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MacRumors
Jun 14, 2006, 02:30 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Over the past week, a firestorm has brewed over a report in Britain's Mail on Sunday which claimed extremely harsh working conditions at iPod factories. The original story is not available online, but Arstechnica has posted a good summary (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060612-7039.html) of the article.

In brief, two factories were visited by Mail on Sunday reporters. The first factory was found to be forcing its staff to work 15 hour days for $50 USD per month. The second facility benefited from being in closer proximity to Shanghai, and workdays were shortened to 12 hours/day and workers were paid almost $100 USD per month. Security guards were paid up to $150 USD per month, although much of that had to be paid back to the company for housing and food. In addition to long hours, work days were said to often be accompanied by military-style drills.

Today, Apple officially responded to the allegations with a statement (repored at Playlist/MacCentral (http://playlistmag.com/news/2006/06/14/ipodresponse/index.php)):

"We are currently investigating the allegations regarding working conditions in the iPod manufacturing plant in China," said Apple in a statement provided to Macworld. "We do not tolerate any violations of our supplier code of conduct."

Raw Data: Apple Supplier Code of Conduct (http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/10/107357/corpGov/AppleSupplierCoc111305.pdf) (pdf)

iGary
Jun 14, 2006, 02:32 PM
It wil be interesting to see what comes of this.

Glad they have an agreement in place like that.

mduser63
Jun 14, 2006, 02:33 PM
I was impressed reading through Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct, but I sure hope they really enforce it.

longofest
Jun 14, 2006, 02:34 PM
This story is bound to ruffle some feathers. However, please remember that the news threads are not places to vent frustration, but rather to civily discuss topics. We encourage user insight on this issue, but please keep the discussion civil, no matter what viewpoint is presented. On that note, please also refrain from issuing a dissenting viewpoint just to be a dissenter (aka troll).

DavidLeblond
Jun 14, 2006, 02:35 PM
Move those factories to the US! $1000 isn't too much to pay for an iPod Nano!

zap2
Jun 14, 2006, 02:37 PM
hope Apple can fix it, perhap add a little extra for the worker they all ready have to try and make things right.

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 02:41 PM
I guess Apple is just another greedy company, can't really blame them, all major players outsource factories to cheap labor countries. The price of an iPod wouldn't increase by that much if it was manufactured in USA, these are not some hand made custom jobs, this is a production line, couple of thousands of iPods per hour I assume. Modern world is all about greed. Companies move to cheap labor countries to generate more profit as they never decrease MSRP prices anyway. Plus it always helps that in countries such as China there is no labor laws like in USA or Western Europe so the employer can do whatever he feels like doing and taking more advantage of already low paid workers.

I had a discussion with one of the forum goers ( http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=206312&page=6 ) and how he defended globalization and how he wrote that by US opening factories in countries such as China or India it actually helps our economy and I ask how is the $50-$100 per month salary going to help us (which I mentioned in those posts)? They can barely afford basic life necessities let alone "high end American" products. This is all just corporate greed, nothing else.

jelloshotsrule
Jun 14, 2006, 02:42 PM
my brother emailed steve jobs's public email address last night, with concerns about these allegations. he got a response this morning with basically the following.

"that article is bs. not true"

for what it's worth...

commonpeople
Jun 14, 2006, 02:42 PM
Disturbing news. I don't think I could continue to support Apple until these problems are fixed.

macgeek2005
Jun 14, 2006, 02:44 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Over the past week, a firestorm has brewed over a report in Britain's Mail on Sunday which claimed extremely harsh working conditions at iPod factories. The original story is not available online, but Arstechnica has posted a good summary (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060612-7039.html) of the article.

In brief, two factories were visited by Mail on Sunday reporters. The first factory was found to be forcing its staff to work 15 hour days for $50 USD per month. The second facility benefited from being in closer proximity to Shanghai, and workdays were shortened to 12 hours/day and workers were paid almost $100 USD per month. Security guards were paid up to $150 USD per month, although much of that had to be paid back to the company for housing and food. In addition to long hours, work days were said to often be accompanied by military-style drills.

Today, Apple officially responded to the allegations with a statement (repored at Playlist/MacCentral (http://playlistmag.com/news/2006/06/14/ipodresponse/index.php)):



Raw Data: Apple Supplier Code of Conduct (http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/10/107357/corpGov/AppleSupplierCoc111305.pdf) (pdf)

:eek: :eek: :eek:

$50USD PER MONTH???? What??????? Is that what people usually get paid in china??????

Kace
Jun 14, 2006, 02:45 PM
my brother emailed steve jobs's public email address last night, with concerns about these allegations. he got a response this morning with basically the following.

"that article is bs. not true"

for what it's worth...


sounds interesting, but apparently apple is investigating the claim..
lets see what does come out of this

btw is it steve@mac.com ??

dornoforpyros
Jun 14, 2006, 02:46 PM
it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. On the hand it's very easy for a news organization to sensationalize a headline (which they often do), and "iPods made in sweatshops!" is certainly a headline.

But on the other hand Apple is a western company outsourcing it's manufacturing to China, this is how multinational corporations make their money.

This story certainly isn't good for Apple's cute and cuddly image.

topgunn
Jun 14, 2006, 02:54 PM
I guess Apple is just another greedy company, can't really blame them, all major players outsource factories to cheap labor countries.
I don't think greed is the right word. Publicly held corporations have an obligation to their shareholders to maximize the value of the company's stock. It is their fiduciary duty. Not finding the best labor deal on Apple's part could constitute a breach of this duty and invite lawsuit from its shareholders.

adroit
Jun 14, 2006, 02:55 PM
I guess Apple is just another greedy company, can't really blame them, all major players outsource factories to cheap labor countries. The price of an iPod wouldn't increase by that much if it was manufactured in USA, these are not some hand made custom jobs, this is a production line, couple of thousands of iPods per hour I assume. Modern world is all about greed. Companies move to cheap labor countries to generate more profit as they never decrease MSRP prices anyway. Plus it always helps that in countries such as China there is no labor laws like in USA or Western Europe so the employer can do whatever he feels like doing and taking more advantage of already low paid workers.

Not quite. It would be much much more expensive to assemble all the products in the US.

Electrical component assembly is very labour intensive. The machine in the production line only build major components, and pick and place machine can only be use with very very small chips and components. Most bigger components still have to be hand placed and soldered by putting it in a wave solder machine. Assembling an LCD screen into the iPods also takes a very long time, and is very easy to break. Not to mention that most of the steps still need human to monitor and there is also inspection and testing period that is very labour intensive. You would be surpirse how long it would take to just put a battery in an iPod, assemble the case, or even putting the warning stickers on.

I don't really care if the stuff are made in China or not, but I really hope that Apple would enforce all the things in the contract agreeement.

TimDaddy
Jun 14, 2006, 02:57 PM
Move those factories to the US! $1000 isn't too much to pay for an iPod Nano!
Toyota told its suppiers to get within 10% of China's prices or they would have to start buying parts from China. Guess what? Toyota's U.S. suppliers are selling Toyota parts within 10% of China's prices, and still making a profit. The U.S. and other developed nations where people actually make a living wage (ok, some of the U.S. makes a living wage) can compete with China. It's just easier for the greedy corporations to open up sweatshops in China.
And I don't think that every product on Earth should be "Made in the U.S.A.". I just wish more companies would follow Toyota's example and build them where they sell them. Or, build the higher priced products in higher wage countries, and build Shuffles and Nanos in lower wage countries. Even then, there is still no excuse for treating those workers like slaves. If a company can't make money without moving production to China, I'm still trying to figure out how the Ragu plant near Bowling Green, KY can pay its production workers $18.00 per hour, but still sell the product for less than $3.00 per jar.

Peace
Jun 14, 2006, 02:58 PM
I'm pretty sure $50-100 USD is typical for any outsourced work done in Chinese mass production factories.Probably the prevailing wage for factory workers of this sort..
Keep in mind these workers don't sit around glueing iPods together by hand.
As for the living conditions.Yes they seem pretty bad for USA standards but that just might be the way Foxconn was doing it without Apple even knowing about it since Apple contracted to them.And I say "was" because I'm sure by now stuff is starting to hit the fan due to the bad publicity..

081440
Jun 14, 2006, 02:58 PM
Disturbing news. I don't think I could continue to support Apple until these problems are fixed.


Are you serious?! They have not even been exposed by another party yet! and Apple probably wouldn't have known about these things!!

I bet most of you clothing was made in worse conditions than this and yet you still will buy that won't you. (not saying these conditions, of true, are excusable just that you can't just abandon a company if something goes wrong and they didn't know about it)

SilentPanda
Jun 14, 2006, 02:59 PM
Quick! Somebody try to get "Sweatshop" engraved on their iPod!

I'm kidding... I'm sure they'll get everything worked out if it needs to be.

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 03:02 PM
Not quite. It would be much much more expensive to assemble all the products in the US.

Electrical component assembly is very labour intensive. The machine in the production line only build major components, and pick and place machine can only be use with very very small chips and components. Most bigger components still have to be hand placed and soldered by putting it in a wave solder machine. Assembling an LCD screen into the iPods also takes a very long time, and is very easy to break. Not to mention that most of the steps still need human to monitor and there is also inspection and testing period that is very labour intensive. You would be surpirse how long it would take to just put a battery in an iPod, assemble the case, or even putting the warning stickers on.

I don't really care if the stuff are made in China or not, but I really hope that Apple would enforce all the things in the contract agreeement.


Average salary in US is around $29000 which gives you about $13.90 per hour, even if it would take an hour to assemble one iPod (which somehow I know it takes a lot less time) the final cost of the iPod would be slightly higher than it is now. So again, it's just corporate greed, look at car manufacturers especially US moving some of the plants to Mexico, not only is labor cheaper there and not only are they starting to use cheaper materials but the final cost of the cars actually is increasing.

topgunn
Jun 14, 2006, 03:03 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek:

$50USD PER MONTH???? What??????? Is that what people usually get paid in china??????
According to this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4436692.stm) BBC News article, the average wage for a "production worker" in China is £1,214. That is about $2,200 US and about $185 a month. Apparently, according to the article mentioned in the first post, this varies based on where you are in the country. That someone could be making $50 a month doesn't seem to far off especially since it seems to include room and board.

For reference, the same position in India makes on average $150 a month.

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 03:05 PM
Toyota told its suppiers to get within 10% of China's prices or they would have to start buying parts from China. Guess what? Toyota's U.S. suppliers are selling Toyota parts within 10% of China's prices, and still making a profit. The U.S. and other developed nations where people actually make a living wage (ok, some of the U.S. makes a living wage) can compete with China. It's just easier for the greedy corporations to open up sweatshops in China.
And I don't think that every product on Earth should be "Made in the U.S.A.". I just wish more companies would follow Toyota's example and build them where they sell them. Or, build the higher priced products in higher wage countries, and build Shuffles and Nanos in lower wage countries. Even then, there is still no excuse for treating those workers like slaves. If a company can't make money without moving production to China, I'm still trying to figure out how the Ragu plant near Bowling Green, KY can pay its production workers $18.00 per hour, but still sell the product for less than $3.00 per jar.

Good post and I definately agree with you, I work in a car manufacturing business here in USA and all the parts and materials are from USA and you have no idea how much profit per each product sold my company generates, even if they would drop their prices by 100% they still would make over 100% profit per product sold, labor costs, especially in high volume manufacturing really don't account for a whole lot to the final cost of a given product.

Yamson
Jun 14, 2006, 03:05 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek:

$50USD PER MONTH???? What??????? Is that what people usually get paid in china??????
Pretty much, yes.

Look, first of all, these aren't Apple-owned factories. As a previous post alluded, Apple outsources their manufacturing to a quality low-bidder to maximize the return on their investment -- this is sound business practice. It's pretty hard for an American corporation to keep tabs on what's going on with their contract manufacturer 8,000 miles away except for numbers on how many iPods are getting shipped out.

Second, this is the way work is in China. This isn't abnormal. East-Asian culture values hard work very much, above all else. These people WANT to work 15 hours a day and probably would work more if given the chance. And you have to realize that most of China is poor and rural -- $50 per month is the going rate for this kind of labor! And this money goes pretty far in their economy. You also have to realize that they are also getting paid in food and housing (apparently that money isn't automatically deducted for security guards, per the story). In Chinese culture, the father of the family may go off for a year to work at a factory, send home his entire $50 per month to support his wife and child, and then return home afterwards to find more work. This is what life is like there!

I'm not saying it's pleasant, but it's what people accept and live with. And, honestly, they're okay with it for the most part.

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 03:07 PM
I don't think greed is the right word. Publicly held corporations have an obligation to their shareholders to maximize the value of the company's stock. It is their fiduciary duty. Not finding the best labor deal on Apple's part could constitute a breach of this duty and invite lawsuit from its shareholders.


And don't you think that all those American corporations owe something to the average American citizen who fought for the country that America is today only to see his job disappear to a continent with whom he fought 25-30 years ago? So again, corporate greed is the right word. If Apple wants to build factories in China let them be but all those products manufactured there should be only to areas which offer comparable hourly wages. Otherwise people in western world will starting making less and people in 3rd world countries instead of $40 per month now make $50 which isn't a big improvement either, they were poor and still are poor as I suspect that cost of living even in 3rd world countries is going up.

cervaro
Jun 14, 2006, 03:08 PM
If the story is true, and Macs are built under similar conditions in the Far East, makes a mockery of how Apple prices their machines way above the cost of an equivalent PC, even though the Mac is far better than a PC of course.

codo
Jun 14, 2006, 03:08 PM
It's absolutely not acceptable for Apple to exploit people. I donít care what the Chinese average income is - Apple is making billions of dollars of profit, some of this should be passed on to the people that make their products. Its good ethics.

I'm glad this is in the spotlight because it puts pressure on Apple.

Swinny
Jun 14, 2006, 03:08 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek:

$50USD PER MONTH???? What??????? Is that what people usually get paid in china??????

Yes...in many places that would even be considered a good wage also...welcome to the rest of the world...

I respect Apple's stance on this - they seem to have acted quickly to try and investigate the claims. (and block the potential negative press obviously!)

It must be said that the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday though are particularly vicious in their never-ending pursuit of scare-mongering and moralising. Not that I am disputing the claims (nobody can at this point) - but it would not surprise me in the slightest to see they have conveniently not mentioned certain facts or deliberatly misinterpreted them just to make their point. They are the shining example of Britain's hateful tabloid culture.

allpar
Jun 14, 2006, 03:08 PM
Average salary in US is around $29000 which gives you about $13.90 per hour.

MEDIAN salary is what you'd want to be looking at. Average salary is weighted rather far upwards by CEOs, Bill Gates types, investment bankers... you can't have a salary below nothing (not officially anyway, but coal miners used to work for less than nothing) but you can easily have a salary of $2.9 million. (Well, easily if you happen to be a six foot tall accountant with graying hair, a firm handshake and deep voice, good posture, and luck.)

I don't think the salary is the problem here since room and board is clearly given; it's the working conditions. Many Americans would be happy to net $50 per month after living expenses.

Mustafa Monde
Jun 14, 2006, 03:10 PM
I would be willing to pay more for an iPod if I knew that a fairplay practice was adopted and followed by the manufacturers of Apple products. Its just like the coffee. Most people, while they are looking for a bargain, most likely don't want it on the unfair treatment of others. I've always avoided the purchase of products and services that have ethically challenged origins.

It looks as if the Chinese have adopted the late 19th century version of capitalism. I'm reminded of the British coal mines of the early 20th century and the immigrant sweatshops in NY's garment district during the same period. People never seem to learn and greed is too easily embraced.

If I were the Apple management I would insist on regular tours of the facilities, ensuring the proper treatment of their defacto employees. So far, they seem upfront about the whole situation, hopefully they follow through.

Yamson
Jun 14, 2006, 03:10 PM
... even if they would drop their prices by 100% they still would make over 100% profit per product sold....
Well, I suppose zero is 100% of zero...:confused:

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:10 PM
Surely it didn't take this article for you to figure out Apple is just another greedy company. As with every large company, they will do damn near anything to up their profit margins.
I guess Apple is just another greedy company, can't really blame them, all major players outsource factories to cheap labor countries. The price of an iPod wouldn't increase by that much if it was manufactured in USA, these are not some hand made custom jobs, this is a production line, couple of thousands of iPods per hour I assume. Modern world is all about greed. Companies move to cheap labor countries to generate more profit as they never decrease MSRP prices anyway. Plus it always helps that in countries such as China there is no labor laws like in USA or Western Europe so the employer can do whatever he feels like doing and taking more advantage of already low paid workers.

I had a discussion with one of the forum goers ( http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=206312&page=6 ) and how he defended globalization and how he wrote that by US opening factories in countries such as China or India it actually helps our economy and I ask how is the $50-$100 per month salary going to help us (which I mentioned in those posts)? They can barely afford basic life necessities let alone "high end American" products. This is all just corporate greed, nothing else.
They can move Nike from their sweatshop and into theirs and produce the new shoes for the iPod together.

BornAgainMac
Jun 14, 2006, 03:11 PM
Can't "Machines" be used to create iPods in the U.S. Just a thought.

bartelby
Jun 14, 2006, 03:11 PM
The Mail on Sunday is well know for it's high quality journalism...:rolleyes:

Sun Baked
Jun 14, 2006, 03:11 PM
Apple has used Foxconn for decades, strange that this is news now.

Unless Hon Hai has really been pushing their factories to make some extra profit lately.

Of course a problem with Hon Hai and Foxconn can really hurt Apple, considering how close they have worked these past years. And how much they actually do for Apple, since Foxconn has been a common stamp on subcomponents for Apple products for a long time.

Can't "Machines" be used to create iPods in the U.S. Just a thought.Even if Apple "assembled" iPods here in the US, Foxxconn would likely still be a major supplier of assembled parts.

Sort of like the Ford GT is built by Ford, when all they do is "final assembly" aka, adding the motor or something similar.

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:12 PM
And just because Apple has some type of "code of conduct" on their site, doesn't mean the enforce it.:rolleyes:

jelloshotsrule
Jun 14, 2006, 03:13 PM
sounds interesting, but apparently apple is investigating the claim..
lets see what does come out of this

btw is it steve@mac.com ??

yes, i think the fact that they responded so quickly show that they take it seriously.

not sure what address...

topgunn
Jun 14, 2006, 03:13 PM
Average salary in US is around $29000 which gives you about $13.90 per hour, even if it would take an hour to assemble one iPod (which somehow I know it takes a lot less time) the final cost of the iPod would be slightly higher than it is now.
Don't forget that the actual cost of an employee in the US is much higher than their salary. That $13.90 per hour will end up costing closer to $25.

So again, it's just corporate greed, look at car manufacturers especially US moving some of the plants to Mexico, not only is labor cheaper there and not only are they starting to use cheaper materials but the final cost of the cars actually is increasing.
Again, look at the big picture. The "cheaper materials" you are referring to have quadrupled in price in recent years. Steel prices began to shoot up 2 summers ago and hasn't showed signs of stopping. Oil, a prime component of rubber and plastic, is well over $70 a barrel. US auto makers do not want to move to Mexico. They are being forced to to keep up with overseas production facilities.

quigleybc
Jun 14, 2006, 03:16 PM
I'm so glad I don't live in China....

081440
Jun 14, 2006, 03:16 PM
Average salary in US is around $29000 which gives you about $13.90 per hour, even if it would take an hour to assemble one iPod (which somehow I know it takes a lot less time) the final cost of the iPod would be slightly higher than it is now. So again, it's just corporate greed, look at car manufacturers especially US moving some of the plants to Mexico, not only is labor cheaper there and not only are they starting to use cheaper materials but the final cost of the cars actually is increasing.


It's called an assembly line and you have to have hundreds of workers to produce one iPod, plus all the machinery and labor to do maintenance and repair on it, plus taxes on the factory building and land, a long with the increased cost of doing business and suddenly the price is much higher than it is now.

And as for the car prices, thats because of so many new required things that the companies have to put in and increased liability insurance as the stupid trail lawyers sue for deaths in crashes that were clearly fault of the driver.

ITR 81
Jun 14, 2006, 03:17 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek:

$50USD PER MONTH???? What??????? Is that what people usually get paid in china??????

Better then nothing at all.

Plus, it's probably not a bad living actually in China..where everything cost almost nothing.

blk market DVD's of US movies only cost maybe dollar or two.

commonpeople
Jun 14, 2006, 03:18 PM
Are you serious?! They have not even been exposed by another party yet! and Apple probably wouldn't have known about these things!!

I bet most of you clothing was made in worse conditions than this and yet you still will buy that won't you. (not saying these conditions, of true, are excusable just that you can't just abandon a company if something goes wrong and they didn't know about it)

Yes you can abandon a company if they don't treat their workers right! I'll wait to see how Apple responds to these allegations.

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:18 PM
Since they are an American company, they should have to follow American (Cali) minimun wage laws.

allpar
Jun 14, 2006, 03:19 PM
" Most people, while they are looking for a bargain, most likely don't want it on the unfair treatment of others."

I wish I could believe that, but Wal-Mart proves the opposite is true.

Too many people have drunk the globalization kool-aid without realizing that it contains a slow acting poison.

How many of us have jobs that are completely independent of American manufacturing? And how many people seriously believe that once we outsource everything else to India, China, and Russia, that they'll never develop the intellectual capital to lead engineering and management?

Swinny
Jun 14, 2006, 03:21 PM
Apple has used Foxconn for decades, strange that this is news now.

The Mail have probably done a deal to give away free Creative players in competitions or something - so decided to dig some dirt on Apple just so they could take the moral high-ground and try to slur the competition. A tactic I am sure they would have used many times in the past.

Tabloid journalism in the UK is purely about building people up just so you can knock them down - so a gutter rag like the Mail wouldnt be able to see a company like Apple succeed without attempting to put the knife in at least once.

As I said earlier - I'm not disputing the claims, and to be honest probably think there is some truth in them (afterall, even Apple are all about making profit, whatever we might like to think)...I just don't believe the Mail would have willingly given the complete, balanced story - not when they can fill a few column inches with moral righteousness.

Ask the Mail what they think about allowing those Chinese workers to come over to Britain so they can work in better conditions than those enforced on them by the evil American corporation...that would get an interesting response!

SC68Cal
Jun 14, 2006, 03:22 PM
I was impressed reading through Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct, but I sure hope they really enforce it.

If the story is true, they are definetly violating that Code of Conduct, so the next thing to ask is how long they have been violating it, if enforcement measures were taken (if any) and what the end result for the supplier will be.

