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View Full Version : Apple iPod sweat shops...UPDATE: Apple Launches Investigation


pixelmonk
06-13-2006, 05:48 PM
people's precious Apple appear to be no different than other large companies....


http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1799


iPod City: inside Apple's iPod factories

By AppleInsider Staff (general@appleinsider.com)

Published: 11:00 AM EST Apple Computer's iconic digital music players are built primarily by female works who sometimes earn as little as $50 per week, according to an article in the print edition of Mail on Sunday.


The report, dubbed "iPod City," offers a rare glimpse inside Apple's massive iPod manufacturing facilities, which are owned by Foxconn and situated in China.

By itself, Foxconn's Longhua facility is reported to house over 200,000 workers -- or a population larger than the British city of Newcastle. Its exterior gates flaunt billboards encouraging anyone over the age of 16 to apply for a job.

Inside Longhua, workers labor a 15-hour day building iPods, for which they usually earn about $50 per month. When they're not on the assembly lines, they live in secluded dormitories that each house 100 people and prohibit visitors from the outside world. The workers are allowed "a few possessions" and a "bucket to wash their clothes."

"We have to work too hard and I am always tired. It's like being in the army," Zang Lan, one of the workers at Longhua, told the Mail. "They make us stand still for hours. If we move we are punished by being made to stand still for longer. The boys are made to do pushups."

According to the report, the iPod nano is made in a five-story factory called "E3" that is secured by armed police officers. The super-slim digital music player is said to include over 400 parts which arrive from component manufacturers all over the world.

Another factory in Suzhou, Shanghai, manufacturers iPod shuffles and is completely surrounded by barbed wire. At this facility, 50,000 workers are housed outside the plant and earn about $99 per month. However, they must pay out of pocket for their accommodations and food, "which takes up half their salaries."

One security guard told the Mail that the iPod shuffle production lines are staffed by women workers because "they are more honest than male workers."

According to the report, Apple is just one of thousands of companies that now use Chinese facilities to manufacture its products. China's low wages, long hours and industrial secrecy, make the country attractive to business, especially as increased competition and consumer expectations force companies to deliver products at lower prices.

DevilHacker
06-13-2006, 05:59 PM
thats... i am at a loss of words...
:eek:

CelticArtist
06-13-2006, 06:04 PM
I'm not saying that story is false, but something about it doesn't sit right with me. I'm not an apple fanboy, i own an Ipod that died after a year, and that's the extent of my apple buying, however, this scenario sounds unreal, just too extreme. Guess we'll find out though, see if they get hit with the same crap as Walmart when people found out about their sweatshops.

SheepFactory
06-13-2006, 06:07 PM
That sounds more like a concentration camp than a factory. If this is true , shame on apple. :(

sunmade
06-13-2006, 06:10 PM
don't believe everything you read, please guys...

CupOWonton
06-13-2006, 06:10 PM
And how much do people pay for apple products?

sunmade
06-13-2006, 06:11 PM
ah ok, too late, CupO is in...

let the flaming begin

I'm out

gent_k
06-13-2006, 06:13 PM
I don't see whats extreme in the article. I mean it may be if its the first story of its type you're reading, but this is pretty common in such factories in China and is far from being an extreme case. 99$ per month seems to be pretty good in comparison to what they apparently pay in some toy manufacturers etc.

maX_Andrews
06-13-2006, 06:13 PM
I strongly doubt it's only an ipod facility. It's owned by Foxconn, who makes a lot more than just ipods.
You also have to take into account the relativity of payment. Elsewhere in the world money goes a lot farther than it does here. Granted $50 seems very low pay, but it is in a developing nation and not in a particularly urban area if I'm not mistaken. For all we know it's above minimum wage, or above what other campanies pay similar workers. There's not enough comparison in the article to form an ethical conclusion. And what about the businees practices? Are they free to quit? Are the female workers allowed to be pregnant? Why are the workers working there?

I am very against sweatshop practices for any company, but different cultures alter the perspective of what is acceptable and what is not. This article is suggesting conclusions that are based without any sort of comarison to other assembly companies, and I'd like more information.

sunmade
06-13-2006, 06:16 PM
Thank you gent_k and max_Andrews!

I share your point of view.

