Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th May 2010 11:45 UTC
In the News Now this is a subject I've been tiptoeing around for a while now, not entirely sure what to do with it: the suicides at Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn. Instead of acting all morally smug and superior from my comfortable rural home in one of the richest countries in the world, I want to talk about two things journalists and bloggers should really stop focusing on when writing about this story: Apple, and the suicides. Wait, what?
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Also, it is good to remember ...
by protomank on Wed 26th May 2010 12:09 UTC
protomank
Member since:
2006-08-03

that when China tryied to create a law to protect employees, limiting the workload to 10 hours, having lunch time and forbidding sleep in the work place (they could still sleep in the factories, but in a decent bed), who was against it?

Apple, HP, Dell, IBM and Microsoft, all saying that would leave china (as MS did with USA telling it would move to Canada if broken in two parts) behind.

So, yes, there is a reason why Apple (and all the others) must be linked to these stories, and it comes from years ago, not just right now.

Sad that the companies from the "freedom" country like the (almost) slavery work in China :-(

Reply Score: 5

AnonymousCoward Member since:
2010-05-26

that when China tryied to create a law to protect employees, limiting the workload to 10 hours, having lunch time and forbidding sleep in the work place (they could still sleep in the factories, but in a decent bed), who was against it?

Apple, HP, Dell, IBM and Microsoft, all saying that would leave china


Where can I get more information on this?? I finally got around to creating an account here (after being a lurker for a while) just so I could ask you that.

Reply Score: 3

rexstuff Member since:
2007-04-06

So, yes, there is a reason why Apple (and all the others) must be linked to these stories...


Except that you still need to make a connection between working conditions and the suicides. And, as Thom pointed out, the suicide rate among Foxconn workers is still much lower than the Chinese average. So, by your reasoning, shouldn't we be praising Apple, etc for their involvement with Foxconn?

Reply Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

As a statician Thom makes a good failed writer.

Comparing general population suicide rates vs. at-work suicide rates is silly, besides being disingenuous (via comparative fallacy).

But as usually, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.


People jumping off the roof of factories, should be worry some. Unless you are some cold hearted bastard who just cares about getting some cheap useless electronics that will be headed for the landfill in a couple of years.

Regardless of whichever hand wavy arguments Westerners want to make. Working conditions in most China factories are deplorable. Shame on all of us for perpetuating this system of human exploitation.

Reply Score: 3

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Foxconn employees (as most factory employees in China) actually live in Foxconn dormitories. So, in fact, these suicides are not necessarily 'workplace' suicides because this is where the individuals in question lived, worked, ate, etc.

Reply Score: 1

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

We can play semantics all you want, if that makes you feel better.

Reply Score: 2

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

It's not about semantics, it's about statistics.

In this case, you argue Thom's use of statistics comparing Foxconn suicides is flawed because the context of the measured suicides is different (one references the general population in other countries while the other workplace suicides).

I would argue that the difference is not as significant as you imply because of the fact that Foxconn employees live, work, and socialize in the location of their workplace and, as such, are almost certainly to commit suicide there (why would they go elsewhere?).

Reply Score: 3

rexstuff Member since:
2007-04-06

But who said these were at-work suicides?

Reply Score: 2

rayx06 Member since:
2010-05-27

I created the account just because I think I should say something about this as one who lives in China...

First, thank tylerdurden for your sympathy for those guyes. While I understand sympathy doesn't solve any issue by itself, if more and more care about it, however, hopefully someday their situation could be better (let's suppose so, but who knows?)

Second, while I usually like Thom's writing style, I totally disagree with him on his points in this post:

a) Apple *is* involved in at least one of these suicides somehow. Among the twelve suicides (two new suicides happened on this Wednsday and Thursday), there is a notorious and well-known one in which a worker committed suicide because he lost one of Apple 3g iphone samples.

b) it's very cold-blooded (as tylerdurden pointed out too) to show your statistics knowledge in a case like this. I would think most people could see this (so frequent suicides) is unnormal just by common sense:

- suicide on 01/23/2010 (male, 19 years old)
- suicide on 03/17/2010 (female)
- suicide on 03/29/2010 (male, 23 years old)
- suicide on 04/06/2010 (female, 18 years old)
- suicide on 04/07/2010 (female, 18 years old)
- suicide on 04/07/2010 (male, 22 years old)
- suicide on 05/06/2010 (male, 24 years old)
- suicide on 05/11/2010 (female, 24 years old)
- suicide on 05/14/2010 (male, 21 years old)
- suicide on 05/21/2010 (male, 21 years old)
- suicide on 05/25/2010 (male, 19 years old)
- suicide on 05/26/2010 (male, 23 years old)

Note all of these suicides happened in Foxcoon Shenzhen factories, and it happened in almost every month (the only month that there were no suicides was Feburary, in which a lot of workers went back their hometown for the one-week Chinese New Year holiday, I think). Further, all of the people who committed suicided were very yong (21 years old in average). In addition, this is the number of the first 5 months in this year. Do you still think the country-wide annual suicide rate applies in this case?

For people who care about this matter, you may read news that Foxcoon management's claim on that they followed the Government's labor laws and provided a working and living environment better than average for their employees. You may even read the local Government's support for Foxcoon (do you know that many cities in China tried their best to attract Foxcoon's investiment, ie., new factories?).

What they said might true. But on the other hand, workers in Foxcoon have very low fixed salaries and have to make a living by working overtime (actually if they don't agree to work overtime they would be fired. And of course, you won't see how often they worked overtime by examining those official records). Rumor had it that they might need to work up to 5 extra hours every days (I am not sure how accurate the number is, but you got the idea).

If you think this (Foxcoon claimed they were better than average factories but their workers needed to work overtime to make a living) sound ironic, yes, it is, and it's sad that I don't know how I could explain this further.

Reply Score: 4

mcbig Member since:
2010-05-28

As a person from China, I Don't agree with you.

Bottomline is, Foxconn followed the law, and has never force his employees to do extra work. All the workers are free to go whenever they feel like to leave. Over 4% of it workers quit per month, and even more choose to get in.

