconn is just a symptom.
    If you got rid of Foxconn then there would be another company to take its place.

      That's why lecturing companies about ethics is a waste of time when greater profits come from being unethical.

      It's the systems of globalization and corporations that must be changed.

     Let's start with dumping free trade agreements and reversing limited liability laws for corporations. The WTO and other non-elected bodies must go.
       And this is just the start.

    "The rich are only defeated when running for their lives." - C.L.R. James

    by gjohnsit on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 01:31:32 PM PST

  •  5 hrs. After Posting & dkos DumbRoll Of Mean Mean (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, lastlegslaststand

    meanie repukes rolls on  -

    and this diary has 22 comments.

    You hit a raw nerve here -

    ya see, for too many, bl0g-0-t0pia is about writing the Next Great Tome,

    NOT about the nuts and bolts of making things work better for tens and hundreds of millions of us -

    for too many, it is all about some Holywood movie with Sally Field holding up her "union" sign ...

    and, now it is time to whine and snivel that lying fascist fucks aren't nice and don't tell the truth!

    and go skiing .


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 01:33:08 PM PST

    •  Could you try to make more sense? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlogDog, Geenius at Wrok

      I might be interested in what you are trying to say.

      The Elephant. The Rider. The Path. Figure those out and change will come.

      by Denver11 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 02:21:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it IS real confusing, isn't it? make shit work (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        instead of whining about fascists being fascists!

        and since make shit work means beating fucking fascists, instead of whining about fascists,

        ( by the way, don't use the word "fascist")

        well - holy shit - now you're really confused!

        what are we supposed to do now, if we gotta do more than whine and snivel and shit our diapers cuz lying thieves have lied to steal!

        I'm not making sense ... yeah, whatever.


        Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

        by seabos84 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 04:21:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hard to tell (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dburn, Food Gas Lodging, FG, sagesource

    "How much less money would Apple make if those 400,000+ manufacturing jobs were based in the USA.  A billion less? Two? FIVE? "

    You presume that if Apple's new U.S. labor costs (for all the various components) rise 15x or so, they will continue to both sell at current prices and that sales will remain at current levels, subsidized (for the time being) out of retained earnings. Instead, it's at least equally likely that iPads would now cost noticeably more and sell in greatly reduced numbers. So, someone ought to run those numbers and get back to us.

    •  Is it reasonable (9+ / 0-)

      to assume even the doubling of labor costs while leaving manufacturing in China can completely disrupt a companies balance sheet? Aren't we already subsidizing current prices through slave labor?

      Or is it more realistic to say unreasonable profits at the expense of labor will no longer be tolerated? That Apple, Dell, HP and even Nike who's profit margin is in the 1000's% is ridiculous and provides no benefit to the majority of people.

      •  Undefined (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        markw, Food Gas Lodging, sagesource

        I don't have have the slightest idea of how Apple arrives at its prices. Which is why I asked for someone (not you, apparently) to provide some hard numbers.

        More to the point, I don't want to work in one of these factories, but "slave labor" does not seem to me a precise use of terms. As for "reasonable" and "ridiculous" in regard to prices and profit margins, I gave up on the "just price" shortly after Aquinas. I didn't see a good way, or a competent authority, to set those boundaries by fiat. On the whole, markets eventually make these decisions. One instance of the working of the market in labor is when Chinese workers mount a protest over wages and working conditions. It would seem that such protest is, in fact, having an effect. Eventually, I imagine the Chinese will work out something they can all live with.

        If that's too slow for you, then you have the option of not buying from companies you dislike. They just have to make products that people want to buy, not to meet some abstract test of "benefit to the majority of people." Me, I'm looking forward to the iPad3. One of the things my purchase of that tablet will do is to help provide employment for people in China who, until recently, lived in much more difficult circumstances, under the domination of others who were absolutely certain of what qualified as beneficial to the majority and of how things ought to be priced, not to mention their use of genuine slave labor.

    •  Information on retail pricing changes (7+ / 0-)

      if the product was made here. First off, Apple may have a lead in iPads, but they cannot, as a public company, start a trend with manufacturing at home , when their competitors are underpricing them using the Android system.

      Also FoxxConn installed 10,000 robots this year with a goal of 1 million in 2 years.  That means labor content will be measured in machinery depreciation. If Apple were to to lead on this USA made issue, it would be committing corporate suicide. It's not only the Gross margin compression, as they have very little leeway to raise prices. If anything with the Kindle Fire being "good Enough" for the a large portion of consumers, Apple will be forced to compress it's gross margin more and/or offering cheaper versions of all their products which almost dictates going offshore.

      Apple used to manufacture here and with Steve at the Helm, the factories had the SJ look and worked well enough, that they had no peer. Then he was fired, no product innovation took place in the interim 12 years except the switch to a Power PC chip. By the time he came back on, China had turned from a junk manufacturing economy to a far more sophisticated one mainly by stealing Technology from their customers and the exploitation of cheap labor.

      The Apple product line carried a huge premium even when he came back . Eventually that premium was reduced to a marginal amount which drove Apple form less that a 4 Billion market Cap in 1997 to a 400B market cap in 2012.

      Wall Street has as much to do with this as the design and marketing companies. Companies  get dinged massively if they manufacture here. A 27 year old Steve Jobs wouldn't have given a shit. A more mature SJ at 42 did give a shit.

      Look at Caterpillar , the second largest exporter of American made goods with 66% of their output going overseas. Yet the stock wasn't really moving until they announced the formation of partnerships with China based companies. That and the weak dollar gave good immediate results and what analysts would term a "great outlook" once they got rid of the pesky unions.