LiquidMetal
06-13-2006, 06:23 PM
Its supposed to be $50 a MONTH, not a week.Good thing I dont own an Ipod,but more companies do this so I guess were all just supporting it when we be small electronics?

stew
06-13-2006, 06:25 PM
I think just putting this aside as a "bad Apple" is making it too easy. We can suspect similar stories behind every item we buy that has a "Made in China" label (or Bangla Desh or Malaysia or...), be it computers, clothing or cutlery. Our prosperity is built upon their poverty.

It is upon us customers to change this - as long as we buy sweatshop products, there will be sweatshops. Look for alternatives, like this one: http://adbusters.org/metas/corpo/blackspotshoes/

fezz
06-13-2006, 06:46 PM
don't believe everything you read, please guys...

It's also printed in Arstechnica. I've never known them to publish rumors as news before.

mech7
06-13-2006, 06:48 PM
That does not make it any better.. ah well others do it so why can't apple.

I think just putting this aside as a "bad Apple" is making it too easy. We can suspect similar stories behind every item we buy that has a "Made in China" label

L.Rawlins
06-13-2006, 06:50 PM
It's also printed in Arstechnica. I've never known them to publish rumors as news before.

How is this a rumour?...

MechaHateChimp
06-13-2006, 06:50 PM
http://www.killingcaterpillars.com/temp/images/misc/apple.jpg

Think different!

Lordiego01
06-13-2006, 06:50 PM
Something about that article smells fishy..

first it states $50/week, then it states $50/month..

the whole thing about the "fascist" city work-camp.... I dunno..

kinda reminds me of that article on TheOnion a few weeks ago, about female chinese workers being happy because they finally got that 15-min mandatory maternity break they so long fought for. hehehehe... so wrong.. yet, so funny.

stew
06-13-2006, 06:53 PM
That does not make it any better.. ah well others do it so why can't apple.
That was not my point.

pgp_protector
06-13-2006, 06:53 PM
The money per month may or may not be a good wage for them, but the reported living conditions. having to stand up for long hours, doing pushups / punishment is another problem all together.

Matt
06-13-2006, 06:55 PM
don't believe everything you read, please guys...

That's how China is. All industrial electronics jobs are the same. Wal-Mart sold televisions and DVD players are made in similar plants where the workers earn extremely low income, and are housed at the factory.

In order to get our economy back and promote social change in areas that are backwards thinking like China, we must pull all of our business and manufacturing out and reestablish the factories in America, where we have complete control over the working conditions.

Of course, then Apple would hire illegal Mexicans and pay them $1.25 an hour...

toonman
06-13-2006, 06:58 PM
Nice link Stew, thanks.

Honestly, I hate to see this happening, but the machine is just too big.

Consumer wants to have a better living, which he can only get two ways... he rises his salary, or lowers his expenses. The latter is far easier, so he buys cheaper stuff.

Corps and enterprises notice, and decide to lower their prices. The only way to do so is lwoer their expenses. Look for cheaper materials, labor, etc.

Developing countries notice, so decide to give excemtions, tax breaks, and refor labor laws to attract lotsa dollars to the country. Most of the time, they'll bend-over to rich countries to be able to have a slice of the pie (Mexico on NAFTA?).

And this comes back in full circle to whom? Back to the consumer... WE are the ones encouraging this. The only way to revert it would be to buy somewhat more expensive products from socially and environmentally friendly companies. However, the largest portion of the population on this planet:

1. Does not care. As long as I can drive my SUV from home to work, the rest of the planet can go to hell.
2. Cannot afford it. An entry-level 3d animator in Mexico makes in average $400 - $600 USD. And that's a 3d person... I won't even go to talk about general workers and office paper-pushers (no offense intented).

But thanks for the shoes link. I'll definitely check it out.

Peace.

JDex
06-13-2006, 07:11 PM
It's abhorant and inhumane.

I urge everyone who has a problem with this to stop purchasing and using all consumer electronics and products made with microprocessor/circuit board technology. All of these products were made in similar conditions. I also urge everyone disgusted by such practices to blame Apple, Sony, Phillips, Toshiba, RCA, JVC, LG, Samsung, Tyan, DFI, Gigabyte, AMD, Intel, Motorola, Creative, Belkin, Kensington, OCD, Corsair and every other manufacturer of such products equally. Furthermore please publically berate and flog yourself and every person that you see using an electronic device, you and they are the root of the problem. Focusing exclusively on Apple is hypocritical and childish.

