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In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad


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#1 OFFLINE   Corrine

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 05:55 PM

The price paid for Apple's $1 billion a week profit.

QUOTE
A staggering manufacturing system in China has made it possible for Apple and other companies to make devices almost as quickly as they can be dreamed up, but for workers, it can be dangerous.

Apple’s iPad and the Human Costs for Workers in China - NYTimes.com

QUOTE
$1 billion a week profit
Tuesday, Apple reported one of the most lucrative quarters of any corporation in history, with $13.06 billion in profits on $46.3 billion in sales. Its sales would have been even higher, executives said, if overseas factories had been able to produce more.

NYT: Apple accused of ignoring labor abuses - Business - US business - The New York Times - msnbc.com


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#2 OFFLINE   Acadia

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:43 PM


I suppose MS would never, EVER use or exploit anyone.
Posted from an iPad,
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#3 OFFLINE   Temmu

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 04:34 PM

if it were not for the insatiable greed of wretchedly corrupt politicians / mobsters running u.s.a. unions,
those jobs would not have wholly migrated to ridiculously poor nations.
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#4 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 02:08 PM

QUOTE (Temmu @ Jan 31 2012, 02:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
if it were not for the insatiable greed of wretchedly corrupt politicians / mobsters running u.s.a. unions,
those jobs would not have wholly migrated to ridiculously poor nations.


That has nothing to do with it.  And China is not a "ridiculously poor nation" by any means.  Do you have any idea how much of our debt that China holds?  I was looking on Wiki the other day and China holds millions (if not billions) of dollars in US debt.  If this country went belly up like Greece recently did - China & Japan would own us.  And that is no joke.  Apple sources these manufacturing jobs to countries like China purely from the cost advantage point.  If you're saying that labor unions are driving up the wages in this country (which I understand), it still doesn't account for the vast difference in wages.  Let's say for the sake of the argument that we could get rid of all unions in this country tomorrow (which is both impossible and impractical).   That doesn't mean we would see lower wages instantly if at all.  Unlike China, the "minimum wage" in this country is set by the government who take in to consideration things like inflation, standard of living costs, tax rates, etc.   In most countries in Asia, it is still pretty much 'anything goes' mentality when it comes to standard wages and/or labor.  It has been this way for years.  That is why you see all these terrible things happening - workers losing their lives in dangerous working conditions, child labor, employees forced to pull double shifts, etc etc.

Edited by Tushman, 05 February 2012 - 02:15 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 03:51 PM

QUOTE (Tushman @ Feb 5 2012, 01:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Apple sources these manufacturing jobs to countries like China purely from the cost advantage point.


That is not necessarily true.....

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business...?pagewanted=all

The US simply does not have the infrastructure in place for an extremely rapid ramp up on production that can be accomplished in China.

However, there are some very important things to consider in this debate.

1. The culture in China is very different than in the US. Most Western culture tends to be individualistic, favoring the individual over the family. In the Far East, the family is considered to be the most important. Many of these workers are making contracts with companies like Foxconn in order to raise money for the *family*. They consider a couple years to be a small sacrifice for the good of the family. Also, this country is slowly working its way out from being a communist dictatorship.

2. The standard of living in China tends to be much lower than here in the states. The workers might be making very low wages compared to the US, but those same workers will probably never drive a fully armor plated Hummer H2, like in the US. The wages they are making are decent, especially considering that many of these workers are coming from areas of extreme poverty.

3. The workers are lining up for these jobs. I don't remember where I read it.

4. Foxconn is employing over a million workers. Yes these suicides are terrible, but the percentage rate of suicides is not out of line. How many suicides do you hear about in the US from factory workers? Accidents (like the explosion last year) do happen occasionally, and Foxconn is not going to escape that reality.

Why not consider what the Chinese themselves think of the working conditions?

http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/26/2746288/...s-apple-foxconn

Here is a hard truth, one that is inconvenient for many to consider: These reports about Foxconn come out mainly because they are affiliated with Apple. The fact is that Apple has probably some of the best working conditions of any of the companies that manufacture over there. Apple audits these companies, and trains their workers- workers that are not even employed by Apple! Apple is leading the charge to help get better working conditions for these workers!

