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Thread: NYT Expose On Chinese Working Conditions In Apple Factories - Microeconomic Help Please

  1. #1

    Default NYT Expose On Chinese Working Conditions In Apple Factories - Microeconomic Help Please

    Why are Chinese workers pulling 112 hour weeks, subjecting themselves to harmful chemicals, and committing suicide? When employees of Google in Mountain View, CA have work weeks that are half of that, upscale dining facilities, and a volleyball court for lunch time relaxation?

    I guess this article is the big news story recently...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/bu...pagewanted=all
    Last edited by anaconda; 01-28-2012 at 01:47 PM.



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  3. #2

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    Because the Chinese workers have no better alternative. The US workers have a better alternative than those working conditions because we are futher along the capitalism road. Same reason we have no child labor. We can afford it.
    What I say is for entertainment purposes only!

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  4. #3

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    Chinese labour laws are atrocious. You get thrown in prison if you even think about organising a union. Don't justify these awful conditions as being part of a free market.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inny Binny View Post
    Chinese labour laws are atrocious. You get thrown in prison if you even think about organising a union. Don't justify these awful conditions as being part of a free market.
    They are a part of a free market. It's true that it's illegal to unionize, but even if Chinese could unionize, it wouldn't solve much. The video below is for anyone who thinks this way.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx5fz...layer_embedded

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  6. #5

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    No worries. Assuming America continues on its current economic course I don't think we'll be feeling bad for anyone but ourselves within the decade. At least the ones who haven't waken up yet.

  7. #6

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    They are slaves, without property rights, without liberties, without freedoms, in a controlled, corrupt fascist government. The future of the world as the CFR sees it.
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  8. #7

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    Problem is that many of the Chinese had their property stolen by the government. Now, their only option is to work at factories. Sounds like slavery to me.
    if modern agriculture continues to follow the path it's on now, it's finished. The food-growing situation may seem to be in good shape today, but that's just an illusion based on the current availability of petroleum fuels. All the wheat, corn, and other crops that are produced on big American farms may be alive and growing, but they're not products of real nature or real agriculture. They're manufactured rather than grown. The earth isn't producing those things.. petroleum is! -Masanobu Fukuoka

  9. #8

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    Consumers in the West shouldn't be buying this stuff knowing how it's produced. The problem is that one can't buy any electronics then, because they're (nearly) all manufactured under these conditions...

  10. #9

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    The mistake most people make is that they compare the working conditions of sweatshop workers to their own Western conditions. You need to compare the conditions in the sweatshops to the alternatives they have, such as working on a farm. Sweatshops are almost always far superior to farmwork.

    Slavery is pretty rare in South-east Asian sweatshops actually. In China it's a bit more common.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    The mistake most people make is that they compare the working conditions of sweatshop workers to their own Western conditions. You need to compare the conditions in the sweatshops to the alternatives they have, such as working on a farm. Sweatshops are almost always far superior to farmwork.
    That's pretty much the same thing as it was during the industrial revolution in our country.

    The only way to get out of sweatshop condition is to increase standard of living, just like we did.

    If the Chinese government stop pegging the RMB to the dollar, they would have a higher standard of living (and ours would decrease), so the real tyrant to the Chinese people is the Chinese government.

    Like pretty much everything, the usual suspect is the government.
    Last edited by GreenBulldog; 01-29-2012 at 04:25 AM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by kah13176 View Post
    They are a part of a free market. It's true that it's illegal to unionize, but even if Chinese could unionize, it wouldn't solve much. The video below is for anyone who thinks this way.
    Third world countries artificially suppress wages in order to attract capital. It's good for the Chinese government, as they get more revenue and large GDP growth. It's good for western governments and their citizenry, as they get cheap goods. The only losers are the billions of people who are forced to work essentially as slaves.

    It is truly ridiculous to try and pass this sort of international trade as part of the free market. In order for that to be the case, both the US and China would have to be free themselves - which is obviously insane.