MarGera
06-13-2006, 07:12 PM
I dont understand why people get so surprised by stuff like this, most of the big companies work like this, unfortuantly it seems to be the way of the world now. Companies just can't afford to build equipment in there own country's now if they want to stay competitive with other businesses, they have to go down the same route. I know it is terrible for other human beings to be treated like this, but the only real slight positive that i can see, is at least these people have some type of work, who knows what they would be doing if they didn't.

Also in that article, one minute it is $50 a week, then it is $50 a month, i know that both a terrible, but which one is it?

agreenster
06-13-2006, 07:16 PM
It's abhorant and inhumane.

I urge everyone who has a problem with this to stop purchasing and using all consumer electronics and products made with microprocessor/circuit board technology. All of these products were made in similar conditions. I also urge everyone disgusted by such practices to blame Apple, Sony, Phillips, Toshiba, RCA, JVC, LG, Samsung, Tyan, DFI, Gigabyte, AMD, Intel, Motorola, Creative, Belkin, Kensington, OCD, Corsair and every other manufacturer of such products equally. Furthermore please publically berate and flog yourself and every person that you see using an electronic device, you and they are the root of the problem. Focusing exclusively on Apple is hypocritical and childish.

Nice. I was just thinking the identical thing. Thanks for putting it so elequently so I didnt have to! ;)

stew
06-13-2006, 07:24 PM
I also urge everyone disgusted by such practices to blame Apple, Sony, Phillips, Toshiba, RCA, JVC, LG, Samsung, Tyan, DFI, Gigabyte, AMD, Intel, Motorola, Creative, Belkin, Kensington, OCD, Corsair and every other manufacturer of such products equally..
I have by no means a comprehensive view, but it appears that at least parts of AMDs production happens in Germany:
http://www.amd.com/us-en/Corporate/AboutAMD/0,,51_52_502_509,00.html

Of course, where they get the raw components from or where the matching mainboard was made is a different question.

L.Rawlins
06-13-2006, 07:34 PM
Focusing exclusively on Apple is hypocritical and childish.

Um, whilst we recognise the problem is not limited to them, this article is Apple focused. Since they are one of the biggest, most public brands at the moment I'd say zoneing in on there particular involvement in this reported activity is a bloody good idea.

stew
06-13-2006, 07:50 PM
But thanks for the shoes link. I'll definitely check it out.
The great thing is that they are not just a good idea but also good shoes. I was a bit worried that they were only focussing on not being Nike and not caring much about the shoe, but now that I own one pair of each model, I can safely recommend this shoe to you.

Titan
06-13-2006, 07:59 PM
if those workers only knew how the western world lived....they are just as human as we are...dont they deserve the same rights and opportunities, regardless of where they live or work.

sheppyboy2000
06-13-2006, 08:06 PM
I strongly doubt it's only an ipod facility. It's owned by Foxconn, who makes a lot more than just ipods.
You also have to take into account the relativity of payment. Elsewhere in the world money goes a lot farther than it does here. Granted $50 seems very low pay, but it is in a developing nation and not in a particularly urban area if I'm not mistaken. For all we know it's above minimum wage, or above what other campanies pay similar workers. There's not enough comparison in the article to form an ethical conclusion. And what about the businees practices? Are they free to quit? Are the female workers allowed to be pregnant? Why are the workers working there?

I am very against sweatshop practices for any company, but different cultures alter the perspective of what is acceptable and what is not. This article is suggesting conclusions that are based without any sort of comarison to other assembly companies, and I'd like more information.

A little bit of information. A Nintendo iQue runs $80 over in China. This is a China exclusive console that is pretty much the "virtual console" Revolution features. Aka, it's a controller with an SNES built in. Additional games are $20 to download. Your average CD in China costs $30 or more. Your average movie? $50. And PS2? Hope you really like games because it runs $400.

Given that info, what about $50 a month seems "fair" or "just?"

Fact of the matter is, most Chinese workers HAVE to take these jobs simply for the housing and food. The cost of living is quite insane. And sadly, most of the $50 goes into other expenses. Considering all things, I think China deserves to be the piracy capital of the world. As much as big business rapes those people for all their worth, the least we can do is give them free copies of Lost and God Of War. But that's just my opinion.

sheppyboy2000
06-13-2006, 08:08 PM
if those workers only knew how the western world lived....they are just as human as we are...dont they deserve the same rights and opportunities, regardless of where they live or work.