      That doesn't mean all of their manufacturing will be moved because of the size of some of the earth moving equipment they sell, but we will feel it.

      As I Alluded to in another diary, Apple , at best, could only settle for assembled in the US , as most of the parts from it's 150 suppliers are off shore. We no longer have the infrastructure to build a 100% American made electronic product except for some boutique items here and there.

  •  By 2020 (12+ / 0-)

    the world's millionaires are predicted to have $202 trillion in assets.

    That's about 25 thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child on earth at that time. For a lot of people on earth, that's enough money to take care of them for a lifetime.

    So: We're either gonna go on pretending that redistributing the loot from the rich can't fix anything at all, or we're gonna start insisting that global inequality is unjust and that the proper role of government is to make it literally impossible for the few to have so much while the many have so little.

  •  Why is it that everything with a "fox" (5+ / 0-)

    in its name pretends to be good, but is in reality evil?

    Says something about corporate foxes, eh?

    Ratings privileges revoked without explanation during the Great Purge. So, consider yourself recommended or hidden as you think you should be.

    by banjolele on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 01:53:47 PM PST

  •  We made our choice (18+ / 0-)

    As a nation, we could have said 30 years ago that we will not accept products manufactured abroad under conditions that would be illegal in the US.  

    Instead, we looked the other way and were distracted with corporate propaganda about "free trade" (which has become a buzzword stripped of all meaning).

    We are living in the dystopia we chose.  There is no one to blame but us.

    •  Well, we might want to remember one thing here (5+ / 0-)

      The living standard of people in China over the last 30 years has grown enormously. Manufacturing in China has boosted life expectancy, education, infrastructure, and quality of life enormously. There's a reason Chinese peasants fled the rice paddies and went to work in factories, because - no matter how bad they are - factories provide an income higher (if that can be believed) than rural life. I am not saying this as any defense of how these factories are run but the answer is not to slam the door in the face of China. First of all, we can't. Too intertwined and dependent. Ship sailed. Second, we would lose the leverage we have but haven't employed. By bringing US and EU retailers and manufacturers together to enunciate a collective policy, the Chinese factory system would be under enormous pressure to ameliorate conditions, even as it cost us more. But since every manufacturer in China would be subject to the same standard, there would be little danger of being undercut. I don't think the Chinese government would be upset that their workers got a pay raise either if it did not affect their competitive position. The Chinese are worried that labor is going off-shore to other countries. But a worldwide standard would help to soften the impact. Global consensus is the way to go.

    •  I agree, but some of us (5+ / 0-)

      never made that choice, it was our government that made the choice for us.  Those of us that tried to vote in people like Clinton who gave us NAFTA were not for NAFTA and against Clinton signing it into law.  A lot of us knew that jobs would hemorrhage overseas and that workers would be treated this way, but we were assured that scenario would never happen.  Lies.  That is what is so upsetting about politics is that you try to get better people in office and things like NAFTA happen.  It would help a great deal if politicians told us the truth about their plans, they might not get elected, but it is probably because they shouldn't be in office to start with.

      "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

      by zaka1 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 05:48:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "We" mostly weren't consulted. NT (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie, fille americaine

      Fear is your only God.

      by JesseCW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 07:09:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And now proprietary textbooks (11+ / 0-)

    And now Apple is trying to corner the market on electronic textbooks so they would only be available on iPads. How wonderful it would be to have our school system locked into the devices made by one manufacturer. What an awesome company!

    •  Apple wants the schools to be a company town (5+ / 0-)

      where all textbooks go through Apple's profit centers.

      While textbooks have been a key profit center for publishers, Apple now wants to take over the field on its way to becoming the sole distributor of most textbooks.

      Apple is moving into an area that is vulnerable -- due to the overweening greed of textbook publishers who force students to buy texts at obscene rates.

      While I acknowledge the urgent need to curb the greedy pricing policies of textbook publishers, Apple's method of being the only place where textbooks can be purchased is not the answer either.

      I specifically object to Apple's software iBooks Author, which encourages massive amounts of creativity BUT the result can ONLY be sold in the IBook store. I support open source tools that open the market to many distributors. To use iBooks Author as it was released is to further Apple's goal of being a sole-source monopoly.

      •  This is just plain stupid (1+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Food Gas Lodging
        Hidden by:
        cville townie

        Apple is a company, not a benevolent society.

        It isn't enough that the original diary blames Apple, out of dozens of major companies, for labor conditions and labor law in China, as if it dictated these (last time I looked, China was an independent country that writes its own laws, though not of course a democracy). Now they are to blame because the material authored with their software only feeds into their store. Why the hell shouldn't it? Are they supposed to be run as a charity? If you don't like this situation, then put forward a competitive product or arrangement. Don't just whine.

        When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

        by sagesource on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:23:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who knew we'd ventured into an (8+ / 0-)

          Ayn Rand fan club?

          Fear is your only God.

          by JesseCW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 07:10:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They come out of the woodwork (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BradyB, cville townie

            every time the subject turns to economics, especially matters of "supply and demand".

            They want you to believe that corporations are a force of nature, instead of entities that are entirely designed, created, organized and controlled by humans. They want you to believe that the best way to improve the game is to throw away the rulebook, remove the referees, erase the field and goal lines, and just let everybody have at each other.

            I think that's commonly known as a "barroom brawl", and only ends when everything is wrecked or one side is beaten to a bloody pulp or the sheriff (or somebody who is a Voice of Authority) steps in and makes them all stop.

