Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Mar 2012 08:24 UTC
In the News Rob Schmitz, the Marketplace reporter who uncovered Daisey's lies, stated: "What makes this a little complicated is that the things Daisey lied about seeing are things that have actually happened in China: Workers making Apple products have been poisoned by Hexane. Apple's own audits show that the company has caught underage workers at a handful of its suppliers. These things are rare, but together, they form an easy-to-understand narrative about Apple." It's what I'm already seeing in the Apple-verse (and beyond): the actual issues that have truly and honestly happened are being shuffled under the carpet because some no-name dude I'd never heard of lied, as yet another way to soothe people's conscience. The west is exploiting workers in the east for a few percentages of profit margins. This is a reality, whether some dude lied about it or not.
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Shill Perhaps?
by Lorin on Mon 19th Mar 2012 08:44 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

It is pretty common to find company shills out there who have the only purpose of building their company up at the expense of others, but what is still common but less known are the shills that spread lies about their company with the express purpose of being found out and therefore discrediting what is the truth.

Reply Score: 1

Something out of almost nothing
by wocowboy on Mon 19th Mar 2012 10:06 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

This person practiced the worst form of "journalism" where he took details from various "sources" of various repute, put them together to make a story that sounded much worse, instead of reporting what he saw. I'm sure there are underage workers at Chinese factories. I'm sure people have been harmed by unsafe manufacturing processes. But I am also sure that Apple has done some things to try and change some of these practices as well. Why should I automatically assume Apple is evil and not the operators of the factory on this matter? Should I not consider whether or not this happens at other factories in China? What is the culture in China? What effect does that have on factory conditions and whether or not there are underage workers at any factory in China? I am not an Apple fanboy or trying to get them off the hook, but China is NOT the U.S., nor Europe, nor India, so we cannot use the same standards that we do here. Life is different there, we can try to use our standards, but Apple does not own the factories there, so it cannot influence everything that happens. The only alternative is to build factories here to manufacture those goods and make customers pay 2-3 times the price they are paying now, but that's not going to happen.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Every human life is worth the same. Just because someone's culture is different or because the living standards are different does not mean the concept of exploiting workers is not inherently wrong - because it IS wrong.

That's the thing I'm taking issue with: people are trying to shove all this under the carpet to resolve their own state of cognitive dissonance. Personally, I do not. I buy stuff made in China, and am perfectly aware that I'm a massive hypocrite for doing so. However, unlike some companies, I don't have $100 billion in the bank.

Large and powerful companies - not just Apple - have far more responsibilities than we as ordinary consumers do. With the kind of insane profit margins some of these companies have, it would be peanuts for them to massively improve the lives of workers in the far east without even being so much as a blip on their financial radar. They could settle for a profit margin of 55% instead of 56% - and improve the lives of countless people in a heartbeat. Instead, they successfully lobby president Obama to block minimum wage laws in Haiti because it would increase salary of workers there by a few cents*.

However, they choose not to. They choose to do the most minimal possible they can get away with, because they know that a) we don't give a shit about people who aren't white, and b) people like Gruber and Siegler will blog until the very fabric of space-time alters to make it seem as if working 12hrs a day, 7 days per week for a salary these guys spend per coffee at hipster coffee shops is somehow a blessing for them - just so they can blow their spunk over their new gadget and brag about how starstruck they are about their pet company.

Acknowledge the hypocrisy.

* http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-06-03/news/30003110_1_mini...

Edited 2012-03-19 10:36 UTC

Reply Score: 13

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

The reason a lot of companies outsource to China is because it is very cheap. If wages were to increase some other country may become cheaper and those underpaid Chinese workers will turn in to unemployed people.

Also I doubt those underaged workers can actually keep their wage. Most will probably hand it over to their parents.

In the Steve Jobs book it is mentioned Steve would have loved to manufacture stuff in the States, but it can take months and even years to get all the permits and start building.

