Searching for the 1 in a billion!

stubeeef

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Aug 10, 2004
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The unthinkable is happening in China: This country of 1.3 billion can no longer find enough people willing to work long hours for low wages churning out cheap consumer goods for the export market.

Last year, the Chinese Labor Ministry put the factory shortfall at 2.8 million workers nationwide. Here in southern China's Guangdong Province, factories are short 1 million to 2 million workers this year, and 73% say they're having trouble filling job openings, the provincial government says.

"Factories must learn a lesson," says Cheng Jiansan, an economist at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences. "There is no longer a limitless supply of workers."

The labor shortage, along with rising materials and shipping costs, has big implications for China's surging export machine and its customers in the United States and other rich countries. Factories in Guangdong and other booming east coast provinces must find cheap labor elsewhere, make do with a reduced workforce or raise wages and benefits - and hope they can pass along at least some of the higher costs to foreign customers used to rock-bottom prices.

Wal-Mart, which bought $18 billion worth of goods directly from China last year, has so far managed to keep "cost increases to a minimum through negotiation and leveraging our volume," says Andrew Tsuei, the giant retailer's vice president for global procurement. "However, we're seeing signs of more increases around the corner."

Yue Yuen, a shoemaker that employs 160,000 workers in southern China and supplies Nike, Adidas, Timberland and other shoe companies, says its prices are rising, too. But spokesman Terry Ip says that increasing materials costs are having a bigger impact than rising wages and that the retail mark-up on shoes is so high, consumers might not notice the difference anyway.


Darren McKinney, spokesman for the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, says the labor shortage is a sign of China's economic maturity. "Every industrializing economy has to cross this labor bridge at some point," McKinney says. "It's happening in China, and it's good."
Well, I didn't think I would live to see it!
So I guess the bag of 10,000 balloons at WalMart will go up $.08!

edit: Will this mean the illegals from Mexico will now be working to get to China?
 

mcadam

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Apr 3, 2004
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It will hopefully mean that chinese workers will get better wages and better general conditions - today all that is at a horrific level... The combination of communist dictatorship and roaring kapitalism that has emerged in China in recent years has not meant any good for the manual labour force. The amount of terrible mine-accidents happening lately are just spectacular examples of this and should be noted that the administrators of mines are not more cynic than the administrators of other industries.

A
 

wowser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2004
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I doubt this is a problem for unethical Western companies - they will simply move operations to poorer (albeit smaller) countries in the region, like Malasia.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
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"How much do you make now?"

"I make around $0.03 per hour."

"$0.03??? And who the f*** gave you that raise!!!!!" :mad:


Seriously, nice job. Its about time people stand up and say "I want better." They see better things ahead, and won't take crap in the meantime.
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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stubeeef said:
Link



Well, I didn't think I would live to see it!
So I guess the bag of 10,000 balloons at WalMart will go up $.08!

edit: Will this mean the illegals from Mexico will now be working to get to China?
I'm all for immigrants coming to this country and working jobs that you, I and a bunch of other people on welfare won't. As long as they don't suck off the government, let em in.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
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iGary said:
I'm all for immigrants coming to this country and working jobs that you, I and a bunch of other people on welfare won't. As long as they don't suck off the government, let em in.
igary, i agree, infact the bracelet I wear from my sig, is a mexican immigrant.
It was a very lame and regretful attempt to lighten things up.
thanks for reminding me.

Regrets

beeef

ps: like the "praying steve" avatar! Part of a personal conversion? ;)
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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stubeeef said:
igary, i agree, infact the bracelet I wear from my sig, is a mexican immigrant.
It was a very lame and regretful attempt to lighten things up.
thanks for reminding me.

Regrets

beeef

ps: like the "praying steve" avatar! Part of a personal conversion? ;)
LOL, no. I still have my own inner Dogma I follow. I just thought it would be a good one to have up since Tiger was released.

It's like Steve saying "Thank God, they'll shut up now!!"