            Mundus vult decipi, decipiatur

            by TheOtherMaven on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 10:58:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I don't know how you can call them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Food Gas Lodging, sagesource

      proprietary. The books themselves would be more easily produced by just about anybody with the knowledge, just as iPhone apps are. You do have to upgrade to Lion to use the authoring software, but it is otherwise free.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:41:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  license requires (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Food Gas Lodging, JesseCW, Ivan

        that if you want to sell books created with the authoring system they must be sold through apple. You could export your book to an open publishing format but nearly none of the bells and whistles would work. Definitely coercive, imo.

        •  I hadn't read that far, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

          I suppose somebody will come up with something similar for Android-based systems as has happened with phone apps. Now if somebody tells me that Apple claims copyright to the books produced with their system, that would be worse.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 08:42:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's not only these companies. (7+ / 0-)

    that are responsible for these terrible labor conditions.
    It was inevitable - as Ross Perot insisted when he was running against Clinton and Bush - and warned that if NAFTA etc were "successful" we would hear the "sucking sound" of jobs leaving the country.

    Wiser heads in the Democratic Party wanted language in legislation to specify that trade agreements required our trading partners to abide by stringent employment and environmental standards or else there would be a race to the bottom as American workers' jobs went to low wage earners and polluting companies overseas.

    I've always wondered how much thought Clinton gave this.
    I know the Republicans didn't give a damn - at least those running for office.
    Indeed, George H.W Bush eventually invested in China (I think I read at the time via Carlyle Corp. as did many prominent Republicans and Democrats) selling American workers down the river.

  •  "This American Life" devoted an episode to this. (4+ / 0-)
  •  Does this mean we can stop worshipping (3+ / 0-)

    the memory of Steve Jobs?

  •  Hey Mitt, where exactly do some of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Food Gas Lodging, zaka1

    workers who work for the companies you are making your millions off of work? China? Vietnam? What are the working conditions? What companies supply t-shirts and shoes to Sports Authority? Who are the workers? Where are they based? What are the conditions of their plants? How much are they paid?

    That is what reporters need to ask when Mitt says he "fixes" companies.

  •  Foxcomm, etc (5+ / 0-)

    I was SO happy to see a diary on the subject of that OUTRAGEOUS Times article!  As we learn from Mike Daisey's superb piece (available at, among other places) the reason China and Foxcomm  can outbid America on producing quickly and cheaply is not any of the self-serving, sanctimonious BS listed in the article ("American workers don't have the skills," etc) but rather the fact that China permits its population to work under conditions akin to slavery that have been abolished in the West for at least 100 years -- if in fact such incredibly savage conditions ever existed in Europe or the US. Child labor (Mike Daisey found workers as young as 13); a level of enviornmental contamination that we have entirely forbidden; allowing workers to handle materials that quickly destroy their health -- and then firing them, leraving them destitute:  Do we really want to compete with China, to see who can kill off more workers, more quickly? Do we really want to return to a level of industrial regulation that pertained before the Industrial revolution, and that still pertains in China today?

    Or do we, rather, want to expose and denounce China's industrial practices, which are destroying out economic base while violating all of the industrial norms of the civilized world?

    Someone should blast the Times for this grossly misleading piece --which, among other things, simply feeds into Rebublican cries  for less regulation, etc.

    Good for you! Terrific Diary!  We need more of the same!

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      yours is the first comment I read that approached this angle.

      As terrible as the conditions in China are today, is it really any different than late 19th century US? We destroyed our environment, locked workers in sweat shops for endless hours. China is only going through an industrial change as western countries did 100 years prior.

      Im not saying its right only acknowledging the obvious.

  •  Oh but, Steve Jobs is a clever and highly (4+ / 0-)

    regarded job creator.   The fact that Apple thinks it is ok to exploit people to such an extreme degree AND has its advice followed on how to prove schools shows how screwed up this country is.

    You can't see a new shore unless you let go of the coast.

    by dkmich on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:36:45 PM PST

    •  Childish. (0+ / 0-)

      Apple doesn't write Chinese labor or business law (and if it tried, we'd be deafened by the screeching of "imperialism" here).

      This is a prime example of how a certain puerile section of the Left has been taken over by the phantom of American exceptionalism. Only they invert it: instead of being responsible for everything good, Americans are responsible for everything evil. When operating in China, a company operates under Chinese law. Perhaps you'd better address your complaints to the Chinese government.

      When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

      by sagesource on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:30:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the biography of Steve Jobs, (8+ / 0-)

    it says that President Obama asked Jobs how we could get such products manufactured here. Jobs replied that he would need to hire 30,000 engineers. Not PhD's, just engineers. We just don't train enough people for the upper level jobs, assuming that we would employ fully robotic assembly. Without a long-term, humane industrial policy in the USA, the current situation is unlikely to change. Apple has said that it is now working on forcing improvements at Foxconn. We'll see, I guess. But the Chinese government has a responsibility here and it is failing its people dismally.

    But Apple right now has few alternatives, it seems to me, except continued pressure on three fronts: suppliers, Chinese authorities, and the US government. With respect to the US government, it would help a lot if electronics companies in the US and Europe came together with an accord on the rights of workers employed by their suppliers. One problem is that, if an individual firm insists on standards or pay, a competitor will just take their place in the manufacturing queue. But an industry consensus would probably have an effect. Probably also have to bring US retailers and government into it too. It'd be like a Helsinki accord for workers in electronic assembly plants. Anyway, that's my thinking on this. Typed on my Mac.