But never mind Apple, it's a lot of companies, from tech to clothes. If they didn't do this prices would skyrocket and most people prefer to be hypocrites than to be unable to buy what they want.

Reply Score: 2

OSbunny Member since:
2009-05-23

Yeah people in poor countries are falling over themselves trying to produce goods for western companies at a cheaper price. I know because I live in a poor country myself. The garment manufacturers here make clothing that they sell to the Nikes and Wranglers of the world for peanuts compared to the retail price that you people in the west pay for them. If you stop buying from the Chinese the jobs will just shift to Vietnam or some other country.

The answer to greater prosperity is not in artificially imposed labour standards but in increased productivity. The real answer is in free movement of labour on a global scale. That should really scare you guys in the west. Imagine millions of Chinese and South Asians moving to the US to get a slice of the good life! By artificially restricting labour mobility you've created all sorts of problems. Your prosperity in built on the backs of the poorest people on the planet.

Reply Score: 3

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Well, you're right and this exploiting is something we've been doing for hundreds of years.

But even so, the current financial crisis shows this isn't even enough and we still want more.

Soon China will buy the western world.

Reply Score: 2

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Capitalist enterprise are driven by profit. They can have different corporate cultures, they can have different business models, but in the end they are driven by profit. That's what makes them so dynamic and such fantastic agents of economic growth. What they are not are agents of social reform. That is the job of political organisations, organisations in civil society and a free press.

What China needs is economic and social reform which I believe will come but it's arrival could involve a period of dangerous instability. What China needs is democratic reforms, the rule of law, a right to free association and campaigning activity in civil society, and the right to free trade unions. None of that can be delivered by western corporations, all they can do is try to reform their own supply chain where possible through audits, transparency and selective contracting. Consumer boycotts are also unlikely to succeed and will have no impact on conditions in China. The fate of the Chinese is, as it should be, in the hands of the Chinese and what people in the west can do is support the movement for reforms inside China.

Many of the stories about the conditions of workers inside the Chinese economy are linked to Apple because that guarantees the greatest media profile but all the evidence points to Apple being in the forefront of trying to reform the supply chain, the conditions in the factories supplying Apple seem to be better than average. I would like to see the condition of workers in China discussed in way that dissociates it from the issue of Apple because I think bringing Apple into the discourse just cheapens it and distracts from the real issues.

Personally I think that this issue offers Apple a tremendous opportunity to flummox and attack their competitors because with Apple's profitability and margins, cash pile, and super efficient supply chain management systems it has far more room to manoeuvre in it's reform of it's supply chain that it's competitors who are on such thin margins. Reform of the supply chain could be another weapon for Apple in it's long war to kill the OEMs. Apple should use it's cash and power to open up the supply chain to much greater transparent inspection and comparison and which would expose it's competitors supply chain and force up margins for the competing OEMs who are already working on razor thin margins. I hope Apple takes this route, it would be the right thing to do and such fun to watch.

Reply Score: 2

Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

I'd be more impressed with Apple if they actually resumed manufacturing in the U.S.A. and managed to stay comfortably profitable. What's so special about outsourcing to China like everyone else?

In any case, diversifying the countries where tech products are made is better in the long run.

Reply Score: 5

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's much easier to build a new factory in China. In the US you need permits, persuade commissions and then employ people who ask a lot more money to do less work than the Chinese ones.

In other words, it's a lot more hassle to start producing something at a higher cost than you currently do in China.

Reply Score: 2

Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

I wonder how much longer China can get by on being cheap.

Of the Samsung products in the house the LED TV was made in Thailand (though the power cord, of all things, was made in China), the Blu-ray player was made in Indonesia, and my Galaxy Ace was made in Vietnam. Now, it just might be slightly cheaper to make products sold in South East Asia within SEA, rather than China, due to ASEAN trade agreements and shipping costs.

IIRC the Steve Jobs biography also lamented the lack of qualified engineers in the U.S., which gets in the way of returning production state-side.