For a country to be great, there must be someone lower on the totem pole. Equality is nothing more than a pretty word to put on a campaign speech.

GQ1
06-13-2006, 08:16 PM
This is like deja vu, from the description of worker conditions minis the toxic work place. it sounds just like the stories I had hear from co works coming back from a business trip to a orient toy factory.
Most people did not even want to speak about what they saw.

I hope this is not the case here.

Cronholio
06-13-2006, 08:21 PM
In order to get our economy back and promote social change in areas that are backwards thinking like China, we must pull all of our business and manufacturing out and reestablish the factories in America, where we have complete control over the working conditions.

Honestly, this sort of thinking is a complete pipe dream. I'm sure the US doesn't have the manpower to do manufacturing at this level. Suppose just for a second that it was possible to make all these ipods in the US paying the workers 2 times minimum wage while they worked 40 hours a week, and the price per unit was still at it's current, somewhat affordable, consumer pricepoint. Where in the US do you think you could build a factory to employ 200,000 people? There are easily 10's of millions possibly hundreds of millions of people working in conditions like this all over the world to build products for US and European consumers there is no possible way the US could supply a fraction of the manpower required to build all this crap. Really the only way to stop it is for people in affluent countries to just bow out of the economy en masse, stop buying anything, and produce their own energy and food. It's just not going to happen.

poly-phobic
06-13-2006, 08:37 PM
For a country to be great, there must be someone lower on the totem pole. Equality is nothing more than a pretty word to put on a campaign speech.

yea, in bizzaro land this may be true.

but not in this america [canada as well.]
---

JDex:
since every other electronic manufacturer does it, lets give apple a break.

i guess you could say they have an equal right to do it as the next giant corp...

long live corporate equality...:thumbsup:

toonman
06-13-2006, 09:08 PM
yea, in bizzaro land this may be true.

but not in this america [canada as well.]
---

JDex:
since every other electronic manufacturer does it, lets give apple a break.

i guess you could say they have an equal right to do it as the next giant corp...

long live corporate equality...:thumbsup:

An example of consumer type #1... :p

barto9
06-13-2006, 09:16 PM
...sometimes earn as little as $50 per week...


... they usually earn about $50 per month...


:shrug:

a little confused here...

DrQuincy
06-13-2006, 09:23 PM
The fact of the matter is:

a) You'll never know how much of this is true and how much isn't. If I was worker in that place and was offered a bit of cash on the side by a wealthy Western tabloid to "sex up" my work experience at the expense of Apple I'd do it.

b) You have to cut certain corners to be one of the big players like Apple. As far as they're concerned China churns out the iPod a lot cheaper than doing it in the US. And as long as that happens they don't care who has to do the push-ups and stand on their feet for 15 hours for $50 per hour or month . . .

maX_Andrews
06-13-2006, 09:24 PM
Where in the US do you think you could build a factory to employ 200,000 people? There are easily 10's of millions possibly hundreds of millions of people working in conditions like this all over the world to build products for US and European consumers there is no possible way the US could supply a fraction of the manpower required to build all this crap. Really the only way to stop it is for people in affluent countries to just bow out of the economy en masse, stop buying anything, and produce their own energy and food. It's just not going to happen.

Apple did just buy a huge amount of property along with a 107,000 square foot ex-data center. They may be planning on having tighter control over their manufacturing processes. They've not had such good luck with the overseas manufacturing, and they have a history or liking control over each step. They may also be starting their own ISP or telecom to coincide with an iphone...

http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1565
http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1700

And they backed out of plans to establish an india dell-like support center: http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1786

Dr Dardis
06-13-2006, 09:27 PM
I don't see whats extreme in the article. I mean it may be if its the first story of its type you're reading, but this is pretty common in such factories in China and is far from being an extreme case. 99$ per month seems to be pretty good in comparison to what they apparently pay in some toy manufacturers etc.

And that makes it right? I know it's a big bad world etc etc. but if you feel OK with it because it is the norm, more power to you.

Of course it is not unique to Apple. Really we should look no further than you or I to point blame, the consumers and the sharholders. While I agree that wage may be commensurate to living costs, the work conditions are what shocks most people i think.