Based on those fact, the overwhalmingly focus of the media and society(especially from Chinese society) is extemely unfair to Foxconn. However, it's a risk you have to take to start a business in a immature enviroment.

And most important thing is: The so called sympathy are in fact hurting Foxconn's employees the most. Chinese goverment might be forced by it's outraged people to interfere Foxconn's affairs, An improper investigation is already initiated. If it leads to the worst situation, perhaps Foxconn will have to leave China or cut down it's employment. Hundreds of thousands will lost their job, thanks to their unreasonable immature "sympathizers".

Edited 2010-05-28 04:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

olafg Member since:
2010-05-27

Something is terribly wrong when 4% of the workers quit each month. That can only mean that Foxconn is the worst employer in the area and that anyone quit whenever another opportunity appears.

If Foxconn is forced to leave China that doesn´t change anything, because we are not asking the 3rd world to do what they have proven themselves incapable of. Moving the factories just means that someone else gets the job, that doesn´t harm the global situation. It just means that some other poor sods get the jobs. That possibility is not an excuse for not intervening.

We are requesting OUR companies to assure the ethical quality of their entire production lines, we expect them to do better than the inadequate laws and corrupt governments of the third world.

Reply Score: 1

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

... you made all of this up.

Reply Score: 1

Yeah, true.
by vodoomoth on Wed 26th May 2010 12:12 UTC
vodoomoth
Member since:
2010-03-30

To tell the truth, I had never ever heard about Foxconn before. 486000 employees... wow that's huge! Are there companies that have more employees than that? Are all these people in China?

I think you meant "soothe" somewhere.

I would have appreciated links to those media articles and blog posts. But yes, people like to rave and rant and whine, especially about things they don't know. I'm not sure it a question of "western culture"... I would say "human nature".

Reply Score: 1

RE: Yeah, true.
by ndrw on Wed 26th May 2010 13:49 UTC in reply to "Yeah, true."
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

I read Foxconn hires around 400000 people in Shenzen out of 700000 worldwide (it's a Taiwanese company after all). Can't find a source though.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Yeah, true.
by CapEnt on Wed 26th May 2010 17:52 UTC in reply to "Yeah, true."
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

To tell the truth, I had never ever heard about Foxconn before. 486000 employees... wow that's huge! Are there companies that have more employees than that?


There is Wal-Mart, with 2,100,000 employees.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yeah, true.
by Kroc on Wed 26th May 2010 21:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah, true."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

About the same amount in prison in America.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Yeah, true.
by cerbie on Thu 27th May 2010 13:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah, true."
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

But, that's a whole industry, being run by many smaller companies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yeah, true.
by mcbig on Fri 28th May 2010 04:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah, true."
mcbig Member since:
2010-05-28

It's density is definitly lower than Foxconn. It's 420,000 in one factory.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 26th May 2010 12:20 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

A young kid moves and gets a job hoping to make it big; they soon realise that the dream they wish to live is so far out of reach that any effort would be futile. Some unfortunately find that the life of being on the never ending treadmill so depressing they take their own life. What one see's in FoxConn isn't something new - it happens all around the world. The illusive 'dream' being sold like a carrot dangling on the end of stick; some keep running on the treadmill hoping to one day they'll be able to reach, others lose hope and commit suicide whilst others jump off the treadmill entirely and realise that the dream they're being sold is that - a dream thus find other things to aim for.

The suicides we see is the result of a dream and false hopes being sold around the world which propels consumerism forward at the relentless pace. As long as the economy keeps growing, the plebs get their gizmos, they can upgrade their car, go on pointless holidays, and spend spend spend, that seems to be the culmination of humanity to this point. It is pretty depressing when you start thinking about how much time is wasted but I doubt things will change anytime soon.

If I was a little younger I would be optimistic that maybe one could change the world but being older, more cynical and exposed to more people has woken me up to the same reality that Bill Hicks and George Carlin realised earlier on about humans. There is a reason why I am a misanthropist - the way people conduct themselves keeps re-enforcing it each and every day I am alive.

Reply Score: 17

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by bnolsen on Wed 26th May 2010 12:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

talk about nihilism. Not every single hire is detined for the floor. To handle that many people requires managers, infrastucture, skilled maintenance crew, capital purchasing, etc. There are some people left behind here but also more than a few who are able to do well for themselves. What would these 400+k folks do without these jobs?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by Kyuubu on Wed 26th May 2010 13:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
Kyuubu Member since:
2007-09-07

Some people left behind? I'm afraid it's the other way around, some people manage while the majority strive. Even if the suicide problem is statistically hard to prove, I'm glad Thom didn't occlude the fact behind it; we live everyday on other's hard and barely-rewarded work, simply because the almighty economic model allows us to do so while keeping our conscience clean.

But I'm not as pessimistic as others seems to be (maybe younger, too?). After all, we can all do a little something against this false dream that keeps spreading around, especially in our "richer countries" where we have much more time and freedom to think this through, where most of us aren't suffering from the lack of money on an everyday basis. And it begins with such articles.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai
by bnolsen on Wed 26th May 2010 16:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

To some extent true. However my wife grew up there, worked hard in school, went and got a finance degree...she's not even communist party. She was solidly middle class working finance in these manufacturing companies communicating with customers and multi national management. My attitude used to be the same about all those poor people.

The other option is to have happen what did during mao's time....China just starves to death a few 10's of millions of their own population to keep it sustainable.

Conditions should start to change in china. They're having issues pop up resulting from extremely rapid modernization. Unlike most western countries, it's very like the next generation in china will be better off than the last one.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by vodoomoth on Wed 26th May 2010 13:24 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

/begin massive OT

[...] go on pointless holidays, and spend spend spend.

- I wouldn't say that holidays are pointless. They just fail to fulfill their purpose, or, more accurately expressed, people fail to use holidays in a way that yields proper rest. Debatable.
- The "spend, spend, spend" motto also occurred to me when I listened to podcast #25 a few days ago, with Thom, Kroc and Mike talking about computers built in the 90s. "Built" like in "built to resist". Same thing when I heard about Android 2.2 being released just a few months (4.something to be precise) after 2.1! Devices running 1.5 or 1.6 are still being sold at this moment in France, probably elsewhere in the world as well, and I thought "with these manufacturers who don't want to support previous generations of devices? Come on!" I don't mean to hamper innovation, economic growth, etc., but consumers have other rights than the gladly-granted right to spend money for overpriced so-called revolutionary products (yes, I'm specifically referring to Apple here, but all other manufacturers are no different; they are very good at "sucking", so to speak).