  13. #12

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    This is not even really controversial among economists. Paul Krugman has written articles calling for more sweatshops. The four tigers, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan improved their incomes from 10% of American income to 40% in a single generation. Sweatshops made this possible. The only comparative advantage that these workers have is their cheap labor. Take away their comparative advantage and they will be living on a trash heap scavenging for food.

    China needs to establish strong private property rights and allow for free markets.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/22/we...ted=all&src=pm
    http://www.slate.com/articles/busine...eap_labor.html
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  14. #13

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    I am not sure, if China is a free market. Sounds like state-capitalism to me.

  15. #14

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    This is nothing else but the consequence of their government's monetary policy of debasement and debt/inflation slavery. If their people weren't being robbed daily through this enslavement, they could easily afford to work less and live better.

    It's basically what in one degree or another plagues the entire world.
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  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatIron View Post
    I am not sure, if China is a free market. Sounds like state-capitalism to me.
    It's not, there is no free markets on the entire planet today when you have a centrally controlled currency everywhere. The only market that is free right now is the Bitcoin economy and even there, I bet, consequences of the dollar policy can be felt.
    My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right, tend to be unwilling or unable to accept blame )

  17. #16

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    China is the only nation in history who's GDP was higher in 1000AD than it was in 1950.
    They started all over again after the State pillaged.

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    The mistake most people make is that they compare the working conditions of sweatshop workers to their own Western conditions. You need to compare the conditions in the sweatshops to the alternatives they have, such as working on a farm. Sweatshops are almost always far superior to farmwork.
    So if someone shows us a picture of the poorest person in a country, that is what we call the "alternative"?

    Well, in this far off country called the United States, people should be happy to work long hours for low pay in terrible conditions.

    Otherwise this is their alternative:





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  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    The mistake most people make is that they compare the working conditions of sweatshop workers to their own Western conditions. You need to compare the conditions in the sweatshops to the alternatives they have, such as working on a farm. Sweatshops are almost always far superior to farmwork.

    Slavery is pretty rare in South-east Asian sweatshops actually. In China it's a bit more common.
    i backpacked around south east asia about 10 years ago... and even though you could tell that these countries were growing and developing and people were improving their quality of life... many of the jobs looked like really hard work.

    a lot of people worked in the rice fields. it looks like back breaking labour in really hot weather.

    you see people sewing carpets by hand.

    and we went to see how they made bricks... and it was a bunch of guys who would hammer big metal spikes into giant boulders and split them in half. and they kept splitting them until they were the size of normal bricks. so these guys were making these bricks just using giant mallets and metal spikes. and the weather there was really hot and these guys had to do this kind of work in the sun all day.

    i couldn't imagine having to work that hard for so little money. but i think that working in these "sweatshops" is probably pretty comparable to working in rice fields or doing some of this other manual labour in the hot sun.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubical View Post
    Because the Chinese workers have no better alternative. The US workers have a better alternative than those working conditions because we are futher along the capitalism road. Same reason we have no child labor. We can afford it.
    So just because something was OK 200 years ago it's OK now?
    Show your disdain by not giving Apple any cash , if you do want apple products just buy second hand - theres a flood of second hand sales every 6 months when the sheep run off to buy the latest thingamabob.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inny Binny View Post
    Chinese labour laws are atrocious. You get thrown in prison if you even think about organising a union. Don't justify these awful conditions as being part of a free market.
    A law like that might go a long way in making the US a better place

  22. #21

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    There's a monumental difference between publicly funded government unions and private unions. The latter (the right to it) is fundementally part of a free market. The former is an act of aggression and should not be tolerated.

    Quote Originally Posted by eduardo89 View Post
    A law like that might go a long way in making the US a better place

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    The mistake most people make is that they compare the working conditions of sweatshop workers to their own Western conditions. You need to compare the conditions in the sweatshops to the alternatives they have, such as working on a farm. Sweatshops are almost always far superior to farmwork.