Reply Score: 2

OSbunny Member since:
2009-05-23

They realise that cheap isn't going to be their competitive advantage for long. They're working on a number of different ways to get around that:

- Value addition: Maybe you've heard of Huawei or Haier which are two Chinese brands. They're getting into branding now.

- Restricting raw material exports: The stuff that gets made in Indonesia or Thailand still needs raw materials that often get sourced from China. So the Chinese want reserve raw materials for their local manufacturers who export a more value added products.

Also they're investing in other countries that have raw materials they need and locking down the supply that way. You see a lot of that happening in Africa.

- Better infrastructure: China really wins on infrastructure. That is why they attract so many manufacturers.

Reply Score: 1

Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

I'm aware of Huawei. Haier, not so much.

Reply Score: 2

acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

What we are talking here is a huge problem with no easy solution. Even though I agree with Thom on principles, we should not forget that between the disease and the medicine we need to pick what would be the less evil of them.

The real truth is that people need jobs, and on poor countries they are way less selective on getting one. For many on this sorry condition, the jobs associated to production for western companies are better than if the production is only tied to local consume. On other words, western companies may actually improve the local life standards.

But we have a big problem on our global economy. It shifted the balance of power between employers and employees. Employers are allowed to play globally, employees are not effective on it. So, if locally there is a kind of union that try to improve their part of pie or working conditions, the employer may very well move their factories to somewhere else. This is what actually happened to on USA and Europe. I find it tragic how many "experts" put a blame on work unions for this shift. On societies with no developed democratic values the situation is worse, as repression and humanity crimes may very well be applied on individuals trying to build awareness about working conditions.

The only way I see as a faster escape from this situation without have to wait hundred of years (as there are lots of very poor countries on our world, and "leaders" that would graciously surrender their "mates" universal rights for money) is if we pressure our lawmakers to pass legislation that makes companies accountable for their choices on any market by standards we have on our own. But I guess, the chance to have something like that is little and, worse, it may very well backfire.

Consumer boycotts are also unlikely to succeed and will have no impact on conditions in China.
.
On this one I vehemently disagree with you. It raises awareness locally and put pressure on companies that are then pressed to move, like what happened to Apple.

Reply Score: 3

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

I just read this excellent piece from the Guardian explaining the simmering tensions that are emerging within China's political elite as the critical Party Congress approaches. Worth a read

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/18/china-beijing-social-re...

Reply Score: 2

tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22

Every human life is worth the same.


We can certainly agree on that.

I buy stuff made in China, and am perfectly aware that I'm a massive hypocrite for doing so.


Me too sometimes. Few of us are completely free from sin.

Large and powerful companies - not just Apple - have far more responsibilities than we as ordinary consumers do.


On this point, we completely part ways.

First, companies are a reflection of the demands of their customers. Companies change behaviour when doing so increases their risk-adjusted profits. To say that we can keep buying their stuff while demanding that they change is to completely misunderstand the dynamic.

Second, morality must start with the individual. We are not talking about buying gruel, or subsistence level food or shelter. We are talking about a company whose products are, without exception, luxuries affordable only by people that are very rich when measured by global standards. Saying that I can ignore where my iPad or iPhone is made because I do not have $100 billion in the bank does not resonate with me. An Apple TV is not shoes for my children or heat for my home in the winter.

Let's not pretend to own up to our hypocrisy and then explain away our complicity.

Also, it is not just Apple. This stuff is wrong, we know what to do about it, and (collectively) we have the power to make it stop.

Edited 2012-03-19 14:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Every human life is worth the same.


Perfect world? Sure. Reality? Completely wrong.

Just because someone's culture is different or because the living standards are different...


And so, there is your issue. If you don't understand why, you've already lost.

Reply Score: 1

v_bobok Member since:
2008-08-01

"Every human life is worth the same.


Perfect world?
"

Nope. Just international human rights, @$$H0L3.

Reply Score: 1

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Nope. Just international human rights, @$$H0L3.