I used to work in the restaurant biz (eons ago) and my latino workers were some of the best employees I had, period. Hard working people, in general. :)
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
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iGary said:
It's like Steve saying "Thank God, they'll shut up now!!"

I used to work in the restaurant biz (eons ago) and my latino workers were some of the best employees I had, period. Hard working people, in general. :)
LOL

I was a dir of pers for over 600 empl and had the same experience.
 

aloofman

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Dec 17, 2002
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Anyone who thought that China was going to stay a sweatshop haven forever was mistaken. It's maturing as an economy just like every other industrialized nation has or will.

There's also a major demographic crunch coming in China. The one-child policy succeeded in slowing population growth, but it created a situation where there aren't nearly as many children for each grandparent and parent now. Many of them will not be able to depend on their offspring for financial support in their later years, as traditionally happens. Add in a surplus of baby boys in some areas and the natural delay of marriage and children that comes with industrialization, and there's a real chance that their job market could get much tighter and social changes could accelerate. Progress has its price.
 

wowser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2004
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The US is heavily in debt to China, and China are starting to realise that they may noyt see this money back for ages, and are now reluctant to loan it. It's a superpower, and is only going to get stronger.
 

aloofman

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wowser said:
The US is heavily in debt to China, and China are starting to realise that they may noyt see this money back for ages, and are now reluctant to loan it. It's a superpower, and is only going to get stronger.
Since China's banking system is based on cronyism and corruption, I kind of doubt they're worried about paying back debts at this point. And I think it's a little early to call China a superpower. Call back in 20 years.
 

aloofman

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wowser said:
Hmm. China still has its problems, but it would be a mistake just to dismiss it when it's an important global player, and continues to be.
I didn't say China wasn't a global player, nor was I dismissing it. I said that China isn't a superpower right now.
 

broken_keyboard

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2004
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China does not have capitalism, for that you need strong rule of law and respect for individual rights. What they have is communism with pockets of anarchy.

In any event it's good to see these poor folks standing up for themselves, even if it means fewer cheap goods for us. All the rich countries went through the same pain of gradually lifting the economy through back breaking labor, we are just lucky that it was a few generations earlier that did it for us.
 

wowser

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Capitalism certainly exists throughout China (most notably in Shanghai) , and is certainly not a pure Communist country in the way that it was with Mao.
 

broken_keyboard

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Apr 19, 2004
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wowser said:
Capitalism certainly exists throughout China (most notably in Shanghai) , and is certainly not a pure Communist country in the way that it was with Mao.
They have a highly competitive market economy, but that is not capitalism. Capitalism starts with "life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness" i.e. individual rights. Competition is not the heart of Capitalism, it is only a side effect of the fact that each person owns their own life, and some people choose to do the same thing.

What they are doing over there is taking that side effect and implementing it as a primary, without bothering to put in place the strong legal base of individual rights from which it comes. Their system is nothing like America's.

In America we have a market, but it is a side effect of a certain moral position (individual rights). They don't give a cr*p about the individual, they see the market economy as a way to increase government revenues.
 

wowser

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That's true if you look at capitalism as an ideologyrather than an economic system, which I suppose in many ways it is. However, don't forget that people living in Europe often enjoy a much higer standard of life than most Americans. I haven't got much against capitalism, but there should be a limit to it.
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
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Eventually, China won't be a source of cheap labor anymore. Unfortunately, there are other places to go. For instance, most of Africa is in such horrific shape economically that many people there would work on wages that merely prevented them from starving to death. The problem with Africa is that the economic instability is coupled with massive political unrest. But eventually super-poor countries like Uganda, Somalia etc could largely replace China in the "sweatshop" sector. North Korea would also be a canidate if/when the dictatorship is overthrown. Don't forget the 'Stans either - countries like Turkmenistan would gladly accept foreign money if the State Department allows it. There's always some cash-strapped government willing to go in for this kind of "development". :(
 

aloofman

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Dec 17, 2002
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wowser said:
Capitalism certainly exists throughout China (most notably in Shanghai) , and is certainly not a pure Communist country in the way that it was with Mao.
I don't know that "capitalism" has a precise definition and there are certainly different variations of it. The United States and Japan are both capitalist countries, but their economic systems are certainly different.