If I was a little younger I would be optimistic that maybe one could change the world but being older, more cynical and exposed to more people has woken me up to the same reality that Bill Hicks and George Carlin realised earlier on about humans. There is a reason why I am a misanthropist - the way people conduct themselves keeps re-enforcing it each and every day I am alive.

You've gone a step further than me on the "being a misanthropist" thing. I've come to realize and accept that everyone has (and must have!) their own interest in mind before anything else. But I still have the illusion that one can do so and yet be decent.
/end OT

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by lucas_maximus on Wed 26th May 2010 13:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I normally don't agree with many of your comments ... but I wholeheartedly agree with this one .. chapeau

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by Neolander on Wed 26th May 2010 13:47 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

If I was a little younger I would be optimistic that maybe one could change the world but being older, more cynical and exposed to more people has woken me up to the same reality that Bill Hicks and George Carlin realised earlier on about humans. There is a reason why I am a misanthropist - the way people conduct themselves keeps re-enforcing it each and every day I am alive.

We mere individuals surely can't globally change the world. It's actually a blessing that the average isolated human being hasn't such a global influence, otherwise the berserk ones would quickly lead us to a rampage.

However, I still think that we mankind can change some unpleasant things on a local scale, and that if we did only that on the time we usually spend running after some unreachable grandiose dreams of making coconut grow on the Groenland, we could actually make our world a better place.

There's no such thing as breakthrough changes, but incremental changes (like global warming =p) do exist, in my opinion, and history of science tends to proceed according to that law too. Maybe I'm still too young though.

Edited 2010-05-26 13:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by lucas_maximus on Wed 26th May 2010 22:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

The thing is if everyone thought they are on their own and they cannot change anything themselves. I am sure that none of the freedoms that first world nations enjoy today would exist.

If you are against something and think a certain way... there are always people who think along the same way ... It is finding them and convincing other people to think the same way as you ...

For example I am very pro-cycling ... All I did was cycle to work everyday, I did nothing else except just cycle to work and people were asking me about doing it... and then did it .. and some are very committed to keeping it up for life ... I did nothing except for cycling every day and say why it benefitted me ... I did nothing else and I encouraged other via that ...

just keep educated people.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by razor on Thu 27th May 2010 02:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
razor Member since:
2010-01-13

Nicely written, and completely agreed. This whole "american dream" thing is the biggest scam ever pulled in the history of the world.

kids (western and chinese) were taught from the very beginning of their lives to work hard and chase fame, wealth, and power. the truth is some poor kids do make it while most do not. but almost everyone tries. suicide (depression and many more issues) are by-products of this social behavior.

check out this link, it sums up my points exactly:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Lebow#Price_Competition_in_1955

Reply Score: 1

A little perspective is needed too...
by mrhasbean on Wed 26th May 2010 13:12 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

Recently a friend and business partner of mine packed up his young family and moved to Vietnam, and is now in the process of setting up a business there in order to be able to stay. He's fortunate to have a couple of businesses here that generate sufficient income for them to live very comfortably in Asia while still growing their business interests.

During their first few days they met and befriended a young lady (22 years old) who was working in a shop 10 hours a day with no breaks, six days a week, earning the equivalent of US$120 a month. And that from all accounts is a fairly common situation. Although married she lives 45 minutes (bicycle) riding distance from her husband who lives with his parents because they can't afford to live together. She would see him only once a month because they couldn't afford a bicycle. She now works for my friend as a housekeeper / nanny, working five days a week, 8 hours a day on half again as much money, and she has access to one of their bicycles whenever she wants to use it.

The point of all this is that from a western perspective the wage my friend now pays her would be considered practically a slave wage. But it's significantly better than she WAS earning, and when your weekly grocery shop costs the equivalent of US$20 - 30 for a family of four as opposed to $200 - $300 that we're used to paying, the equation changes just a bit.

Sadly the media uses the fact that the majority of the population obtain their "facts" FROM the media themselves in order to fuel the feeding frenzy that these types of stories generate. As with most things applying a little common sense to the situation generally helps clarify things. Unfortunately there is not much less common than common sense...

Reply Score: 6

vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30


The point of all this is that from a western perspective the wage my friend now pays her would be considered practically a slave wage. But it's significantly better than she WAS earning, and when your weekly grocery shop costs the equivalent of US$20 - 30 for a family of four as opposed to $200 - $300 that we're used to paying, the equation changes just a bit.

You are spot-on! I'm from west Africa and my monthly earnings here in Europe are enough to make me live comfortably in my home country for 3 to 4 months whereas I can barely put away 200€ a month. The ratio is less impressive than 10 years ago mainly, aside from all manufactured products being imported and taxed to the point of becoming ungodly expensive, because food prices rose faster over there than here.

BUT also keep in mind that the average salary to minimum wage ratio is much higher in the third world (the phrase seems to have become politically incorrect, but I'm from there so I can use it, right?) with a high variance.

Reply Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Most slave owners in the confederate states operated under the impression they were doing their slaves a favor. After all, back in Africa... their blacks did not have access to free food, a roof over heir heads, and guaranteed labor to keep the perils of idle hands at bay. Some plantation owners were truly surprised when slaves revolted, to the point they labeled them as being "ingrate."

Same narrative happened earlier with the French aristocracy, which did not understand why the peasants were in such a fuss... because everybody likes cake better than bread anyways.

People find all sorts of creative justifications for exploiting others. It is part of human nature.

Reply Score: 3

sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

I suggest you try living for an year in a third world country with say... $100 per month. Once you get over the lack of goodies, you'll find out you'll be happier living a rather simple life with warm hearted people who don't grumble about being poor or mistreated or exploited or whatever. My family's from Tanzania and I've spent a fair bit of time there myself.

