Should we punish Apple for its Chinese Labour Law Abuse?

Do you intend to boycott Apple's products because of their Chinese labour law abuses?

  • YES ABSOLUTELY: this is a symptom of Apple's moral reprehensibility and I have had enough of them

    Votes: 3 4.3%
  • YES: I will stop buying Apple products until they make measurable changes

    Votes: 4 5.7%
  • MAYBE: I am concerned but I will still buy the big things I need from Apple

    Votes: 13 18.6%
  • NO: I am concerned but will let others punish them

    Votes: 12 17.1%
  • NO: I don't really care

    Votes: 28 40.0%
  • NO: but that'll teach Apple for taking the work abroad where all work is substandard

    Votes: 10 14.3%

  • Total voters
    70

jacobj

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,124
87
Jersey
I would really love to know what people think of Apple using a company in China that has abused its staff by overworking them. Please answer honestly and remain anonymous if you like.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
(1) Please provide links to articles describing the abuse.

(2) How would you expect people to respond anonymously? [edit: never mind... wasn't a poll when I responded]
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
My answer depends on what measures Apple had taken to ensure that the company were following Apple's supplier guidelines (ie any monitoring or just laissez-faire) and what measures they take now that lapses have been admitted - both against this company and to ensure that similar problems aren't happening at any other supplier.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
I chose "NO: I don't really care" because, honestly, I don't. I could have picked "NO: I am concerned but will let others punish them" but I suppose what's closest to what I really feel is "NO: I don't really care because others will punish the OEM suppliers if need be."

I think it's naive to assume that any other manufacturer doesn't use OEM suppliers which do the same thing. I won't stop buying Apple products because of it. If they were grinding small children up to make the casings or whatever, then, yes, maybe I'd care, but, as it stands, nothing I do will stop those workers from being abused by that company. If I stop buying Apple and buy some other supplier's system, then I have no proof whatsoever that such a purchase will in any way reduce any sort of labor abuse.

To think that not buying Apple products will (a) alter Apple's opinion at all and/or (b) will in any way positively affect those workers is wishful thinking.
 

FleurDuMal

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
1,802
0
London Town
yg17 said:
China has labor laws? It doesn't seem like Apple is abusing anything.
Actually, there's a really interesting article in the Guardian last Saturday which proposes that Chinese labourers actually have better labour rights than British workers!!
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
princealfie said:
I would stop buying Apple products if nothing changes. Globalization is bad... :eek:
Ummm... OK. You realize of course that almost every electronic device you own has Foxconn components inside it? That'll include your TV, your clock-radio, your microwave, certainly your car and possibly your washing machine as well. Generally, wherever a cable plugs into a socket, the likelihood is that Foxconn made the socket. Look at the label on the inside collar of your shirt - it will say Malaysia, Vietnam or China... made under the same or worse factory conditions. Even if you choose sustainable forest lumber from North America, the nails you use to build your house out of likely came from China.

Unless you want to return to horse-drawn transport and barter locally for your food and clothes, you may want to reconsider.
 

geese

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2003
525
0
London, UK
jacobj said:
I would really love to know what people think of Apple using a company in China that has abused its staff by overworking them. Please answer honestly and remain anonymous if you like.
A rather vague and emotive way of putting it.

Apple doesn't own any of its factories in China, it sub-contracts to them. The allegations made in the press have been that Apple have been using sub-contractors who under-pay and over-work their employers. These sub-contractors also are also used by other electronics companies. A subtle difference but an important one.

This does not excuse Apple from taking any action if it hears of any unethical practice by any of its sub-contractors however. I would like to think that Apple would take action agaist any contractors that abuse human rights.

Remember that Foxconn isnt just based in China- it also has a factory in Czech republis, where Mac-minis are made.
 

jacobj

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,124
87
Jersey
jsw said:
I chose "NO: I don't really care" because, honestly, I don't. I could have picked "NO: I am concerned but will let others punish them" but I suppose what's closest to what I really feel is "NO: I don't really care because others will punish the OEM suppliers if need be."