Still, I can listen to Enya on the bus every morning because of it :) And I would be grumpy if I had to pay any more for an iPod.

Oh the Hypocrisy :( I am guilty.

Chris

ps. The Enya bit was a joke tho :)

richcz3
06-13-2006, 09:40 PM
It's abhorant and inhumane.

I urge everyone who has a problem with this to stop purchasing and using all consumer electronics and products made with microprocessor/circuit board technology. All of these products were made in similar conditions. I also urge everyone disgusted by such practices to blame Apple, Sony, Phillips, Toshiba, RCA, JVC, LG, Samsung, Tyan, DFI, Gigabyte, AMD, Intel, Motorola, Creative, Belkin, .....
100% Agreed.
And when you wake up tomorrow morning forget putting on your clothes and shoes. Maybe you can drink water from the faucet. Don't bother starting your car either. Virtually Everything and Anything you come in contact with has major and lesser components made under these conditions.

That is not to say it's alright, but the idea is to head off ill advised campaign. A slam fest of Apple without noting the very shoes you walk in are probably made under similar conditions. And I'm Not an Apple fanboi. A PC user and I don't own any Apple products.

CupOWonton
06-13-2006, 09:40 PM
The final solution :
Millions of robotic workers attached to modular assembly lines along with robotic workers to do every other usual manual labor task.

... I give it 200 years.

JeroenDStout
06-13-2006, 09:57 PM
The final solution :
Millions of robotic workers attached to modular assembly lines along with robotic workers to do every other usual manual labor task.

... I give it 200 years.
Robotic.. or... organic. Genetically altered to care for nothing but production. Workers, not even our kin, making our products, our lives! And never they could revolt. It had be erased.

PatternRecognition
06-13-2006, 09:58 PM
There are robots NOW that are better at these things than humans. They've been around for years, but here's the scoop - it's cheaper to hire people. Sad, eh?

Saurus
06-13-2006, 10:09 PM
My only take on this situation is...yes...a good chunk of western companies use cheap 3rd world labourers to create their products. A lot of Apple competitors does this, so does Apple. It just kills me how some Apple fanboy looks at Apple competitors as some greedy, out to destroy the whole world companies, when Apple them self have the same ambition. Please separate flashy wholesome Apple commercials from reality.

alexyork
06-13-2006, 10:36 PM
personally i don't see why so many people are so keen to spend enormous amounts of cash on overpriced, underfeatured products anyway... there are plenty of better alternatives out there. if you have a problem with Apple's practices then it's not like giving up TV or soap... there's always something else to choose from. naturally the alternatives, in this case, are probably produced in a similar fashion, but at least the exploitation is relatively less with smaller, cheaper manufacturers. and no, i'm not an Apple-hater. i just choose not to buy their products, for the reasons I just gave. same deal with Nike, GAP etc. Plenty of better alternatives out there guys...

as for the actual practice of sweatshops... well, even if Apple are one of many companies involved in this, they still choose to use that particular place and that's unacceptable in my opinion. a company as enormous as Apple could afford to pay decent wages, or find a manufacturing plant that is willing to. as always it all comes down to ethics and people's willingness to work for ridiculously low wages just to put food on the table.

colintheys
06-13-2006, 10:37 PM
The issues involved with this sort of labor (and for those of you who doubt it exists - it's time for a wake up call... I have friends who have worked in such places before emigrating with educational grants...) are far too complex for me to offer a single, comprehensive opinion about. On the one hand I understand the reality of the business world today, but on the other I am outraged by the exploitation of people in such factories. There is sadly nothing unusual about the picture painted by this article, whether or not it is true.

However, assuming it's true, I think this article is not just "senseless apple bashing" for calling them out for a common business practice because Apple has cultivated an image as being a liberal, employee-friendly, quality-focused company that does not generally practice the same sorts of ruthless "anything for an extra buck of profit" tactics of their competetion. The company image is a big part - if not most - of what justifies their higher prices. If their products are made just like all the others, what justifies the higher prices? The fact that an ipod is shiny and white?

It is never a bad thing to be aware of the practices of the companies you use. That said, according to consumer-awareness pages like buyblue.org, Apple is still quite a few steps above the competetion in terms of progressive business practices: http://www.buyblue.org/node/251/view/summary I try whenever possible to support companies like Costco over walmart based on information from sites like buyblue. It's one no-hassle way to support better business practices.

