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.
Thread beginning with comment 511070
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 1

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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 1

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 Parent Score: 2