Unfortunately, the hype is not mirrored by reality. This "story" is merely old news rehashed. Many will not take the time to truly research the entire situation, but merely react to the story with their pre-conceived notions of how things "should be."

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#6 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 05:21 PM

Great points Adam!
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#7 OFFLINE   Temmu

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:26 PM

QUOTE (ross549 @ Feb 5 2012, 01:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... Apple audits these companies, and trains their workers- workers that are not even employed by Apple! Apple is leading the charge to help get better working conditions for these workers!


we stood up a manufacturing facility in mexico.
in the process, we met people from gmc - the general motors of famed collapse and u.s.a. gov't takeover.

gm touted the same bunk about their workers:
- we audit the plants
- we are all about better working conditions
- we pay the mexican citizens $15 us / hour (2003 dollars)

the truth about the gm plant?
- the plant manager audits his own plant
- better working conditions than other sweat shops, probably true
- but - here's the kicker!  while gmc paid 1 man the $15 / hour, he in turn divvied that up amongst the 8 or 9 folks (usually family members) required to run all the equipment he was in charge of.

one has to be careful how one reads corporate bunk spewed across our media.
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#8 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:33 AM

Interesting point, Temmu.......

I have never heard of anything like that happening at a manufacturing plant, but it does not surprise me.

Saw this yesterday too...

http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/6/2775539/f...loyee-interview

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#9 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:49 AM

Yes, it's tragic! I know this is no better or worse than it was during our own pre-union industrialized timeframe here in America, but it is still tragic to see!

There will have to be unions soon, don't you think? Although I am not great on unions because they drive the prices up unrealistically and often take more than their fair share out of the mouths of the families of workers, there was a time when unions in this country were an absolute necessity.

It should not have to be that way. Unions should never have to be required for the health and welfare of workers but they were here in the USA, and they are needed in China and other areas of far east now. Even the best conditions, those held by Foxconn employees doing work for Apple, are unreasonable.
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#10 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

QUOTE (LilBambi @ Feb 7 2012, 08:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There will have to be unions soon, don't you think? Although I am not great on unions because they drive the prices up unrealistically and often take more than their fair share out of the mouths of the families of workers, there was a time when unions in this country were an absolute necessity.


I think unions are a matter of time in China. I think it is currently illegal to form a union there.

China is slowly marching towards democracy. This is a process that will take generations.

Adam

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#11 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:58 AM

I hope it doesn't take generations! It didn't take generations here, but we had a supposedly free culture for considerably longer than they have.

I see your point. But if China wants to be considered a democracy which should encourage humane interaction regarding their citizens, I would think they will need to do it sooner than later (allowing unions or regulate the care of employees by corporations and government entities).
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#12 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:51 PM

QUOTE (ross549 @ Feb 7 2012, 08:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think unions are a matter of time in China. I think it is currently illegal to form a union there.

China is slowly marching towards democracy. This is a process that will take generations.

Adam


Just because China has embraced capitalism doesn't mean it has embraced democracy.  You don't employe a billion people under one rule/government under democracy.  Communism has been the ruling force for their people for generations and depending on your point of view, it's worked well for them.

#13 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:54 PM

QUOTE (ross549 @ Feb 5 2012, 01:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here is a hard truth, one that is inconvenient for many to consider: These reports about Foxconn come out mainly because they are affiliated with Apple. The fact is that Apple has probably some of the best working conditions of any of the companies that manufacture over there. Apple audits these companies, and trains their workers- workers that are not even employed by Apple! Apple is leading the charge to help get better working conditions for these workers!

Unfortunately, the hype is not mirrored by reality. This "story" is merely old news rehashed. Many will not take the time to truly research the entire situation, but merely react to the story with their pre-conceived notions of how things "should be."