Teyon
06-13-2006, 10:48 PM
I do think it's just wrong the way they're treated, I can't comment on the pay, as I don't know the exchange over there but the treatment warrants action of some kind.

As an aside, Cronholio, if it's simply a matter of numbers for you, I'm fairly certain that there's at least 10 million people in the US who are out of work and would kill for a job putting IPods (or anything) together. Shelters and streets are overflowing with them...at least in New York they are (our population in NY on a slow day is around 3 million).

monovich
06-13-2006, 10:48 PM
I think just putting this aside as a "bad Apple" is making it too easy.

I agree. If it's all true than apple is at fault, but it's hypcritical to think that EVERYONE in America doesn't share the blame for this condition existing in China. We demand low prices and we turn a blind eye.

It's so easy to say "shame on you". A more honest response would be to not purchase products from Chinese factories that exploit workers (or factories from any other country). But of course, if we did that we'd be naked, homless... who knows is life even possible if you only buy ethical products?

Today I bought a nice low cost external hard drive enclosure. I searched the web until I found a very nice cheap one. I was shocked that such a nice enclosure made of aluminum could be so cheap and good looking: made in China.

I'll admit that I'm part of the problem, and I have no idea what to do about it.

-sf

stew
06-13-2006, 10:57 PM
That said, according to consumer-awareness pages like buyblue.org, Apple is still quite a few steps above the competetion in terms of progressive business practices: http://www.buyblue.org/node/251/view/summary I try whenever possible to support companies like Costco over walmart based on information from sites like buyblue. It's one no-hassle way to support better business practices.
This website is weird. This is being from a positive rating for Nike:
Phil Knight, the founder and chairman of Nike, also admitted that the firm had failed to respond to previous allegations of exploitation, and disclosed that a quarter of its factories were still not meeting minimum standards.
Where this is a negative rating for Microsoft:
After years of delays, false hopes and procedural haggling, the contract workers who sued Microsoft in 1992 for denying them benefits are finally getting paid this month. Thousands of long-term temporary workers hired during Microsoft's early growth spurt sued because they were denied benefits given to regular employees.
In the "Labor & Human Rights" category, Nike gets a much better rating than Microsoft. Now, say what you want about Microsoft, but which of the two companies is admittedly using sweatshop labor and which is not?

Creed
06-13-2006, 11:00 PM
How can anyone say it's Apple's fault about poor working conditions or it's their responsibilty to
improve working conditions when they are just clients of a Chinese manufacturer? They don't
actually own the land, pay the workers, or the run sweatshops in China? They have no control over them?
They only pay the manufacturer to make their products? Everything is run by the Chinese?

Cronholio
06-13-2006, 11:00 PM
Apple did just buy a huge amount of property along with a 107,000 square foot ex-data center. They may be planning on having tighter control over their manufacturing processes. They've not had such good luck with the overseas manufacturing, and they have a history or liking control over each step. They may also be starting their own ISP or telecom to coincide with an iphone...

http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1565
http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1700

And they backed out of plans to establish an india dell-like support center: http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1786

Finding a plot of land for a huge factory isn't a problem, finding a huge plot of land and 10's of thousands of local people to staff that plant is. 107,000 square feet is nothing when you are comparing it to a factory in China that employs 200,000 people working around the clock. 107,000 square feet will support about 700-1,500 workers depending on how space is partitioned. We are talking about factories here with the workforce of the size of North American city like Raleigh Durham North Carolina.

maX_Andrews
06-14-2006, 01:06 AM
I have friends who have worked in such places before emigrating with educational grants...) are far too complex for me to offer a single, comprehensive opinion about. On the one hand I understand the reality of the business world today, but on the other I am outraged by the exploitation of people in such factories. There is sadly nothing unusual about the picture painted by this article, whether or not it is true.

However, assuming it's true, I think this article is not just "senseless apple bashing" for calling them out for a common business practice because Apple has cultivated an image as being a liberal, employee-friendly, quality-focused company that does not generally practice the same sorts of ruthless "anything for an extra buck of profit" tactics of their competetion. The company image is a big part - if not most - of what justifies their higher prices. If their products are made just like all the others, what justifies the higher prices? The fact that an ipod is shiny and white?

Quoted for absolute agreement.

Just because a lot of people do it doesn't ever make it right. I'm upset that apple is tied to these practices, and I hope that they will improve upon them.