Life's not as bad as you think for most. Sure, the $s are not too plentiful, but the basics are dirt cheap (if you shop in the right places), and the conditions are very much livable.

Poverty is an issue in third world countries, but it's an issue for those who earn <$10 per month. Most would be very happy with the equivalent of $100 a month there, because its like earning $1000 a month in the west.

People who have jobs that pay reasonably for the country should be happy that they have jobs. What would these guys do if we didn't buy their stuff? The domestic market is significant in China, but exports are where most of their wealth comes from. China is providing loans to western countries because it creates demand for their products and a lot of the money goes back to them anyways for buying chinese exports. They can also use the loans to build their persuasive powers with their debtors.

*P.S. However, in terms of living standards of its own people, China would probably be better off giving the loans to its own people rather than to the US. I guess it's the political motivations that make them give the loans.

Slave trade was bad, but it wasn't that much worse than what the people had in their homelands. In Tanzania, German/British colonialism helped the country by building their economies and creating opportunities for their inhabitants to lead a better life. When the British left, the country became far worse for the general population. Sure, a select few Africans benefited from the departure of the British colonialists, but the general population suffered as the corrupt new government let the British economic and physical creations deteriorate and decay. Countless jobs were lost and countless people became more poor because they left. Colonialism wasn't all bad for many British colonies. In many, it was actually beneficial overall.

Edited 2010-05-27 01:54 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Good Analysis
by Rockinelle on Wed 26th May 2010 13:24 UTC
Rockinelle
Member since:
2010-02-25

I appreciate people that can look through the media blitz and knee jerk reactions we call the news these days to really report the news. Kudos Thom. How did this news story break in the first place? Were these suicides all very close together from people in one department? That would be news worthy.

Regarding child labor or their wages being low and having to work long hours. I hate the notion that the west being rich keeps poor countries poor. That doesn't make any economic sense. If we were not 'rich' with successful companies that are producing, where would these 486k people be working? I admire those family's work ethics. Sometimes it seams like people in America would rather starve than get off their butts and work hard to eat. But why should they when the government will feed them? On the other hand, we should be outraged at Chinese communism, blaming them for these people's failed dreams of success. Not Apple and the rest of the companies that do business with Foxconn. China stifles their country's ability to innovate and prosper which keeps opportunities few and wages low.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Good Analysis
by spiderman on Wed 26th May 2010 13:41 UTC in reply to "Good Analysis"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

we should be outraged at Chinese communism

No, McCarthy is dead long ago for good.

China stifles their country's ability to innovate and prosper which keeps opportunities few and wages low.

If China didn't fund the US deficit they would probably prosper even faster than twice faster than the US.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Good Analysis
by fanboi_fanboi on Fri 28th May 2010 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Good Analysis"
fanboi_fanboi Member since:
2010-04-21

If China didn't fund the US deficit they would probably prosper even faster than twice faster than the US.


Um, no. If they didn't fund the US deficit then ... US consumers wouldn't have money to purchase ... China-made products so ... China wouldn't prosper.

Where do you think most Chinese-made products are purchased?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Good Analysis
by righard on Wed 26th May 2010 13:43 UTC in reply to "Good Analysis"
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

As Thom pointed out, chineese suicide rated a not much higher than those of the United States. Judging from the source the article pointed to, seven kilometres from my house, in Belgium suicide rates are 20 per 100.000.

So we should not be outraged about China; but first at our selfs.

Edited 2010-05-26 13:43 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Good Analysis
by UglyKidBill on Wed 26th May 2010 21:02 UTC in reply to "Good Analysis"
UglyKidBill Member since:
2005-07-27

Regarding child labor or their wages being low and having to work long hours. I hate the notion that the west being rich keeps poor countries poor. That doesn't make any economic sense. If we were not 'rich' with successful companies that are producing, where would these 486k people be working? I admire those family's work ethics. Sometimes it seams like people in America would rather starve than get off their butts and work hard to eat. But why should they when the government will feed them? On the other hand, we should be outraged at Chinese communism, blaming them for these people's failed dreams of success. Not Apple and the rest of the companies that do business with Foxconn. China stifles their country's ability to innovate and prosper which keeps opportunities few and wages low.

You are right to think that the (usually corrupt) governments are usually to blame for what they allow to happen in their contries regarding big corporations, but the (also usually corrupt) corporations are to blame too, as they DO take advantage of that and gladly hand buckets of money in exchange.

Citizens of poor countries have nothing to be thankful for to corporations that spend $9 bucks in manufacturing snikers in malasya to sell them at $150 bucks in the richer countries.
If they would not work there and governments would do their job in the best interests of the people those countries would have MUCH better industries wich would provide plenty of jobs, in the poor countries the big companies do not have such a big impact in the overall amount of jobs the create -small to medium companies create more jobs- HOWEVER, multinational companies DO have an impact in WHERE do the profits go, as they send profits off shore and sometimes don't even pay much in taxes in the countries they are profiting from.

To do an extreme comparison (and please, I'm not attacking you personally) a slave is not better enslaved because he/she is "given" a roof to sleep under and a chuck of old bread, he/she is just getting the minimum required to stay alive and keep on working.

Reply Score: 2

Great article, but...
by ncc4100 on Wed 26th May 2010 13:44 UTC
ncc4100
Member since:
2006-05-10

Great article Thom! Thank you for pointing out the facts. We need more responsible reporting like this. As you pointed out, Foxconn is well below the national average. However, we should also look at the this from another statical point of view. While it is statistically possible for 10 people to commit suicide from a single company, it does bare scrutiny. Yes, it is below the national average. However, out of all of China, how many companies in Foxconn's industry and size have that many committing suicide? I am not saying there is anything sinister going one. However, statistically it seems odd that there are 10 suicides in a single year at a company that is supposed to be one of the better ones.

Despite my misgivings, I completely agree with you that linking this to Apple and only Apple is a serious breach of journalistic ethics. If the article was going to name companies, name them all. If not, don't name any.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Great article, but...
by righard on Wed 26th May 2010 13:50 UTC in reply to "Great article, but..."
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

Statistically it isn odd, statistically there should be 4 more.