    •  Sounds like Apple ought to start offering (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kurt Sperry, BradyB, Ivan

      those bright young Geniuses that work for them scholarships to Engineering schools.

      Oh, wait.  I forgot.  The public is supposed to bear all their training costs, right?

      I have a better idea.


      Fear is your only God.

      by JesseCW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 07:13:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a thought (0+ / 0-)

      Apple has the money in the bank 60-80 B$ that it could approach China (due to the supply chain) with an offer to build it's own city factory with a living wages and decent working conditions and then market that as THE reason to buy the already expensive but very high quality products it sells. Once the competitors see this business model work, it could allow them all to pressure China to fix they workers rights situation. Once they have fair employment conditions and wages America would competitive again.

      Frankly, I believe that a levelling of workers rights is the only route back for American competitiveness in manufacturing. We the consumers have to make that business model work through our purchasing choices.

      You could be listening to Netroots Radio. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

      by yuriwho on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 10:45:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looks like we need our own cultural revolution. (5+ / 0-)

    Just to get back to the attitudes we used to have about "Made in the USA". Ironically (using that word snarkily), back when it was easier to find a living wage around here for people who were not entrepreneurs, the whole economy worked better for everybody than it does now. We had a lot fewer categories of toys, and what we did have was more expensive. And the kinds of things you could buy changed more slowly. But we also faced a hopeful future.

    I've had enough of this current breakneck pace of innovation, perhaps because it seems to go hand in hand with a race to the bottom of the sort chronicled in this diary.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:38:40 PM PST

  •  Suicide rates (9+ / 0-)

    The main reports of suicides at Taiwanese-owned Foxconn was during the middle of last year. As of May 2010, 10 Foxconn employees committed suicide.

    That's tragic, and it sounds like a lot. However, Foxconn employs over 800,000 people.

    The average rate of suicide in China is 13 males and 14.5 females per 100,000 (according to the latest study, 1999, by WHO) . Taken as a company, the suicide rate for Foxconn would be 1.25 per 100,000. That's 1/12 China's national average. So it appears a person working at Foxconn is 12 times less likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population in general.

    What's interesting in the WHO report, suicide rates are higher in some unexpected countries. China ranked 26th, but Austria was 21st, France 18th, Switzerland 17th, Finland 14th, and Japan 5th.

    Just slightly below China is New Zealand 27th and Sweden 28th.

    Canada is 38th and the US is 41st with a rate of 11.1 per 100,000.

    Actually, if you're a man in the US, you are more at risk of committing suicide than if you're in China, male or female. The reported rate in 2003 was 17.1. The rate for women was less than 1/4th, 4.5.

    Maybe we should boycott anything made by men in the US.

    "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

    by BlogDog on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 03:43:55 PM PST

    •  This needs some qualification (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The number of suicides at FoxConn was the number we know about. I would expect the true figure to be higher. And with Chinese suicide rate figures in general, I would also expect them to be depressed by social factors, the desire not to lose face in a society that in many ways is much more traditional than ours, and certainly offers more opportunities to conceal information.

      Still, the general point is valid. The FoxConn suicide total was decontextualized and misused in ways that cast doubt on the fundamental honesty of some Apple critics.

      When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

      by sagesource on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:34:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's hard to know the numbers which don't exist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac

        After the initial reports of suicides at Foxconn in 2010, the company has be under intense worldwide scrutiny. I'd think it would be extremely difficult for them to hide any suicides since then.

        So what's happened since 2010? The suicide rate has dropped dramatically. There were 18 suicides at Foxconn facilities in 2010. During 2011 there were 4 reported suicides. One was apparently over a failed relationship.

        Four suicides isn't good news, but to put it in perspective, that's 4 out of 800,000 employees. That's a ratio of 0.5 out of 100,000.

        Not only is that rate still far below even the "safer" Chinese urban areas, the workers at Foxconn are at less of a suicide risk than someone living in any of the 50 states in the US.

        The state with the lowest suicide rate is DC with 6.1. The highest is Alaska, 21.8.

        So living in Alaska is about 40 times more dangerous than working at Foxconn. Who knew?

        Boycotting Apple in order to move jobs to the US would actually put more people at risk. Go figure.

        "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

        by BlogDog on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 04:57:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Completely refrained from adjusting for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BradyB, joeshwingding

      age, severe mental illness, ect.

      I wonder why you did that...

      Oddly, we see the same thing with people trying to downplay military suicides in theater, too.  

      They also point out that the rate is lower than it is for the population in general, while refusing to make actual apples to apples comparisons.

      Fear is your only God.

      by JesseCW on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 07:15:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Conspiracy theory? (0+ / 0-)

        Not hardly.

        I did considerable searching and the WHO numbers were the best I could find. There were no numbers I could locate which broke suicide rates up into categories such as mental illness or the like.

        There were some studies which compared rates for men vs. women, rural vs. urban and groupings by age. The groupings by age were mostly for the US, I couldn't find any for worldwide studies.

        If you can locate better numbers which identify causes such as mental illness, please share them. I'd honestly like to see them.

        "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

        by BlogDog on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 05:05:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It won't be long (5+ / 0-)

    before this is happening in America, and in some of the box stores it is already happening to employees.  This is why corporations should not be consider "people."  I know this isn't just about Apple products, it is about how a popular product gets produced and sold to people here in America.  There was a time when products made from human suffering was ostracized and boycotted.  But, somehow we have lost that consciousness and began to admire profit more even if it came at the costs of other people lives.  