There are several factors that damage comapnies with better business practices. The first is that they are usually smaller companies, which means their products cost more to produce. The second is that they have to rely on other companies to assemble and distribute their products, and thus they cost even more, thereby never really competing with the other dirtier businesses. But there are exceptions. A vertically integrated pipeline like for example costco, american aparrel, or trader joe's means that smaller companies can charge less because there is no middle-man to jack up the prices. But this requires capital and investors who are willing to take a bit of a risk, and with things they way they are, they are becoming less and less common.

wombat778
06-14-2006, 01:09 AM
Seems to me that the ethics and economics of this are far too complex for a simple "good" or "bad" answer.

As someone living in the US, I certainly don't enjoy reading about the relatively low standards of living there. However, IMHO the answer is NOT to refuse to buy Chinese goods or to pay people wages that are artificially inflated relative to their labor market. The fact is that China currently has a comparative advantage in wage labor. China produces labor intensive goods more efficiently than almost anywhere else, which is precisely the reason why so many companies manufacture there. To prevent China from using this advantage is to stunt the country's economic development and ability to turn from a developing country into a developed one.

That said, I fully support companies making as much of an effort as possible to improve working conditions within the economic realities of China's labor market. But I believe that requiring companies to pay workers $20 an hour when the rest of the labor market pays $0.20 will only cause companies not to use Chinese labor, and will ultimately destroy the long-term economic future of the rest of China's people.

Just my 2c.

brkn
06-14-2006, 01:19 AM
For those interested in this kind of subject, there was a good documentary, supported by Nokia (so draw your conclusions with that in mind) called 'Made in China', about a team sent to one of Nokia's Chinese manufacturing facilities to do an audit of what was going on there. Quite interesting, if not worrying.

http://www.spinwatch.org/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=8

PyRoT
06-14-2006, 05:05 AM
I would agree that the answer is not to stop buying these products as they are better off with those low wages than none at all. Having said that, companies should pay them more as you certanly can't get by very well working for so little money. Add in the hours nd working conditions and it becomes apalling. The problem is that society is too used to this to stop it easily. It's a vicious circle.

I serious however, cannot see how there isn't at least some international LAW against this sort of thing. Of course if one company decides to be ethical they will collapse. If we simply forced these companies to pay these people more it would be better. I mean seriously, go ahead, pay these people less but even $50 a week is absolutely evil! Considering the hours even, a normal worker in the US would make more than that in one day. They should at least pay them 1/3 or 1/4 of the US wage but not such a low amount. It's almost free. This really saddens me as I have actually not thought about this for a while. I can't help but describe this western society of ours as insanely tyrannical. We are basically pillaging and raping the world in order to have all this shit we doesn't actually make us any happier.. just helps us see ourselves as higher on the social status rankings..

Having said that, it is perfectly fine to bash apple. The so-called great humanitarian Bono should definetly not associate himself with this company. Does apple even do anything for the poor people in the world. I don't really know but I do know that Bill Gates does and everyone keeps on bashing him and his company. Thirdly, Apple tries to portray itself as a "good " company with healthy practices. And finally, even though they are taking so much advanatge of cheap labor, they still sell all their products at very inflated prices. This last point alone makes them pretty bad in my eyes.

I don't know, this s really sad. it is very depressing and I am embarrased for humanity for being so selfish. Sure there is always people on top but when those people intentionally try to rise higher at everyone elses expense it's terrible.

And I really don't like the way some people don't seem to care about this as it is normal.

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
--Jiddu Krishnamurti

Tomek

PS - Sorry but I find this very saddenning and inexcusable. Having said that, I am a huge hypocrite myself...

ndog
06-14-2006, 05:24 AM
There was a recent documentary about the Chinese company that makes Mardi Gras beads showing the similar working conditions. The owner also talked about punishing workers who didn't make their quotas.

The workers were quite suprised to find out what the beads actually used for and what they sold for in the U.S. when compared to their wages.

http://www.mardigrasmadeinchina.com/news.html

Peddy
06-14-2006, 05:45 AM
having a job: fandamntastic
working under these speculated conditions: not so 'tastic. not even 'tastic-ish. not even ish!

PyRoT
06-14-2006, 05:45 AM
There was a recent documentary about the Chinese company that makes Mardi Gras beads showing the similar working conditions. The owner also talked about punishing workers who didn't make their quotas.

