Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by slnko-v-sieti, Jan 10, 2012.

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  1. slnko-v-sieti macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Listen to this podcast and let me know what you think. I've submitted it to MacRumors, 9to5 Mac, and Cult of Mac, and am wondering if anyone will post it.

  2. ericrwalker macrumors 68030


    Oct 8, 2008
    Albany, NY
    Maybe I will listen to it later, but I love when people hate when American companies support "slave labor", they would rather us make products in the USA (I don't have a problem with that). Though I know when if and when companies pull out of those countries, those "underpaid" workers are now unemployed, not to mention "underpaid" by our standards is probably better than average over there (and that's probably why a lot of people work there).

    So when we bring all manufactoring back to the USA, then what? More foreign aid to this poor people? Welfare > jobs?
  3. slnko-v-sieti thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    I think that's an extremely reductive framing of the issues discussed in-depth in the podcast. :/
  4. MattOfStLouis, Jan 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012

    MattOfStLouis macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2012
    I think Act One offers a pretty unsophisticated view of factory work in China. Act Two does a good job of providing context.

    A couple of points that they don't cover enough:

    - The vast majority of workers in Shenzhen are transplants from villages in central China. These people are moving from (near subsistence) farming to factory work. That's a significant jump in income and quality of life. No one is forced to work in a factory. They choose that line of work because it is the best available option.

    - Factory workers put in long hours but this is partly employee driven. Peter Hessler has a good description of this in Country Driving. He follows a factory owner that tells potential workers that they will get "10 hours a day and no more than one day's vacation each month" and at other factories the workers "might get stuck with only forty hours a week". The extra hours are actually a positive for applicants and the owner fears that he won't get enough workers if he promises them a standard work week.

    - China has poor & uneven enforcement of its laws and that's not changing anytime soon. This results from the scale of China and from issues with the structure of their government. Underage labor is a problem that is also driven, by some extent, by the desire of teenagers to get work. If a well-meaning company cracks down on underage labor in their supply chain, they are pushing underage workers to factories that do not care as much about compliance. The effect is to push underage workers into worse working conditions. I completely agree with the sentiment against underage working, but consequences matter.

    EDIT: I should add that Mike Daisy (the guy from the First Act) is fairly clear about the facts that he only spent a short amount of time in China, doesn't speak the language and his wasn't conducting an rigorous survey. I think that's useful to get the discussion started, but maybe not for drawing conclusions.
  5. Votekinky06 macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2011
    I am disturbed, but surely not surprised. It has gotten me started googling around to learn more about the subject, but I can't draw any conclusions without knowing how the quality of life for these workers is compared to what it could be. You can strive for, but not expect working conditions to be up to US standards everywhere.
  6. daverso macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2007
    Sad, but not surprising. What does one do though...:(
  7. slnko-v-sieti thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    @MattOfStLouis: I'll check out Hessler's Country Driving.

    So far I've seen this posted on AppAdvice and Plantizen, but those are the only two places. Given the deep insights into how/who assembles our beloved electronics, you'd think it would be burning up the Mac blogosphere.
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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