    This will never be corrected or fixed and at the present many of the governors like Walker and Daniels are trying to bring this type of manufacturing to their states.

    What your looking at is America's future if it is not stop.  But, first you have to get people to realize that these products are produced through abuse.  We can't keep turning a blind eye to this type of treatment of people.  I'm appalled.

    How long are we going to abuse people to have things?  Eventually this type of abuse catches up with the company when the employees fight back.  Just look at Firestone tires, where most of the rubber for the tires were produced by employees in Liberia who didn't even have enough in wages to put windows in their shacks.  Eventually Firestone tires had such defects that they were blowing out on the road and causing major accidents and deaths here.  These things have a way to come back on us.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 05:25:05 PM PST

    •  "There was a time when products made from...." (0+ / 0-)


      I mean as a general rule, not in specific focused campaigns such as that against apartheid in the former South Africa.

      When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

      by sagesource on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:37:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If your asking (3+ / 0-)

        about products made from rubber plantations in Liberia there is a long history from 1926 to recently and here is a little bit of the history:

        In 1926, Firestone opened one of the world's biggest rubber plantations in Liberia, West Africa.

        In 1992, when Charles Taylor formalized the area under his control and established "Greater Liberia", he ensured that the Firestone Tyre company returned to operation, and the company paid Taylor's NPFL $2m a year for 'protection.' It was alleged that 'the warlord's most notorious operations were launched from the property of Firestone'. [24]

        In 2005, a case against Firestone[25] was brought by the International Labor Rights Fund which states,

        “ The Plantation workers allege, among other things, that they remain trapped by poverty and coercion on a frozen-in-time Plantation operated by Firestone in a manner identical to how the Plantation was operated when it was first opened by Firestone in 1926 ”

        Firestone's management rejects these allegations citing that the corporation has provided employment and pensions to thousands of Liberians as well as health care. The company also provides education and training opportunities to employees and their children.[26]

        Latex Collection-In May 2006, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) released a report detailing the state of human rights on Liberia's rubber plantations. According to the report, Firestone managers in Liberia admitted that the company does not effectively monitor its own policy prohibiting child labor. UNMIL found that several factors contribute to the occurrence of child labor on Firestone plantations: pressure to meet company quotas, incentive to support the family financially, and lack of access to basic education. The report also noted that workers' housing provided by Firestone has not been renovated since the houses were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s.[27]

        I don't know if this answer your question or not.  Please let me know if your seeking other information.  There was a documentary on PBS recently about the workers and it showed how they lived.  I don't believe the company did all they said they did for these people, I think they lied.  These companies and corporations take advantage of a country where people are destitute and they exploit people for profit.  That is why at one time we had regulations against this kind abuse.  How Firestone got away with this kind of abuse for years and years is beyond me.  But, this is the true nature of corporations and how they function, they are no better than the slave owners this country fought a civil war over.  People never learn and I'm beginning to think they never change.

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 08:07:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tremendous success for capitalism (0+ / 0-)

    So few deaths out of so many thousands of workers? Hah - normal mortality probably accounts for more than that, and you don't see anyone worrying about that. Besides - if you can't take your own life, are you really free? This is a victory for libertarianism too.

    And let's not forget the larger synergy here. None of this would be possible if the power of capitalism to relentlessly drive costs down for higher profits and greater competitiveness hadn't found a perfect match in an authoritarian state to keep the proletariat in line and preserve order. Adam Smith has taken on Karl Marx and Mao, and won!

    It's a great achievement for the power of market forces and government that doesn't interfere with business. If we can do the same here in America, watch how fast the corporations will rush to bring jobs back.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 06:16:26 PM PST

  •  One part of the equation they forget (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt Sperry, joeshwingding

    How many more products you could sell here if people had good paying jobs. They always seem to forget that part. Who is going to buy your crap here if no one has a job? The conditions in these factories must be horrendous. I think about it every time I buy something made in China. I smell that awful smell that travels along with the product sealed in that plastic bag and think what the smell must be like in the factory.

    Some people have short memories

    by lenzy1000 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 07:18:29 PM PST

  •  Based on American and European history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    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.

  •  This diary demonstrates clearly what I have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    always said.

    You cannot trust capitalists to do anything important in a way that is good for human beings.

    They will feed you poisonous foods, work you to death, build you a dangerous shelter to live in, sell you shoddy goods, withhold health care, debase your education.

    After several centuries of capitalists running the economy we have all the proof that we need that they are incompetent to continue to do so.

    We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

    by unclejohn on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 08:58:19 PM PST

  •  Every developing country goes through this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And this is a fight they have to fight themselves. There isn't a whole lot we can do for them in America. It's really no different than the middle east uprisings. They have to be to the point where they're going to demand better wages or else. If, by some miracle, we were to stop buying their products (that's pretty much impossible at this point, though), it wouldn't really do anything to improve conditions for Chinese workers. Foxconn will just employ less people in that pressure cooker. Those people not working at Foxconn will probably end up with no jobs or at a place just as shitty.

    The Chinese have to demand fair wages and workers rights themselves. Every developing nation does, because God knows there's no such thing as a naturally benevolent company. This is like teething. We went through it in America, and there are signs that such a revolution is coming in China soon, too.

    We can sit and point and say "look at how awful this is!", but what is the point? About the only thing we can maybe do is keep saying, "look at how (relatively) great things are in the USA and Europe. You can have this too, Chinese workers – just demand it".