EDIT: 14 - 10 = 4 not 3, should go back to school ;)

Edited 2010-05-26 13:51 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Radio
by Radio on Wed 26th May 2010 14:03 UTC
Radio
Member since:
2009-06-20

These are very basic statistics. Is it harsh to reduce people to statistics? Of course it is, but in this case, it's vital, because it illustrates that these figures simply aren't out of the ordinary.
We have the same in France, with suicides at Orange. Yes, the statistics are not higher than the national average.

BUT almost all those suicidees have clearly stated that they killed themselves because of the work pressure and harassment at Orange.

SO (I can't stress this enough): If you want true statistical analysis, you have to compare the suicide rate at Foxconn to the suicide rate in other companies of the same level, or with people of the same age; also compare it with the previous years, etc. Lots of suicidees in China are peasants who are starving and crushed by debts, thus raising the national rate. It would be stupid to allow Foxconn to crush its employees with 60-100 hours of overtime every week and let its management abuse the underdogs because, hey, they are below the national rate of suicides!

It is also stupid to compare suicide rate with the US, as suicide does not bear the same stigma nor the same taboo in all countries. We are not talking about cancer or accidents, here, folks. Suicide does not happen at random.

Think also that most of the Foxconn employees come from poor families, often from the (extremely poor) countriside (we are talking 1900s-poor families*). The money they earn, they send almost all of it to their family who depends on them.

Now think that despite that, some choose to die.

We are not speaking about suicide because you're bullied at school or because they broke with their girlfriend. The Foxconn suicides are suicides brought by complete, utter desperation. And given they spend an awful lot of their time inside Foxconn's walls...

*http://www.gapminder.org/videos/yes-they-can/

Edited 2010-05-26 14:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Radio
by vodoomoth on Wed 26th May 2010 16:03 UTC in reply to "Comment by Radio"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30


BUT almost all those suicidees have clearly stated that they killed themselves because of the work pressure and harassment at Orange.

Are you making an analogy? I admit the Orange suicides being linked to pressure. How do you know that Foxconn suicides have the same cause?


SO (I can't stress this enough): If you want true statistical analysis, you have to compare the suicide rate at Foxconn to the suicide rate in other companies of the same level, or with people of the same age; also compare it with the previous years, etc.

Right. I couldn't agree more.
Lots of suicidees in China are peasants who are starving and crushed by debts, thus raising the national rate.

How do you know? People starve just like that in my home country somewhere in west Africa. We don't have any health care, welfare, you name it, system of any kind except education and administration. The rest is garbage including the central customs office where I have worked. The government is not even capable of collecting taxes properly. Oh, I forgot: mobile telecommunications work better than pretty well but it's awfully expensive. And I know that I would have committed suicide if I had had to live there, that's one of the reasons why I left. I have never ever heard of someone committing suicide. I can't give any account of someone who died that way, not even on second, third or tenth hand.

It is also stupid to compare suicide rate with the US, as suicide does not bear the same stigma nor the same taboo in all countries. We are not talking about cancer or accidents, here, folks. Suicide does not happen at random.

No, it's not stupid. It makes sense to all of us who read it and commented before you. At least the same sense than comparing Foxconn and its army of employees in China to the squad that Orange has in France.


Think also that most of the Foxconn employees come from poor families, often from the (extremely poor) countriside (we are talking 1900s-poor families*). The money they earn, they send almost all of it to their family who depends on them.

Now think that despite that, some choose to die.

You said it, it's a choice, which doesn't mitigate the fact that it shouldn't happen.


We are not speaking about suicide because you're bullied at school or because they broke with their girlfriend. The Foxconn suicides are suicides brought by complete, utter desperation.

Because some desperations are genuine and others aren't? Have you ever seen the desperation of a child whose parents are moving to another town and the child realizes the best friends won't be just a few streets away? Someone may be desperate for reasons that look insignificant to you, it doesn't make their feelings less valid.

And given they spend an awful lot of their time inside Foxconn's walls...

Total BS. People who "choose to die" spend more time away from their workplace. So the time spent somewhere is an indication of the role that place played in a suicide? Wow.

Reply Score: 2

Overall rates...
by Fred on Wed 26th May 2010 14:07 UTC
Fred
Member since:
2005-07-06

Are overall national suicide rates really a proper metric to compare against? That number includes also people who don't work at all (anymore). E.g. you say the USA has a rate of 11 out of 100000, but how many of those are actually people with a halfway decent job? If that makes the figure drop to 2 in 100000 the difference with the chinese with 10 in 100000 adds up (same goes for china itself of course, how many of those 14 are people with a halfway decent job?)...

So yes, you're right to question the fingerpointing, but IMO it's cutting corners to compare the company's rate to overall nationals as the populance doesn't match.

Reply Score: 2

tails92
Member since:
2007-10-07

Most often I neither disagree nor agree with the articles on this site (even if I've been reading it since five years by now), but let me say it, the opinion presented in this article is ridiculous.
You can't justify these Chinese manufacturers in the slightest.

We need to get rid of Chinese manufacturers. Why? They're a simple way for stupid corporatists to get our jobs and to cut big big corners, and they give us the illusion we've got everything at the lowest price possible, while in reality we've got a lot of stupid gadgets which break at the first time you put them under REAL stress. Stuff didn't break for decades once and often had free 800/green-number telephone support, to not say parts were easily replaceable and MEANT to be replaceable (East German TVs even had freakin' schematics inside!)
Now it's stupid call centers in India and 199-pay-through-the-nose calls.

People need to understand that they need much less, but that "less" has to be much better. But that is not wanted by the corporatists, who want consumations to flourish, and the only way they can get that it's with disposable, immediately-breaking stuff.

Try getting *documentation* for these things. Impossible.

It's bad for everyone, our families and the environment

The argument that the jobs Foxconn and other companies like it (in fact you're right on the fact that it's not only Foxconn but THOUSANDS) give are essential are simply not true. If there weren't them, there would be someone else giving jobs. And if there weren't any private corporation to do that, people would organize and fix that situation.

I'm Italian actually and outsourcing doesn't affect the country as much as it affects a place like the US yet. Not yet; but it will happen.