Riddle me this then, asshole, what good is a bit of paper when Guantanamo bay was allowed to exist, the US believes it has the right to dictate world law on every level and governments in western European (and other large First world) countries can be bullied in to extraditing people to the US that have broken no laws in their own native country and have never set foot in the US? Iraq war. Afghanistan war. Funding the IRA because of some misguided belief that they were helping the Irish conflict (EDIT: not to mention funding other terrorists, such as Afghanistani conflict with Russia, Cuba, Iraq in the Iraq Iran war...) then bombing the crap out of the Middle East because a terrorist organisation attacked the US on one day. The Vietnam war. The Korean war. Stop me when you get bored.... If the largest super power in the world is ignoring human rights, what is a piece of paper worth?

Here is the universal truth : Human rights are only respected when it suits the people sitting in power.

Edited 2012-03-20 12:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

Are you saying that consumers have no blame here? Because you can't fix the problem with the stroke of a pen, it is not your problem to solve? What a cop out.

Consumers ARE the problem!

The thing is, there are companies that do the right things and they tend to not be successful because they can't compete for consumers due to the price disparity. Consumers simply don't care.

I don't have the answers but consumers need to realize that they are the source of the problem before we can see positive progress.

Reply Score: 2

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Consumers are NOT the problem, Apple is. They manage to make good products, that's a point, but sell it a fair amount of dollars. Now they ensure to get a high margin, what provided them with 100 billions of cash. Consumers have paid, yet this money never reached Chinese people who manufactured the product. And it would be consumers' fault ? Seriously...

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

Consumers are NOT the problem, Apple is. They manage to make good products, that's a point, but sell it a fair amount of dollars. Now they ensure to get a high margin, what provided them with 100 billions of cash. Consumers have paid, yet this money never reached Chinese people who manufactured the product. And it would be consumers' fault ? Seriously...

Kochise


Let me explain. Apple is simply providing consumers with what they want; ie high tech at a low price (in Apple's case, moderate price). Consumers want the best stuff for the lowest price and that is the cause of this problem. Apple has an obligation to it's shareholders to make huge profits (not just big profits, HUGE profits). To make this happen, they undercut production prices and that is how we got to this discussion. I am not saying that Apple is free from blame because that is not at all what I mean. Apple is at fault also but people need to realize that it is the market (consumers are the largest component of the market) that is causing the exploitation we see in China and other low rent areas around the world.

In other words, if Apple is guilty, the consumer is the accomplice.

I am tired of consumers (as Thom alluded to in his post) not taking any responsibility for the choices they make. People who are disturbed by Apple's business practices should not buy Apple. Simple right? But they don't! They say "I can't solve the problem and I can't live without my Apple device so I am going to do nothing and be a hypocrite". Why can't people take a stand instead of being limp and sheepish?

Apple makes HUGE margins and charges high prices (not completely out of step with the competition but high none the less). They could send more of that margin to China, but they don't.

Reply Score: 2

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Then I'll buy directly to chine, say, http://hongkongeek.com/ to avoid intermediates if they cannot play the fair game of transmitting the margins and pressure "third world" manufacturing facilities.

Just boycott them, even if I don't get the new shiny iPad, at least I hope I'll be charger a fair amount of a price that will be distributed more equally. If one cannot rely on the "God blessed America" to take manly decisions.

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

wocowboy Member since:
2006-06-01

Every human life is worth the same.......to us. In China, not so much. Or in some parts of the Moslem world, where if your are not a believer in a particular sect, then by that very definition, your life is not worth anything, and you should either be killed outright on purpose or if you are killed by a suicide bomber, then it's no big deal. In parts of the Arab world, workers are imported from Pakistan, India, wherever, and labor under horrific conditions building the skyscrapers of Dubai, Qatar, etc. Different culture, different expectations and standards. That's what I was talking about. And it's fine to expect and/or demand more respect for human life, but to realistically expect a different culture to en masse to change to reflect your standards is akin to expecting a different culture to en masse change religions, and we all know how well that works out.