Adam


There are so many things wrong with that statement.  I don't know how to phrase my utter shock & disappointment other than by saying I think you re-think some of the strategy or ways you've reached your conclusion on this matter.  There's a lot of factors that I think you've manage to overlook.  Sometimes it is not worth debating a subject because one party (or both) are set in their ways and will not sway despite any compelling arguments otherwise.  I think this is one of them.

Edited by Tushman, 07 February 2012 - 06:59 PM.


#14 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:57 PM

Let's remember that the whole reason religion and politics are discouraged on this forum is that people get too involved with coming against the person's point of view, instead of speaking their minds on one's own point of view but in a positive way, not from the standpoint of going after the other people's point of view in the discussion.

If we want to be able to continue this discussion, I suggest that it be handled in a positive and supportive way between equals, or this discussion can just end now.
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#15 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:35 PM

QUOTE (LilBambi @ Feb 7 2012, 09:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I hope it doesn't take generations! It didn't take generations here, but we had a supposedly free culture for considerably longer than they have.

I see your point. But if China wants to be considered a democracy which should encourage humane interaction regarding their citizens, I would think they will need to do it sooner than later (allowing unions or regulate the care of employees by corporations and government entities).


There is a significant difference here compared to China as far as the origin of the country. We were colonies that felt we needed to split from our European masters. China has been around for a very long time, with a set culture. That's why i think it is going to take a while (i.e. a generation) for all the changes to happen. It's happening now, but slowly.
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#16 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:42 PM

QUOTE (Tushman @ Feb 7 2012, 05:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are so many things wrong with that statement.  I don't know how to phrase my utter shock & disappointment other than by saying I think you re-think some of the strategy or ways you've reached your conclusion on this matter.  There's a lot of factors that I think you've manage to overlook.  Sometimes it is not worth debating a subject because one party (or both) are set in their ways and will not sway despite any compelling arguments otherwise.  I think this is one of them.


My opinions on the subject have recently changed due to studying China for my current college class.

Apple is a strange bird in this case. Build quality is emphasized greatly. Apple has exacting standards. Frankly, other PC manufacturers are building on razor-thin margins, trying to cut every dime they can from the final selling price due to heavy competition. Apple is not as concerned about final selling price, but they do want to get every dollar out of the manufacturing process that they can, while maintaining a very flexible supply chain, and maintaining the highest build quality.

Considering this and other factors, I think that Apple is unfairly being singled out here, especially when they have already been doing things to try and improve the supply chain. When was the last time you heard about Toshiba auditing their suppliers or even what those factory conditions are? Dell? HP? Nobody talks about those companies who also build PCs in China.

Then there's all the other products manufactured there, such as 95% of the items at Wal-Mart. I'd be willing to bet conditions are not good at those factories either.

We don't hear much about those...... and that's why I think the first article was unfair.

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#17 OFFLINE   Temmu

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:31 PM

QUOTE (ross549 @ Feb 7 2012, 08:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
China ... slow... marching ...


not sure, but think china's thing is "long march"  - just found the reference amusing... sorry...

but they were sure quick to slaughter tens of millions of doctors, lawyers, teachers and students under mousy dung.
(i know people who still don't believe it happened.)

indeed the culture is entrenched, their poor are very poor, and they have some of the richest men on our planet.
rich and greedy - bill gates and warren buffet could not persuade any of them to contribute to charity.

unions?  would be nice for them.
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#18 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 08:29 PM

QUOTE (Temmu @ Feb 10 2012, 05:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
not sure, but think china's thing is "long march"  - just found the reference amusing... sorry...

but they were sure quick to slaughter tens of millions of doctors, lawyers, teachers and students under mousy dung.
(i know people who still don't believe it happened.)

indeed the culture is entrenched, their poor are very poor, and they have some of the richest men on our planet.
rich and greedy - bill gates and warren buffet could not persuade any of them to contribute to charity.

unions?  would be nice for them.


China has a man richer than Bill Gates? I've never heard that.....