I think it's naive to assume that any other manufacturer doesn't use OEM suppliers which do the same thing. I won't stop buying Apple products because of it. If they were grinding small children up to make the casings or whatever, then, yes, maybe I'd care, but, as it stands, nothing I do will stop those workers from being abused by that company. If I stop buying Apple and buy some other supplier's system, then I have no proof whatsoever that such a purchase will in any way reduce any sort of labor abuse.

To think that not buying Apple products will (a) alter Apple's opinion at all and/or (b) will in any way positively affect those workers is wishful thinking.
Surely that is just being defeatist. We appear to accept any moral deviation as long as it is not too extreme. We justify our apathy by arguing that the problem is so widespread that we are powerless to do anything about it. We argue that we cannot directly make any difference, but it is because we all believe this that none of us do anything and the power of the masses is lost. We have become the ideal consumers and, more worryingly, we have become the mindless masses. For those of us that have some intellectual capacity we satisfy ourselves with pseudo intellectual passtimes. We are becoming everything that Orwell warned us against and yet we do not care because we have been convinced that any reference to Orwell is a cliche and therefore we discard it. Orwell failed to foresee his own pastiche and therefore he has become sterile.

I am SO ashamed of it all.
 

AlBDamned

macrumors 68030
Mar 14, 2005
2,626
0
Here's an article that describes research into factory conditions throughout the computer industry:

Link

canadaRAM said:
Ummm... OK. You realize of course that almost every electronic device you own has Foxconn components inside it? That'll include your TV, your clock-radio, your microwave, certainly your car and possibly your washing machine as well. Generally, wherever a cable plugs into a socket, the likelihood is that Foxconn made the socket. Look at the label on the inside collar of your shirt - it will say Malaysia, Vietnam or China... made under the same or worse factory conditions. Even if you choose sustainable forest lumber from North America, the nails you use to build your house out of likely came from China.
Absolutely. However, this whole case, with Apple and iPod as massive as they are in the consumer eye, could prove a substantial wake up call for Apple and it's competitors, just like Nike and Gap have had with similar issues.
 

jelloshotsrule

macrumors G3
Feb 7, 2002
9,593
3
serendipity
the problem i see, in this specific case, is that (like jsw was saying, i think) all computer manufacturers use farmed out labor, and most, if not all of it, is probably not in good conditions. so, do you go without a computer? or do you buy the cheapest non apple alternative (which is all the more likely to be sweatshopped)?

i have run into this problem with other things, like shoes and clothing. i can find very few good non sweatshopped shoes... especially for specialized things like soccer shoes. new balance, and a few other small US made brands are the only ones i know of. but i need soccer shoes for soccer, so what do i do?

it's a dilemma that certainly goes beyond apple. i chose "maybe", because 1. i don't know 100% the situation with apple's conditions and 2. like i said, what sweatshop labor free alternative is there besides being computerless?

either way, it certainly concerns me. i just wish i had any alternative
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,055
6
Yahooville S.C.
Voted No, but this is what Apple gets for going made in China along with all the many,many problems they have had from made in China by someone making 50 bucks a mionth.:D Shame on Apple. Bring back the California made Mac. What a bunch of greedy bastards those Apple corporate types. Building Communist China paid for by you and me.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
Dont Hurt Me said:
Voted No, but this is what Apple gets for going made in China along with all the many,many problems they have had from made in China by someone making 50 bucks a mionth.:D Shame on Apple. Bring back the California made Mac. What a bunch of greedy bastards those Apple corporate types. Building Communist China paid for by you and me.
Yeah, but I don't miss paying $6000 for a Mac.
 

