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Kindle produced by abused Foxconn workers


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Showing 1-25 of 51 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 19, 2012 11:58:33 AM PST
A. Mangler says:
I encourage Amazon to immediately pressure Foxconn to pay its workers fairly and treat them humanely or find another supplier. I will pay more for a humanely-manufactured kindle!

With great power (and profits!) comes great responsibility.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/01/18/apple-will-profit-from-doing-the-right-thing/

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 12:01:39 PM PST
Okie dokie then. I've jotted it down in the official log and junk.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 12:12:26 PM PST
KindlePad says:
I need to look up an article the WSJ did a few months ago about Foxconn. Basically they found there are hundreds of companies like that working in China and the problem was more that the Chinese government allowed companies to operate under what the western would would call sub-standard conditions. The reality was that those jobs were highly prized inside of those areas as they offered better pay and conditions that most other companies, many that operated illegally.

So to force those companies to offer pay and conditions similar to what you might find at say Apple or Microsoft or any modern US office building would force those companies to become unprofitable and they would close, and thousands of workers would lose their jobs.

So, it's a lose lose for everybody. Yay part-time socially minded people sipping their lattes at starbucks and posting on message boars about how Amazon and Apple should help these workers out feel better that the poor workers are no longer working under less than US quality conditions but now people and their families go without jobs. The real problem is the vast amount of people living in total poverty in China under a government that seems to not want to help them.

Sorry, rant off now...

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 4:14:50 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2012 4:15:26 PM PST
No, the real problem is pompous pricks who think they can run the world. Most I meet have never actually had a job but they feel fully qualified to be, oh, Beloved Leader of the World.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 4:57:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2012 4:58:34 PM PST
A. Tsurukame says:
Thanks KindlePad. I'd definitely would like to read that post if you do find it.

It kind of jibes with some people have told me as well. A couple people I know have had dealings with factories in China and one person even is involved with a factory near one of the Foxconn factories and he lamented that while the situation is upsetting, it is rather complex like you mentioned (from that WSJ article). It's seem like the Wild West of capitalism in communist China, working conditions similar or worse to the industrial revolution in the US and this period of transition will also need reform but it's going to take awhile (just like it did here).

Posted on Jan 26, 2012 5:30:25 AM PST
mazomv says:
Read "In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad" by CHARLES DUHIGG and DAVID BARBOZA on the NYT web site, published January 25, 2012. Apple isn't the only guilty party, but perhaps they are one of the most flagrant (most awesome) examples of driving inhuman working conditions among its suppliers. Apparently Kindle products are also made at Foxconn, which manufactures iPads.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2012 6:03:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 26, 2012 6:04:35 AM PST
Dragi Raos says:
This Commie tends to agree. Conditions in Chinese factories (and the whole country) are improving and consumer goods consumption (a fair measure of standard of living) growing at brisk rate*. Their explosive growth is fueled in good part by outsourcing deals like that absorbed by Foxconn. BTW, more and more companies that started as little more than assembly sweatshops are now respected global players, like Huawei and Lenovo.

*) A poster on another thread turned our attention to this article:
http://www.starmass.com/china_review/domestic_trade/consumer_goods_retail_sales.htm

Posted on Jan 26, 2012 10:38:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 26, 2012 10:47:25 AM PST
Its interesting when people impose their culture over somebody elses. We are supposing that the Foxcom conditions are deplorable by Chinese standards and must be fixed NOW. Of course, Foxcom should be disbanded thus allowing all of the workers to work out in the rice paddies at around $.50/day, a very traditional way to make a living there. All would be better. But I'll bet, the Chinese people would much rather work at Foxcom -- with its higher wages and higher standard of living without the backbreaking work entailed in farming. Again, all is relative to the culture. Americans have had it soft for years and just don't relate to a grittier culture striving for itself.

One of the major reasons, if not the reason why Apple, Amazon and all have work done there, is because of the amazing exchange rate the Chinese government has -- 1 Chinese yuan = 0.1579 US dollars and the yuan really should be double, if not triple that. The Chinese government has kept it low to encourage more and more trade and manufacture to great affect -- don't believe for a second that its going to be like this forever! This has been artificially imposed for years. I'll bet in 5-10 years from now, when China indeed is the economic leader they are striving to become, conditions in factories, benefits, living conditions, etc.) will be much improved. Of course, they will be sending to the new third world countries, USA and all of the countries in Europe to do their heavy lifting, and the cycle repeats itself anew. Maybe the Chinese will have a chance to deplore the working conditions in America's factories.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2012 10:44:40 AM PST
Dragi Raos says:
Globalization *does* have equalizing effect in the long run.

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 3:59:30 PM PST
Kay Gore says:
Sipping my Starbucks latte, I would at least like the option of buying an American made (made in the USA) Kindle. In fact, I refuse to buy Apple products because of the working conditions in China and that Apple has shipped American jobs overseas. Now, I find out that my beloved Kindle and Amazon are no better.

I would pay extra, even 33% more, to buy products built in the USA by American workers who not only work in decent conditions but are paid a living wage! That would include having the parts manufactured in the U.S., too.

We are cutting our own throats by not demanding that these products are made in the USA. Companies need to be willing to make less profits and ask Americans to share the cost burden. I think that they would be pleasantly surprised at the response.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 4:04:28 PM PST
R. Wilde says:
"I would pay extra, even 33% more, to buy products built in the USA by American workers who not only work in decent conditions but are paid a living wage!"