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 03:22 PM
Well, I suppose zero is 100% of zero...:confused:


Lets see here, the total manufacturing cost of A product is $15 bucks (which includes all the materials, assembly, packaging, advertisement). And I usualy sell that product for $90 (and you have no idea how many people buy it), that would give me over 100% profit (actually more like 500%). Now lets say that I would drop the price to $45 per A product and I still make over 100% profit, wouldn't you say?

codo
Jun 14, 2006, 03:22 PM
Itís sad. Apple doesnít care - Just another "psychopathic" company.

Manipulative, Lack of remorse or guilt, Shallow emotional response, Callous/lack of empathy and Poor behavioural controls.

Welcome to the world of billion dollar corporations.

Yamson
Jun 14, 2006, 03:24 PM
Lets see here, the total manufacturing cost of A product is $15 bucks (which includes all the materials, assembly, packaging, advertisement). And I usualy sell that product for $90 (and you have no idea how many people buy it), that would give me over 100% profit (actually more like 500%). Now lets say that I would drop the price to $45 per A product and I still make over 100% profit, wouldn't you say?
Oh absolutely... but in a previous post you had suggested dropping their prices 100%, which by definition would drop any price to $0.

EDIT: Sorry, just being sarcastically nit-picky.

cervaro
Jun 14, 2006, 03:26 PM
This post made me laugh.....

Do you think the PC factories are better?

Just because the this labor is cheap doesn't mean Dell doesn't have cheaper laborers.

No, but now Macs are Intel based, I consider them closer to a PC hardware wise, and hence cost wise too. Don't get me started on Dell PC's. Most unreliable machines I've ever had the misfortune to own. :(

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:26 PM
Or if Apple knew about this the entire time and just turned the other way. That's the million dollar question. Which I'm sure is, yes they knew.
If the story is true, they are definetly violating that Code of Conduct, so the next thing to ask is how long they have been violating it, if enforcement measures were taken (if any) and what the end result for the supplier will be.
Even after reading this, how many of us would really stop supporting apple if this turns out to be true and Apple in fact did know what was going on. Sad to say, but I would continue to buy Apple products.

hvfsl
Jun 14, 2006, 03:26 PM
If this does turn out to be true. Then I hope Apple do something about it to increase the workers wages and improve their living conditions.

I doubt it would affect the prices of iPods too much (maybe add $30 to the higher end models). But the amount of positive publicity they would get in return would be well worth it, maybe they could start advertising the iPods as 'Fair Trade' or something like that.

Plus having decent working conditions would probably help to cut down on defects, saving Apple money that way.

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 03:26 PM
Don't forget that the actual cost of an employee in the US is much higher than their salary. That $13.90 per hour will end up costing closer to $25.


Again, look at the big picture. The "cheaper materials" you are referring to have quadrupled in price in recent years. Steel prices began to shoot up 2 summers ago and hasn't showed signs of stopping. Oil, a prime component of rubber and plastic, is well over $70 a barrel. US auto makers do not want to move to Mexico. They are being forced to to keep up with overseas production facilities.

I guess the total cost of an average US worker might be a bit higher than average hourly salary but I know that a lot of high volume factories (here in NJ) pay $8-$12 an hour, have crappy benefits and health insurance that is so expensive that most workers end up not even buying it. Union jobs are expensive but I don't think that majority of jobs in US are protected by Unions.

gwangung
Jun 14, 2006, 03:27 PM
It's absolutely not acceptable for Apple to exploit people. I donít care what the Chinese average income is -

Then you're being innumerate.

081440
Jun 14, 2006, 03:28 PM
Since they are an American company, they should have to follow American (Cali) minimun wage laws.


Hope your rich, cause if that happened you'd be working 24 hours a day just to stay out of debt :D

topgunn
Jun 14, 2006, 03:29 PM
And don't you think that all those American corporations owe something to the average American citizen who fought for the country that America is today only to see his job disappear to a continent with whom he fought 25-30 years ago? So again, corporate greed is the right word. If Apple wants to build factories in China let them be but all those products manufactured there should be only to areas which offer comparable hourly wages. Otherwise people in western world will starting making less and people in 3rd world countries instead of $40 per month now make $50 which isn't a big improvement either, they were poor and still are poor as I suspect that cost of living even in 3rd world countries is going up.
If Apple is putting the public before its shareholders, they are in breach of their fiduciary duty. Look it up. I am not saying its right but thats the way it is.
Otherwise people in western world will starting making less and people in 3rd world countries instead of $40 per month now make $50 which isn't a big improvement either, they were poor and still are poor as I suspect that cost of living even in 3rd world countries is going up.
Poor is a relative term. If I could increase my monthly income by 25%, I would be elated. So what if it is "only" $10.

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 03:29 PM
Oh absolutely... but in a previous post you had suggested dropping their prices 100%, which by definition would drop any price to $0.

EDIT: Sorry, just being sarcastically nit-picky.

Oh sorry I guess I made a boo boo, I meant drop 50%

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:29 PM
doubt it
Hope your rich, cause if that happened you'd be working 24 hours a day just to stay off the streets1 :D

sigamy
Jun 14, 2006, 03:32 PM
this is all due to the Nike + iPod partnership. They are bringing us down, man! ;)

blitzkrieg79
Jun 14, 2006, 03:32 PM
If Apple is putting the public before its shareholders, they are in breach of their fiduciary duty. Look it up. I am not saying its right but thats the way it is.

Poor is a relative term. If I could increase my monthly income by 25%, I would be elated. So what if it is "only" $10.

Yeah but I had a discussion in some other post how moving of US factories to cheap labor countries helps American economy in a way that in this case Chinese help our economy by buying our products, I don't think that $50 per month will buy a lot of American merchendise.

notjustjay
Jun 14, 2006, 03:33 PM
I don’t care what the Chinese average income is - Apple is making billions of dollars of profit, some of this should be passed on to the people that make their products. Its good ethics.

Didn't we just go through this in another thread?

OK, suppose you're right. Apple feels sorry for the factory workers making $50/month, and decides to be generous and doubles their wages. Or, even better, as someone else suggested, let's pay them the American minimum wage... so let's say $1000 USD/month.

Suddenly Apple-contracted factory workers are the best paid workers in the neighborhood.

Prices for groceries, housing, and other supplies increase due to the sudden affluence of all these workers.

Apple factory workers become the new upper-class.

Crime increases, because Apple factory workers are paid better than the policemen and judges -- and can afford to bribe them to get their way.

Everyone else is suddenly that much poorer since they can't afford to pay the new increased prices for everything.

Workers at factory B stage a revolt, insisting that they, too, be paid the new going rates. Instead, they are laid off.

Factory C shuts down because it can't compete.

The value of the Chinese currency decreases.

Yup, great ethics. The American Way, for everyone!

odedia
Jun 14, 2006, 03:34 PM
So what do we have here:

1. Very bad publicity from this news.
2. Unbelivably low quality Macbook Pros.
3. Teaming up with Nike, the world's new slave leader.

Moving the plants to China was a big mistake on Apple's part. HP and Dell realise that, and that's why lots of their assembly lines are back in the U.S., only the components are bought from third part suppliers. Apple already understands that opening a support site in India is a bad idea (they just closed one, didn't they?). I think they will soon come to the same conclusion regarding their manufacturing. Not all that is cheap is also the best option, even if you're a publicly traded company. Stocks can plunge after news like this.

Oh well.

1984
Jun 14, 2006, 03:35 PM
Apple has used Foxconn for decades, strange that this is news now.

They are just picking on Apple because the iPod is so popular. The factory that makes the iPods is actually one of the best in China. In case you haven't noticed almost everything you buy is made in China and under far worse conditions than this. I find it amazing that this is news to anyone. People are acting like Apple is the only company to do this. All of them do. From computers to toothbrushes, mp3 players to lightbulbs. Everything is made there. People love to hate Apple. Some things never change.

That said I would be willing to pay as much as a 25% premium to have a Mac or iPod made in the USA. I really would. We rely far too much on other countries these days.

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:35 PM
Prices of groceries, housing don't go up due to affluence of the people in the neighborhood.
Didn't we just go through this in another thread?

OK, suppose you're right. Apple feels sorry for the factory workers making $50/month, and decides to be generous and doubles their wages.

Suddenly Apple-contracted factory workers are the best paid workers in the neighborhood.

Prices for groceries, housing, and other supplies increase due to the sudden affluence of all these workers.

Apple factory workers become the new upper-class.

Everyone else is suddenly that much poorer since they can't afford to pay the new increased prices for everything.

Workers at factory B stage a revolt, insisting that they, too, be paid the new going rates. Instead, they are laid off.

Factory C shuts down because it can't compete with the new economy.

The value of the Chinese currency decreases.

Yup, great ethics. The American Way, for everyone!

topgunn
Jun 14, 2006, 03:36 PM
Yeah but I had a discussion in some other post how moving of US factories to cheap labor countries helps American economy in a way that in this case Chinese help our economy by buying our products, I don't think that $50 per month will buy a lot of American merchendise.
Quite right. Which is why our trade deficit is skyrocketing.

gwangung
Jun 14, 2006, 03:37 PM
Prices of groceries, housing don't go up due to affluence of the people in the neighborhood.

:eek:

What economics do you believe in?

Stridder44
Jun 14, 2006, 03:37 PM
http://people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet/ali2.jpg

DPazdanISU
Jun 14, 2006, 03:39 PM
i've been to china, 50 to 150 bux goes a long way. And another thing, if you are concerned with the conditions at Apple's factories in China then you should be concerned with every factory in China cuz the conditions are the same in most of them, everything you see that says made in china was made by a laborer getting paid less that 100 bux a month

i'm not saying it's right i'm just saying they are picking on apple cuz they knew they would get alot of attention. In the 90s they would of said walkmans... see my point?

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:40 PM
Trade and weather are the main factors in natural product. A bad season would effect groceries more than a rich neighborhood. In many low class neighborhood in America, the prices of groceries are jacked up. Due mainly to the fact that the people don't have any means of going anywhere else.
:eek:

What economics do you believe in?
Demand is what drives the prices of housing.

1984
Jun 14, 2006, 03:42 PM
HP and Dell realise that, and that's why lots of their assembly lines are back in the U.S., only the components are bought from third part suppliers.

It's unknown if HP actually makes computers in the US as they wouldn't confirm it. They would only say they make some of their electronics here but refused the specify. Dell apparently makes some of their tower PCs here. However, most PC laptops are made on the very same production lines as the MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

Like I said, I would personally pay as much as a 25% premium for a Mac made in the USA though it would probably not be nearly that bad. After all, if Dell can do it...

210
Jun 14, 2006, 03:43 PM
The article is from the Mail On Sunday. Along with the Daily Mail, the worst newpaper I have ever read. If you want your news from right-wing fundamentalists and buy in to their propoganda, this is the newspaper for you.

simmonstwin
Jun 14, 2006, 03:44 PM
I am truly starting to believe that most of the posters on this board are a bunch of naive 10 year olds:rolleyes: . Do you really think that they aren't outsourcing the production of these ipods and computer for monetary reasons? I'm sure Apple like every other large billion dollar company is trying to squeeze every penny out of it cost of production, for the sharholders and their uppermangemant's pockets. They arent in the bussiness for the of fun, they aim to get rich and once that is achieved then they want to become richer. They could easily be billion dollar company here in the States, but thts the problem , they want to be a multibillin dollar company. And for those of you whom think that the workers over there arent being misused or abuse over there, you are sadly mistaken. It called "slave labor".

For me it's all about choicing the lesser evil, is Apple worse than windoze? Are they worse than Nike? I dont know, but I hope so...

joseph2166
Jun 14, 2006, 03:46 PM
For me it's all about choicing the lesser evil, is Apple worse than windoze? I dont know, but I hope so...

It's a hard comparison to make - Apple is a company, 'windoze' is an operating system.

I would be willing to pay as much as a 25% premium to have a Mac or iPod made in the USA. I really would. We rely far too much on other countries these days.

Typical American fealing - love it or not you're gonna have to get used to seeing 'made in china' labels increasing in number as china 'booms'. EVENTUALLY their economy will steady up, wages will rise and the big corporations will move onto the next up and coming nation to set up their factories.

Americans can sound scarily like Brits sometimes - complaining about manufacturing moving abroad etc. - but the difference is Britain doesn't have the world's largest economy. Last time I checked America did.

jelloshotsrule
Jun 14, 2006, 03:48 PM
for me, the issue is less about specific wages, as the case can certainly be made that they don't need (and some may say shouldn't make) the same wages as an american worker.

however, often times these workers are subject to abuse (physical and psychological). sometimes that abuse is in the form of unsafe working conditions (breathing toxic fumes from glue, etc without proper safety gear), sometimes it is physical beatings for not working efficiently enough. there are many cases of women working in these factories being raped and there are also instances of mafia like killings to put down any sort of worker resistance to some of the conditions/low wages.

those are the things that concern me, and hopefully they do not apply to the apple factories.

to the person who said "if you're upset about this, you should be upset about all the other factories in china where people also make <$100/month... apple is just getting attention because of the ipod..."

you're right, and many of us who are voicing our opposition ARE aware of the other factories, we DO make our best attempts at purchasing non sweatshop clothing and shoes (becoming harder and harder to do), and we DO object to companies using such factories, whether they have an apple logo or not.

ImNoSuperMan
Jun 14, 2006, 03:49 PM
Average salary in US is around $29000 which gives you about $13.90 per hour, even if it would take an hour to assemble one iPod (which somehow I know it takes a lot less time) the final cost of the iPod would be slightly higher than it is now. So again, it's just corporate greed, look at car manufacturers especially US moving some of the plants to Mexico, not only is labor cheaper there and not only are they starting to use cheaper materials but the final cost of the cars actually is increasing.


It`s just not possible to keep all the manufacturing in US or any other developed company. i m running a gold chain factory (with my dad) in India. Most of my labor consists of people from villages who come to city to make a living. I currently pay them appx 100$ a month. And each n everyone of them is more than happy with that money as they couldnt even make 1/3rd of that in their village. Plus they dont pay for food and room as I provide them free. So you can actually consider their salary to be 150$ on an average.

Now ITALY was supposed to be the best in Gold Jewellery manufacturing. But the person doing the same job in Italy will ask for atleast 500$ a month. More than 3 times compared to India. How will the italians compete? No wonder half of the factories in Italy are already closed and the rest are heading in the same direction(xcept for a few really big ones).

OK. !1000$ for a nano might be a bit too much. But If all the production is shifed to USA, I m damn sure you can expect atleast 100% price jump. Now some of you might pay the double price. But most will actually go for cheaper price if the difference in quality is not too much.

Apple is not greedy. They dont have any other way to survive. If they dont out source, they`ll be doomed definitely.

But given a choice I`ll go against outsourcing. I really hate China, India coz of their cheap labor. Thanx to countries like these, If a company needs to survive in todays world, then their no other way but to increase your output. Millions of iPods sold every year. Millions of PC/Macs sold every year. Millons of cars,AC,Refridgerators,Tubes,bulbs are sold everyyear. But there is just one earth. It took millions of years for our planet to create all these metals and materials which we are using at a pace to 100000 times faster than it`s creation. Someday we`ll run out of everything. I might not see that in my lifetime. Neither will my next few generations. But some day you`ll find yourself in the midst of a big desert called EARTH with nothing else but ..... actually nothing. Maybe black fog, without any water or food. Maybe without any human being.


But still I m running my factory trying to maximise the output each n every day coz I dont have any other choice left at all. Other than shutting down. Thereby leaving the 100 odd labor without any job until they find a new one. If i want to make money then I have to continue doing whatever I m doing. Even a 10 percent increase in margin from my side will result in loosing all my customers.

So my point is, it`s not Apple`s fault. If you want them to keep the business running, then they have no other option left but to outsource the work. To Apple`s credit, the Supplier Code of Conduct sounds really nice. I hope they are strict in following it.

Dont Hurt Me
Jun 14, 2006, 03:49 PM
$50 bucks a month to build Ipods? not very heroic of our company is it?:( still miss the California made PowerMacs.

AoWolf
Jun 14, 2006, 03:50 PM
Does this really surprise anyone? Most of the objects we use in our daily life are made in similar settings to the one described. Does that make it right? No. Will it likely change? I highly doubt it. I do think it would be fair to say that apple is getting attention just because the iPod is the cool modern gadget.

gwangung
Jun 14, 2006, 03:53 PM
Trade and weather are the main factors in natural product. A bad season would effect groceries more than a rich neighborhood. In many low class neighborhood in America, the prices of groceries are jacked up. Due mainly to the fact that the people don't have any means of going anywhere else.

Demand is what drives the prices of housing.

And what do you sate that demand with?

I repeat, what kind of economics do you believe in?????

Does this really surprise anyone? Most of the objects we use in our daily life are made in similar settings to the one described. Does that make it right? No. Will it likely change? I highly doubt it.

It will change when there is no longer an advantage to outsourcing. Outsourcing occurs when an area has abundant cheap labor as a resource.

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 03:55 PM
wth@ "In addition to long hours, work days were said to often be accompanied by military-style drills." It's nice to see our country fighting for democracy in Iraq, but still have no problem doing business with China to keep our economy up.

If your housing community was close to a highly noted school, close to a hospital, near a popular golf corse,...
And what do you sate that demand with?

I repeat, what kind of economics do you believe in?????
This is just factors in America. In a country that has droughts, housing close to a abundant water supply would drive the price of housing up.

I'm a American living in America, so of course my economic system is Capitalism, which I have no problem with. The problem is never with the system, it's the people who run the system.

gkhaldi
Jun 14, 2006, 03:58 PM
$50 bucks a month to build Ipods? not very heroic of our company is it?:( still miss the California made PowerMacs.

Funny how it comes that I see none of the Apple shareholders complaining. What we see / hear here is basically 101 economics the hard way. Sorry for those US workers.

PS: Anyone actually knows if these workers are unhappy with what they make / the hours done for it ??

jaxstate
Jun 14, 2006, 04:06 PM
Wait until this story is picked up by ABC and is feature on dateline or some other show. I think they are gonna target Apple's iPod because it is so popular. This will make for a good story (to them). The shareholder will speak up if/when their stock drops.
Funny how it comes that I see none of the Apple shareholders complaining. What we see / hear here is basically 101 economics the hard way. Sorry for those US workers.

PS: Anyone actually knows if these workers are unhappy with what they make / the hours done for it ??

CompUser
Jun 14, 2006, 04:07 PM
Seriously, people are acting as if this is an unheard of business practice. I think I can correctly assume that almost all of our asian made goods are made in these types of conditions, whether it be an iPod, a shirt, or a tv.

Philoman
Jun 14, 2006, 04:08 PM
Seriously, people are acting as if this is an unheard of business practice. I think I can correctly assume that almost all of our asian made goods are made in these types of conditions, whether it be an iPod, a shirt, or a tv.

Sad but what CompUser said is probably so true.

Man, these slaved workers must hate anything to do with iPods. I bet their nightmare would be seeing iPods in their dreams. It's sad to imagine.

What is also sad is those businessmen who are millionaires in China live a life like the Last Emperors. Who said life was fare. sigh~

:mad:

nagromme
Jun 14, 2006, 04:12 PM
Wages aside, Apple has a huge say in how these workers are treated, and they should use that influence. It IS Apple's responsibility, since Apple is paying the bills to have workers locked up after hours--as are we who buy from Apple. Apple could, instead, pay to NOT have them locked up (as an example). If Apple says they'll take their business elsewhere, that's enough to make change happen.

I hope the accusations prove groundless, but I find them believable so I hope Apple does something (not just lip service) about the situation.

It doesn't matter if it's common--if there's a fix, nobody should be let off the hook. The fix for the cost/wages issues may not be simple or even exist, I don't know. But fixes for the working/living conditions are surely within reach.

AppleDude
Jun 14, 2006, 04:18 PM
Reality check needed. Nothing in that article implies that Apple is exploiting people. If Apple is paying paying those workers (or more likely, if the contracted firm is paying its workers) prevailing or higher wages, then the workers are better off as a result of Apple's outsourcing to such venues.

Even if the factory paid less than prevailing wages, they would still be better off than having to accept the next best offer they had. Get real. Get a clue that it is completelyincongruous to compare second world nations working environments against a first-world standard--for both economic and cultural reasons.

longofest
Jun 14, 2006, 04:21 PM
Reality check needed. Nothing in that article implies that Apple is exploiting people. If Apple is paying paying those workers (or more likely, if the contracted firm is paying its workers) prevailing or higher wages, then the workers are better off as a result of Apple's outsourcing to such venues.

Even if the factory paid less than prevailing wages, they would still be better off than having to accept the next best offer they had. Get real. Get a clue that it is completelyincongruous to compare second world nations working environments against a first-world standard--for both economic and cultural reasons.

The article is only partly about low wages. It is also about forced long hours, and about grueling "exercises" that the employees are forced to do.

AppleDude
Jun 14, 2006, 04:25 PM
This is too much. There is nothing wrong for Apple to fix. If anything, Apple's arrangement is helping "fix" certain economic difficulties the workers are experiencing.

If you want reaaly want to fix things, stop looking at Apple. The two best fixes those nations could implement to increase the quality of life are as follows and has nothing to do with Apple:

1. Reduce corruption in the government and in the business environement.
2. Increase transparency in the capital markets.

Both of those would result in more rapid increases in the standard of living by encouraging more external investment and by reducing the risk associated with doing business there (and, accordingly the cost of investing in those nations). I think we should be asking the nations' leaders and citizens to fix those things, not Apple.

corvus
Jun 14, 2006, 04:27 PM
...a firestorm has brewed over a report in Britain's Mail on Sunday...

Okay, no doubt Apple works for money. But Mail on Sunday? Who are they? Like CBS? Like Dan Rather? Like do you trust them? Being a working journalist, I sure don't.

Then, you have the current economic system in China, which is cruel and unfair.

So you have some choices:

1. Don't trade with China and starve them into starting a war. That's the approach of modern day liberalism, whatever liberalism means.

2. Trade with China and drag them kicking and screaming from communism to a more equitable system, as happened in Eastern Europe 15 years ago. That's the smart approach. Communism will fall in China. But it will take years before a more free economic system will be fair. Sad, but true.

Therefore, ignore Mail on Sunday and just trade with China. Buy from Wal-Mart, buy from Apple. Stop being self righteous about Apple and China until you are perfect yourself. Then you can judge.

mozmac
Jun 14, 2006, 04:30 PM
We can't compare other countries to ours. $50 a month here in the US is horrible! However, that is the average income in MANY countries around the world. To these workers, $50 a month is better than ZERO dollars a month. I've stopped getting freaked out by stories like this after living in Mozambique, Africa for two years.

longofest
Jun 14, 2006, 04:36 PM
We can't compare other countries to ours. $50 a month here in the US is horrible! However, that is the average income in MANY countries around the world. To these workers, $50 a month is better than ZERO dollars a month. I've stopped getting freaked out by stories like this after living in Mozambique, Africa for two years.