Reply Score: 2

brichpmr Member since:
2006-04-22

Every human life is worth the same. Just because someone's culture is different or because the living standards are different does not mean the concept of exploiting workers is not inherently wrong - because it IS wrong.

That's the thing I'm taking issue with: people are trying to shove all this under the carpet to resolve their own state of cognitive dissonance. Personally, I do not. I buy stuff made in China, and am perfectly aware that I'm a massive hypocrite for doing so. However, unlike some companies, I don't have $100 billion in the bank.

Large and powerful companies - not just Apple - have far more responsibilities than we as ordinary consumers do. With the kind of insane profit margins some of these companies have, it would be peanuts for them to massively improve the lives of workers in the far east without even being so much as a blip on their financial radar. They could settle for a profit margin of 55% instead of 56% - and improve the lives of countless people in a heartbeat. Instead, they successfully lobby president Obama to block minimum wage laws in Haiti because it would increase salary of workers there by a few cents*.

However, they choose not to. They choose to do the most minimal possible they can get away with, because they know that a) we don't give a shit about people who aren't white, and b) people like Gruber and Siegler will blog until the very fabric of space-time alters to make it seem as if working 12hrs a day, 7 days per week for a salary these guys spend per coffee at hipster coffee shops is somehow a blessing for them - just so they can blow their spunk over their new gadget and brag about how starstruck they are about their pet company.

Acknowledge the hypocrisy.

* http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-06-03/news/30003110_1_mini...


It is all too easy to recognize your own broad brush BS, dude...even from way across the big ditch.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Something out of almost nothing
by Kochise on Mon 19th Mar 2012 13:24 UTC in reply to "Something out of almost nothing"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

God is the same, for all people around the World, He doesn't just bless America, even if you beg Him for. So when you ask God to deliver His love, it's the SAME love for everybody, not a love for USA citizens, another (cheaper or weaker) for Chinese citizens, etc... And I bet some Apple's executives are eager to pray every so and then, asking God to spread the fun all over the place.

Now it's Apple turn to spread the money all over the place, to USA *AND* China, because prays never prevented from chemicals, unemployment, underage jobs, starvation, whatever...

http://9gag.com/gag/3383472

BTW, I do *NOT* believe in God, only in Humans' freewill (what God empowered them from) but still amazed how they misuses their abilities.

Kochise

edit : typos

Edited 2012-03-19 13:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

lolwut
by fran on Mon 19th Mar 2012 13:59 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

"The west is exploiting workers in the east for a few percentages of profit margins. This is a reality, whether some dude lied about it or not."

LoL, the white devil must have invaded the Chinese corporate execs and labour legislators.

Reply Score: 2

I guess its about morality
by Beta on Mon 19th Mar 2012 14:19 UTC
Beta
Member since:
2005-07-06

This is a reality, whether some dude lied about it or not.

Then maybe he should have thought about whether it was better or worse to reveal the sources weren’t first hand.
Arguably better to have ignored what he found, lest he gives Apple, Foxconn, and the West an easy excuse of ‘it was all made up’.

Reply Score: 2

Lying ususally hurts your cause
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Mon 19th Mar 2012 19:15 UTC
Torbjorn Vik Lunde
Member since:
2009-09-04

Lying is never a good “tool” to use, including for good causes.

Reply Score: 1

Some facts about other things
by Lennie on Tue 20th Mar 2012 15:30 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

I would rather deal with facts, while we may not have a lot of facts about Apple or other companies and the threatment of the labourers in China. Here are some other facts:

There are now more blacks in US prison than slaves in the US when there was slavery.

"Slavery is alive and well in the 21st century. There are more people enslaved today than at any other time in history":

http://jjie.org/human-trafficking-growing-global-scourge/75598

A lot of Chocolate is still produced by child labor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_in_cocoa_production

Mostly slaves as well.

The only good news is: it seems the percentage of cocoa from child laber/slavery is dropping the years.

Reply Score: 2