AlBDamned

macrumors 68030
Mar 14, 2005
2,626
0
jelloshotsrule said:
the problem i see, in this specific case, is that (like jsw was saying, i think) all computer manufacturers use farmed out labor, and most, if not all of it, is probably not in good conditions. so, do you go without a computer? or do you buy the cheapest non apple alternative (which is all the more likely to be sweatshopped)?

i have run into this problem with other things, like shoes and clothing. i can find very few good non sweatshopped shoes... especially for specialized things like soccer shoes. new balance, and a few other small US made brands are the only ones i know of. but i need soccer shoes for soccer, so what do i do?

it's a dilemma that certainly goes beyond apple. i chose "maybe", because 1. i don't know 100% the situation with apple's conditions and 2. like i said, what sweatshop labor free alternative is there besides being computerless?

either way, it certainly concerns me. i just wish i had any alternative
Well that's the thing I guess. Unless there is an alternative - a company that comes out and says "we have A+ labor conditions throughout our supply chain or are working tirelessly towards this" then there really is no alternative.

But the positive or "responsible" attitude above is slowly becoming more apparent in big companies, it's just a) whether you believe it; b) whether they (the companies) really believe it (as opposed to just sucking up to the public) and; c) whether or not it can add value to the company or perhaps take value away - then it becomes a viable avenue for the company to spend money on in the interest of shareholders.

There's a big discussion in this field over whether companies should toe the line and that's it or whether they should actively go beyond legislative requirements to ensure an ethical, responsible supply chain (like Nike are [supposedly] doing following the Nike v Kaskey case).

In Nike's latest Corporate Responsibility report, they have disclosed all factories. Apple might end up doing something similar.
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
13,979
3
Gone but not forgotten.
I'm not sure whether Apple's investigative team had been fooled or didn't understand the legal situation or didn't care.

Foxconn/Hon Hai understand the law and they should have complied. If they hid the situation from Apple, why should Apple be punished?
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,241
1
Washington D.C
I've seen no prove that Apple knew what was going on, if they had, and let it go, well i'm sad, but i'm not going to assume the worst until we have proved it
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,055
6
Yahooville S.C.
jsw said:
Yeah, but I don't miss paying $6000 for a Mac.
What do you mean? my Quicksilver I was only $1600. It was perfect, I wouldnt mind paying a little more for a American made Mac. Looking at what they made then vs now then was better:D
 

mduser63

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
3,038
30
Salt Lake City, UT
I abhor what's going on in China with Apple's supplier(s) if the allegations are true. That said, it's not really fair to single Apple out because they're far from the only company using the same set of OEM suppliers. I'm hopeful that Apple will do what is right and see that Hon Hai fixes the problems or punish them by canceling their contract.
 

Timepass

macrumors 65816
Jan 4, 2005
1,051
0
mduser63 said:
I abhor what's going on in China with Apple's supplier(s) if the allegations are true. That said, it's not really fair to single Apple out because they're far from the only company using the same set of OEM suppliers. I'm hopeful that Apple will do what is right and see that Hon Hai fixes the problems or punish them by canceling their contract.


I think it is fine to single apple out. If you are a big company and are getting a lot of media attention then it fair game that you get negitive attention as well. You dont see dell getting the same possible media attention for there new products as apple (this is not an agurment about quility here) but apple gets it. Then it only fair apple gets the negitive as well.

Plus apple is in a spot to start forcing an industry reform. The ones who have the media power to that I think are fair game to be singled out.
 

mduser63

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
3,038
30
Salt Lake City, UT
Timepass said:
I think it is fine to single apple out. If you are a big company and are getting a lot of media attention then it fair game that you get negitive attention as well. You dont see dell getting the same possible media attention for there new products as apple (this is not an agurment about quility here) but apple gets it. Then it only fair apple gets the negitive as well.

Plus apple is in a spot to start forcing an industry reform. The ones who have the media power to that I think are fair game to be singled out.
I didn't mean to say that Apple shouldn't be criticized and isn't responsible for doing something about the problem, it's just not fair to imply that they're the only company with this problem. I do think Apple should use their position to push for reform.
 

jacobj

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,124
87
Jersey
I am amazed by the level of apathy here. It seems that Apple will simply be able to ignore the issue, since even in a community of followers there is little interest in discussing the issue to any great extent. Outside of this community the issue appears to have died away. How sad it is that we feel no responsibility for our actions anymore.