They say Americans work too hard, but I know I don't work 15 hours per day. Remember there is more to the article than just the wage.

ender78
Jun 14, 2006, 04:41 PM
Every electronic product in your home has Chinese components. To completely
move manufacturing to US, would significantly increase costs. We're not just talking assembly, but the manufacturing of everything from the plastic case, to the headphone jack, to the printing of the manuals. Moving all of this work to the US would raise prices significantly.

Lets not forget that both India and China are developing nations. One cannot compare wages from country to country. As the economy grows, wages will go up.

Foxconn's 200,000 workers assemble many other electronics. I would love to see how many of products in the reporter's home were made in the factory complex.

corvus
Jun 14, 2006, 04:45 PM
Prices of groceries, housing don't go up due to affluence of the people in the neighborhood.


Yes, they do. It's basic supply and demand. The most expensive places to live are the popular affluent cities. That's just economic reality. You don't have to like this, but it's the truth. They are also the places with the lowest morality and among the highest crime rates. I live in Dallas, Texas and know this for a fact. I can go to the very weathly Park Cities part of Dallas and change much more for my services than I could receive in less affluent areas.

ictiosapiens
Jun 14, 2006, 04:53 PM
i've been to china, 50 to 150 bux goes a long way. And another thing, if you are concerned with the conditions at Apple's factories in China then you should be concerned with every factory in China cuz the conditions are the same in most of them, everything you see that says made in china was made by a laborer getting paid less that 100 bux a month

i'm not saying it's right i'm just saying they are picking on apple cuz they knew they would get alot of attention. In the 90s they would of said walkmans... see my point?

I dont think the main issue here are the wages, but the forced 12-15 HOUR DAY!!! that's just plain wrong... Even with decent wages that would mount up to a terrible quality of life...

iJawn108
Jun 14, 2006, 04:58 PM
This might have something to do with the recent Nike deal with the Nano. I kid I kid. :p

I'm sure Apple will look into it, they don't need bad publicity like "child slave workers building ipods for pennys a day". Bono wouldn't have anything of the sort.

AppleDude
Jun 14, 2006, 04:58 PM
If you lived in China, I am pretty sure you, too, would prefer to work 12 hours/day over not having a job. THat sounds like a "right" decision, not "just wrong."

thejadedmonkey
Jun 14, 2006, 05:01 PM
Move those factories to the US! $1000 isn't too much to pay for an iPod Nano!
Not quite. It would be much much more expensive to assemble all the products in the US.
Dell and gateway do some of the assembly in the US to keep their priced DOWN.
Disturbing news. I don't think I could continue to support Apple until these problems are fixed.
What problems? I am being serious. AFAIK, these conditions are relativley good.

I just hope Apple comes out swinging, otherwise the bad PR has the ability to knock the iPod off it's high horse like nothing else.

craigsharp@spym
Jun 14, 2006, 05:02 PM
I'm sure someone has already said this, but the people are not employed by Apple. Those plants or SUPPLIERS. just like the people who put together Intel's motherboards are not employs of Intel, just a supplier. It is still wrong anyway you look at it, but it's not apple's fault that the Chinese labor laws suck big ones. The Chinese govt needs to fine the plants owners, which isnt apple.

ictiosapiens
Jun 14, 2006, 05:04 PM
If you lived in China, I am pretty sure you, too, would prefer to work 12 hours/day over not having a job. THat sounds like a "right" decision, not "just wrong."

They don't prefer to work 12 hours a day, they are forced(according to the article) to do so... To make a decision you normally have choices, I don't really see the choice here.

You are living in a compound, start work in the morning, 8 hours later you stand up, head out, and some guy says you have to sit your rear down for another 4 hours, you say "hell no, I'm going home" and the guard chuckles and says "what home? from this moment you don't have one"

So again, what decision???

craigsharp@spym
Jun 14, 2006, 05:07 PM
I dont think the main issue here are the wages, but the forced 12-15 HOUR DAY!!! that's just plain wrong... Even with decent wages that would mount up to a terrible quality of life...

I was forced to work 12-15 hours a day for 4 months at Gerber just before they laid me and 23 other people off. The plant is in Fort Smith, AR. my shift started at 3pm and was supposed to end at 1130pm but they made us stay until about 330 sometimes as late as 6 or the latest was 7 in the morning. They hired us on in january and then laid us off at the end of April. It does suck for a way of life.

schatten
Jun 14, 2006, 05:09 PM
People

rsmc77
Jun 14, 2006, 05:09 PM
Itís sad. Apple doesnít care - Just another "psychopathic" company.

Manipulative, Lack of remorse or guilt, Shallow emotional response, Callous/lack of empathy and Poor behavioural controls.

Welcome to the world of billion dollar corporations.

What???? Relax and give a little breathing room. Wait for Apple to check things out and see what happens first.

theviceofreason
Jun 14, 2006, 05:12 PM
Okay, no doubt Apple works for money. But Mail on Sunday? Who are they? Like CBS? Like Dan Rather? Like do you trust them? Being a working journalist, I sure don't.

Then, you have the current economic system in China, which is cruel and unfair.

So you have some choices:

1. Don't trade with China and starve them into starting a war. That's the approach of modern day liberalism, whatever liberalism means.

2. Trade with China and drag them kicking and screaming from communism to a more equitable system, as happened in Eastern Europe 15 years ago. That's the smart approach. Communism will fall in China. But it will take years before a more free economic system will be fair. Sad, but true.

Therefore, ignore Mail on Sunday and just trade with China. Buy from Wal-Mart, buy from Apple. Stop being self righteous about Apple and China until you are perfect yourself. Then you can judge.

Hmmm. The Mail on Sunday as a representative of "liberalism"? That's a first. Think Fox News in print (unless you think that's a good thing).

Of course, as a working journalist you'll appreciate that not every staffer shares the political, cultural and moral mores of the title he or she is employed by. Real journalism does still sneak through, even in these rags.

ChrisA
Jun 14, 2006, 05:16 PM
I wonder what the conditions were like at the place those workers were at before they became employed at the iPod factory? In many cases this was a small family farm where they were their own boss. I've read interviews where some of them say they prefer to work 12 hour days in a factory to working at the farm, factory work is less physically demanding and they were not able to make ANY cash at the farm

You have to remember where these workers come from. Working a small un-mechanized farm, by hand is hard work and horribly un-productive in terms of output per labor hour. What is the curent wholesale price of rice in China? Three cents a pound or something and you are only paid after a havest? $50 per week for sitting down in a chair indoors sounds good to them.

schatten
Jun 14, 2006, 05:17 PM
This is the norm.

People seem to think that there's a place for ethics in big business. Come on now. Real successful business people leave their morality at home when they pick up their briefcase & head out the door. If you don't like it, don't buy Apple products, or shop at WAL-MART, or buy food from McDonalds. Nothing will change though. Its bigger than you. It's not just business, It's politics.

This isn't going to change. Part of being an economic superpower like America is exploiting lesser nations. That's the way it's always been. When Britan was the world superpower, or France, or Rome, or Persia, or Egypt... all the way back through history, the mightiest empires flexed their muscle & the rest of the world trembled.... Well, that is until the empire collapsed...

Which America will too, one day.

China will be the next Superpower, I guarantee it.

Krevnik
Jun 14, 2006, 05:20 PM
It's absolutely not acceptable for Apple to exploit people. I don’t care what the Chinese average income is - Apple is making billions of dollars of profit, some of this should be passed on to the people that make their products. Its good ethics.

I'm glad this is in the spotlight because it puts pressure on Apple.

Correction... billions in revenue... millions in profit. If we are gonna hammer on anyone being in the wrong, can we at least be right? ;)

(EDIT: Correcting myself here... I am talking on a quarterly basis... on a yearly basis, yes, Apple has been able to break the 'b' mark in net income for a year-long period thanks to the iPod)

alec
Jun 14, 2006, 05:28 PM
OK, some prevailing ideas on this thread: this is business, they wouldn't work there if they didn't choose to, they probably make more at this job then at other jobs, etc.

Because it is business and because this may be a market wage in China does not make this acceptable conditions. What's described here is what occurs frequently in China: capitalist work camps (no joke) -- young men or women sign up to work at foreign contractors manufacturing plants where on-compound dormitories are provided (but paid for by the employees). They work 12 to 14 hours a day without much legal recourse or flexibility because a) they're in China b) they signed a contract without knowing it's intentions.

Listen, I have a Mac and an iPod, and I'd be a hypocrite to say I'm free of the shared guilt for buying goods that were probably made under poor working conditions. But this is the consequence of globilization, where the pursuit of profits and free markets is an excuse for ignoring the human condition.

swingerofbirch
Jun 14, 2006, 05:42 PM
Before I knew of this specific problem, I had already written to Apple opposing their manufacturing almost everything "they make" in China. Unbridled trade with China hurts real Americans as well (as opposed to American CEOs who it greatly benefits).

To everyone who says that $50 goes farther in China, realize that an iPod in China that costs $299 in the US, costs over $361.

Until people realize that democracy means that we own our economy instead of thinking of it as being in the sacred domain of Wall Street, we are chained. It is so ironic that Americans don't vote with their pocketbooks. I talked to a woman the other day without health insurance who doesn't want universal health care because it's "communist."

This is a self esteem issue on the part of Americans. Americans think that they look pathetic when they start demanding to be treated with dignity and respect. Companies and cronies in government thrive on low expectations.

stunna
Jun 14, 2006, 05:43 PM
Surely it didn't take this article for you to figure out Apple is just another greedy company. As with every large company, they will do damn near anything to up their profit margins.

They can move Nike from their sweatshop and into theirs and produce the new shoes for the iPod together.


I guess this is how apple can afford to give away free nanos with a Mac purchase

ROFL @ nike + ipod sweat shop comment

reyesmac
Jun 14, 2006, 05:43 PM
I wonder if Apple put quotas on production costs or if the companies are trying to scam Apple out of more money than the product costs to make. Either way, thats what you get when you do business with the enemy. With the price of iPods being what they are they could make them anywhere and still make a profit.

If they are going to abuse the poor workers, they should do so to get the new Powermac out the door quicker and not waste time on iPods.

Philoman
Jun 14, 2006, 05:45 PM
If the story is true, and Macs are built under similar conditions in the Far East, makes a mockery of how Apple prices their machines way above the cost of an equivalent PC, even though the Mac is far better than a PC of course.

True about Macs being build under similar conditions...

Don't forget Apple spends more time and money on design! That's what makes Apple superior to others. And design and research cost money and they have to make a profit on that. Just like Porsche or Ferrari spend more time on design and research. Consumers are willing and have to pay for that.

whocares
Jun 14, 2006, 05:45 PM
Welcome to the Real Worldô of business folks.


Offer a consumer a 299USD iPod Made in China or a 499USD iPod made in USA, which one will he buy? :rolleyes:


I'm by no why condoning sweatshops; just stating a fact.

stunna
Jun 14, 2006, 05:47 PM
This is the norm.

People seem to think that there's a place for ethics in big business. Come on now. Real successful business people leave their morality at home when they pick up their briefcase & head out the door. If you don't like it, don't buy Apple products, or shop at WAL-MART, or buy food from McDonalds. Nothing will change though. Its bigger than you. It's not just business, It's politics.

This isn't going to change. Part of being an economic superpower like America is exploiting lesser nations. That's the way it's always been. When Britan was the world superpower, or France, or Rome, or Persia, or Egypt... all the way back through history, the mightiest empires flexed their muscle & the rest of the world trembled.... Well, that is until the empire collapsed...

Which America will too, one day.

China will be the next Superpower, I guarantee it.

Just curious why do you think china will be the next super power?

swingerofbirch
Jun 14, 2006, 05:48 PM
Welcome to the Real Worldô of business folks.


Offer a consumer a 299USD iPod Made in China or a 499USD iPod made in USA, which one will he buy? :rolleyes:


I'm by no why condoning sweatshops; just stating a fact.
'


Put a 68% tariff on Chinese goods, and the choice should be easy. : )

dblissmn
Jun 14, 2006, 05:49 PM
Move those factories to the US! $1000 isn't too much to pay for an iPod Nano!

It's disingenuous to suggest that in-sourcing would have more than a few dollars' effect on the price. Transportation and some logistic costs would actually go down slightly and labor costs are a remarkably small proportion of the cost of an iPod.

And don't forget that something like 50 percent of the price of almost every iPod (with the possible exception of the lower-margin 4GB nano) is pure profit. It is by far Apple's highest profit item. Even if these were made in the US and Apple were forced to hold their prices where they are, iPods would still make more profit than the company average.

Think about cell phones. Are Samsungs and LGs (made in South Korea, with basically US-style wages) any more expensive than Motorolas (made in China with cheap wages)? Not that you'd notice. But unlike the US, South Korea does not give companies tax breaks for operating offshore, and indeed throws up barriers in the way of outsourcing. Hasn't stopped them from achieving one of the fastest growth rates out there -- they were peasants in the paddy fields 50 years ago, and look at them now.

Think once again about cell phones. Have Moto prices dropped since they canned their factory in suburban Chicago and moved production to China? No -- the good ones are now more expensive than ever when introduced. The company's profits have gone up the last few years, I'll grant you that.

And besides, do Americans in particular really want to outsource to a country that is grooming itself for the Soviet Union's old role as America's main opponent in the world?

Krevnik
Jun 14, 2006, 05:51 PM
Trade and weather are the main factors in natural product. A bad season would effect groceries more than a rich neighborhood. In many low class neighborhood in America, the prices of groceries are jacked up. Due mainly to the fact that the people don't have any means of going anywhere else.

If you take a look at some of these areas, you might also be looking at /whom/ is selling the groceries in that area. I see higher pricing in poorer areas, but I also see smaller store chains, or one-off stores. Volume drives discounts in the economy... and so stores selling smaller volumes with a higher waste percentage is gonna have to sell their goods for higher prices in order to make up for it. But, a richer neighborhood could start attracting more expensive brands, or more expensive foods, at the expense of the cheaper foods. Otherwise, I am inclined to agree on this point... in general, the food market can only scale to meet affluence so far.

Demand is what drives the prices of housing.

As your means increase, so does what you can afford. Demand driving housing prices is a bit too simplistic. The moment you have a cultural elite, you suddenly have a market for more expensive housing, and thus a 'demand' for it. The market responds by trying to meet it (usually too enthusiastically, with pricing which is out-of-whack). Don't believe me? Look at Bellevue, Washington in the US. Right next to Redmond, home of MS, which pays pretty decently... and we have a Google office in Kirkland next door. Prices for housing in every direction around Bellevue has been increasing, not just in the places in high demand... and part of it is because we have 3 large companies all paying wages well above the region's median. Housing developers are building trying to catch the software devs with 300k homes, with large profit margins on the homes, instead of aiming at those on minimum wage.

Oh, and demand for housing in a region can be related to people wanting to move there because of the better pay, compounding the issue.

Philoman
Jun 14, 2006, 05:52 PM
Considering how poorly most all China made products are, Apple products are good as products made in any country (i.e. US, Japan or Germany)

Now consider how much they have to whip the Chinese workers to get that kind of quality out of them. Can you imagine. I rather be in the US prison than being in a Chinese factory. Whew~

alexf
Jun 14, 2006, 05:55 PM
Shame on you Apple.

Just another big greedy corporation. I guess we should hardly be surprised, as this is the way the world works these days: the poor slave away all day and night so that the rich can play with their new toys.

Somehow I thought Apple would "think different" from the typical model, but I should have known better. :(

And for all of you saying that "this is just business" and "the workers are happy to have these jobs," etc., etc.: yes, we have all heard these arguments before, usually out of the mouths of right-wingers who could care less about human suffering and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor on this planet. Unfortunately it is not so cut and dry, and Apple (along with other large corporations) are in a position in which they can do something about it... if, of course, they and their shareholders really wanted to.

Krevnik
Jun 14, 2006, 06:01 PM
It's disingenuous to suggest that in-sourcing would have more than a few dollars' effect on the price. Transportation and some logistic costs would actually go down slightly and labor costs are a remarkably small proportion of the cost of an iPod.

And don't forget that something like 50 percent of the price of almost every iPod (with the possible exception of the lower-margin 4GB nano) is pure profit. It is by far Apple's highest profit item. Even if these were made in the US and Apple were forced to hold their prices where they are, iPods would still make more profit than the company average.

Isn't it also a bit mis-leading to claim that because Apple's iPod is their highest profit item (which is debatable, actually... since the iPod and Mac divisions are currently generating revenue of roughly the same amount... and for reasons I am about to get to), that it has the highest margins? Yes, Apple's iPod is currently a big money-maker. Their net sales on their iPods are about 200 million dollars more than net sales on Macs... HOWEVER, they are also reporting falling gross margins in last quarter's filing because they were seeing increased iPod sales. Whoops... looks like the iPod is actually one of their lower-margin items, according to the numbers. :/

Philoman
Jun 14, 2006, 06:01 PM
Shame on you Apple...

Just another big greedy corporation. I guess we should hardly be surprised, as this is the way the world works these days: the poor slave away all day and night so that the rich can play with their new toys.

Somehow I thought Apple would "think different" from the typical model, but I should have known better. :(

alexf, it's not like Apple is deliberately enforcing these poor labor ethics, it's really the Chinese business owners and its management. American people do not tell the Chinese to lay down poor labor conditions.

However, Apple can overlook and give the contracts to companies that have better labor ethics. I'm sure there are good hearted Chinese business owners, I hope.

wronski
Jun 14, 2006, 06:06 PM
Some of you say this is just business and I tend to disagree. The average pay for a waitress is about $100 per month and a factory worker making iPods should be making at least $150. They should also not be working longer than 12 hours. However, I personally don't see why everyone is outraged with Apple about this. The business being done by the contractor is against Apple's code of conduct, which has been there since 2005, and if the code is being broken Apple will be hot on the case and they said they are. Shame on you Apple? I really don't think so.

Also, I'm not sure about the validity of the "military style drills" but the work places over there are not concentration camps.

cjboffoli97
Jun 14, 2006, 06:06 PM
Blaming Apple for exploiting Chinese workers is like singling out a few snowflakes in a blizzard and blaming them for ruining the driveway. I applaud Apple for launching an investigation into the matter. But I'd also caution people to stop overreacting to this news. The labor conditions described in the articles on this subject are the norm in China. This is not a classic sweatshop situation as the alarmist British media would have you believe. The average white-collar salary in China is only the equivalent of $1300 USD per year. Up to 750 million people in China live on less than $2 USD per day. Most who are lucky enough to have factory jobs work 80-100 hour weeks for an average of about $44 per month. There is no healthcare and if you are injured on the job you are out of work. What we have to remember (besides the fact that we are very lucky to live in the West) is that China is a developing country. The work conditions will seem primitive to what we are used to but the economics are totally different. This represents the reality of Chinese manufacturing. As the economy develops so too will labor conditions (just as they did in the United States). Boycotting products made in these conditions (nearly impossible to do with the widespread consumption of Chinese manufactured goods in North America) would result in a loss of jobs for workers in the People's Republic who need them.

alexf
Jun 14, 2006, 06:12 PM
alexf, it's not like Apple is deliberately enforcing these poor labor ethics, it's really the Chinese business owners and its management. American people do not tell the Chinese to lay down poor labor conditions.

However, Apple can overlook and give the contracts to companies that have better labor ethics. I'm sure there are good hearted Chinese business owners, I hope.

Yes, I know that Apple is not deliberately enforcing the poor labor ethics, yet they have a strong moral responsibility to research who they contract with and make sure that their products are not made under these conditions.

If the "Mail on Sunday" can find out, Apple can find out.

Choppaface
Jun 14, 2006, 06:14 PM
Actually, the article is a lie. The truth is that ipods are CERTIFIED ORGANICALLY GROWN IN CALIFORNIA and Apple would _never_ look to China for fake ipods or even worse, hydrogenated ipods. this is all just a big scam by tobacco companies like Creative that want you to stop buying ipods and start buying their own mp3 players instead.


As your means increase, so does what you can afford. Demand driving housing prices is a bit too simplistic.

so given what I said above, it's actually its _not_ too simplistic, demand really DOES drive everything. you see, as I mentioned above, ipods are CERTIFIED ORGANICALLY GROWN IN CALIFORNIA, so Whole Foods sells them. Whole Foods' business is entirely driven by demand, not affluence. Proof: not all affluent people shop at Whole Foods, only those who demand ipods that are CERTIFIED ORGANICALLY GROWN IN CALIFORNIA.




oh and in Beijing, to eat a huge honk'n meal its like $1-2 equivalent, so though $50 may seem paltry you're reading it in the context of journalists using tricky shock tactics they learned in college during the 5 minutes they _weren't_ high, so keep that in mind. I'd put money on that Apple will change suppliers to run this PR nightmare under the rug and end up spending 1% of their margin in the process. to make up for this they will probably sue the reporters for something, like maybe they will seed a copy of OSX 10.5 to the reporters and then DMCA the pants off them.

but like the attack on Google over censorship, or this post, this mess is just a whole bunch of boondoggle. Apple will remain one of the few companies that is precisely what you want to believe it is: good, bad, or fresh and CERTIFIED ORGANIC.

alexf
Jun 14, 2006, 06:16 PM
Blaming Apple for exploiting Chinese workers is like singling out a few snowflakes in a blizzard and blaming them for ruining the driveway.

That is one of the silliest analogies I have ever heard.

Right, Apple is just an innocent snowflake falling, without any choice about which moral direction it can take.

If Apple had ethics, they would find an ethical firm to contract with (they must exist in China). They are simply no other excuses. Again, if Mail on Sunday can easily find out what conditions the workers are being subjected to, why can't Apple?

Please, I know this is a site for Mac fans, so there is a tendency to side with Apple, but let's get real here!

Just another case of greed for profit over morals. Apple is obviously not above this.

(And by the way, I am NOT denying that China is also very much to blame)

age234
Jun 14, 2006, 06:25 PM
Hello? It's a tabloid. On the next page there was probably an aricle about halfbreed alien cats from Mars.

I'm not even going to accept the premise until a legitimate news source picks up on this.

MUCKYFINGERS
Jun 14, 2006, 06:27 PM
Apple still has a role in mistreating these consumners.

THey could place certain conditions and terms that must be met by the factory workers, but Steve Jobs and co. don't give a ****** and turn a blind eye as long as $$$ keeps coming in.