The problem is that today people are educated that money is the most important thing ever and the only real value. Not true: the mixed economical system had lower price for everyone and actually got started the "development" many politicians like to brag about!
If it weren't for public buildings, there would be a lot of homeless people, in face of the stupid corporatists.

Start doing stuff in the US, Canada, Europe, et al. I will gladly buy a GREAT 1000 quids television that has good support and lasts forever, instead of an el-cheapo bugridden Chinese 300 quids television which not only is very slow at doing everything, but has no support and no replacements, and doesn't last more than an handful of years (and I had one of these and was by a brand co-owned by the Chinese government)

Socialism would be really the way to go (the Chinese government != socialist, it's actually == selfish_capitalists)
The role of society is staying happily together, not selfish advancements.

Reply Score: 3

Rockinelle Member since:
2010-02-25

You are free to buy products that are made locally and are higher quality. Let your pocket book cast your vote and make the changes you're asking for. No one is forced to buy cheap (price and quality) products that is manufactured overseas.

Like I said earlier, if a society is free to grow and prosper, wages will go up. New wealth gets created. The fact that I have five dollars in my wallet doesn't mean someone doesn't have five dollars in theirs. If the whole world was comprised of free societies where wealth is freely grown, we wouldn't have the problem of 'rich' corporations outsourcing labor to lower their costs and often the quality.

Reply Score: 2

tails92 Member since:
2007-10-07

The fact is that, one can't simply vote with his own wallet. It is simply impossible; people do not know very much about what is good or bad and they will most often just buy what's cheaper. You do not notice a "bad" something unless you had a "good" something.

And for that reason, voting with my wallet would first, leave me with my wallet entirely full, and them leave me without any computer, TV or cellphone. While you can live very well without those, they are an important part of society nowadays and it's just better to have them even if you aren't going to use them. Not considering that here to access something services of the state, you need to have the Internet (yes, you heard that well).

That's why governments should put taxes on imported things. Once you do that, that Chinese stuff won't be cheaper anymore and will be driven out of the market. It is a forced thing, yes, but it's for the good of society. Otherwise KYE-like sweatshops which make your motherboards and mouses by hand (and not with machines, so you can wonder what precision a tired and badly-treated employee can have) will always flourish.

Government intervention is not bad when it's done right, and this will bring many jobs and a lot of skills, which aid much in developing a leadership (isn't this what a certain country always says to have but does nothing to keep it?).

Reply Score: 1

confused
by gfx1 on Wed 26th May 2010 14:29 UTC
gfx1
Member since:
2006-01-20

Yes, but how many of them are pushed by Apple's Secret Agency?

Reply Score: 1

Focus on suicides
by stew on Wed 26th May 2010 14:33 UTC
stew
Member since:
2005-07-06

Let's focus on suicides and suicides only:
In the US, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youths between 10 and 24 (most "modern" states have similar rates). Why don't we read about that in the blogs?

Why do we pour horrendous amounts of money in anti-terrorism and so-called security, while at the same time ignoring one of the leading causes of death? The already slim budget for suicide prevention programs is being cut instead.

Suicides take more lives than illegal drugs or homicides. Yet, the amount of money spent on the war on drugs is more than 1000 times that spent on suicide prevention.

Edited 2010-05-26 14:36 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Focus on suicides
by mrhasbean on Wed 26th May 2010 15:39 UTC in reply to "Focus on suicides"
mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Warning: this whole post is not particularly related to the original article, but it is about suicide in young people, and yes it is long, but tough ;)

Why don't we read about that in the blogs?


The fact is that telling the population you are keeping their kids safe from terrorists and pedophiles is more effective for getting re-elected than pointing out why they're committing suicide, especially if the methods being used to "protect" young people from these alleged threats are actually contributing to the youth suicide rates, and anyone who expresses views on these subjects that differ from the official line are seen as sympathisers or even conspiracy theorists.

One of the largest causes of suicides in western cultures in the age bracket you mention is depression about sexuality. Our society keeps patting itself on the back about being "tolerant" and "accepting" of those who are something other than heterosexual, yet adolescents who are beginning to explore their sexuality are victims of torment and bullying unless they're "straight", and there is very little available to help them. Those who know what they are going through, homosexual adults, who were once homosexual adolescents, will rarely be encouraged to actively work in counselling or support roles because of the insane idea that they may "take advantage" of a young person just because they have the same sexual orientation.

My eldest son, who is heterosexual but had a number of gay friends at high school, received the same treatment his gay friends did. Fortunately for him and them he is strong enough in character, and raised well enough, to not give a shit about what other people think, do or say, so was able to be supportive of them. Unfortunately there are many who don't have the same level of self esteem.

Furthermore, inconsistencies and in some cases downright discrimination in Age of Consent laws - which themselves are totally ridiculous because they simply don't work, aren't enforceable and make criminals out of these same adolescents - also make it near impossible for young gays and lesbians to experience the same type of relationship with peers that their heterosexual counterparts can have during their teen years. And of course there are those brain dead individuals who believe that they just need counselling to "fix" them.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to youth suicide. Many young people have been psychologically abused by parents who, through the constant stream of "news" articles about the (supposed) massive threat to society that are terrorists and pedophiles, have created young adults who are afraid to go out into the world because everyone's out to get them. This also manifests itself in anger, which is one of the primary reasons for the increase in violent adolescent gangs. And the list goes on.

And at the heart of this is consumerism. If the population is too scared to go outside because there are baddies waiting for them on every corner they're more likely to sit at home in front of the TV watching those lovely commercials that want to sell them the latest gizmos and gadgets - and a bigger, flasher TV, "NOW IN 3D". And we wonder why our kids are getting fat!