Adam
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#19 OFFLINE   Acadia

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:32 PM

Arguing politics, wealth, whatever, will not change anything, it never has, besides none of it will matter once the great asteroid or meteor strikes even if it is 100,000 years from now.

I just want my computer to work today and may the Creator (not God, hate the word God, that implies religion, Satan's favorite weapon) bless those sweet innocent souls, the children, straight to He-Even.

Acadia

Edited by Acadia, 10 February 2012 - 09:33 PM.

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#20 OFFLINE   Temmu

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:31 AM

QUOTE (ross549 @ Feb 10 2012, 06:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
China has a man richer than Bill Gates? I've never heard that.....

Adam


my quip didn't say that... but there is a large number of "new wealth" i.e. 1st generation billionaires in china.

bill gates & warren buffet famously went to china in 2011 to persuade these nuvo riche to contribute to charity,
especially in their death, but none of the chines billionaires were interested in giving, i guess even to their own people.
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#21 OFFLINE   Acadia

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:01 PM

Negative story retracted:

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/...acturer-foxconn

Acadia
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#22 OFFLINE   abarbarian

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:41 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17395078

QUOTE
The electronics giant says its Supplier Code of Conduct ensures that all workers are safe, fairly paid and well rested, wherever they are in the world.

But the BBC has spoken to workers who make iPad parts in one factory in China. They say that low wages mean they have little choice but to work excessively long hours.


The consumer has a choice. Support companies that employ workers in terrible conditions for profit. Or take a stand and support companies that genuinely try to help workers worldwide.

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#23 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:00 AM

Yep, the better side. biggrin.gif

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#24 OFFLINE   Acadia

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:14 PM

First of all I now seriously doubt the Apple in China stories especially after reading the above posted article and what I saw on ABC World news a couple of weeks ago where thousands were lined up applying for these horrible jobs.  The bigger you get the bigger a bulls-eye you have on your back, just ask Microsoft.  But even IF those stories are true, if I were to stop using all products from every company that does something wrong somewhere, then I would never have any enjoyment in life and would even starve to death (unless I am a farmer).  And how the heck are you suppose to know all of this stuff BEFORE you purchase anything and the stories, if true, come out months later?

Acadia
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#25 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:15 PM

Acadia,

The stories are overblown hype. They are taken from the perspective of a first world country, with little regard for what life is like in China.

The ones that actually do so only mention that Chinese people in many cases live in shantytowns, etc. The living conditions in those cases are quite poor.

We live in incredible richness here in the US and Europe. Despite the slight slowdown of the economy, I drive by a Ruby Tuesday every day to and from work. In the evening, the parking lot is almost always full. (On a side note, I always point this out to my wife as we drive by) Many, many families have two or more vehicles. I know a young guy from Florida who had a Corvette at the age of 28. Granted, he is not the norm, but how many people do you know that have a nice new expensive car?

We are looking at this story from the perspective of wealth. We expect to have good jobs that pay well and have unions, etc.

That is the UNited States. It is not China. China is coming slowly out of a long period if Communism. Leaders of any group understand that you cannot have an overhaul of a nation's culture or political system. China is quickly becoming more industrialized. They are progressing much more quickly then the US in the early 1900s.

Considering that, you also must consider the culture of the Chinese people. The US is very individualistic in that we value the well-being of the individual over that of the collective, such as the family. Chinese culture (actually, much of Far East culture, for that matter) is the opposite. The family is valued over the individual.

What's happening at these plants does not make sense based on our culture, values, and expectations.

These young workers mainly come from these destitute families that is struggling to keep food on the table. They come to these factories, live in the dormitories, and work long hours for the good of the family. The factories put the workers up and pay them some wage which is then promptly sent home tot he family.

If you consider the conditions these workers are coming from, it all beings to make sense.

Does that mean that it is acceptable for these factories to have the workers put in long hours for comparatively low pay? No, but the stories reporting on these conditions frankly do not tell the whole story.

I initially had the same concerns as these reporters, but spent my last semester in college studying international politics. Part of that study was some in depth analysis of Chinese culture and government issues.

Adam
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