Steve Jobs, although he makes good products, has been and always will be a deeeuche bag.

wronski
Jun 14, 2006, 06:33 PM
That is one of the silliest analogies I have ever heard.

Right, Apple is just an innocent snowflake falling, without any choice about which moral direction it can take.

If Apple had ethics, they would find an ethical firm to contract with (they must exist in China). They are simply no other excuses. Again, if Mail on Sunday can easily find out what conditions the workers are being subjected to, why can't Apple?

Please, I know this is a site for Mac fans, so there is a tendency to side with Apple, but let's get real here!

Just another case of greed for profit over morals. Apple is obviously not above this.

(And by the way, I am NOT denying that China is also very much to blame)

I disagree that Apple is so much to blame. You're responding as if Apple came out and said "Yes this is how we make our products we support this working environment to the fullest." If the factory conditions are really as the article describes them I truly doubt they were like that when Apple searched for a manufacturer. Again, it is against their code of conduct and they are investigating. Ethical firms exist in China, Apple simply needs to find a new supplier. However you must know, this one will continue to work the same way, it'll just be making different products. $50 is unacceptable, 15 hours is unacceptable (should be at least $150 and 12) but again, I don't think Apple should be receiving so much blame.

cyberfunk
Jun 14, 2006, 06:33 PM
I had a discussion with one of the forum goers ( http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=206312&page=6 ) and how he defended globalization and how he wrote that by US opening factories in countries such as China or India it actually helps our economy and I ask how is the $50-$100 per month salary going to help us (which I mentioned in those posts)?


You have to be kidding me.... It's very simple really... We get cheaper products, and an American company (Apple) posts higher profits. This clearly helps "us". Now, if by "us" you mean the leftiest political bloc that rants left and right about humanitarian conditions, then no, it does not help you in your grand quest for all equality.


The price of an iPod wouldn't increase by that much if it was manufactured in USA, these are not some hand made custom jobs, this is a production line, couple of thousands of iPods per hour I assume. .... Companies move to cheap labor countries to generate more profit as they never decrease MSRP prices anyway.

In addition, I believe you're deluding yourself if you think the products wouldnt be more expensive if they were made in the USA. Take for instance, the case of a Leatherman. Made in the USA with pride, as far as I know, but damn expensive tools (Really GOOD ones though, I'm a proud owner of several). However, cheap chinese knockoffs, that are often nearly as good (I cant stand them personally, because i'm a stickler for quality products), are abundant on the market. Producing in the US in certain circumstances costs more money than elsewhere. That cost is passed on to us, the consumer.

P.S. MRSP prices are often decreased, they're called price wars. Look for example, at the price of RAM, or the price of CPU chips recently.


Modern world is all about greed.

This is not a modern concept. It's just much easier to exploit disparities now a days with globilization. The world, and more specifically the people in it as a whole, have always been about doing what's best for them, and in today's world, their shareholders. As a shareholder of Apple, I demand nothing less.


As a general comment: You should really consider the alternative, that is, what if Apple were not producing iPods in China? There would be less money flowing into china and to these people many people seem to feel are treated poorly (I happen to agree if the story is as bad as it seems, which I find unlikely, as papers love to sensationalize to sell their rags). However, the point is, these people are not enslaved. They're taking the best opportunity available to them. Our business and wages in that country, while by our standards is pathetic, must be pretty good over there, because you know what... people are taking the job. There is no one with a gun to these people's heads saying: Make iPods or die. They are simply maximizing their economic gain by an attractive option: working in one of these factories for steady, and what is apparently good pay (by local standards). You must realize, that if we demand every worker in the world to be treated equally in terms of wage/living conditions, then it really doesnt matter where anyone produces. The whole POINT of a market economy is that there exist disparities, and that someone else is willing to do the same job cheaper.

Globalization may produce what many people consider to be morally unswalloable situations. But before you jump on the moral high ground bandwagon, consider this: These people are taking these jobs because they WANT to, because they are the best option available to them. We are providing them with a job and the associated wage that they would not otherwise have. Doing business at the lowest possible cost (i.e. the market rate for labor) is not illegal, nor immoral, nor should it be. Running a concentration camp is however both immoral and illegal. However, we should be very careful not to equate the two because of the simple fact that these people have the freedom to quit themselves of the situation.

Iverieli
Jun 14, 2006, 06:51 PM
This is all about asian mafia. PC manufactures are very scare about Apple's new products and market gain. Thats false alarm against apple reputation and I think creative involved on this.

cgc
Jun 14, 2006, 06:55 PM
I would like to know what the median income for factory workers in China is and how many hours the average Chinese factory worker puts in weekly. If Apple's iPod plant numbers are similar to the average we should not care.

theviceofreason
Jun 14, 2006, 06:56 PM
Hello? It's a tabloid. On the next page there was probably an aricle about halfbreed alien cats from Mars.

I'm not even going to accept the premise until a legitimate news source picks up on this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5079590.stm

Generally considered legitimate.

age234
Jun 14, 2006, 07:02 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5079590.stm

Generally considered legitimate.
BBC is reporting that Apple is looking into it, but still cites Mail as the source of the story. Sure, any company's going to look into a claim like that, but that doesn't prove it's true.

I'm not being a contrary Apple-kook, either, but a tabloid article isn't good enough. I'll join in the mud-slinging if a reputable source brings evidence forward.

As with seemingly every charge the media brings out these days, it's the seriousness of the allegation that matters, not whether it's true.

Leoff
Jun 14, 2006, 07:02 PM
Itís sad. Apple doesnít care - Just another "psychopathic" company.

Manipulative, Lack of remorse or guilt, Shallow emotional response, Callous/lack of empathy and Poor behavioural controls.

Welcome to the world of billion dollar corporations.

With such strong convictions, I expect you to give up your iPod or Mac immediately. Otherwise you're supporting just another billion dollar corporation.

Why don't you wait just a LITTLE bit and see where this goes. We don't even know if the story is true.

herrmill
Jun 14, 2006, 07:05 PM
Get a grip people, this is what the world is all about. I live & work here in China, & have been involved in the local purchasing scene since 1990. I had to laugh at some of the innocent comments posted above.

Several points I have to counter:

$50 / month is BS! Factories in Longhua are averaging $100-150+, not including housing & food allowance. Suzhou @ $100 / month is probably correct.

15 hours per day without overtime is against the local labor laws. Factories here, especially such as Foxconn work 24/7, but they aren't prisons & workers would not stay if treated as the article states.

Dorms are not meant to be private accomodations for visitors to come & go. They are meant for migrant workers who live onsite.

Recent NPR article says it all: average annual salary in Shanghai is $4-5k, rural is $1k. That is why young labor flocks to these mega factories in on the coast to earn, save &

Electrical components are highly labor intensive. There is no way these can be assembled in the States or other high

Everyone in the industry, not just Apple, is having their product produced in factories such as Foxconn. Dell has their own factory in Xiamen, but almost everyone buys as an OEM.

Read the article for what it is: a sensationalize piece to titilate the masses.

theviceofreason
Jun 14, 2006, 07:12 PM
BBC is reporting that Apple is looking into it, but still cites Mail as the source of the story. Sure, any company's going to look into a claim like that, but that doesn't prove it's true.

I'm not being a contrary Apple-kook, either, but a tabloid article isn't good enough. I'll join in the mud-slinging if a reputable source brings evidence forward.

I'm not a fan of the Mail's, to put it lightly - the company has a very unfortunate history with close Nazi links for a start, and the paper's editorial tone on matters of race is nothing short of disgusting. But I know first-hand that working for that kind of organisation does not automatically make you an evil liar.

Despite what many people think, papers are not in the habit of making up stories like this. Stories about celebrities and reality TV contestants are another kettle of fish entirely. But if they just wanted to knock Apple, they'd run one of the stock iPods make you deaf/dislocate your thumbs/give you brain cancer stories to reinforce their elderly readership's suspicions that the youth of today are going to hell.

Others on this thread have even suggested a dark conspiracy involving Creative, which is frankly preposterous - no electronics company wants to draw attention to the whole outsourcing issue. But dismissing the story out of hand because it originated from a tabloid is either naivete or blind faith.

And just to be clear, we're not talking National Enquirer tabloid here. I'm not sure which Sunny South you belong to, so if it's not in the US forgive me for suspecting that's what you're equating the Mail with. ;)

wronski
Jun 14, 2006, 07:15 PM
I would like to know what the median income for factory workers in China is and how many hours the average Chinese factory worker puts in weekly. If Apple's iPod plant numbers are similar to the average we should not care.

$50 is unreasonable if it is true. Average is $150, as a waitress would be making $100. Also, 15 hours is too much if true, 12 is max.

Krevnik
Jun 14, 2006, 07:15 PM
so given what I said above, it's actually its _not_ too simplistic, demand really DOES drive everything. you see, as I mentioned above, ipods are CERTIFIED ORGANICALLY GROWN IN CALIFORNIA, so Whole Foods sells them. Whole Foods' business is entirely driven by demand, not affluence. Proof: not all affluent people shop at Whole Foods, only those who demand ipods that are CERTIFIED ORGANICALLY GROWN IN CALIFORNIA.


What a way to use satire to ruin a perfectly good point, even if the satire is done for satire's sake. :/

I was attempting to point out that sweeping housing prices under the mystical economics umbrella of demand doesn't really explain anything, or back up the poster's point. Demand is not this static concept, but rather an amalgam of a lot of concepts and factors. So saying that the price of an item is /just/ based off demand is over-simplifying it. :P

kkrip
Jun 14, 2006, 07:17 PM
I want to start by saying that I am an international student here in America. I'm not Asian but I have several Asian friends. I love Macs but beyond and above that I love people. I know that stop buying Apple's products or doing something similar will not ameliorate the living conditions of those people there in China. Many American and not only companies take advantage of Asian countries. The phenomenon it is not new and it is result of a complex social-economic system.
I respect all viewpoints illustrated in this forum. However I cannot believe that people think that $100 can be "better than nothing". I am willing to provide $200 per month to whoever is willing to go there and live under the circumstances that those people work and survive. Macs are good, being aware of the reality even better.

Krevnik
Jun 14, 2006, 07:18 PM
$50 is unreasonable if it is true. Average is $150, as a waitress would be making $100. Also, 15 hours is too much if true, 12 is max.

From my readings of the articles cropping up... the 50$ was given to those whose room and board was provided by the employer (100$ and up was the salary for those who had to pay for room and board). Does that change your opinion at all, or did you already know? :)

age234
Jun 14, 2006, 07:20 PM
Well, OK, I didn't realize that UK tabloids were different from US ones. In the US, they're about as reliable as the town drunk, chock full of unsubstantiated claims, sensationalized stories, and a few outright lies, so my apologies if it's different over there.

But still, I'd like to give Apple the benefit of the doubt before things turn into a screaming match.

Krevnik
Jun 14, 2006, 07:23 PM
Apple still has a role in mistreating these consumners.

THey could place certain conditions and terms that must be met by the factory workers, but Steve Jobs and co. don't give a ****** and turn a blind eye as long as $$$ keeps coming in.

Steve Jobs, although he makes good products, has been and always will be a deeeuche bag.

Well, hm... Apple does place conditions and terms... but who is to say if it is the factory misleading Apple on compliance, or if Apple did know and is now trying to cover it up? Until we do investigations of our own to find out Apple's role in this behavior, it seems a little pre-mature to be setting opinions in stone.

Maxx Power
Jun 14, 2006, 07:23 PM
Since they are an American company, they should have to follow American (Cali) minimun wage laws.

It's a nice thought. However, it's nolonger a "company" or "business", it's "multinationals" and "corporations". They are given the freedom and fluidity of bone and flesh humans, and as such, they need to obey the laws of any country they are in, not where they were born in. So called "American Corporations" have no meaning these days, they can dodge tax, use off-shore holding parties, off-shore labour, etc, it's a race to the bottom.

Maxx Power
Jun 14, 2006, 07:26 PM
Yeah but I had a discussion in some other post how moving of US factories to cheap labor countries helps American economy in a way that in this case Chinese help our economy by buying our products, I don't think that $50 per month will buy a lot of American merchendise.

Not to mention having a bunch of angry, overfed americans complaining about not getting jobs and can't afford anything.

Maxx Power
Jun 14, 2006, 07:31 PM
The article is from the Mail On Sunday. Along with the Daily Mail, the worst newpaper I have ever read. If you want your news from right-wing fundamentalists and buy in to their propoganda, this is the newspaper for you.

Yeah, but the wind has been blowing that way since Nike got caught using sweat shops..

Let's see here:

-Nike, Addidas, etc - Sweat shops, child labour

-Dell, IBM, Apple, etc - Prison labour, dumping e-waste on third world nations

-McDonalds, Burger King, etc - feeding dead cows to other cows (Mad Cow Disease), Using industrial waste in their food as fodder, and as fodder for the cattle, using third world landmass (wrecklessly) to produce fodder and cattle

-Ford, GM, etc - setting up factories in Mexico, the heartland of industrial America, to exploit poorly constructed environmental and labour laws, and smog up the place

Something about the big corps' practices just seems wrong...

missingdigits
Jun 14, 2006, 07:32 PM
How is this any different than what every other major company in America does? Is anyone really shocked by this?

THE ONLY reason this is making news is because the iPod is the hottest thing going right now. I ask all of you people bitching about how horrible Apple is to look down at your feet at your NIke shoes, check the tag in your shirt, and also check your wristwatch, cell phone and ALMOST everything else you have.... Idiots...

I love Apple forwhat they do, but they are a publicly traded company- profits are what they are all about. Go look at where the competetors products are made- same place. But OOOHHHH! Apple is now EVIL! Wake up and don't be such media driven morons.

SharksFan22
Jun 14, 2006, 07:34 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why people are surprised at this. Most American companies have abandoned manufacturing and assembly here in the U.S. because products can be produced in China with much less regulation, restriction and lower wages. When that reality is coupled with the fact that the largest segment of the buying public generally shops on price (not service, quality, etc.) it's no wonder that very little is made in the U.S.

Alert -- Apple is in business for one reason. To make money -- and make as much as possible. If Jobs suddenly dictated that all manufacturing were to take place in the U.S., the prices of Macs would skyrocket resulting in lower sales and a plummeting stock price. Increasing shareholder value is the number one driving force in decision making at Apple.

Someone else also mentioned that Apple should be subject to the wage laws of California, the state in which they're headquartered. I've worked in California for many years (including starting two companies) and the cost of doing business here -- wages, benefits, regulation -- is incredibly absurd. Many California-based startups incorporate in other states just to avoid the problem. I mean, we would have loved to put a call center in California or in the U.S., but if we did that, our cost of providing service would exceed the price the market would bear for the service. We'd be out of business in months.

There is however a solution to much of this problem -- stop buying products from companies you believe use labor practices with which you do not agree. Nike's been mentioned here a few times -- hey, if you don't like their practices, don't buy the product.

Maxx Power
Jun 14, 2006, 07:37 PM
Lets not forget that both India and China are developing nations. One cannot compare wages from country to country. As the economy grows, wages will go up.



Economy grows if there are more resources to be had and used to make products which brings about the service industry. Currently the amount of new resources discovered is decreasing, and has been for the last 20 years or so depending on which important resource you want to talk about, for example, natural gas cycle trails that of the associate resource - petroleum by about 10 years, meaning that petro reached its prime in 2004, gas will reach its prime in 2014 approximately. The economy can't sprout itself if there is no resources to use to sell products, currently speaking, there is no new refineries being scheduled or built even after Katrina due to diminishing returns (no petro to refine).

ender78
Jun 14, 2006, 07:38 PM
I dont think the main issue here are the wages, but the forced 12-15 HOUR DAY!!! that's just plain wrong... Even with decent wages that would mount up to a terrible quality of life...

I work a rotating shift. On what we call "Hell Week". I work 72 hours, three 12 hour day shifts, one day off, three 12 hour night shifts. This is in Canada by the way. Apples work practices only alow 60 hours of work per week, I work 72. I still have to drive home, Foxconn employees can walk home.

corvus
Jun 14, 2006, 07:40 PM
Hmmm. The Mail on Sunday as a representative of "liberalism"? That's a first. Think Fox News in print (unless you think that's a good thing).

Of course, as a working journalist you'll appreciate that not every staffer shares the political, cultural and moral mores of the title he or she is employed by. Real journalism does still sneak through, even in these rags.

Wow. You sure read something in. I never said The Mail is liberal, I said I don't trust them. What I said in a different paragraph is that liberals don't want us to trade with China and that is a bad policy position. How you ever tied The Mail to liberalism in what I wrote will forever remain a mystery. Usually when you change paragraphs it means a new thought. Don't read stuff in. It leads to conspiracy theories. Anyway it's probably my mistake if you misunderstood. So now that's clarified.

donlphi
Jun 14, 2006, 07:42 PM
Let's be honest... the conditions are a lot better there than Martha Stewart's factories. The monthy salary is about the same amount of pay we give our teachers in the U.S. and I don't hear anybody complaining about that.

I gotta wonder if they get a discount on the iPOD if they wish to buy one.

Maxx Power
Jun 14, 2006, 07:43 PM
There is however a solution to much of this problem -- stop buying products from companies you believe use labor practices with which you do not agree. Nike's been mentioned here a few times -- hey, if you don't like their practices, don't buy the product.

That's what's been commonly said. However, the shoe industry, the computer industry, the petrochemical industry, etc have practical monopolies such that "not buying" based on ethical criterion yields the abandonment of that sector altogether. And if you don't believe the institutional education which brought about all this, then you should technically not have an education ? Not go to school, not get a job, and not buy anything, soon, all of the reasons why anyone lives here goes out the window. Keeping in mind that public education has been extensively funded and swayed by private entities with private interests, this sounds reasonable along that line of thinking.

I don't think passive resistance works in this situation, the day Linux becomes the dominant operating system is the day there is nolonger any money to be had from the software industry, not the day Linux defeats Micro$oft. Same thing.

wronski
Jun 14, 2006, 07:43 PM
Economy grows if there are more resources to be had and used to make products which brings about the service industry. Currently the amount of new resources discovered is decreasing, and has been for the last 20 years or so depending on which important resource you want to talk about, for example, natural gas cycle trails that of the associate resource - petroleum by about 10 years, meaning that petro reached its prime in 2004, gas will reach its prime in 2014 approximately. The economy can't sprout itself if there is no resources to use to sell products, currently speaking, there is no new refineries being scheduled or built even after Katrina due to diminishing returns (no petro to refine).

Not everything is about fuel anyhow, and they have a lot of it. China keeps making more and more of it's own products thanks to all they've learned from making products from other companies. Their economies will go up and they'll make their own Apple. Then all these company plans for cheaper labour will backfire and China will take over the world. Bwahaha. :)

princealfie
Jun 14, 2006, 07:48 PM
Globalization is the disease of our modern society.

SharksFan22
Jun 14, 2006, 07:55 PM
That's what's been commonly said. However, the shoe industry, the computer industry, the petrochemical industry, etc have practical monopolies such that "not buying" based on ethical criterion yields the abandonment of that sector altogether.

All valid points. And we've reached the point on those products after years of purchasing lower-priced products. So many industries have been lost that it's probable that they'll never return to the US. Someone else mentioned tools (e.g. wrenches, pliers, etc.) and I think that's a great example of people purchasing based on price not on quality.

Maxx Power
Jun 14, 2006, 07:56 PM
Not everything is about fuel anyhow, and they have a lot of it. China keeps making more and more of it's own products thanks to all they've learned from making products from other companies. Their economies will go up and they'll make their own Apple. Then all these company plans for cheaper labour will backfire and China will take over the world. Bwahaha. :)

Just about everything is about fuel, think about it, all plastic products, average food in the US is transported 1500 miles before it reaches your dinner plate, all organic chemicals synthesized in the lab, which means pesticides, household cleaners, etc. If there is no more storage of this kind of "free" substance, we would have to make things the old fashioned way.

And about how much is left, precisely December of 2004 we have officially past the half point of all petro on earth, that is including an optimistic speculation of another 25% undiscovered conventional oil (recoverable by current means). That literally means we've past the 75% mark for all currently stored oil. Did you know that (if i remember correctly), before the U.S started pumping its own oil, the oil reserves in the U.S. was approximately 72% of the entire planet's (back then). The U.S. never even envisioned of having to use oil from the Middle East, that surely backfired 20 years down the road.

China is growing but feeling the immense pressures of oil shortage, already, they are using all natural gas/propane based buses in large to middle sized cities, just due to the pollution alone. The taxi's are fitted with the same natural gas/propane tanks in conjunction with petro, which is a lot more expensive in China.

If you want a good read though, you can actually dig up all the independant assessment data and geological data used by the Bush Admin (and other admin's) and big oil companies to predict the oil lifespan.

Demoman
Jun 14, 2006, 08:06 PM
I guess Apple is just another greedy company, can't really blame them, all major players outsource factories to cheap labor countries. The price of an iPod wouldn't increase by that much if it was manufactured in USA, these are not some hand made custom jobs, this is a production line, couple of thousands of iPods per hour I assume. Modern world is all about greed. Companies move to cheap labor countries to generate more profit as they never decrease MSRP prices anyway. Plus it always helps that in countries such as China there is no labor laws like in USA or Western Europe so the employer can do whatever he feels like doing and taking more advantage of already low paid workers.

I had a discussion with one of the forum goers ( http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=206312&page=6 ) and how he defended globalization and how he wrote that by US opening factories in countries such as China or India it actually helps our economy and I ask how is the $50-$100 per month salary going to help us (which I mentioned in those posts)? They can barely afford basic life necessities let alone "high end American" products. This is all just corporate greed, nothing else.

The movie "Rollerball" was about a futuristic time when corporations ruled the world. For the US and Europe (especially in the US), the future is now. You say it is 'corporate greed', but it is our own greed that has allowed this to happen. I must shamefully admit that I am among you. Our insatiable need for material wealth allows us to excuse the flotsam aftermath which provides it. Attempting to burn Apple for existing in the same world as the rest of the providers is unbelievably hypocritical. I would expect that the 'end manufacturing facility' was probably single, or double sourced from the original company Apple contracted with. This would be consistent with common arrangements of this size.

If we are really interested in the exploitation of our fellow man, I suggest we all look within ourselves and ask what we are REALLY doing to make a better world. There are a lot of ways to do it and I am not promoting any one agenda. The truth is out there................

paz117
Jun 14, 2006, 08:09 PM
As big of an Apple fan i may be if this report is true i hope apple gets what's coming for them. Its rediculous.

beatle888
Jun 14, 2006, 08:11 PM
Disturbing news. I don't think I could continue to support Apple until these problems are fixed.


ok, and while your at it why dont apply that to everything you buy. good luck.

poppe
Jun 14, 2006, 08:12 PM
Apple insider has pictures. The uniforms remind me of a jail.