When the communists said our society would rot like an apple, from the core, they pretty well hit the nail on the head. Whether that's now inevitable or not remains to be seen, but at this stage it's looking rather dull and squishy. Maybe big pharma has treatment in the pipeline for us... ;)

Edited 2010-05-26 15:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Focus on suicides
by No it isnt on Thu 27th May 2010 00:25 UTC in reply to "Focus on suicides"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

The link between suicide and substance abuse is very well documented. It's not fair to pit "the war on drugs" against suicide prevention:

Suicide is the eighth-leading cause of death in the United States. Each year 29,000 people take their own lives. About 50 percent of all suicide attempts involve alcohol and illegal drugs (including those who use alcohol or drugs in their attempt or test positively for alcohol or drugs at the time of the attempt). About 25 percent of completed suicides occur among drug abusers and those with alcohol abuse problems. The suicide rate of people under age 30 is increasing, largely because of substance abuse among young adults.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Focus on suicides
by steogede2 on Fri 28th May 2010 01:13 UTC in reply to "Focus on suicides"
steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17

Let's focus on suicides and suicides only:
In the US, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youths between 10 and 24 (most "modern" states have similar rates). Why don't we read about that in the blogs?


You know, Stew, there is a very good reason why suicide is the third leading cause of death among the young - they are mostly fit and healthy so the other causes of death don't affect them so much. The main un-natural causes of death (suicide, homicide and accident) are much more evenly spread out amongst the age ranges than natural causes of death.

If you want to lower the rank of suicide among 10-24 year olds, you need to start weaning toddlers on alcohol, tobacco and cholesterol. That is the only way that you are likely to get cancer and heart disease to move up the ranks.

The other option of course would be to lower the suicide rate, but that would require 10-24s to have a massively lower suicide rate than the rest of the population.

Reply Score: 1

Suicides in Asia higher anyway
by bousozoku on Wed 26th May 2010 15:51 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

Asian countries and sometimes, Asians in other countries, have higher suicide rates than western countries or NZ/AUS.

I know of no western society which pushes honour and guilt the way Asian societies do. Japanese teens who don't pass university entrance exams jump from windows at an alarming rate.

Stress is typical for humans but extraordinarily so for Asians. It's only been recently that I'd heard of people just feeling bad about not succeeding in something. That's real progress.

I feel bad for the people at Hon Hai Precision/FoxConn but it's not unusual and it will likely take another 500 years for the attitude to change. At least from what I've seen elsewhere, Dell and HP have admitted to being concerned.

Reply Score: 4

who ?
by martini on Wed 26th May 2010 17:58 UTC
martini
Member since:
2006-01-23

If it is not Apple, who are we going to blame when we start to see massive suicides from OSNews employees ?

Microsoft ? ...nah.. ;)

Reply Score: 3

The Netherlands
by Jason Bourne on Wed 26th May 2010 18:05 UTC
Jason Bourne
Member since:
2007-06-02

Tom, it's funny how you portraited yourself as a dutch citizen. This goes for many posts. I actually know that already. But as you know, all countries have issues. I'd like to see you writing about the well known drug issue and homossexuality liberation in your country. Please. Do not leave those subjects out of the door.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The Netherlands
by Stratoukos on Wed 26th May 2010 20:31 UTC in reply to "The Netherlands"
Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

Yes Thom. Please do. Enough with this technology mumbo jumbo. If we can't even rely on OSNews to provide information about the drug landscape of Netherlands, where is the world going?

Reply Score: 3

RE: The Netherlands
by AlexandreAM on Wed 26th May 2010 21:18 UTC in reply to "The Netherlands"
AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

Please excuse me, but, is homossexual liberation supposed to be an "issue" now? Or are you talking about something I'm not aware of?

I know pretty much nothing from Netherlands except that they're Not made of Ether (see, Nether... stupid joke...), so it just may have flown over my head.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The Netherlands
by kristoph on Wed 26th May 2010 22:09 UTC in reply to "The Netherlands"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Umm, this is like OSNews, which admittedly has strayed from OS News but is it really necessary to go into socio-political topics totally unrelated to technology?

Reply Score: 1

RE: The Netherlands
by salseesgreenweirdos on Sat 29th May 2010 05:13 UTC in reply to "The Netherlands"
salseesgreenweirdos Member since:
2010-03-09

This post isn't about criticizing a particular nation-state, not even the one that's so near and dear to your heart. It's calling attention to the ills of the system, though, and presents a real issue in its complexity. Easy answers may not be very forthcoming, and anyone more or less happy with the system it criticizes

Also, protip: Not everyone agrees with you about homosexuality and which controlled substances should be legal for personal consumption. Understanding this fact will enable you to engage in political discussions without making a fool of yourself.

Reply Score: 1

Apples to Oranges
by izomiac on Wed 26th May 2010 20:35 UTC
izomiac
Member since:
2006-07-26

IIRC, the issue is that these are suicides occurring at the factory. So, to compare the numbers to national rates, you'd need to add the number of people that commit suicide when they get off work (which I'd imagine to be the vast majority). You'd also have to control for biased classification of the ambiguous cases, if it exists (given how the government watches out for Chinese-owned big businesses, and their attention to public image, I'd say this is significant). Also, remember that these people are middle-aged and employed, which have a lower suicide rate than the unemployed or teenagers. Plus, the mentally ill would be poorly represented in a competitive work environment. You'd likely need to add in the number that became depressed due to their work, got fired, then committed suicide.

Of course, I doubt you could easily find any of those numbers. China isn't exactly forthcoming with data that casts China in a bad light. McDonalds has a similar number of employees as Foxconn, and probably a similar number with crushed dreams. Someone should ask them how often an employee kills themself in the restaurant. Americans are stereotypically much ballsier than the Chinese, but I highly doubt that McDonalds has monthly public suicides.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by chowyunpat
by chowyunpat on Wed 26th May 2010 21:59 UTC
chowyunpat
Member since:
2006-07-05

Sorry, Thom, but I will look at the labor situation at Foxconn, as well as other work conditions with moral disgust. Stories like this make all the more thankful that I live in this country and I'm no in way ashamed of that. Chinese factories are well known to have some very unscrupulous business practices: long hours, low wages, unsafe working conditions, and child labor (more like exploitation) and just because I live in relative comfort in the safe haven of America doesn't make me smug because I see practices in some other country or culture that for whatever reason they are practiced or how long they have doesn't make me "smug" because I find them morally objectionable. This could cover a broad range of things in China like the lack of free speech or the high abortion rate of female babies, but in this case I'm directing toward factories that are run like prison camps.