    My style is impetuous.
    My defense is impregnable.

    by samfish on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 09:05:15 PM PST

    •  Don't buy the product... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ivan, xgy2

      I don't. I haven't bought many new electronics in my lifetime. I try to buy used when possible, and it usually is possible. Boycott the product. Do you really need that new I phone?

      •  Bingo! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I have never bought or used an Apple product of any kind for any purpose at any time ever, and I doubt that I ever will. Apple is irrelevant to my life.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 12:45:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  China to have another revolution? (0+ / 0-)

    Ironic that China now leads in capitalist exploitation of workers in fascist state run by and for the corporations, no health care, no housing, no unions, no labor laws, no protection for workers a country that calls itself communist.

    When China's speculative economy contracts, there will be chaos.  US better be running budget surpluses soon (bring back Bill Clinton) so when China collapses,  US is not dependent on getting our iPad dollars lent back to us.

  •  $14,792,625,000. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's how much more it would cost Apple, how much less profit they would earn. 14.8 Trillion. That's at $10 an hour, 20 hours a week o.t (for a total of 70 hours a week). 450,000 workers x $630 a week more than Chinese workers making x ...
    That's about $36,500 for each American worker (avg).
    Not a bad start.
    That's a LOT of coinage flowing thru the economy!
    Those workers gonna spend every nickel of that $36,500 to survive, most of those nickels flowing back up to the ubers and filthys (rich) one percenters.
    Not gonna happen as the ubers and filthys don't believe in "redistributing the wealth," believing instead that they earned it, they keep it, let the Chinese jump.

    •  ooops, Billion with a B. (0+ / 0-)

      read that three times and still missed it.

      •  not even reasonable (0+ / 0-)

        What would it do to prices in the economy? That kind of money being dumped all of a sudden would create a hyper inflation that would destroy it.

        •  Well, just saying if they paid (0+ / 0-)

          American workers $10 an hour compared to paying Chinese workers 70¢ an hour that's what it would cost them. Not your $5 Billion figure. Well over $14 Billion. Which is their profit.
          Still, if they could live with a "reasonable profit" of "just" $2 Billion, then that's what they would have to raise prices on their product to achieve that $2 billion profit and still pay American workers $10 an hour.
          Which is to say they may have to raise prices on their products 10% or so. Maybe less, maybe more, but I suspect less. And, that, to me, is reasonable. That is, raise their prices 10% and keep jobs here at $10 an hour.
          It's the old argument I make with Wingers on my local yokel webboard. "If McDonald's raised prices on their Big Macs and Happy Meals they could give their workers another buck an hour." Wingers get all kinds of riled by that, explaining that, "then those same workers couldn't afford to buy a Big Mac."
          Well, that might be true. But they don't need to buy a Big Mac. Or an iPod. But, that extra buck an hour goes in the gas tank and buys tires for their cars.

          •  Apple could (0+ / 0-)

            do it with far less employees by automation and bring jobs back here, true. And they dont need to have those obscene profits as well.
            But the problem is far more structural than just Apple. Its how America exports jobs, how long before a labor uprising in China and multinationals look for the next population to exploit? Say in Africa? Because there is always the next starving nation who will work for less.

            I couldnt even begin to comprehend should companies start to extract jobs from China and the effect it would have.  

        •  14 Billion is Chump Change. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Whatever they can get away with. In California (3+ / 0-)
    Next week a class-action civil lawsuit will be heard in San Jose to determine if Google, Apple, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Adobe, Intel, and Intuit conspired to eliminate competition for skilled labor. In anticipation of the hearing, ...[evidence from the Department of Justice’s investigation...] appears to support the plaintiff’s case that the defendant companies tried to suppress employee compensation by entering into “no poach” agreements.
    ...Now we know the C-level management at these companies did enter into anti-competitive agreements....

    ...The evidence states that the defendants agreed not to poach employees from each other or give them offers if they voluntarily applied, and to notify the current employers of any employees trying to switch been [sic]. They also agreed not to enter into bidding wars and to limit the potential for employees to negotiate for higher salaries....
    [my bolding]

    There simply are no giant beneficial corporations. There's too big to fail, but on the road to that point, you pass "too big to trust."

    Today, if you exist... that's already suspicious.

    by Jim P on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 11:49:37 PM PST

  •  Shhhhhhhhhh................... jobs are going to (6+ / 0-)

    China because they are getting better educated dont cha know? Obama says so. Arne Duncan says so. And the Dems and the Repubs. And CEOs, Chamber of COmmerce , Michelle Rhee etc.  They all say we need to "compete" with China. Mkay?

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 12:45:54 AM PST

  •  Whether people want to work in the rice fields or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not - they themselves need to decide. I don't think those people are given a choice. They are deprived of their land (and hence subsistence living) and packed off to industrial zones so they are compliant serfs for the corporations. And the same corporate shenanigans then accuse us of being bigots/racist because we question their plight.

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 12:49:32 AM PST

  •  Thoughts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi, lotlizard, joeshwingding

    1. Are these workers worse off than many illegal agricultural workers in America? Working out under a hot sun is no fun either.

    2, With 900,000 workers there seems not to be a shortage of employees willing to work there. (interestingly I did the statistics on suicides at Foxxcon back in 2010 and it turned out the suicide rate for Foxxcon employees was less than the Chinese national rate - the Chinese suicide rate is 220 per 1 million so you would expect 200 suicides a year at Foxxcon to be ""normal"" - we can get confused by large numbers without context).

    3. China is overcrowded, especially in the countryside. There is not enough land for each person to have a reasonable life. The only solutions are fewer people (one-child policy) and moving people to the city (China now has 1/2 of its people in cities - one of the largest migrations in history over the last few years). However in cities people have to do something to live and working in a factory is at least a job.