Anyways Apple is completely to blame though should deserve some (though its hard to say since Apple is my religioun...).

beatle888
Jun 14, 2006, 08:12 PM
The movie "Rollerball" was about a futuristic time when corporations ruled the world. For the US and Europe (especially in the US), the future is now. You say it is 'corporate greed', but it is our own greed that has allowed this to happen. I must shamefully admit that I am among you. Our insatiable need for material wealth allows us to excuse the flotsam aftermath which provides it. Attempting to burn Apple for existing in the same world as the rest of the providers is unbelievably hypocritical. I would expect that the 'end manufacturing facility' was probably single, or double sourced from the original company Apple contracted with. This would be consistent with common arrangements of this size.

If we are really interested in the exploitation of our fellow man, I suggest we all look within ourselves and ask what we are REALLY doing to make a better world. There are a lot of ways to do it and I am not promoting any one agenda. The truth is out there................


well said.

poppe
Jun 14, 2006, 08:24 PM
One question though? What is the cost of living in China or how about what is the current exchange rate from Dollars to what ever the chinese currency is (excuse my ignorance).

I know that is not considered living if they are really not able to see the outside world and all, I'm just curious if 50 dollars a week is like a minum wage their once converted back or if it really is like getting pennies.

This is what I mean "Keep in mind when you convert RMB into USD that while the salary may seem low, it is appropriate and comfortable for the cost of living in China. For example, you can buy a meal here for about RMB 5-10. Ordinary clothes cost between RMB 25-50.
Do not expect to earn a lot of money through teaching, but even an ordinary foreign teacher can live an comfortable life by local standards, and more importantly, enjoy the venerable hospitality of the Chinese people." qouted by Abroadchina.org

They went on to say "Some employers offer high pay but may not include some benefits, and may request longer hours, so don't use the wage number as only factor in making your decision."


"A 4-star hotel will set you back about £80 for the night in summer, though this obviously varies. A decent 3-star will be about £50, but you can get rooms for £20, or even less in the off-season" by China Britian Business Council.

Links are :http://www.cbbc.org/china_guide/currency.html
http://www.abroadchina.org/salary.asp

My whole point was a cause from my economics class. We were talking about outsourcing and not paying the right wages. We got to the discussion how some tabloids will come back with workers only getting $20 a day, but once converted to their currency, they made what would be equivalent to somone around the minumum wage in America ($5.15. (but as we all know you can't live off 5.15 unless your employer is giving you a place to stay)

(Sorry about spelling errors, I was in a rush.)

age234
Jun 14, 2006, 08:38 PM
Apple insider has pictures. The uniforms remind me of a jail.
Really? Looks like the standard button-up shirt and blue jeans to me, not unlike what you'd find at most factories across America.

Fabio_gsilva
Jun 14, 2006, 09:15 PM
China, Laos, Camboja, Vietnan, and even here in Brazil, Bolivia, Peru... always the same crap. They treat people like ****, but this is not news, and everydody here knews it.

It is really strange that now people few unconfortable reading this news. This the reality of the country, and the average salary is compatible with the reality of the country.

YOu have a lot of workers begin for a job, with little education, flexible labor laws... This is called capitalism.

This is how it is in the third world. It will never change.

Fabio_gsilva
Jun 14, 2006, 09:17 PM
Globalization is the disease of our modern society.

LOL!!! :D

SoGood
Jun 14, 2006, 09:25 PM
Typical news report with exaggeration, lack of social understanding and reality.

From what I know, I am sure there are aspects of worker rights that can and should be improved. But at the same time, these issues have to be put into perspective of the local social condition. China has a huge rural man/woman power that's under utilitzed, they typically travel to the industrial zones to seek for work. And these factories typically employ these so called migrant workers who would work, sleep and eat in the factory and then go back home with their savings at Chinese New Year and other major traditional holidays. Their savings are typically significantly better than what they can earn back at home. The girls typically come out to work and save for a few years and then would go back home to get married and end their migrant working life.

As for the communal living and security. Well, let's just say even with the level of security, unauthorized iPods still leak out of the factories from time to time.

Bottomline, we can not use exactly the same expectation to judge the arrangements in other countries and society. Things needs to be taken in perspective.

Fabio_gsilva
Jun 14, 2006, 09:30 PM
Get a grip people, this is what the world is all about. I live & work here in China, & have been involved in the local purchasing scene since 1990. I had to laugh at some of the innocent comments posted above.

Several points I have to counter:

$50 / month is BS! Factories in Longhua are averaging $100-150+, not including housing & food allowance. Suzhou @ $100 / month is probably correct.

15 hours per day without overtime is against the local labor laws. Factories here, especially such as Foxconn work 24/7, but they aren't prisons & workers would not stay if treated as the article states.

Dorms are not meant to be private accomodations for visitors to come & go. They are meant for migrant workers who live onsite.

Recent NPR article says it all: average annual salary in Shanghai is $4-5k, rural is $1k. That is why young labor flocks to these mega factories in on the coast to earn, save &

Electrical components are highly labor intensive. There is no way these can be assembled in the States or other high

Everyone in the industry, not just Apple, is having their product produced in factories such as Foxconn. Dell has their own factory in Xiamen, but almost everyone buys as an OEM.

Read the article for what it is: a sensationalize piece to titilate the masses.

Thanks.
The truth prevails over all.

fitzg2md
Jun 14, 2006, 09:31 PM
Economics unfortunately is not something that the majority of people will understand. Human compassion is. It comes natural to us. Economics...not so much. Too often, we as Americans tend to look at nations like China and blame the workers conditions on the wrong thing. Remember, we are talking about a nation where should you have more than a single child, the government will FORCE the woman to have an abortion. If she has the child in secret, more often than not, the child will be killed within the first year. We are NOT talking about a civilized nation. The fact that working conditions are crap is no suprise. And we wonder why people are dying to get to the USA to work manual labor jobs that no suburbian teenager would be caught dead doing. Not so long ago (a blink of an eye in the history book) America was treating its workers the same way. I believe Apple does owe it to its shareholders to make an effort to improve its conditions. However, to expect Apple to change the political/economic system of China/India is silly. Apple knows very well that it can not sustain profit at the iPod's current price if factories were moved to the US. For anyone who has ever owned a business, you know darn well that an employee making 12.50 an hour is really costing you ~30.00 an hour. Im not talking in benefits etc either. Workers comp, employeer taxes, etc. etc. You know, in CA workers comp for a factory position is over 100%!! That means that if you pay someone 10.00 an hour, you are paying another 10.00 an hour in workers comp insurance for that person! I am all for protection of workers, but the US is forcing itself into a very tight economic niche. Apple could not be competitive (or even survive!) by selling a 750 dollar US made iPod. Many of the things that we take for granted as everyday items are made possible by the hard work of other people. You want to know who is going to be the next rising star in the economy? Look for a country where people bust their hump for their daily bread...givem a hundred years or so...let the economy fall into place (it always does). Everyone wants to criticize, but no one wants to give up their stuff. And the corporations are the evil ones? No, no no...the corporations wouldnt be in business if there wasnt a plethera of people clamouring for their fix of cheap goods. You really want it to change, than you better be willing to do a job like coal mining, or factory work, etc. Because 85% of the industries that most of you work in wouldnt exist if there was not a difference in countries economies. You want to give them more...well, what are you gonna give up? Really not trying to sound preachy...just pointing out some basic economics that many people seem to forget.

mattster16
Jun 14, 2006, 09:34 PM
Again, look at the big picture. The "cheaper materials" you are referring to have quadrupled in price in recent years. Steel prices began to shoot up 2 summers ago and hasn't showed signs of stopping. Oil, a prime component of rubber and plastic, is well over $70 a barrel. US auto makers do not want to move to Mexico. They are being forced to to keep up with overseas production facilities.


I absolutely refuse to believe that. Take one Japanese automaker for example. Honda. This company has demonsrated high levels of ethics in everything they do. They were first to reform their manufacturing processes to be more environmentally friendly and spend millions of research dollars to meet and exceed emissions guidelines on everything they make YEARS before required. Honda has been building and continues to build many of their cars in the United States. Not only are their cars assembled and in many cases designed here, but a large portion of the parts are made here including many of their engines and transmissions. They have even expanded and built more factories in the U.S. Currently the Civic, Accord, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline, and a few Acura models (I'm sure I missed some) are all assembled in the U.S. with very high U.S. made parts content. Honda just announced in May they would be building a new factory and employing about 1,500 new people. Now, from what you are saying Honda should be losing money since the prices of raw materials are increasing and because American labor is so high. Well, actually they posted large gains in profit last quarter and are expanding their U.S. assembly presence.

Hyundai even just built a brand new state of the art factory in the U.S. Why would Hyundai do this if it's more profitable to just keep using their overseas plants?

The Toyota Camry has a U.S. parts content of 80% and is assembled in the U.S. Toyota has had amazing record growth in sales quarter over quarter. How can this be explained?

Granted these companies employ less people per factory than American automakers (better efficiency), but it is still better than seeing factories shut down and the equipment shipped to Mexico where people will get paid pennies on the dollar to operate it.

U.S. automakers are being forced to move overseas because they refuse to trim off unnecessary managerial bloat and increase their efficiency. Having good business ethics is not a bad thing. Capatalism is great, but what economists forget is that it only works properly in a world free of greed. This is not that world. This is why companies that play by the rules and follow a set of ethics and play the capatalist market fairly always seem to get ahead.

Edited for more elaboration.

GyroFX
Jun 14, 2006, 09:50 PM
i don't doubt the article is false. Things like this happens all the time. Only reason apples production is in China is due to cheaper labor, duh! With cheaper labor means cheaper pay for employees...harsh environments, MORE profit for Apple. No one is that stupid to believe they actually follow the "rules/guidelines" in the factories. Are there Apple factory QCs over in China at all times? I think not, does Apple care? I doubt it, until someone writes a report like this. Then, they just try to cover it up somehow and let everything cool off a bit. After that, it's game on with the mentality of "as long as production gets finished, anything goes"... People, this is the real world...no one survives by the "rules" on paper...

TrenchMouth
Jun 14, 2006, 10:17 PM
Just another one of those things you wish you didn't have to hear about, right?

It's a very tiresome thought exercise to imagine how it is we are supposed to fix problems like this. You have to convince people that want the most profit that cheap labor will end up costing people more in the future, you have to convince buyers to fork out a few more dollars to buy something they bought yesterday for less, you have to figure out what is "right" in terms of labor expectations and the global economy. Eh, it's no fun, and almost guaranteed to be depressing.

In this particular case all I am hoping for is that Apple makes it a point to make sure that whatever they say their policy is on labor is upheld. It is really the consumers responsibility to figure out what effect the products they buy are having on the world. Caveat emptor, no?

Demoman
Jun 14, 2006, 10:27 PM
Economics unfortunately is not something that the majority of people will understand. Human compassion is. It comes natural to us. Economics...not so much. Too often, we as Americans tend to look at nations like China and blame the workers conditions on the wrong thing. Remember, we are talking about a nation where should you have more than a single child, the government will FORCE the woman to have an abortion. If she has the child in secret, more often than not, the child will be killed within the first year. We are NOT talking about a civilized nation. The fact that working conditions are crap is no suprise. And we wonder why people are dying to get to the USA to work manual labor jobs that no suburbian teenager would be caught dead doing. Not so long ago (a blink of an eye in the history book) America was treating its workers the same way. I believe Apple does owe it to its shareholders to make an effort to improve its conditions. However, to expect Apple to change the political/economic system of China/India is silly. Apple knows very well that it can not sustain profit at the iPod's current price if factories were moved to the US. For anyone who has ever owned a business, you know darn well that an employee making 12.50 an hour is really costing you ~30.00 an hour. Im not talking in benefits etc either. Workers comp, employeer taxes, etc. etc. You know, in CA workers comp for a factory position is over 100%!! That means that if you pay someone 10.00 an hour, you are paying another 10.00 an hour in workers comp insurance for that person! I am all for protection of workers, but the US is forcing itself into a very tight economic niche. Apple could not be competitive (or even survive!) by selling a 750 dollar US made iPod. Many of the things that we take for granted as everyday items are made possible by the hard work of other people. You want to know who is going to be the next rising star in the economy? Look for a country where people bust their hump for their daily bread...givem a hundred years or so...let the economy fall into place (it always does). Everyone wants to criticize, but no one wants to give up their stuff. And the corporations are the evil ones? No, no no...the corporations wouldnt be in business if there wasnt a plethera of people clamouring for their fix of cheap goods. You really want it to change, than you better be willing to do a job like coal mining, or factory work, etc. Because 85% of the industries that most of you work in wouldnt exist if there was not a difference in countries economies. You want to give them more...well, what are you gonna give up? Really not trying to sound preachy...just pointing out some basic economics that many people seem to forget.

You are elaborating on my earlier post, although I certainly do not claim ownership of the theme.

I DO understand economics, manufacturing and activity based accounting. The assembly of an average electronic component should be >10% of the total cost (material accounting for ~90%). I will concede that exceptions exist. So, you make an item. $90 is material cost, regardless of locale. If it cost 1 hour to assemble it at $1/hour, as opposed to $15/hour, the final savings would be $14. The consumer sees $115, or $101 (minus markup). How many American consumers would take the position of "$115 keeps jobs in America and is a good thing", or the "it's all about me" approach?

We are a nation fully of greedy, self-indulgent consumers. Why pretend otherwise? That is who we are. So, let's drop the hypocrisy. As consumers (hate that word), most of us will abandon any loyalty to a proven product to save a perceived amount.

mlrproducts
Jun 14, 2006, 10:33 PM
I guess Apple is just another greedy company, can't really blame them, all major players outsource factories to cheap labor countries. The price of an iPod wouldn't increase by that much if it was manufactured in USA, these are not some hand made custom jobs, this is a production line, couple of thousands of iPods per hour I assume. Modern world is all about greed. Companies move to cheap labor countries to generate more profit as they never decrease MSRP prices anyway. Plus it always helps that in countries such as China there is no labor laws like in USA or Western Europe so the employer can do whatever he feels like doing and taking more advantage of already low paid workers.

I had a discussion with one of the forum goers ( http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=206312&page=6 ) and how he defended globalization and how he wrote that by US opening factories in countries such as China or India it actually helps our economy and I ask how is the $50-$100 per month salary going to help us (which I mentioned in those posts)? They can barely afford basic life necessities let alone "high end American" products. This is all just corporate greed, nothing else.

I cannot say that I totally agree with your statement.

For one, we should applaud Apple for having a supplier code of conduct. I will not comment on Apple's watch over this program however. It could be a few greedy (or LAZY) souls that are letting this happen, and it could be that the BOD doesn't even know about it. Or not, either way more info is needed.

Now talking about China. I will admit I am the first to stand up for American jobs, but... While it may seem like exploitation, and in many cases it will be, it is not clear cut. For these under-developed or developing nations things like this are necessary. The more money invested in that country, means more jobs, and a higher demand for labor. When the demand for labor is high enough, the laborers can demand a (albeit slightly) higher wage. That higher wage may take time to fold over and over. But what that leads to is more investment in an economy as a whole, which leads to better education, etc.

Now you say it wouldn't cost much money to pay higher wages --- but in the end it DOES. And another poster was correct, it is a company's duty to please the stockholder. One of the basic things I learned in biz school is "a company is in business to make money." That is a given. What happens in the US is that we DEMAND the lowest prices. Despite a following of Anti-Walmart folks, there are still enough Americans who are looking for the lowest price to make it viable. Do I look for the lowest price when shopping for an iPod, of course! Does it make me a bad person? No. Here is another example: How many times have you told a perspective Mac buyer not to purchase RAM from Apple? Reason=price!

I am of the personal belief that investing in your community is a good thing. I personally shop at local hardware stores, local non-chain restaurants, etc in the town of 17,000 in which I live. Do a pay a little more, yes I do, but I don't mind. But I also think it is personally "fair" to then go out and look for the best deal on a Macbook when they aren't sold locally.

I guess the overall "point" of this rant is that yes, bad things happen, to good people, and peope are always going to be taken advantage of. However, any kind of investment usually means a better fate when it eventually comes down to it, only time will tell. Look at Iraq: People bust Bush's chops because Iraq doesn't operate like the US. I don't know how long it has been since history class, but I do remember they said it took longer than 3 years to develop the US into what it is. Heck, look at 50 years ago and racism. Everything changes, it just takes time.

Melvin Furd
Jun 14, 2006, 10:41 PM
Just to let you guys the know, the average working wage in China is about $120 U.S a month. So moral outrage on how they pay the workers should be in view with what the market in the country will bear.

Windowlicker
Jun 14, 2006, 11:16 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek:

$50USD PER MONTH???? What??????? Is that what people usually get paid in china??????

Yes. Time to wake up. And I'm pretty sure it isn't the worst salary there. This is how the world runs now. China is a fast growing market, but a big part of this growth comes from workers that can be compared to slaves.

How much do illegal immigrants get paid for a job in US??

xDANx
Jun 14, 2006, 11:27 PM
I don't think greed is the right word. Publicly held corporations have an obligation to their shareholders to maximize the value of the company's stock. It is their fiduciary duty. Not finding the best labor deal on Apple's part could constitute a breach of this duty and invite lawsuit from its shareholders.

no, greed is the right word...what you just said is that greed is endemic in capitalist production. systematic greed doesn't really make me feel better than the greed of one particular company.

on the other hand, i get frustrated when people enamored with macs think that apple is somehow different from any other tech company when it comes to the basic building blocks of corporate structure. to put it another way, nike always takes the PR hit but adidas has factories right next door...the logic of globalized marketplaces (which extend directly from historical colonial expansion) has always been to transfer wealth and resources from poorer regions of the world to richer ones. the term 'free market' is a misnomer...it always been about who gets to set the rules. because there are rules...and if apple wants to sell electronics worldwide they play by them.

it sucks. and if an alternative to capitalism meant no ipods, i would still be all for it.

Maxx Power
Jun 14, 2006, 11:37 PM
Too often, we as Americans tend to look at nations like China and blame the workers conditions on the wrong thing. Remember, we are talking about a nation where should you have more than a single child, the government will FORCE the woman to have an abortion. If she has the child in secret, more often than not, the child will be killed within the first year. We are NOT talking about a civilized nation.

Speak for yourself, not somewhere you know nothing about other than what western propaganda has provided you. That was a bunch of top grade, curb-side, sun-baked dog *****. There are no forced abortions, the government gives incentives to let you have only 1 off-spring, and if you exceed that limit, they will take the deductive incentives away. Having lived there, trust me, I know. No one there wants to have more than 1 child, it is prohibitively costly to keep. Not to mention in the upbringing and parenting process in China, the parent-child interaction is a lot more labour intensive in China than it is here. You seem to forget that a lot of parents in North America don't care nearly as much about their off-spring than people do in Asia, cultural differences.

And other countries by your judgement of being "uncivilized" deserves poor treatment ? Is that why we used black people for slavery ? Is that why Hitler killed all those Jews, and all the Indians in North America got killed ? And the Japanese invasion of China ? And the Opium War ....

That is fascism. Please don't spread fascism on the internet.

ibook30
Jun 14, 2006, 11:39 PM
Apple is an excellent lightening rod for this very hot topic. The popularity of the ipod (and huge market share) makes it a great target. With success comes scrutiny, responsibility, and a lot of criticism.

smc9972
Jun 14, 2006, 11:46 PM
Welcome to the dystopian technotopia of tomorrow...uh, rather, today.

Feudalism is alive and well, being run by corporations. Employee is a wage slave to its vassal, Foxconn, Foxconn is a vassal to Apple. It's only a matter of time before people in the US are fully integrated into this wonderful system, just be happy that for now we are its masters.

In reality little separates China and the US these days, other than the fact that China is willing to admit to its authoritarian "dictatorship of the economically powerful."

ezekielrage_99
Jun 14, 2006, 11:59 PM
Are these the same newsgroup who incorrectly reported on the British Troops in Iraq?

Seriously the Britsh press has the worset reputation for "making" news when they have a slow week..... there's verisimilitude for you :rolleyes:

I tend to read as much as I can and believe 10% of it, so until there is more info on the iPod debarkel I'm not really going to take much attention of this.

Maxx Power
Jun 15, 2006, 12:01 AM
Thanks.
The truth prevails over all.

Right... Just ask Amnesty International and Green Peace what they think of the labour situation in China is really like. I can give you a short cut, with 100 US dollars per month, you have just enough if you tighten your belt and eat barely to survive if you already have a room to stay in. Not to mention scarce opportunities for showers, bathroom breaks, and if you get sick, you are done for, good luck affording medication. Even worse is that these factories are built on top of what used to be farmer soil (most of them are in the suburbs), where people locally have sustained themselves for decades, who are all of a sudden in a survival crisis. The only way out is to work for the company who took over the land, it's all possible thanks to a bit of $$$ and a dictative government. The theory that we are doing the people there any good is just a one-man congratulatory pat on the back reach around. The so called "board" they get is just that - a board with fabric on it which if you are tired enough after 15 hours of work, you'll pass out on. Think of your bedroom, now cram 10 people in it in the heat of the summer, no wonder workers there want to break free as fast as they can.

ps. do a bit of search around the web, you can see in pictures what I mean.

ArizonaKid
Jun 15, 2006, 12:02 AM
As a business graduate I have a hard time reading some of the post on these forums which are borderline ignorant.

First,
There is something called a balance score card in business. A good business will balance the interest of stakeholders involved. Stakeholders include the community, workers, shareholders, customers, etc... Although it is the responsibility of a business to turn a profit, placing all the eggs in one basket is typically not ideal.

For example, Enron focused on maximizing shareholder interest blindly, without considering the methods to be used to achieve those goals. This is a very "short term" way of thinking, which in the end caused its downfall. Failing to take a complete balance into perspective is simply bad for business, and shareholders also suffer the results of bad business decisions.

Costco is an example of a company which many consider to over compensate employees. However, when you listen to the CEO of Costco, he doesn't compensate employees for the sake of being nice, he does it because he believes it is good business, and good business practices will in the "long term" (or even short term) benefit all stakeholders...especially shareholders.

Second,
Whoever said Globalization is a disease really needs to take an economics class. This type of thinking is exactly what restricts trade, and ends up hurting the growth of developing countries. Let me give a K through 5 example.