I feel sorry for the people that have to work under these conditions and It makes me just as angry that most of the manufacturing base in the United States has moved their factories in Asia, so they could take of advantage of the low overhead ( translation lax safety regulations and low wages), so they won't have to pay a US worker a decent wage.

The lower prices we are power for goods made in Asia have a high prices which is the loss of jobs in our economy, which also means less money flowing and ultimately who cares how low the prices are when we can't find a job to buy the products.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by chowyunpat
by kristoph on Wed 26th May 2010 22:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by chowyunpat"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Which part of (a) Foxconn factories are not any better or worse than similar factories in other countries and (b) suicide rates among Foxconn employees are LOWER than among the US population did you not understand?

Reply Score: 1

Foxconn's horoscope
by poundsmack on Wed 26th May 2010 23:34 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

"You'd pretty much kill for the chance to start things over again, which come to think of it, is how you got yourself into this mess to begin with."

It's sad about the suicides though, it's no laughing matter...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Foxconn's horoscope
by Stratoukos on Wed 26th May 2010 23:49 UTC in reply to "Foxconn's horoscope"
Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

Interesting quote. Mind if I ask where it's from? My google-fu is weak today.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Foxconn's horoscope
by poundsmack on Thu 27th May 2010 14:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Foxconn's horoscope"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

The Onion news network. They do a horoscope section. thats pretty amusing. I have compiled some of their best ones and some i created. if you give me an email address I can send ya a list of the best ones.

Reply Score: 2

Sensationalism
by Aragorn992 on Thu 27th May 2010 05:58 UTC
Aragorn992
Member since:
2007-05-27

Not wanting to get into the article specifically (the statistics are slightly debatable although I generally agree with the conclusions) BUT this type of writing is exactly why I read and continue to read OSNews and why I ditched Slashdot (and many others) a long time ago. I absolutely hate journalists reporting the convenient parts of a story to make it sound controversial. It is tantamount to lying.

Reply Score: 1

Poor journalism...
by olafg on Thu 27th May 2010 08:57 UTC
olafg
Member since:
2010-05-27

This topic is too serious to be given this kind of treatment, so I created an account just to respond to this. I´ve been following OSNews for a while which have provided some excellent articles in the past; maybe you should stick to the more technical stuff... The quality of OSNews has been dwindling down the drain in the past few months...

You have to track suicide rates over time and find the causality behind the variation. You also have to factor in all the other factors! (higher rates in the countryside, among men etc, unemployment etc). In my country the suicide rate is 5 in 100000 among young women.

Anyway, with such a small sample you HAVE to look at the causality invovled in each incident. Sorry. You are the one having problem with statistics, not the people expressing concern.

It doesn´t matter if other factories have worse working conditions. We, as a society has to keep the big corps ethically responsible for the entire production chain. That´s the only way to bring the society fowards. Western politicians are cowards. They should require imported goods to follow the same ethical standards as locally produced goods. Period. Maybe you should focus on this, rather than making excuses for big exploitative corporations?

When I pay a premium for an Apple/Nokia product, then I expect that a reasonable amount of that is spent on making living conditions for their workers way above the poor average of 3rd world countries. If they don´t then they deserve ALL the bad press they can ever receive.

No, we don´t ask for cheaper products from Apple. Apple has never been, and will never be, cheap. Their margins are huge. Your article is an example of flaws reasoning from the first letter to the last. Sorry.

Playing cowboy on the graves of these young kids does comes through as bad taste. Again, sorry.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Poor journalism...
by olafg on Thu 27th May 2010 09:25 UTC in reply to "Poor journalism..."
olafg Member since:
2010-05-27

(And where is the edit-button?)

Reply Score: 1

Thank you Thom
by tamlin on Thu 27th May 2010 09:12 UTC
tamlin
Member since:
2006-06-18

I just wanted to send a big thank you to Thom for actually bothering to check some data before jumping to conclusion - and for taking the time to write this piece despite dubts.

Had a tenth of the so called "journalists" jumping on this as it would have been Apples fault done a tenth of the research, the world could have been a better place, and they would hopefully be shamed of themselves.

Thanks Thom, for some actual data in this infected insanity.

(I'm not in any way affiliated with any person or company in this media-mess)

Reply Score: 1

This reminds me...
by KLU9 on Thu 27th May 2010 23:25 UTC
KLU9
Member since:
2006-12-06

This reminds me...

I need to start buying from democracies.

But is that even possible anymore? I need to get a new desktop PC soon and I don't think it's possible to avoid parts made in the "Party's Republic of China".

Even stuff made by Republic of China (Taiwan) companies like Hon Hai/Foxconn is manufactured on the mainland, with no free labour unions or free media (I know there was an undercover investigation into Foxconn by a Guangdong paper but that kind of reporting happens too rarely to really hold the powerful to account).

Anyone have any tips on getting a "free" PC? That's "free" as in speech, not "free" as in beer. As in the people making the PC and its components have freedom of speech, freedom to associate, freedom to form unions etc.

(Used with apologies to Richard Stallman, whose love of the Lemote Yeelong netbook ( http://www.osnews.com/story/21530 ) leads me to think he prefers freedom of hardware specs to the freedom of the people putting that hardware together.)

Edited 2010-05-27 23:31 UTC

Reply Score: 1

China
by Lorin on Fri 28th May 2010 02:55 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

I live in China as my wife is Chinese and Foxconn is just one example of a failed society, what you don't hear about are the suicides that occur every year at every university when graduation and job searching time arrives. I see it in the news all the time and in those cases where the school hides the information I hear it from the other students. The last 10 years has brought many bad changes to the people here, no one cares anything about anyone else but themselves, their entire reason for being is to accumulate money, nothing else matters.

It's easy to see why so many would rather kill themselves than to struggle alone in a cold society.

Reply Score: 1

you get the number wrong.
by mcbig on Fri 28th May 2010 04:05 UTC
mcbig
Member since:
2010-05-28

Foxconn'v got over 800,000 employees in main land of China already, over 900,000 over the world. The number 420,000 only covers one single large (the largest though) factory.

Reply Score: 1