Hmmm... would 33% more cover the increased costs?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 4:05:42 PM PST
Dragi Raos says:
"We are cutting our own throats by not demanding that these products are made in the USA. Companies need to be willing to make less profits and ask Americans to share the cost burden. I think that they would be pleasantly surprised at the response."

Apple tried to do that and almost went out of business.

You might find this interesting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=apple%20china%20jobs&st=cse

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 6:05:50 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2012 6:09:23 PM PST
Great article, Dragi. Even Corning, an American institution (and maker of most of the high strength glass) found that by having the factory next to the assembly plants was needed.

Can anybody imagine a dormitory living situation with workers on 12 hour shifts ever be allowed in America? The unions would absolutely nix that idea! But with free trade and companies allowed to globalize their work force -- this is what it would take -- that and substantial cuts in perks and benefits for American workers.

I personally just purchased a BMW X3 because it is made in USA (by a German company) -- price, however, was a factor. I doubt if many would pay 33% more for like items if only made in the US. As Dragi said, "Globalization *does* have equalizing effect in the long run" is very true, so if the US labor wants to match what is being done elsewhere, then dormitories, 12 hour shifts and the like might have to be in their future.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 6:15:52 PM PST
R. Wilde says:
"Can anybody imagine a dormitory living situation with workers on 12 hour shifts ever be allowed in America?"

Well, if you replace "dormitory" with "barracks", yeah... ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 6:48:34 PM PST
Kay Gore says: "In fact, I refuse to buy Apple products because of the working conditions in China and that Apple has shipped American jobs overseas. Now, I find out that my beloved Kindle and Amazon are no better."

Uhm.. 50% of the worlds electronics are made by Foxconn. Including the computer you are on. The wireless router you are using, the video game console you are playing, etc.

"I would pay extra, even 33% more, to buy products built in the USA by American workers who not only work in decent conditions but are paid a living wage! That would include having the parts manufactured in the U.S., too."

Cute. Too bad it's estimated it would be more like 500% more.

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 6:56:12 PM PST
Artist says:
Was is it that some bleeding hearts only seem to read one article and then think they know everything about a situation? I grew up poor. We had the option of working at various places for 25 cents an hour or not working at all. We chose the 25 cents an hour because it was better than sitting around hungry and doing nothing, and we were overjoyed that we had that! Don't impose your capitalistic viewpoint on people who don't have a lot of options, and who also may not have the narcisstic entitlement that you possess.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 7:01:06 PM PST
PF says:
Or on-call rooms in hospitals. I work a 72 hour shift 3 or 4 times a month. I'm not union since I'm a tech, but the scrub nurses, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners who share my schedule are.

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 7:03:25 PM PST
I wonder what would happen if one were to strip everything out of their house that wasn't 100% made in the US? What would be left? The slab, the frame and a cardboard box?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2012 7:04:01 PM PST
Chris Miller says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2012 2:11:38 AM PST
Dragi Raos says:
I meant it the other way around: with personal consumption raising at 10-15% a year, Chinese workers will not be satisfied with those conditions much longer.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 2:25:20 AM PST
Steve Thomas says:
There was a good story on NPR's "Fresh Air" earlier this month on FoxConn called "Mike Daisey and the Apple Factory" You can still download it as a podcast.

They have a high rate of suicide, but then, so do many American software companies. I suspect things will change at Foxconn. The one constant in life is change.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2012 2:28:55 AM PST
Dragi Raos says:
Blaiz, I *am* a "liberal bleeding heart" (or "Commie", take your pick), but I think that for the world as a whole globalization is good. It levels more inequalities than it creates; it gives developing countries access to global market and a way to rise themselves from poverty.

As the article I cited shows, it is not simply cheap labor: Foxconn workers are paid well for standards of rural China (don't look only at Shanghai or Hong Kong). It is the enormous scale, diversity and flexibility of manufacturing facilities and availability of skilled workforce. That's why African countries will have trouble becoming "the next China" when labor costs in China rise (except for clothes, toys and such) - China will still be "the next China", but some of the higher tech work will return to the US and Europe. There is also a chance for Russia to diversify while the revenue stream from oil and gas is still plentiful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2012 2:36:14 AM PST
Dragi Raos says:
"BMW X3 [...] made in USA"

I hope it doesn't show, as it did for years in the case of Mercedes M-class... :o)

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 7:34:41 AM PST
W. Andres says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2012 11:42:16 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2012 11:58:50 AM PST
Dragi, I understood your meaning entirely! However, I think your statement about globalization is very true -- the balance scale does work both ways. Nations who have had a great manufacturing superiority are finding that others are much more willing to compete more aggressively and the only way to deal with it is to do the same.

Granted, the Chinese might not be willing to put up with what we consider a *bad situation* but when will that be -- one year from now, five years, a 100 years? They are on a mission to grab as much business as possible. If you saw the hundreds of people storming the Foxconn doors with their resume to have a chance to work there -- I don't think this is going to be a sudden change any time soon.

About the X3 -- I did so much research on that car -- I buy a new one about every 10 years so it has to last. In every respect from engineering to ergonomics it is just great. There are some great videos showing the Spartanberg South Carolina plant and the processes the cars go through. Just shows, some things can still be made here if a plant is built to take over much of the automatic build functions and the workers are highly trained. The car is not inexpensive, but there is a built-in cost benefit with it made here rather than in Germany so pricewise it compares with the German manufacture cost. Also, they don't build millions with changes "on-the-fly."
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  51
Initial post:  Jan 19, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 4, 2012

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