From Wikipedia (Example 1)
Two men land alone in an isolated island. To survive they must undertake a few basic economic activities like water carrying, fishing, cooking and shelter construction and maintenance. The first man is young, strong, and educated and is faster, better, more productive at everything. He has an absolute advantage in all activities. The second man is old, weak, and uneducated. He has an absolute disadvantage in all economic activities. In some activities the difference between the two is great; in others it is small.

Is it in the interest of either of them to work in isolation? Specialization and exchange (trade) can benefit both of them.

How should they divide the work? According to comparative, not absolute advantage: the young man must spend more time on the tasks in which he is much better and the old man must concentrate on the tasks in which he is only a little worse. Such an arrangement will increase total production and/or reduce total labour. It will make both of them richer.

Specialisation and exchange will not be possible if there is an absolute resource constraint. If, for example, the amount of fresh water available on the island is enough for one man only there will be war.

If you want learn more:
Wikipedia Comparative advantage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage)

EDIT
Last
Why do people think we control this economic system? That's the incredible thing about free trade, no one really has complete power, because in the concept of free trade you can use influence (sometimes great influence), but not force. Force is socialism.

America doesn't control free trade and/or free markets; we just are the best at exploiting it. That's a key concept most failures never understand. They blame others for their faults, and don't ever get that they hold the power to better themselves, and those around them. But other countries are learning, and learning quickly. And as they better themselves, we all benefit as well. Yes, there will be road bumps, and people who suffer from exploitation, but as countries mature those exploitations lessen. But that is better than the constant explotation of socialism /communism / fascism.

If you don't understand me, look a Hong Kong and India over the last 50 years. Hong Kong under British rull had no wage laws, free and open markets, and the result was one of the highest standards of living in the world...all built on a rocky harbor with little natural resources.

Now look at India 10 years ago, free society, but socialist economy with laws to protect all aspects of trade and measures to "prevent exploitation." What happened? They hindered trade, free markets, and people were left starving in the streets of Calcutta. I'll take the Hong Kong approach.

ezekielrage_99
Jun 15, 2006, 12:11 AM
As a business graduate I have a hard time reading some of the post on these forums which are borderline ignorant.



Ignorance is bliss :D

smc9972
Jun 15, 2006, 12:13 AM
As a business graduate I have a hard time reading some of the post on these forums which are borderline ignorant.

First,
There is something called a balance score card in business. A good business will balance the interest of stakeholders involved. Stakeholders include the community, workers, shareholders, customers, etc... Although it is the responsibility of a business to turn a profit, placing all the eggs in one basket is typically not ideal.

For example, Enron focused on maximizing shareholder interest blindly, without considering the methods to be used to achieve those goals. This is a very "short term" way of thinking, which in the end caused its downfall. Failing to take a complete balance into perspective is simply bad for business, and shareholders also suffer the results of bad business decisions.

Costco is an example of a company which many consider to over compensate employees. However, when you listen to the CEO of Costco, he doesn't compensate employees for the sake of being nice, he does it because he believes it is good business, and good business practices will in the "long term" (or even short term) benefit all stakeholders...especially shareholders.

Second,
Whoever said Globalization is a disease really needs to take an economics class. This type of thinking is exactly what restricts trade, and ends up hurting the growth of developing countries. Let me give a K through 5 example.

From Wikipedia (Example 1)
Two men land alone in an isolated island. To survive they must undertake a few basic economic activities like water carrying, fishing, cooking and shelter construction and maintenance. The first man is young, strong, and educated and is faster, better, more productive at everything. He has an absolute advantage in all activities. The second man is old, weak, and uneducated. He has an absolute disadvantage in all economic activities. In some activities the difference between the two is great; in others it is small.

Is it in the interest of either of them to work in isolation? Specialization and exchange (trade) can benefit both of them.

How should they divide the work? According to comparative, not absolute advantage: the young man must spend more time on the tasks in which he is much better and the old man must concentrate on the tasks in which he is only a little worse. Such an arrangement will increase total production and/or reduce total labour. It will make both of them richer.

Specialisation and exchange will not be possible if there is an absolute resource constraint. If, for example, the amount of fresh water available on the island is enough for one man only there will be war.

If you want learn more:
Wikipedia Comparative advantage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage)

Variations of that example are trotted out time and time again. You have accomplished the task of a sophist by appealing to authority, in this case yourself (a "business school student") and claimed the other side ignorant. What really must be done is thinking critically and indepdently. So often today we blindly sing to the anthem of globalization without stopping for a second to think for ourselves. Such a thing is maddenning, for to be anti-globalization is to be illiberal and to be illiberal is to be stupid, ignorant, mute, deaf, and dumb, of course, since that has been the prevailing trend of world history for the past five hundred years.

What it all boils down to is whether this "game"--if you will--of global interaction will ultimately end up as something that is zero sum or not. I.e. whether it's a they lose--we win sort of thing or a "we all win" sort of thing. If incomes start increasing in and prices, etc. in less developed countries, do the developed countries stand to gain or lose?

I don't know the answer to that, nor does anyone, frankly, despite what they may tell you to the contrary.

What is not up for argument is that there continues to be a real problem with less developed countries. With the exception of a few (China, Chile, Mexico) most LDCs are only marginally better, if at all, than they were forty years ago. Free traders do indeed appear to have statistically significant higher rates of GDP growth, however, real income growth in most LDCs has remained largely stagnant, again with exceptions. Global trade is not the savior nor the curse that people make it out to be, but what remains is a conundrum.

Maxx Power
Jun 15, 2006, 12:14 AM
As a business graduate I have a hard time reading some of the post on these forums which are borderline ignorant.

First,
There is something called a balance score card in business. A good business will balance the interest of stakeholders involved. Stakeholders include the community, workers, shareholders, customers, etc... Although it is the responsibility of a business to turn a profit, placing all the eggs in one basket is typically not ideal.

For example, Enron focused on maximizing shareholder interest blindly, without considering the methods to be used to achieve those goals. This is a very "short term" way of thinking, which in the end caused its downfall. Failing to take a complete balance into perspective is simply bad for business, and shareholders also suffer the results of bad business decisions.

Costco is an example of a company which many consider to over compensate employees. However, when you listen to the CEO of Costco, he doesn't compensate employees for the sake of being nice, he does it because he believes it is good business, and good business practices will in the "long term" (or even short term) benefit all stakeholders...especially shareholders.

Second,
Whoever said Globalization is a disease really needs to take an economics class. This type of thinking is exactly what restricts trade, and ends up hurting the growth of developing countries. Let me give a K through 5 example.

From Wikipedia (Example 1)
Two men land alone in an isolated island. To survive they must undertake a few basic economic activities like water carrying, fishing, cooking and shelter construction and maintenance. The first man is young, strong, and educated and is faster, better, more productive at everything. He has an absolute advantage in all activities. The second man is old, weak, and uneducated. He has an absolute disadvantage in all economic activities. In some activities the difference between the two is great; in others it is small.

Is it in the interest of either of them to work in isolation? Specialization and exchange (trade) can benefit both of them.

How should they divide the work? According to comparative, not absolute advantage: the young man must spend more time on the tasks in which he is much better and the old man must concentrate on the tasks in which he is only a little worse. Such an arrangement will increase total production and/or reduce total labour. It will make both of them richer.

Specialisation and exchange will not be possible if there is an absolute resource constraint. If, for example, the amount of fresh water available on the island is enough for one man only there will be war.

If you want learn more:
Wikipedia Comparative advantage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage)

In the real world, Globalization = Americanization. The version of globalization we speak of, is not the sharing of ideas, an information infrastructure to achieve human civilization enlightenment and economic stability. The version we have is to ensure American dominance by forcing everyone else in the market to play by our multinational's rules. In a "free market" the person sells the most stuff is the person who shouts the loudest, translating to in a globalized world, the country benefits the most is the one with the most money. No wonder why the U.S. has been pushing for this so hard, but when it comes to issues like soft lumber, U.S. refuse to buy from Canada, when it comes to issues like pollution, the U.S. threatens any country with economic sanctions.

You seem to forget that the economics theory predicted the unsuitability of human governance of economic systems - that humans suffer from money greed, power greed, short-sightedness, etc. And that's why there are some checks and balances in THEORY. When you look at this model applied to the world, many things do not fall into theory, for example, the number of businesses in competition are not completely independant, that they can help each other out by - the DRAM fiasco (price setting) of all the first tier manufactorurs last year or so, and it wasn't the first time either. That the checks and balances don't work if the number of competing corporations is too few to result in market monopoly - Micro$oft. That progress and innovations are used to stimulate the industry - think patent portfolios. That the economics requires an market feedback time to be shorter than the internal administration feedback time so that incorrect, or unethical behaviour can be controlled by consumer choices - not happening.

Specialization requires coordination which means overhead (administration), which tends to impede the progress achieved by specialization, it's the exact same thing as the Law of Diminishing Returns aplied to any hierachical system. You also have to remember that the overhead itself produces no fundamental goods or services that can not be achieved otherwise. Which means all of the specialized sectors must work harder to keep the administration alive, and entrust it to make informed and educated decisions, which it often does not.

Studying economics is great, but then you are an economic theorist, not an economic experimentalist.

Mehmet
Jun 15, 2006, 12:37 AM
And, honestly, they're okay with it for the most part.

And you know this how? Have you lived the life they live? Please never say something like this again until you actually go through what the people building this stuff go through.

ArizonaKid
Jun 15, 2006, 12:37 AM
You seem to forget that the economics theory predicted the unsuitability of human governance of economic systems - that humans suffer from money greed, power greed, short-sightedness, etc. And that's why there are some checks and balances in THEORY. When you look at this model applied to the world, many things do not fall into theory, for example, the number of businesses in competition are not completely independant, that they can help each other out by - the DRAM fiasco (price setting) of all the first tier manufactorurs last year or so, and it wasn't the first time either. That the checks and balances don't work if the number of competing corporations is too few to result in market monopoly - Micro$oft. That progress and innovations are used to stimulate the industry - think patent portfolios. That the economics requires an market feedback time to be shorter than the internal administration feedback time so that incorrect, or unethical behaviour can be controlled by consumer choices - not happening.

Studying economics is great, but then you are an economic theorist, not an economic experimentalist.

I do agree with some of your points. But what is the other option? To allow the government to restrict free markets and free trade because of a few ignorant and short sighted players? These failures are there own downfall, and goverments typically are reactive and restrictive, rather than proactive, with inplementing policies of "fairness" that end up hurting all members of a open market.

Yes, I do believe in the THEORY, that the markets will end up taking care of the bad companies, more so than gov't.

Yes, look at Microsoft. They got to be powerfull by producing a product that was of benefit. But they did not start out as a monopoly, I hope we all know that. Bill Gates is not a all powerfull Sith, as much as we would like to believe so.

So, yes they were/are a monopoly, but as a result they stiffled there own in innovations and a company like Apple was able to capture the segments of the computing market by innovation. Even though Microsoft is, or was, a monopoly, their power was still limited to the markets. And the markets, in the case of online music and devices, choose Apple. Is it really that hard to believe that for 10 or so years Microsoft simply produced the best computing products?? Well we could argue again that people were forced, but than were back were we started, not accepting that the other computing companies simply had crappy products.

Apple didn't accept that Microsoft was a monopoly. They did not run for cover and scream for the goverment to kill the evil company, instead they turned around and fought Microsoft on a territory that was believed to be owned. Firefox is doing the same thing!

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying anarchy. Free markets still have rules, and those that cheat should get punished. But more often than not, protectionist ideals don't only hurt the so called bad companies, the "Microsofts", they hurt everyone else who plays the game.

puuukeey
Jun 15, 2006, 12:38 AM
no logo.

if you buy or believe a brand your stupid. end of story. apple has NEVER been cute,cuddly, or zen. if this "hurts their image" than you had the wrong impression

Mehmet
Jun 15, 2006, 12:42 AM
As a business graduate I have a hard time reading some of the post on these forums which are borderline ignorant.

First,
There is something called a balance score card in business. A good business will balance the interest of stakeholders involved. Stakeholders include the community, workers, shareholders, customers, etc... Although it is the responsibility of a business to turn a profit, placing all the eggs in one basket is typically not ideal.

For example, Enron focused on maximizing shareholder interest blindly, without considering the methods to be used to achieve those goals. This is a very "short term" way of thinking, which in the end caused its downfall. Failing to take a complete balance into perspective is simply bad for business, and shareholders also suffer the results of bad business decisions.

Costco is an example of a company which many consider to over compensate employees. However, when you listen to the CEO of Costco, he doesn't compensate employees for the sake of being nice, he does it because he believes it is good business, and good business practices will in the "long term" (or even short term) benefit all stakeholders...especially shareholders.

Second,
Whoever said Globalization is a disease really needs to take an economics class. This type of thinking is exactly what restricts trade, and ends up hurting the growth of developing countries. Let me give a K through 5 example.

From Wikipedia (Example 1)
Two men land alone in an isolated island. To survive they must undertake a few basic economic activities like water carrying, fishing, cooking and shelter construction and maintenance. The first man is young, strong, and educated and is faster, better, more productive at everything. He has an absolute advantage in all activities. The second man is old, weak, and uneducated. He has an absolute disadvantage in all economic activities. In some activities the difference between the two is great; in others it is small.

Is it in the interest of either of them to work in isolation? Specialization and exchange (trade) can benefit both of them.

How should they divide the work? According to comparative, not absolute advantage: the young man must spend more time on the tasks in which he is much better and the old man must concentrate on the tasks in which he is only a little worse. Such an arrangement will increase total production and/or reduce total labour. It will make both of them richer.

Specialisation and exchange will not be possible if there is an absolute resource constraint. If, for example, the amount of fresh water available on the island is enough for one man only there will be war.

If you want learn more:
Wikipedia Comparative advantage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage)

EDIT
Last
Why do people think we control this economic system? That's the incredible thing about free trade, no one really has complete power, because in the concept of free trade you can use influence (sometimes great influence), but not force. Force is socialism.

America doesn't control free trade and/or free markets; we just are the best at exploiting it. That's a key concept most failures never understand. They blame others for their faults, and don't ever get that they hold the power to better themselves, and those around them. But other countries are learning, and learning quickly. And as they better themselves, we all benefit as well. Yes, there will be road bumps, and people who suffer from exploitation, but as countries mature those exploitations lessen. But that is better than the constant explotation of socialism /communism / fascism.

If you don't understand me, look a Hong Kong and India over the last 50 years. Hong Kong under British rull had no wage laws, free and open markets, and the result was one of the highest standards of living in the world...all built on a rocky harbor with little natural resources.

Now look at India 10 years ago, free society, but socialist economy with laws to protect all aspects of trade and measures to "prevent exploitation." What happened? They hindered trade, free markets, and people were left starving in the streets of Calcutta. I'll take the Hong Kong approach.

don't think that everyone is so ignorant.

What are the four basic goals of econ?
1. Efficiency
2. Equity
3. Stability
4. Growth.

And you got number 1 right, but you missed something; efficiency =/= equity.

puuukeey
Jun 15, 2006, 12:45 AM
I think the upshot of sweatshop controversies is that people should demand laws about corporate transparency.

in a free economy, the consumer is supposed to have perfect information. presented with just price and features, consumers will never make an ethical choice.

ArizonaKid
Jun 15, 2006, 12:45 AM
don't think that everyone is so ignorant.

What are the four basic goals of econ?
1. Efficiency
2. Equity
3. Stability
4. Growth.

And you got number 1 right, but you missed something; efficiency =/= equity.

I was careful not to call any one person ignorant. And, I don't believe that to be the case. I did state that some of the post borderline ignorance. That's fair. My post from time to time can suffer from ignorance and stupidity too. :)

And your right about efficiency =/= equality. But I don't think economic equality will ever exist, regardless of type of economy. However, I am sure you can guess the method I believe to achieve that balance.

ezekielrage_99
Jun 15, 2006, 01:25 AM
I was careful not to call any one person ignorant. And, I don't believe that to be the case. I did state that some of the post borderline ignorance. That's fair. My post from time to time can suffer from ignorance and stupidity too. :)

And your right about efficiency =/= equality. But I don't think economic equality will ever exist, regardless of type of economy. However, I am sure you can guess the method I believe to achieve that balance.

And remember equity and equality are two totally different things when it comes to the business world.....

lord_flash
Jun 15, 2006, 02:17 AM
I guess Apple is just another greedy company... Modern world is all about greed.

That doesn't make it good or right. Lets not get caught making excuses for Apple.

I don't know if you yanks have it, but in the UK we have 'fair trade' coffee where the producers are paid a little more for their crop, something approaching a reasonable amount. It'd be good if there were fair trade iPods (indeed if they all were) given that Apple make a lot more money per unit than virtually anyone else in the industry.

It's a shame companies like Dell on't pay staff well, but with their margins you can see why. Apple should be a special case because they charge so much. They have no excuse.

lord_flash
Jun 15, 2006, 02:58 AM
These people WANT to work 15 hours a day and probably would work more if given the chance.

No, they WANT to be able to feed their families and this is the ony way they can. That is a big difference. They probably don't want to be patronised by some smug foreigner justifying the hideous inequality by saying they want to spend their entire waking life working, but they don't have a choice about that either. You arrogant twit.

Spanna
Jun 15, 2006, 02:59 AM
China's GDP is going to be higher then America's by 2020 and there economy will become the largest in the world. They have got themselves into this position by opening there doors to foreign invetment. So maybe the workers in the ipod factory earning $100 a month are happy in the knowledge they are helping there country become the most powerfull country in the world.
This is China's century.

qtip919
Jun 15, 2006, 03:09 AM
In the real world, Globalization = Americanization. The version of globalization we speak of, is not the sharing of ideas, an information infrastructure to achieve human civilization enlightenment and economic stability. The version we have is to ensure American dominance by forcing everyone else in the market to play by our multinational's rules. In a "free market" the person sells the most stuff is the person who shouts the loudest, translating to in a globalized world, the country benefits the most is the one with the most money. No wonder why the U.S. has been pushing for this so hard, but when it comes to issues like soft lumber, U.S. refuse to buy from Canada, when it comes to issues like pollution, the U.S. threatens any country with economic sanctions.

You seem to forget that the economics theory predicted the unsuitability of human governance of economic systems - that humans suffer from money greed, power greed, short-sightedness, etc. And that's why there are some checks and balances in THEORY. When you look at this model applied to the world, many things do not fall into theory, for example, the number of businesses in competition are not completely independant, that they can help each other out by - the DRAM fiasco (price setting) of all the first tier manufactorurs last year or so, and it wasn't the first time either. That the checks and balances don't work if the number of competing corporations is too few to result in market monopoly - Micro$oft. That progress and innovations are used to stimulate the industry - think patent portfolios. That the economics requires an market feedback time to be shorter than the internal administration feedback time so that incorrect, or unethical behaviour can be controlled by consumer choices - not happening.

Specialization requires coordination which means overhead (administration), which tends to impede the progress achieved by specialization, it's the exact same thing as the Law of Diminishing Returns aplied to any hierachical system. You also have to remember that the overhead itself produces no fundamental goods or services that can not be achieved otherwise. Which means all of the specialized sectors must work harder to keep the administration alive, and entrust it to make informed and educated decisions, which it often does not.

Studying economics is great, but then you are an economic theorist, not an economic experimentalist.

You have no idea what you are talking about...you would have been much closer to the truth if you had said something like

Globalization = Big Business taking over world

Then, after you are done saying that, use the term "Multinational corporations" a few times, and make sure you tie it to "controlling the world"

Look, business and captial gain is COMPETITION. You live in a dream world if you think anyone (outside of Christians and Philanthropists) is really interested in advancing the condition of the human experience.

Oh, and put your money where your mouth is before you reply

lord_flash
Jun 15, 2006, 03:11 AM
America doesn't control free trade and/or free markets; we just are the best at exploiting it.

Isn't it great the way that everyone who takes a business class thinks they know everything, rather than just the opinions of a few lecturers (professors)?

America doesn't control free trade, no, but America does prevent free trade from existing at all. America imposes high tariffs on imports, especially agricultural, to 'protect' its own industries while at the same time telling other countries they should abolish all tariffs to create 'free' trade.

IT's NOT FREE IF ONE COUNTRY DOES IT AND NOT THE OTHER.

Most Americans don't know this because they either don't care, or it isn't on TV, or both. It is dispicable behaviour nevertheless.

The reason America has been 'best' at exploiting trade is that, traditionally, oil has been traded in dollars (even transactions between Europe and Saudi, for example). This is starting to change, and with it the dollar's value is sinking. Other countries don't need dollars as OPEC decides to use Euros instead of dollars.

Interestingly, Sadam was one of the first leaders to suggest making the change from dollars. Look what happened to him.

lord_flash
Jun 15, 2006, 03:20 AM
As an aside, and British readers will know what I mean here, was the Daily Mail in favour of or against sweat shops?

(For Americans and other aliens: The Daily Mail is a newspaper more reactionary than a right-wing republican, which actually supported Hitler before WW2. In general they have anothing against working innocent Chiniese to death, so long as they are not allowed into the UK. Presumably they will be encouraging their readers to buy iPods and possibly the special 'torture' edition, produced by wage-slaves who are beaten extra hard?)

Henri Gaudier
Jun 15, 2006, 04:05 AM
[QUOTE=corvus] Then, you have the current economic system in China, which is cruel and unfair.
Trade with China and drag them kicking and screaming from communism to a more equitable system, as happened in Eastern Europe 15 years ago.

In this instance, the Chinese are suffering at the hands of capitalism. The very system that you want to "drag them kicking and screaming" into!

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and free market conditions were imposed, life expectancy dropped in Russia! And as for eastern Europe, I've lived in Budapest and there only the young enjoy capitalism because it offers them techno music, coke and clubs etc. The old, long for communism and old Hungary to return because under communism everyone could afford to eat well. Not now. Near where I used to live, there was an old bar where famous revolutionaries, poets and writers met. The bar was hundreds of years old with period features, wood panneling etc. Macdonalds bought it and ripped it to pieces and made it into their usual corporate shell. There, the staff had to work 2 hours to earn the price of a Bigmac. Now Budapest is full of Macdonalds & CCTV. Hail Capitalism.