    4. Working conditions will improve as the supply of young female workers shrinks (due to the one-child policy and also fewer girls). The demographics have the work force starting to shrink. Companies will be forced to add machinery or change working conditions to attract more workers. Already factories have had to move inland from the coast to look for workers.

    5. Multinational companies like Apple  etc. have an unspoken duty to work for better conditions. They are really the only ones with the power. BUT they are also trying to undercut their competitors so it is hard to make them see the importance - finally it is up to consumers to demand companies making their products behave .... but just look at the dollar stores (crap made in far far less regulated Chinese factories) and we see where the ""morals"" of the consumer lie - low prices trump all!

    6. As noted above some of the worst abuses occur in smaller companies/manufacturers. Many of these factories are competing with their neighbors for contracts and are often willing to take almost no profit just to stay open. This of course means no benefits for the workers. The factory competition in China is fearsome.

    7. As wages and working conditions move higher in China, factories will move to Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh etc., perhaps leaving Chinese workers with no jobs(?)

    Solution (?): Stop buying so much stuff! It is the insatiable demand of Western consumers for cheap goods that keeps the whole chain going. But it ain't easy, is it?

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 05:14:32 AM PST

  •  Hands on report by WIRED (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tjmorganjr, Stephan Kuttner

    WIRED Magazine did a report on the Chinese electronics factories, Foxconn in particular. It's interesting reading:

    WIRED: 1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who’s to Blame?

    WIRED's Joel Johnson visited the Shenzhen Foxconn manufacturing plant in 2011. The thought that his iPhone and other high tech goodies might have contributed to a number of peoples suicides weighed heavily on his mind.

    I have spent much of my career blogging about gadgets on sites like Boing Boing Gadgets and Gizmodo, reviewing and often praising many of the products that were made right here at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory. I ignored the first Foxconn suicides as sad but statistically inevitable. But as the number of jumpers approached double digits, latent self-reproach began to boil over. Out of a million people, 17 suicides isn’t much—indeed, American college students kill themselves at four times that rate. Still, after years of writing what is (at best) buyers’ guidance and (at worst) marching hymns for an army of consumers, I was burdened by what felt like an outsize provision of guilt—an existential buyer’s remorse for civilization itself. I am here because I want to know: Did my iPhone kill 17 people?

    Chinese manufacturing plants were springing up, but few were offering any type of security or housing for the workers who were leaving rural areas and moving into cities. They were left to locate their own housing which was often makeshift shacks. Foxconn, although not a paradise, attempted to at least be an improvement.

    According to company lore, Foxconn founder Terry Gou was determined to do things differently. So when the firm built its Longhua factory in Shenzhen, it included onsite dormitories—good ones, designed to be better than what workers could afford on their own. Terry Gou built on-campus housing, I am told, because Terry Gou cared about the welfare of his employees.

    Up went a factory, up went a dorm. Up went an assembly line, up went a cafeteria. While other companies’ workers fended for themselves or slept under the tables they worked at, Gou’s employees were well fed, safe from the petty crime of a growing metropolis, and surrounded by peers and advocates.

    Prejudice may play a part in how we perceive conditions in a Chinese factory.

    In the part of our minds where Americans hold an image of what an Asian factory may be, there are two competing visions: fluorescent fields of chittering machines attended by clean-suited technicians, or barefoot laborers bent over long wooden tables in sweltering rooms hazed by a fog of soldering fumes.

    When we buy a new electronic device, we imagine the former factory. Our little glass, metal, and plastic marvel is the height of modern technological progress; it must have been made by worker-robots (with hands like surgeon-robots)—or failing that, extremely competent human beings.

    But when we think “Chinese factory,” we often imagine the latter. Some in the US—and here I should probably stop speaking in generalities and simply refer to myself—harbor a guilty suspicion that the products we buy from China, even those made for American companies, come to us at the expense of underpaid and oppressed laborers.

    From what I can tell, though, the reality is more banal than either of those scenarios

    But the work itself isn’t inhumane—unless you consider a repetitive, exhausting, and alienating workplace over which you have no influence or authority to be inhumane. And that would pretty much describe every single manufacturing or burger-flipping job ever.

    I've already probably quoted too much from the WIRED article, but it contains  lots of good stuff. Here's one more to wrap things up.

    By many accounts, those unskilled laborers who get jobs at Foxconn are the luckiest. But eyes should absolutely remain on Foxconn, the eyes of media both foreign and domestic, of government inspectors and partner companies. The work may be humane, but rampant overtime is not. We should encourage workers’ rights just as much as we champion economic development. We’ve exported our manufacturing; let’s be sure to export trade unions, too.

    "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

    by BlogDog on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 05:32:20 AM PST

  •  why does the solution lie in 'the middle'? n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  fair question (0+ / 0-)

      Can Apple increase the salaries of employees? Certainly. Would a double or triple be enough? How about a quadruple? I mean we are only talking about $4 hour (roughly). But what happens to the economy there when all of a sudden 1 million people have 4x as much to spend? Hyper-inflation.

      Can Foxconn improve working conditions? You bet. But it usually takes a united workforce to force changes. What China is going through is a sort of industrial revolution similar to what western societies had to go through in the late 19th century.

  •  not to be picky (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But Apple grossed $43 Billion in profits from $103 Billion of revenue last year

  •  The heart of the iPhone is produced... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...deep in the heart of Texas.