    Slavery is pretty rare in South-east Asian sweatshops actually. In China it's a bit more common.
    No property rights, no liberty, no freedom = slave.
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  24. #23

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    As many have said before in this thread, the workers are taking up these manufacturing jobs because they value the money (albeit low by our standards) much more than the potential risks associated with the jobs. Since mainland China is still undergoing massive amounts of growth in trying to rise out of the tier of developed countries, it is seeing millions of people displaced by modern farming practices and technologies streaming from the countryside into the cities in search of work. These hundreds of millions of migrant workers driving the urbanization of cities (as seen in the industrial revolutions of the West) are the source of China's cheap labor - and a power keg of social instability.

    I remember reading some articles last summer when the Apple suicides started happening that explained that many of the workers were vulnerable to depression because they were homesick and continued to feel isolated because they couldn't find other workers from the same home-provinces to connect with (cultural and linguistic barriers). I think I even saw some articles that indicated that some of the workers that killed themselves did so because they felt that the compensation their families could receive as a result of their deaths would be worth much more to them than if they were alive - if this was true, then the fact that they saw themselves as more valuable to their families dead than alive is truly really, really sad.

  25. #24

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    As an aside, this article over a week ago concerning Apple and China is also interesting:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/bu...pagewanted=all

    If you read between the lines, you can see how mainland China's current status as a new, developing "Wild West" is conducive for business and how the litany of regulations here at home (OSHA, EPA, DOL, etc.) really hinders the economy here at home.

    Additionally, given the conditions under how these phones are fabricated, the cheap components that go into them, and Apple's huge profit margin per phone, it is not hard to see how the general trend in America of style trumping substance (aka the 2008 presidential election, what happened in South Carolina, etc.) can be seen in iPhone sales... However, if you despair about the sheeple in our country, wait until you google the ironic response of iPhone sales in China of all places!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by anaconda View Post
    Why are Chinese workers pulling 112 hour weeks, subjecting themselves to harmful chemicals, and committing suicide? When employees of Google in Mountain View, CA have work weeks that are half of that, upscale dining facilities, and a volleyball court for lunch time relaxation?

    I guess this article is the big news story recently...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/bu...pagewanted=all
    Apples and oranges (no pun intended)

    The work is nothing alike. Apple produces electronics. Google employees do not, they are computer technicians and customer service people.

    You cannot compare teaching, psychological counseling and financial planning to coal mining, oil drilling , truck driving.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Ruffneck View Post
    So just because something was OK 200 years ago it's OK now?
    Show your disdain by not giving Apple any cash , if you do want apple products just buy second hand - theres a flood of second hand sales every 6 months when the sheep run off to buy the latest thingamabob.
    This plan only forces the sweatshop laborers out of jobs. Making little money is better than making even less or none at all. The reason they work in sweatshops is that there's not another, more preferable alternative. Again, I stress that people watch this:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx5fz...layer_embedded
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  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    The mistake most people make is that they compare the working conditions of sweatshop workers to their own Western conditions. You need to compare the conditions in the sweatshops to the alternatives they have, such as working on a farm. Sweatshops are almost always far superior to farmwork.

    Slavery is pretty rare in South-east Asian sweatshops actually. In China it's a bit more common.
    THIS. having the right perspective is important. if people applied the same labor laws to the 18th century,there would never have been an industrial revolution to benefit the masses

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by LibForestPaul View Post
    No property rights, no liberty, no freedom = slave.
    nonsense. they are under no obligation to work there.the only thing that keeps them there is grinding poverty and starvation as an alternative.american workers of today will look like slaves 200 years from now. the working conditions of the past always look atrocious to those enjoying the benefits of division of labor

  30. #29

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    listen guys, i make around 40k USD in india for work i would have routinely got 120k if i had an US passport .barely median american salary,but my country's standards and purchasing power parity, i am very well off.i can even afford foreign vacations.please get a perspective. and yes,we often pull allnigthers here at work.not because we are slaves,but because most of us want to get away from poverty/mediocrity of the socialist past.it is just too damn recent to forget and demand mollycoddling

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Ruffneck View Post
    So just because something was OK 200 years ago it's OK now?
    Show your disdain by not giving Apple any cash , if you do want apple products just buy second hand - theres a flood of second hand sales every 6 months when the sheep run off to buy the latest thingamabob.
    If you are really concerned by the conditions in China, you should buy more Chinese products, not less.

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