TimDaddy
Jun 15, 2006, 04:14 AM
I guess we should wait until we know for sure this is true, and whether Apple plans to do anything about it, until we rag on them too much. I used my emloyer, Toyota, as an example in my earlier post, so I'll use them again. Certain media outlets around here would have you believe that we are worked like slaves for very little money. People have actually asked me if I really only make half what UAW workers make and work 15-16 hour per day! This not even close to true. The UAW spreads these stories to get public opinion on their side. Do we work a little harder for a little less than UAW workers? Absolutely. But, we have a lot more job security. Hell, this my be the best factory in China, which may not mean much, and The Mail or whoever is just blowing things way out of proportion. I still hate everything being outsourced to countries with virtual slave labor, but maybe we should presume our favorite company innocent until proven guilty.

lord_flash
Jun 15, 2006, 04:31 AM
In this instance, the Chinese are suffering at the hands of capitalism. The very system that you want to "drag them kicking and screaming" into!

Here, Here! Why is it Americans presume that their way of doing things - which works OK for them - is the right way for everyone? And why try and force it on them in a way no one in America would tolerate. For a demonstration of the failure of 'shock therapy', the economists phrase for the conversion of the former soviet states to capatalism, look at the current crisis in Russia. The population is hemorrhaging, the standard a of living is much lower than under communism and crime - inevitably - is soaring. It's easy to say people should live another way, but you have no right to make them.

An ideal solution would be to let economies, and political systems, evolve naturally. Otherwise you're just a dictator.

Music_Producer
Jun 15, 2006, 04:52 AM
I love how everyone here tries to feel sorry for the average Chinese worker and quips "I will happily pay more for an ipod if it means better treatment for the factory workers".. Give me a break, 90% of the time all of you complain about how expensive Apple products are.

And you find it shocking that Chinese workers work 15 hours a day? So? They want to work more! My brother in law has 2 jobs, and is out of the house almost all day.. I guess you would say that this country is exploiting him, huh? Its his choice!

And as ArizonaKid commented on how ignorant most of the posts are, I would add to that and even call them retarded. My mom in India, owns a little nursing home, and pays the maids $40/month. Does this mean that she ill-treats them? Or is taking advantage of them? No! Thats how much they are paid, in fact, $40 per month is more than the average 'salary' a maid earns.

My wife (who is typically American, and, you know.. has no clue about how people can live comfortably on this small amount of money) was quite shocked, and thought my mom was some sort of a scrooge, etc.(she actually thought my mom was 'evil' :rolleyes: ) Anyway, after she realized (talking to the maids, my friends, etc.) that they would rather work at my mom's place for that $40, than work somewhere else where they get paid $20, she understood. Additionally, they *don't have a choice*! Instead of being bums and begging on the streets, and resorting to crime.. they are willing to work, and $40 gets them food (3 big meals a day) travel money, clothing, etc. And she has 4 kids, sends them to school and takes care of them much better than any of the kids I've seen out here being taken care of.

You can only understand that people can get by with $40/$50 a month, when you realize that unlike life in the United States, its easy to have a decent livelihood in countries like India and China. In fact, I won't be surprised if that maid who earns $40 per month, has more savings than the average joe out here. :D

And the next time you worry about the condition of Chinese workers, etc.. don't look for low prices at dealnews.com, or go to Walmart, or look for the cheapest LCD monitor you can buy (it has to be made in china), etc etc. :p

TiMacLover
Jun 15, 2006, 05:06 AM
This news shocked me.

I was really hit hard when I read of the Nike Apple iPod deal, Nike is a terrible company and I feel Apple should be one of the last to be showing them off to be something good or special in this world.

I literally convence people to buy Apple all the time, but this might make me change winds.

If any of you would like to read more about sweatshops or more into companies known for sweatshops you can visit my myspace I post up a lot of stuff I've collected for people to read, if you like it please pass it on, stop the support of these companies!

http://myspace.com/truthstar

A thing for the people saying that it's the government's fault for these conditions. The governments get money from corporations to carry out controlling these, they are the main supporters! To stop support to the major companies doing these horrid workers misconducts is to send a message to them to change their ways. The popular philosophy is to boycott them so they will begin to loose profit and change their ways. Attacking large companies head one give them a lot of heat to deal with and set an example to others to change their ways.

This has been a great discussion!

intlplby
Jun 15, 2006, 05:07 AM
someone earlier said that this is what life in china is like and that most are ok with it.... the former is true the latter is not.....

i live in china and there is a growing amount of discontent in this country......most workers are not ok with it.. they simply have no other options economically and more importantly they have no rights to unionize.....

if you saw how things are done here, you'd quickly realize that none of these workers would dare speak out for fear of being put in jail.... there isn't exactly due process....

my best friends with the son of a governer. he's told me that his dad has sent PLA to mow down factory uprisings with machine gun fire on many occasions....

according to the CCP's own statistics the number of uprisings and violent protests per year is growing at 10-20% a year... that is faster than the GDP......

if you think this sounds bad go educate yourself on the term LaoGai.... google it....... it's things like this that make you wonder why China enjoys MFN status

Romanesq
Jun 15, 2006, 06:21 AM
someone earlier said that this is what life in china is like and that most are ok with it.... the former is true the latter is not.....

i live in china and there is a growing amount of discontent in this country......most workers are not ok with it.. they simply have no other options economically and more importantly they have no rights to unionize.....

if you saw how things are done here, you'd quickly realize that none of these workers would dare speak out for fear of being put in jail.... there isn't exactly due process....

my best friends with the son of a governer. he's told me that his dad has sent PLA to mow down factory uprisings with machine gun fire on many occasions....

according to the CCP's own statistics the number of uprisings and violent protests per year is growing at 10-20% a year... that is faster than the GDP......

if you think this sounds bad go educate yourself on the term LaoGai.... google it....... it's things like this that make you wonder why China enjoys MFN status

Years back I made it a point to avoid buying products from China. It's now gotten to the point where it's practically impossible.

Steve Jobs has announced that a solution is now reached. Apple will agree to normalize work conditions by supporting the Democratic initiative in the Senate to equalize working conditions here in the US by keeping open borders and making North America a slave labor site to match up with China.

See, all better now.

(Thanks for the insights into the current situation in China. A show on PBS showed a little bit inside the society but the Communists don't allow too much and of course control every part of society including slave labor operations.)

Digitalclips
Jun 15, 2006, 07:06 AM
Just remember the British invented the Super Market check out counter newspaper, a.k.a. 'rags' and 'creative' journalism. You know ... "Mother gives birth to six inch green baby - first words were "Want to save money on your car insurance?". Britain is also famous for an anti Apple attitude dating back to the Apple ][. This just might be a tall story, and don't be surprised if Elvis turns out to be the night shift manager.

datkins23
Jun 15, 2006, 07:14 AM
I think we got far worse problems then to worry about the price of labor in China. Americans want stuff as cheap as possible. End of story. Hmm. No for an important question. What's for breakfast?

theviceofreason
Jun 15, 2006, 07:16 AM
Just remember the British invented the Super Market check out counter newspaper, a.k.a. 'rags' and 'creative' journalism. You know ... "Mother gives birth to six inch green baby - first words were "Want to save money on your car insurance?". Britain is also famous for an anti Apple attitude dating back to the Apple ][. This just might be a tall story, and don't be surprised if Elvis turns out to be the night shift manager.


See post 133 on the first misconception. The Mail's a rag, but it's not the Daily Sport. And yes, you're right, Britain is feverishly anti-Apple. Forget stories about the royal family, the world cup or asylum seekers, hating Steve Jobs is right at the forefront of consumer consciousness here. It's the first thing an evil lying hack would think of on a slow news day. :rolleyes:

theviceofreason
Jun 15, 2006, 07:22 AM
Wow. You sure read something in. I never said The Mail is liberal, I said I don't trust them. What I said in a different paragraph is that liberals don't want us to trade with China and that is a bad policy position. How you ever tied The Mail to liberalism in what I wrote will forever remain a mystery. Usually when you change paragraphs it means a new thought. Don't read stuff in. It leads to conspiracy theories. Anyway it's probably my mistake if you misunderstood. So now that's clarified.

Fair enough, my mistake. I took it from this line:

Therefore, ignore Mail on Sunday and just trade with China. Buy from Wal-Mart, buy from Apple. Stop being self righteous about Apple and China until you are perfect yourself. Then you can judge.

that you were connecting the two. But I see what you mean now.

Oh, and "forever remain a mystery"? Isn't that a bit breathlessly tabloidy? :D

fitzg2md
Jun 15, 2006, 07:24 AM
I too have lived there for over 4 years and have seen this first hand. I have seen a woman throw her baby daughter in a pond because she only wanted 1 child...a son...not a daughter who could not carry on the name etc. So believe me, I am not a victim of western propoganda. There are many things that they do and believe that I am impressed by. Im just saying...workers rights are not exactly one of them. But it WILL change as their economy changes.

And I certianly do not claim this viewpoint as strictly my own. I couldnt force myself to read all 160 posts before posting!:D

Romanesq
Jun 15, 2006, 07:27 AM
Human Rights, you know it's just annoying when you are trying to have breakfast.

What do you think they have in mind for the American worker when they are trying to keep the border toothless?

As Mel Gibson famously said, "Slaves are made in such ways." :mad:

TimUSCA
Jun 15, 2006, 07:57 AM
There's one very important thing we're all forgetting here... this is a job that the Chinese are free to go whenever they feel like it. Here in the US, you can work your butt off for MANY hours at a fast food joint and not get paid enough to live on... this is the same thing. So you know what you do? Quit McDonald's, get an education, and get a better job. Listen, I don't like the fact that people have to work all those hours for $50/month either, but if they can quit and get a better job somewhere else, then they would... so Apple isn't a bad guy here. They're no worse than any of the other companies in China that do this, or Burger King in the US.

Bottom line: It's all relative.

whatever
Jun 15, 2006, 08:12 AM
Funny how it comes that I see none of the Apple shareholders complaining. What we see / hear here is basically 101 economics the hard way. Sorry for those US workers.

PS: Anyone actually knows if these workers are unhappy with what they make / the hours done for it ??

Alright, I'm an Apple shareholder and I think this is terrible. Terrible that everyone in this forum lives in a plastic bubble and don't get that must everything which is off-shored is done at a cheaper price and where do you think those savings come from!

My company, a mismanaged Dutch company, is forcing us to offshore (because some chump read it was a good thing) all of our Customer Support to India. When a fellow VP in the US discovered that it would cost $20,000 more a year to do this, he was told to make it happen! We appear to a be a US company, but we're not and we're cutting low paying US jobs just to appear to be "cool" (yes cool by out-shoring).

People aren't talking about how Apple backed out of India a couple of weeks ago are we! Off-shoring is a giant myth!

Having worked in China, I can tell you that these people are most likely very happy with their pay and also when Apple decided to use this company they did not cover how much the employees get paid. These people are not employees of Apple, but of the company that Apple hired to manufacture widgets! The fact that Apple cares is really a good thing!

I wish we lived in a perfect world, but we don't, but we can try to make it a better place.

Whatever

GreekMac
Jun 15, 2006, 08:16 AM
I disagree!There is no excuse to over labouring people..in most cases the employes simply don't have any other choice because there aren't any other jobs out there for them. For example I have a doctor friend who work at a packaging plant! Unfortunetly due to the worlds demand for for cool quality gadgets, someone out there is going to brake they're back and bleed there fingers..

New law one ipod per home!

Fabio_gsilva
Jun 15, 2006, 08:21 AM
Right... Just ask Amnesty International and Green Peace what they think of the labour situation in China is really like. I can give you a short cut, with 100 US dollars per month, you have just enough if you tighten your belt and eat barely to survive if you already have a room to stay in. Not to mention scarce opportunities for showers, bathroom breaks, and if you get sick, you are done for, good luck affording medication. Even worse is that these factories are built on top of what used to be farmer soil (most of them are in the suburbs), where people locally have sustained themselves for decades, who are all of a sudden in a survival crisis. The only way out is to work for the company who took over the land, it's all possible thanks to a bit of $$$ and a dictative government. The theory that we are doing the people there any good is just a one-man congratulatory pat on the back reach around. The so called "board" they get is just that - a board with fabric on it which if you are tired enough after 15 hours of work, you'll pass out on. Think of your bedroom, now cram 10 people in it in the heat of the summer, no wonder workers there want to break free as fast as they can.

ps. do a bit of search around the web, you can see in pictures what I mean.

First, you are not wrong.

I do live in Brazil, and I really know what is to live with U$ 100 per month or less... I see this everyday when I get the bus, the subway, or I walk through the city.

Everywhere you walk you see people begging for a change, you see young boys and girls in the streets, despites of the said "prosperity" of our city, of our country.

International Amnisty, Green Peace, Human Rights and everything love do debate and discuss the situation, BUT, unfortunately, I don't know not even heard about one, just one single person that had the life changed by this organism.

I said that the truth prevails because this is how it is!!! Wake up, get a plane to the third world and you be surprised by how much people would kill for a job that pay U$ 100 per month.

Nobody cares for anybody! Money is the big game today, and it will be until the end. Karl Marx said this almost 200 years ago.

Or the USA is not in a war in Iraq just for oil, just for mor power??? The almost 400 bilion that you spent in the war would suffice to solve every problem that Human Rights, Amnesty International, ONU, Green Peace and any other organization you think points out in the world today.

But, if you don't spent this huge amount in the war, what about the workers of the belic industries in the USA? Think about it.

I'm not against USA, I'm just debating over the facts that is in our face.

My opinion: threat people and workers like this is wrong. I try to convince people that this is wrong, but the truth lies in the eye of the seer.

P.S.:
Forgive me about english mistakes... I learned english alone and errors may occur.

lord_flash
Jun 15, 2006, 08:31 AM
Just remember the British invented the Super Market check out counter newspaper, a.k.a. 'rags' and 'creative' journalism. You know ... "Mother gives birth to six inch green baby - first words were "Want to save money on your car insurance?".

National Inquirer, anyone? Certainly British tabloids have a knack for sensationalising stories, but it's not the same as making them up. That's something you 'merikans can claim credit for. Also, so you know, the Mail is tabloid format - as are virtually all british newspapers these days, including the Times - but is targeted at midscale market. A fascious, but not wholly inaccurate, summary of the British press (courtesey fictional minister Jim Hacker):
- The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country;
- The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country;
- The Times is read by people who actually do run the country;
- The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country;
- The Financial Times is read by people who own the country;
- The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country;
- And the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is."

Britain is also famous for an anti Apple attitude dating back to the Apple ][. This just might be a tall story, and don't be surprised if Elvis turns out to be the night shift manager.

What? On what is this random comment based? Do you have any vidence, whasoever to support your claim? Apple get a similarly generous press in the UK as they do in the US. They've not sold that many because they're really expensive.

ready2switch
Jun 15, 2006, 08:34 AM
I didn't take time to read all of the responses, but what readers must remember is that this is not a big Apple plant. This is one of Apple's suppliers, an independent company that will be held responsible for their business practices by Apple via their agreement and by whatever standards are required for the country.

While I agree that workers should be paid a fair wage and that it would be wonderful if a US supplier could provide Apple with this service without too much of a cost difference, I don't understand why it is Apple's responsibility to pass on it's profits to anyone that has anything to do with the manufacturing of their products. I really don't see Apple as a "greedy" company, particularly when they use their profits to do exactly what we expect them to do, research and development of our next bigger (or smaller) and better toys.

Anyway, Apple paying that supplier more doesn't necessarily mean the workers will see the benefit of it. I think any recourse that would be effective in correcting the situation is in place via the supplier agreement Apple has with this company already.

Leesure
Jun 15, 2006, 08:44 AM
i've been to china, 50 to 150 bux goes a long way. And another thing, if you are concerned with the conditions at Apple's factories in China then you should be concerned with every factory in China cuz the conditions are the same in most of them, everything you see that says made in china was made by a laborer getting paid less that 100 bux a month



Just curious if the people making comments like this one were the same people RIPPING Nike just a few weeks ago. :confused:

GreekMac
Jun 15, 2006, 08:53 AM
Yes we're all guilty of a crime...but there is nothing we can do but wait for it to back-fire...

jwhitnah
Jun 15, 2006, 09:02 AM
Move those factories to the US! $1000 isn't too much to pay for an iPod Nano!
Are we supposed to believe that these conditions are unique to iPod factories? The whole reason manufacturing is in China, is to save coin. This way I can afford to buy the iPod I "deserve."

iAlan
Jun 15, 2006, 09:04 AM
Firstly, is it true? I think we all have to remember that the media is not exactly know for it's truthfull no-spin approach to information dissemination. Although who knows, it could be true - and could be the standard practice in China. I will be honesat and say I don't know how much it costs to buy food clothe and provide shelter for yourself or a family in China, and I am sure a lot of other posters have about as much knowledge as i do, so i do not know if $50-100 is good or bad

I live in Japan - in Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities in the world. I have a friend in New York, also an expensive city and while I will not discuss my salary (or even know his!) I am sure that the cost of living dont make hte salary seem al that high after all - I know for a fact that my life would be vastly different if I were earning the exact same amount in my home town of Melbourne (Australia - the new Soccer powerhouse:p ). In fact I probably wouldn't earn anywhere near as much given the lower cost of living and comparative salaries and such.

My point, I want to know more before I jump to conclusions and before I start mouthing off over how Apple are corporate bastards screwing workers over. I hope they aren't but I am not going to jump to a conclusion one-way-or-the-other

Just to let you all know, it costs me around $22 to go to the movies (and I could be siting on the floor as they don't limit patrons to the number of seats in a theatre) a MacBook is about $150 more expensive for me in Japan vs USA (and conciderably higher still if I buy in Oz)and if I had a car I would have to pay at least $400 per month to park it - and I would have to walk 10-20 minutes to where it is parked as well (a friend of mine only pays $250 per month to park his car, but he has to take a train 9 stops (around 30 minutes) to get to where it is parked...so let's be sure what $50-100 is worth before we decide on this article...

<end rant>

ppnkg
Jun 15, 2006, 09:04 AM
I am not sure whether are I should be surprised to see that many are surpised to hear this kind of news. Well, what did you expect? That Apple moved its production lines in the far east for humanitarian reasons? Or to further the cause of free trade, global development and the like? Just like any other multinational, Apple moved there for the sake of PROFITS. Or does this gathering of intelligent people believe that morality and capitalism can coexist? To enjoy and appreciate a company's product (which happens to be superior to similar products) is quite a different story than believing the product was produced in a heaven-like factory (different than the near-by factories which produce the simlar but inferior products).

ezekielrage_99
Jun 15, 2006, 09:09 AM
I love how everyone here tries to feel sorry for the average Chinese worker and quips "I will happily pay more for an ipod if it means better treatment for the factory workers".. Give me a break, 90% of the time all of you complain about how expensive Apple products are.


That's the point I brought up earlier, consumers are only willing to pay a certain price for a product. The reality is consumers want the lowest possible price and the only way most multinational companies can do this is by sending the production to the country that can make the product for the lowest price.

The irony is that we want better conditions/pay/benefits for these workers but we do not want to pay more for the products and not buying the products in the first place as a part of a convoluted protest robs these workers of incomes they need.

AppleDude
Jun 15, 2006, 09:44 AM
For example, Enron focused on maximizing shareholder interest blindly, . . .

Guess again. Misrepresenting the organization's financial position is NEVER in the interest of the shareholder (while some may profit from the resulting short-term scandal, shareholders unaware of the scandal will suffer a corresponding loss in the future).

ThomasJefferson
Jun 15, 2006, 10:22 AM
Its called globalization people.

Businesses like Apple/Nike etc operate in these countries so they don't have to pay a minimum wage, health insurance, obey wages and hours laws, environmental protections ...

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Because they will all continue to do it, acting occasionally shocked when they are caught.

lord_flash
Jun 15, 2006, 10:23 AM
The reality is consumers want the lowest possible price and the only way most multinational companies can do this is by sending the production to the country that can make the product for the lowest price.

But, surely, the solution here is that the multination companies take a small hit on their own ludicrously high margins. We all know, as Mac users, that a Mac costs more to buy than an equivalent spec PC. A lot more. We all justify this in terms of product quality, getting iLife etc., but in reality they could sell iPods on a lower margin without any trouble. The iPod margins - even after R&D - are very high, and could be a lot less. Apple are a rich company, sitting on vast reserves, unlike many others. They are well placed to lead the way towards fairtrade, or at lease banning sweatshop conditions, if they choose to.

They choose not to. That they're not embarassed about partenering with Nike says a lot, and you can't imagine Bono and Steve seeing eye to eye on that either.

sushi
Jun 15, 2006, 10:28 AM
and if I had a car I would have to pay at least $400 per month to park it - and I would have to walk 10-20 minutes to where it is parked as well (a friend of mine only pays $250 per month to park his car, but he has to take a train 9 stops (around 30 minutes) to get to where it is parked...so let's be sure what $50-100 is worth before we decide on this article...
Agree with your points.

Reference the above, I have a friend who lives near Shibuya who was paying $300 per month for parking his Japanese mini van (For those not familiar with the vehicle, it is much smaller than a US made mini van. It's about the size of a Mini Cooper.). Regular car parking is $500.

About a year ago, everything doubled. So his parking went to $600 per month and regular parking to $1,000 per month.

Getting back to the subject at hand, wages and product cost are relative. DVD regions are an example. They are for marketing/sales. The same original DVD that might sell for $24 in the states would be $60 here in Japan and $2 in other countries.

Anyhow, let's see what happens to this situation before we condemn Apple or China or whomever.

IJ Reilly
Jun 15, 2006, 10:32 AM
If you want to find out what is really going on in China, watch this documentary (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tankman/). It's mainly about political freedom (of which the Chinese people have effectively none), but also covers the government-sanctioned depopulation of the rural areas to create a steady flow of exploitable factory workers. This is how the Chinese economy is growing so rapidly and keeping wages so low. The question is whether it's sustainable, economically or politically.

Zarathurstra
Jun 15, 2006, 11:03 AM
Companies like Apple exploit Chinese labor to keep manufacturing costs down and bottom lines up! It's ludicrous to believe that Apple executives did not know that Chinese workers were being abused and exploited, when they are there for that very reason! It's unpatriotic, in my opinion, and, un-Christian to give American jobs to non-American workers simply to exploit them for greater profits. I'm willing to pay an extra $20.00 for my ipod to be made by American workers! Are you?