No nation has ever been a "pure Communist country" in the sense that it's ideological founders envisioned it. China under Mao (like the Soviet Union under Stalin) was a totalitarian state that enslaved workers and brutally repressed dissent. Mao directed the killing of more of his own people than any leader in the history of the world, and did it in the NAME of communism.

China right now could better be described as an authoritarian-capitalist hybrid: more economically free than the state-run economy it used to have, but not capitalist in the way the West uses the term. South Korea and Taiwan used to be like that too, but have since moved toward more democracy. Hopefully China will too.
 

Lord Blackadder

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May 7, 2004
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wowser said:
Capitalism certainly exists throughout China (most notably in Shanghai) , and is certainly not a pure Communist country in the way that it was with Mao.
Actually, Maoism is a political system unto itself. It contains elements of Communism but things like the "Cultural Revolution" are almost totally unrealtedt to the thinking of Marx. As aloofman pointed out, it is really just a totalitarian state - run by an obsessive idealogue.

If you've kept up in the news recently you may hear North Korea referred to as having a "Stalinist" government. Here again we see that even in Russia Marx's ideas failed to come to fruition. The USSR under Stalin was a dictatorship, purely and simply. Look up "Stalinism" or Maoism".

OT: A grim quiz question for history buffs: Who, through bad decision-making, sociopathic paranoia, megalomania or pure cold bloodedness is responsible for the deaths of the most innocent people?

A. Adolf Hitler
B. Josef Stalin
C. Mao Zedong

Between the three they have accounted for over 80-100 million innocent lives, excluding the 20-odd million dead combatants of WWII, half of whom were Red Army.
 

wdlove

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Oct 20, 2002
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Unlike the United States, China protects there border. A country can't long survive that has open borders. China still has the ability to deal with there problem
 

wowser

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Jan 25, 2004
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Lord Blackadder said:
If you've kept up in the news recently you may hear North Korea referred to as having a "Stalinist" government. Here again we see that even in Russia Marx's ideas failed to come to fruition. The USSR under Stalin was a dictatorship, purely and simply. Look up "Stalinism" or Maoism".
Yes, Maoism was Mao's interpretation of Marx, which was actually quite differnt from Marxism. Hoiwever, Lenin's Russia was pretty darn close to a tru Communist state. It didn't work all that badly in the early years, either. I don't mean to rubbish your answer, Lord, but I have done both courses on Russian 20th century history and 20th century Chinese history. Also, as you pount out, dictators can come from any extremist political belief.

I would pick answer 'Stalin' from your list of choices.

Wdlove - I'm not quite sure what you are getting at.
 

aloofman

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Dec 17, 2002
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wdlove said:
Unlike the United States, China protects there border. A country can't long survive that has open borders. China still has the ability to deal with there problem
China also executes something like 90% of all the officially condemned prisoners in the world. Does that mean they know how to "deal" with crime? To imply that China has it over the United States in the area of dealing with one's neighbors is pretty whacked.
 

aloofman

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Dec 17, 2002
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wowser said:
Yes, Maoism was Mao's interpretation of Marx, which was actually quite differnt from Marxism. Hoiwever, Lenin's Russia was pretty darn close to a tru Communist state. It didn't work all that badly in the early years, either. I don't mean to rubbish your answer, Lord, but I have done both courses on Russian 20th century history and 20th century Chinese history. Also, as you pount out, dictators can come from any extremist political belief.
Enlighten me as to how Lenin's USSR was anything like a worker's paradise. I've never seen any proof that the average Soviet's life improved between the the start of the Bolshevik revolution and Stalin's takeover. What went right there?