    Recently Reuters reported that the A5 processors used in Apple's iPhones and iPads are manufactured by Samsung's plant located in Texas...

    Reuters - Exclusive: Made in Texas: Apple's A5 iPhone Chip

    The A5 processor - the brain in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 - is now made in a sprawling 1.6 million square feet factory in Austin owned by Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics, according to people familiar with the operation.

    One of the few major components to be sourced from within the United States, the A5 processor is built by Samsung in a newly constructed $3.6 billion non-memory chip production line that reached full production in early December.

    Nearly all of the output of the non-memory chip production from the factory - which is the size of about nine football fields - is dedicated to producing Apple chips, one of the people said. Samsung also produces NAND flash memory chips in Austin.

    Semiconductor companies are attracted to Austin because of a steady supply of educated employees from the University of Texas' engineering school.

    Samsung has added about 1,100 jobs to support the new non-memory chip production in the factory, which produces 40,000 silicon wafers every month, a Samsung spokeswoman said.

    The rest of Samsung's total 2,400 employees in Austin work in its NAND flash memory factory by the logic chip factory, she added.

    Education = jobs. Who knew?

    So how about dem Apples?

    "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

    by BlogDog on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 06:25:00 AM PST

  •  NY Times to the rescue (2+ / 0-)

    An article today about iPhone manufacturing and why these jobs aren't coming back to the U.S.

  •  Thank You ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joeshwingding, Gay CA Democrat

    for this diary about Foxconn.


    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 08:18:35 AM PST

  •  I never forget this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joeshwingding, Gay CA Democrat

    Video games are a major part of my life. it was through Pokemon that I met all those who i call friends, and really with my health problems, I have little left to do. It keeps the hell away.

    But I never forget this. Just last night, I reminded myself to look at the back of my DS. Made in China. I know what that means. And I feel awful...But I mean, I cant even go for a walk if I want cause of how sick I am.

    I want a solution. I like to think i'm good at problem solving but...I'm blanking here. And I find that utterly shameful. All I know is..Im not gonna give this up. And I feel like kinda a monster for saying that...but I didnt get where I am today by being dishonest, so im not about to start now.

    I know its little consolation that this does bother me, and that it bothered me as recently as yesterday (this is not a new worry, mind you.)...I just cant think of anything to do that wouldnt leave me...with basically nothing but my constant pain.

    I dont even buy these things myself. I get them as presents, because I cant afford them. If i could afford them, id get healthcare instead.

    I dont like that I can shut this mode of thought off. It...disgusts me honestly, that i can stop worrying about these people who suffer so much but...I can. Because my games are literally all I have to look forward to.

    and I dont have any solution to this...Thats all really. I have to stop myself before i end up having another panic attack, so I'm gonna go. I just felt i needed to say...soemthing...because all this weighs heavily on me. And I just do not know what to do, from where I am in life.

    Skulls are not supposed to jump around!

    by kamrom on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 09:03:56 AM PST

  •  Health care: Chinese in Taiwan & mainland Shenzen, (0+ / 0-)

    … how do they pay for health care? Out of their own pockets? Or is there some kind of single-payer system? What does it cover? Is mental hygiene included?

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 09:43:42 AM PST

  •  From The Economic Times (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Gay CA Democrat

    dated January 22, 2012:

    According to an insider, Obama had asked, "Why can't that work come home?" and Jobs' reply was clear-cut, "those jobs aren't coming back".

    That wasn't the first time that Obama and Jobs had a standoff. Jobs' biography says that the Apple founder had told the US President that he was "headed for a one-term presidency", mainly due to his administration's business policies, the Politico reported.

    According to the biography, written by Walter Isaacson, Jobs was an admirer of Chinese business practices and was a critic for the US regulations as well as labor rules.

    So say we all! Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined version)

    by nerve on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 10:07:16 AM PST

  •  Oh! If only Steve Jobs had known I'm sure (0+ / 0-)

    he would have put things right!  

    /angry snark

    The only difference between SJ and Bill Gates is the amount of profit they seized.

    Obama calls for job-insourcing, via Tax Incentives (tax cuts for business). The same Obama called on Congress (and passed) a Free Trade Job Outsourcing Deal in 2011. This Is Not Change.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 10:42:36 AM PST

  •  This is why (4+ / 0-)

    the worker movement must be united that it will not benefit greedy corporations to shop around for desperate populations.

  •  I just came back to Rec (3+ / 0-)

    I couldn't forget about the point you've made. This is a disturbing diary - especially in light of recent economic and societal events in America.

    The fact is that a vibrant middle class was really an historic aberration. Dialing back one hundred years is really NOT what people want. Do they know that?

    the future begins

    by zozie on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 12:04:06 PM PST

  •  Here's a Sundance video that came out in 2006 (0+ / 0-)

    You will find some truths within it why the US has fallen behind.

    "While you pants down in oily desert, China surpass America...American CEO government transform America into big #2. Ha ha ha you still denial?

    Ha Ha Ha America

    What in the hell is this? Apparently, it's some sort of hybrid music video/documentary/comedy/Chinese propaganda thing featuring electro beats and an arrogant text narrator who taunts our weak American work ethic. Equal parts mesmerizing, hysterical and humiliating, this video is a sure sign that our American empire is on the ropes.

  •  Apple and other manufacturers largest market (0+ / 0-)

    is no longer the US. China and India far outstrip the US at over 5 times the market. The US is now down to less than 5% of the total world market for cell phones.

  •  Most Intel branded electronics other than CPUs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Stephan Kuttner

    are made by Foxconn.

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