Jack Chamberlin

Shadow
Jun 15, 2006, 11:07 AM
See post 133 on the first misconception. The Mail's a rag, but it's not the Daily Sport. And yes, you're right, Britain is feverishly anti-Apple. Forget stories about the royal family, the world cup or asylum seekers, hating Steve Jobs is right at the forefront of consumer consciousness here. It's the first thing an evil lying hack would think of on a slow news day. :rolleyes:

Thats why I'm going to Manchester (yes-a few hundered miles) JUST to buy a MacBook?! Hey, if I'm gonna buy a Mac I wanna do it in the most classy way possible! That reminds, me...MacBook in 2 days! :D:D

Choppaface
Jun 15, 2006, 11:12 AM
What a way to use satire to ruin a perfectly good point, even if the satire is done for satire's sake. :/

I was attempting to point out that sweeping housing prices under the mystical economics umbrella of demand doesn't really explain anything, or back up the poster's point. Demand is not this static concept, but rather an amalgam of a lot of concepts and factors. So saying that the price of an item is /just/ based off demand is over-simplifying it. :P

you're still wrong because you didn't say that prettily enough. "sweeping ... under the mysical ... umbrella" and "amalgam of a lot of concepts" are so cliche, like omg times a thousand.

it's kind of ironic that apple is having this PR case and yet their stock's rep just got fluffed

THIS POST CERTIFIED ORGANIC

henryhbk
Jun 15, 2006, 11:34 AM
They don't prefer to work 12 hours a day, they are forced(according to the article) to do so... To make a decision you normally have choices, I don't really see the choice here.

You are living in a compound, start work in the morning, 8 hours later you stand up, head out, and some guy says you have to sit your rear down for another 4 hours, you say "hell no, I'm going home" and the guard chuckles and says "what home? from this moment you don't have one"

So again, what decision???

It's sort of like all of us physicians who did a residency (we worked often longer than that, had no choice (if you want to be boarded you have to complete a residency). And we made around $10/hr (some residencies are 8 years long, after 4 years of school which cost $150,000+). In New York City, that was not a living wage when you had a family, and spent about 50+% of your income on rent (sound familiar? Sounds just like those workers!). Nurses often have mandatory overtime. Many other positions do to.

In most lower income brackets people spend about 50% of their wages on room & board. The fact that they can purchase this for about 50% of their wages, mean that the wages are not really out of line with their living expenses.

And finally, China has a HUGE unemployment problem, and I am sure that if these people were given the choice (and I'm sure there are plenty of people who would take the job if they didn't want it) they would keep their jobs.

Maxx Power
Jun 15, 2006, 11:39 AM
I do agree with some of your points. But what is the other option? To allow the government to restrict free markets and free trade because of a few ignorant and short sighted players? These failures are there own downfall, and goverments typically are reactive and restrictive, rather than proactive, with inplementing policies of "fairness" that end up hurting all members of a open market.

Yes, I do believe in the THEORY, that the markets will end up taking care of the bad companies, more so than gov't.

Yes, look at Microsoft. They got to be powerfull by producing a product that was of benefit. But they did not start out as a monopoly, I hope we all know that. Bill Gates is not a all powerfull Sith, as much as we would like to believe so.

So, yes they were/are a monopoly, but as a result they stiffled there own in innovations and a company like Apple was able to capture the segments of the computing market by innovation. Even though Microsoft is, or was, a monopoly, their power was still limited to the markets. And the markets, in the case of online music and devices, choose Apple. Is it really that hard to believe that for 10 or so years Microsoft simply produced the best computing products?? Well we could argue again that people were forced, but than were back were we started, not accepting that the other computing companies simply had crappy products.

Apple didn't accept that Microsoft was a monopoly. They did not run for cover and scream for the goverment to kill the evil company, instead they turned around and fought Microsoft on a territory that was believed to be owned. Firefox is doing the same thing!

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying anarchy. Free markets still have rules, and those that cheat should get punished. But more often than not, protectionist ideals don't only hurt the so called bad companies, the "Microsofts", they hurt everyone else who plays the game.

You see, to propose a proper alternative to current globalization, you need a neutral party. The U.S. is never going to represent the interest of the rest of the world. Hence the version of the current globalization is geared toward unilateral benefits. Not to mention there is still no such thing as free trade with the U.S. heavily subsidizing its own production of various products like grain. But however, such a measure requires equal political powers we have not seen since the time of the Cold War. In the interest of economics that will never happen, since the interest is self-perpetuating.

There isn't a proper solution to this problem under the current global situation since the global economic relationships have already been established by dominant forces who then go on to change the laws of every country it touches. A proper solution would necessitate the eradication of our current system in place, which I do not think most people who have financial resources (who will become investors in the new system) would like to participate.

greenstork
Jun 15, 2006, 11:54 AM
no, greed is the right word...what you just said is that greed is endemic in capitalist production. systematic greed doesn't really make me feel better than the greed of one particular company.

on the other hand, i get frustrated when people enamored with macs think that apple is somehow different from any other tech company when it comes to the basic building blocks of corporate structure. to put it another way, nike always takes the PR hit but adidas has factories right next door...the logic of globalized marketplaces (which extend directly from historical colonial expansion) has always been to transfer wealth and resources from poorer regions of the world to richer ones. the term 'free market' is a misnomer...it always been about who gets to set the rules. because there are rules...and if apple wants to sell electronics worldwide they play by them.

it sucks. and if an alternative to capitalism meant no ipods, i would still be all for it.

<reality check> Corporations are in business to make money. Responsible corporations that don't earn a profit go out of business. </reality check>

You, and a hundred others on this thread make a dangerous assumption. That is, you assume that wealth and salaries in developing nations are inadequate or unsatisfactory to have a meaningful quality of life. I'm not saying that's not, mind you, I'm just not willing to jump to that conclusion automatically because it doesn't meet my cultural norms.

The only people qualified to even comment on this thread are people who have some understanding of the culture of China (i.e. working conditions, pay scales, corporate culture). Otherwise, you're forming an opinion of what the quality of life is like for these workers in China based on your cultural norms, which is rather arrogant...

Maxx Power
Jun 15, 2006, 11:54 AM
You have no idea what you are talking about...you would have been much closer to the truth if you had said something like

Globalization = Big Business taking over world

Then, after you are done saying that, use the term "Multinational corporations" a few times, and make sure you tie it to "controlling the world"

Look, business and captial gain is COMPETITION. You live in a dream world if you think anyone (outside of Christians and Philanthropists) is really interested in advancing the condition of the human experience.

Oh, and put your money where your mouth is before you reply

And in your humble opinion, sir, ethically good and morally upright people are the richest people in the world, since you can't be much of a philantropist without money to give.

You live in a dream world full of car exhaust and pesticides if you think that people out of your circle don't want to improve their lives and that the earth is approx. 6000 years old.

Business and capital gain and their competition is like competition in the olympics, whoever takes the most steriods without being caught wins the race. You can't possibly compete against heavily subsidized U.S. grain industry for example, even if you have been producing non-GMO grain in third world countries for decades if not centuries.

To the outer world, there is no distinction between an American corporation and an multinational corporation, since the States rightfully granted corporations private citizen status and protects them with the same laws that govern individuals. Hence one of the reasons why just about all Japanese big businesses have subsidiaries and divisions in the U.S., it's not just for moving products.

Oh, and please don't normalize everyone elses' perspective of what "human experience" is to yours, that's so American...

Maxx Power
Jun 15, 2006, 11:57 AM
<reality check>The only people qualified to even comment on this thread are people who have some understanding of the culture of China (i.e. working conditions, pay scales, corporate culture). Otherwise, you're forming an opinion of what the quality of life is like for these workers in China based on your cultural norms, which is rather arrogant...


Exactly. If you were born and lived here all your life, please don't say anything you learned on this subject matter, it's very offensive to most of the population in the world.

seashellz
Jun 15, 2006, 12:16 PM
Heres where we are at: first-the overseas workers cannot afford to live on $100 a month-unless the average rent of a 1 bdrm apt is $40-we dont know if $100/month in China makes you dirt poor or middle income-can they live fairly well off that or not?
Second, with all the manufacturing moving out of the country, (USA)we here will be left with either: lower paying service jobs, or no jobs at all-how will we be able to buy the things they are making over there?
With the price of oil and gas=transportation rising, the price of getting the stuff over to us is going to make things more expense, and further out of reach;
IF the price of oil/transport get TOO high-it might make financial sense to move the factories back to the US-as long as they dont try and pay us 'service worker' wages, in which case we will not be able to afford buying the products we produce here anyway.
We know the dollar is not very healthy.
And Ive just read somewhere that the price of electronic is ready to crash-
if true, you could buy an iPod and get a FREE G5 Desktop in the bargain!
Just kidding (I hope)

greenstork
Jun 15, 2006, 12:21 PM
You see, to propose a proper alternative to current globalization, you need a neutral party. The U.S. is never going to represent the interest of the rest of the world. Hence the version of the current globalization is geared toward unilateral benefits. Not to mention there is still no such thing as free trade with the U.S. heavily subsidizing its own production of various products like grain. But however, such a measure requires equal political powers we have not seen since the time of the Cold War. In the interest of economics that will never happen, since the interest is self-perpetuating.

There isn't a proper solution to this problem under the current global situation since the global economic relationships have already been established by dominant forces who then go on to change the laws of every country it touches. A proper solution would necessitate the eradication of our current system in place, which I do not think most people who have financial resources (who will become investors in the new system) would like to participate.

The U.S. is going into debt as a result of globalization, and China is running a massive surplus. So much so in fact, that they're buying U.S. companies like IBM's computer division, now Lenovo, and have made a failed bid to buy U.S. oil company Unocal. You may cite problems with workers' conditions as a result of globalization, but China is developing into a world economic superpower on the backs of greedy American consumers who don't know when to stop spending and borrowing.

If we had this conversation again in 20 years, you'd be singing an entirely different tune.

corvus
Jun 15, 2006, 12:22 PM
Oh, and "forever remain a mystery"? Isn't that a bit breathlessly tabloidy? :D

Yes. I learned the trade sort of through the Scripts-Howard organization with their "man bites dog" mentality: Action verbs. Small words. Short Sentences. Good spelling. (http://www.spellingbee.com/) :cool: Incomplete sentences. The whole bit.

geefunk3
Jun 15, 2006, 12:29 PM
Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but I know for a fact that Apple does in fact enforce (or at least inspect) factories that they work with. My friend's father works at a company that builds parts for Apple in Taiwan and China and they had to go through an extremely rigorous inspection before Apple would sign the deal. The factories had to be spotlessly clean and ISO certified. $100 a month may not seem like a lot to us in the States but I believe it is a satisfactory wage for factory worker in China. A lot of times, the workers are also housed and boarded in the factories, which cuts down on their expenses. It may seem cruel or harsh to us, but many Chinese laborers still live in conditions without running water, electricity, or regular income. I know it sounds like an excuse, but let's keep an open mind and not judge other cultures based on our own standards of living. Maybe German people look at us and pity us for not having 6-8 weeks of vacation every year. :-) If these companies are mistreating their workers, I'm sure that Apple will resolve the issue, their public image is at stake.

Maxx Power
Jun 15, 2006, 12:40 PM
The U.S. is going into debt as a result of globalization, and China is running a massive surplus. So much so in fact, that they're buying U.S. companies like IBM's computer division, now Lenovo, and have made a failed bid to buy U.S. oil company Unocal. You may cite problems with workers' conditions as a result of globalization, but China is developing into a world economic superpower on the backs of greedy American consumers who don't know when to stop spending and borrowing.

If we had this conversation again in 20 years, you'd be singing an entirely different tune.

Okay, you overlooked my point. If you speak of China as a singular entity, and not of its constituent people then, maybe. I'm talking about the fair and equitable treatment of its constituent workers and the exploitation. Superpower or not, if you give all the money of the U.S. to China, and then give it to the people, you are still talking pittances per person. China is draining the U.S. the way the U.S. was draining the Soviets back in the days of the Cold War, and use the surplus to invest in national defense, an investment that can't backfire because you shoot other people with it.

In 20 years, it is estimated that the major rivers in China will stop flowing due to loss of inland glaciers from global warming (this time, locallized warming). That, plus surging natural gas and oil prices would put a huge dent in the development of Chinese economy and further the decay of the US economy. They will never reach the pinnacle of economic supreme that the U.S. did, there is simply not enough land and resources left over...

corvus
Jun 15, 2006, 12:44 PM
someone earlier said that this is what life in china is like and that most are ok with it.... the former is true the latter is not.....

i live in china and there is a growing amount of discontent in this country......most workers are not ok with it.. they simply have no other options economically and more importantly they have no rights to unionize.....


Actually this is good news. Hopefully the Chinese people will someday be able to pull off a velvet revolution. The Soviet Union and the East Block fell when the people had had enough. Free trade can possibility help this happen in China. I believe and hope it will. Give people a little look at freedom and there is almost no turning back. Freedom is a core need of humans.

Also, while no one really believes big business consists of nice people who want equal opportunity for all---duh---it's much easier to control a business which only has money, than to control a government which has folks who like to play with machine guns against their neighbors. Now, if the bigness of business and government join together, that could be a problem.

greenstork
Jun 15, 2006, 12:49 PM
Okay, you overlooked my point. If you speak of China as a singular entity, and not of its constituent people then, maybe. I'm talking about the fair and equitable treatment of its constituent workers and the exploitation. Superpower or not, if you give all the money of the U.S. to China, and then give it to the people, you are still talking pittances per person. China is draining the U.S. the way the U.S. was draining the Soviets back in the days of the Cold War, and use the surplus to invest in national defense, an investment that can't backfire because you shoot other people with it.

In 20 years, it is estimated that the major rivers in China will stop flowing due to loss of inland glaciers from global warming (this time, locallized warming). That, plus surging natural gas and oil prices would put a huge dent in the development of Chinese economy and further the decay of the US economy. They will never reach the pinnacle of economic supreme that the U.S. did, there is simply not enough land and resources left over...

You were quick to point that finger at globalization as the culprit and I think the concerns you raise are more a result of political and socioeconomic decisions within China, that's all I was saying. China is profiting greatly from globalization. As the country rapidly develops in the coming decades, with the continued influx of more western money, the cultural landscape will change. Look at how much it has already.

Maxx Power
Jun 15, 2006, 01:07 PM
You were quick to point that finger at globalization as the culprit and I think the concerns you raise are more a result of political and socioeconomic decisions within China, that's all I was saying. China is profiting greatly from globalization. As the country rapidly develops in the coming decades, with the continued influx of more western money, the cultural landscape will change. Look at how much it has already.

However, big businesses and political leaders are the ones who are most benefitted from our current globalization. The problem is still present in that while globalization brought some chinese people economic viability, it has left behind most. I don't think I can walk down a street in China not finding people who are out of jobs and would like to be employed by whomever, and whatever means necessary. The interesting thing that is different in china compared to here is that, while under socialist regime, most people worked for state-ran industries, and since WTO, these people have been laid off to compete with western efficiency. We're looking at a huge proportion of unemployed workers who rallied the streets. All that influx of western money just means that those who have them can consolidate their power, and those who don't fight over it like hungry hyenas. China has changed a lot over the last while since the Deng Xiao Ping years. But that doesn't mean it necessarily became simultaneously better in all aspects. Environment for example went for much worse than predicted, the desertification of Bejing is a real threat to China (related to hosting the olympics too). Employment, especially employment in career deployment sectors really went down the hill since the state nolonger provides employment, and placement strategies. Education at secondary levels took a turn for the worst being no-longer state sponsored became too expensive for some to afford. Local producers and farmers are pushed out of business due to the subsidized equivalents found at local WalMarts. The gap between the rich and the poor significantly widened. All the while, the government still retaining a strangle-hold on the population the way it did when it was purely socialist. In essence, globalization improved a few aspects but bringing with it, the downfalls of western civilization and worsening other aspects. That at least, for the short term only, it is a mixed blessing for China (the political entity), that for the long term is just as unsustainable as it is for us.

morespce54
Jun 15, 2006, 01:27 PM
I am truly starting to believe that most of the posters on this board are a bunch of naive 10 year olds:rolleyes: . Do you really think that they aren't outsourcing the production of these ipods and computer for monetary reasons? I'm sure Apple like every other large billion dollar company is trying to squeeze every penny out of it cost of production, for the sharholders and their uppermangemant's pockets.


Maybe, but does it mean we have to fatally accept this? I think it's good that peoples which disagree with this type of behaviour can stand up and say it. Will it change the way America see the world and make their (capitalistic) rules? Probably no. :(

I still think that it's better that people that disagrees with these comportments to say it than to simply watch the train goes by. :rolleyes:

Counter
Jun 15, 2006, 01:41 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek:

$50USD PER MONTH???? What??????? Is that what people usually get paid in china??????

Hello world

adroit
Jun 15, 2006, 03:08 PM
<reality check> Corporations are in business to make money. Responsible corporations that don't earn a profit go out of business. </reality check>

You, and a hundred others on this thread make a dangerous assumption. That is, you assume that wealth and salaries in developing nations are inadequate or unsatisfactory to have a meaningful quality of life. I'm not saying that's not, mind you, I'm just not willing to jump to that conclusion automatically because it doesn't meet my cultural norms.

The only people qualified to even comment on this thread are people who have some understanding of the culture of China (i.e. working conditions, pay scales, corporate culture). Otherwise, you're forming an opinion of what the quality of life is like for these workers in China based on your cultural norms, which is rather arrogant...

very well said.

And for those of you who thinks it would cost $20 more to built an iPod in the US please go do some more reasearch before you post anything like it. First of all, it will take a lot more than 1 hr of human time to build an iPod. Second, it cost a lot more to build an operate a factory in the US due to property price etc. Don't you think that if only cost $20 more to built it in the US, Apple would just take a save in the shipping cost and import dealies.. and move their factory here already?

bluefido
Jun 15, 2006, 03:35 PM
OK, some prevailing ideas on this thread: this is business, they wouldn't work there if they didn't choose to, they probably make more at this job then at other jobs, etc.

Because it is business and because this may be a market wage in China does not make this acceptable conditions. What's described here is what occurs frequently in China: capitalist work camps (no joke) -- young men or women sign up to work at foreign contractors manufacturing plants where on-compound dormitories are provided (but paid for by the employees). They work 12 to 14 hours a day without much legal recourse or flexibility because a) they're in China b) they signed a contract without knowing it's intentions.

Listen, I have a Mac and an iPod, and I'd be a hypocrite to say I'm free of the shared guilt for buying goods that were probably made under poor working conditions. But this is the consequence of globilization, where the pursuit of profits and free markets is an excuse for ignoring the human condition.

I agree with you to a certain extent, but on the whole, I believe globalization is good and beneficial even for those Chinese factory workers working 12-14 hours a day.

One, you do not exactly see China closing its doors to oppresive capitalist regimes. The reason being that it is actually beneficial to China as a whole to accept free trade and globalization. The last time I checked the Chinese were buying US Treasuries like the Golem hoards his Precious and China's trade surplus vis a vis the US was quite healthy. China recently purchased Boeing airplanes as a gesture of goodwill. If anybody should be complaining, it's the Americans living in the manfacturing rust belts. They are the ones who clearly have a lesser standard of living than they are used to.

Second, there is a demand for those jobs in China. No, they do not enjoy what Americans and other Western countries reasonable working conditions. However, the previous available jobs, if any, would not in our opinions be very reasonable either. As cost of labor and working conditions in accordance with Chinese law goes up naturally as it has in the US (read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair to see what working conditions were like in early 20th century US), corporations will look elsewhere for cheap labor as well. See also South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore where free trade and globalization have enabled those economies and countries to provide much higher standards of living within the past fifty years. Whereas, all the clothes, shoes, and other random goods use to be, "Made in Taiwan or Korea." Now, it is "Made in China." No one can honestly suggest that globalization and capitalism were overall bad things to those countries.

Third, maybe some people like to pay 50% - 100% premiums on iPods made in US. More power to them. But I guarantee you, that the other 99% of consumers would not. Creating much less incentive for Apple to develop iPods and similar products.

Fourth, there are many other arguments that in favor of globalization including the increasing numbers of qualified and highly educated Chinese and Indian engineers and software developers. They increase competition, wages, and the quality of life for more people than less.

Fifth, I often work 12-14 hours in this oppressive US of A....

bluefido
Jun 15, 2006, 03:43 PM
The U.S. is going into debt as a result of globalization, and China is running a massive surplus. So much so in fact, that they're buying U.S. companies like IBM's computer division, now Lenovo, and have made a failed bid to buy U.S. oil company Unocal. You may cite problems with workers' conditions as a result of globalization, but China is developing into a world economic superpower on the backs of greedy American consumers who don't know when to stop spending and borrowing.

If we had this conversation again in 20 years, you'd be singing an entirely different tune.

Agreed. In about 25 years, people will be complaining on this forum about the capitalist Chinese pigs. Globalization is not perfect, but overall, it benefits more people than less.

Chang-er
Jun 15, 2006, 04:25 PM
Guys guys...

Please keep in mind that much of the world's standard of living is not as high as it is here... I grew up in Asia, and until recently worked there..

The standard wage out of college in Hong Kong, albeit a higher standard of living than China itself is approximately, $705/month USD

and Across the border standard out of college, with a BA degree is appox. $400-450/Mo.... USD maybe less...

so if you factor in no college education, and being an assembly line worker.. $150 is not too bad.

And as an example rent for a mid to high quality apt in the same area as where the Apple factory is, is approximately $400-$500/mon USD.... also a large meal for 6-8 people at a good restaurant will only set the whole table back $40USD TOTAL..

So when you factor in all these things such as corporate living, and cheaper eating expenses.. its not too bad. People over there make money go a long way.....

Yes apple is making money but you must factor in all the costs it takes to advertise, package, design all these things... if they made the IPODs here we'd all be paying upwards of $1000 each..

so Please don't compare numbers. its two different worlds..

Counter
Jun 15, 2006, 05:42 PM
so Please don't compare numbers. its two different worlds..

Well said, thread ender.

ezekielrage_99
Jun 15, 2006, 09:13 PM
But, surely, the solution here is that the multination companies take a small hit on their own ludicrously high margins. We all know, as Mac users, that a Mac costs more to buy than an equivalent spec PC. A lot more. We all justify this in terms of product quality, getting iLife etc., but in reality they could sell iPods on a lower margin without any trouble. The iPod margins - even after R&D - are very high, and could be a lot less. Apple are a rich company, sitting on vast reserves, unlike many others. They are well placed to lead the way towards fairtrade, or at lease banning sweatshop conditions, if they choose to.

They choose not to. That they're not embarassed about partenering with Nike says a lot, and you can't imagine Bono and Steve seeing eye to eye on that either.

Yeah I totally agree with your point however how many companies lower there profit margins to give their employees better working conditions, I can't really name any.

ezekielrage_99
Jun 15, 2006, 09:17 PM
<reality check>The only people qualified to even comment on this thread are people who have some understanding of the culture of China (i.e. working conditions, pay scales, corporate culture). Otherwise, you're forming an opinion of what the quality of life is like for these workers in China based on your cultural norms, which is rather arrogant....

Wouldn't that be ignorance rather than arrogance?