The workers were quite suprised to find out what the beads actually used for and what they sold for in the U.S. when compared to their wages.

http://www.mardigrasmadeinchina.com/news.html

The reactions of some of those young Americans was pretty pathetic. Didn't want to ruin their party mood..

TheLostVertex
06-14-2006, 07:06 AM
I though religious thread weren't allowed on cgtalk, I'd expect these apple threads to be closed immediately :D

-Steven

Per-Anders
06-14-2006, 07:08 AM
hey isn't this the same company that this guy who "invented the internet" and yet likes to fly everywhere by jet is a director of? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497116/

spikkel
06-14-2006, 07:55 AM
And here are some of the "richer" people.

http://photomichaelwolf.com/100x100/

Note that each photo is of the entire flat. And this is Hong Kong, not even mainland China.

PatternRecognition
06-14-2006, 09:26 AM
And here are some of the "richer" people.

http://photomichaelwolf.com/100x100/

Note that each photo is of the entire flat. And this is Hong Kong, not even mainland China.

http://photomichaelwolf.com/the_real_toy_story/

Looking at this and the rest of the gallery while listening to The Wall by Pink Floyd (esp the first parts of the album) - wow. Intense experience. And numbing.

opus13
06-14-2006, 09:32 AM
The fact of the matter is:

a) You'll never know how much of this is true and how much isn't. If I was worker in that place and was offered a bit of cash on the side by a wealthy Western tabloid to "sex up" my work experience at the expense of Apple I'd do it.

before spouting (bad) conspiracy theories, do some research. this article cites the conditions surrounding an apple product, but it goes for many, many other products as well. "company camps" have existed in this manner for some time, and there is no reason for them to stop.

here. i'll help get you started in your research: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=chinese+sweatshop&btnG=Google+Search

JDex
06-14-2006, 09:53 AM
Apple has responded to the recent claims of poor working conditions at iPod factories in China, stating that it takes the allegations seriously and that it is looking into the charges.

http://ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/apple-responds-to-ipod-sweatshop-claims/

pixelmonk
06-14-2006, 11:17 AM
I agree. If it's all true than apple is at fault, but it's hypcritical to think that EVERYONE in America doesn't share the blame for this condition existing in China. We demand low prices and we turn a blind eye.
-sf

I'm not sure who you speak for, with regards to your view on EVERYONE in America needs to share this blame. Screw... :X I'll let you bare this cross all by yourself. It's purely ignorant to think everyone in America (and only America) is to blame. Prices wouldn't be any different in the US if they didn't have a factory in China. Prices wouldn't be any cheaper around the world if they didn't have a factory in China. You get the point about the American consumer not being the only consumer of iPods on the planet? Good. Consumers "demanding" a lower price, as you claim, doesn't do anything for a company. Also, they would still charge the consumer the same price if it were built the US. Apple and it's contractors are at fault Cheaper labor means more money in the coffers. Of course China won't step in to rectify the issue. After all, the factory is in their country. They want that economic growth, even at the expense of some of its workers. As for turning a blind eye.. yeah that's an issue. It's up to you as an individual how you want to handle it. Some may start boycotting Apple. Some may write to their congressman/woman. Some in other countries may do something completely different. Some may even want to slash Jobs' tires on his Pious.. err Prius.

Rev9
06-14-2006, 11:46 AM
It's abhorant and inhumane.

I urge everyone who has a problem with this to stop purchasing and using all consumer electronics and products made with microprocessor/circuit board technology. All of these products were made in similar conditions. I also urge everyone disgusted by such practices to blame Apple, Sony, Phillips, Toshiba, RCA, JVC, LG, Samsung, Tyan, DFI, Gigabyte, AMD, Intel, Motorola, Creative, Belkin, Kensington, OCD, Corsair and every other manufacturer of such products equally. Furthermore please publically berate and flog yourself and every person that you see using an electronic device, you and they are the root of the problem. Focusing exclusively on Apple is hypocritical and childish.

Yeah,. What these workers need to climb out of the agricultural society they lived in where a 16 hour day got them a shitload of rice at the end of a growing season is for everybody to stop buying their goods and send them back to the now no longer existent fields. There is a grand recipe for mayhem. Perhaps you could interest Dumsfield in this strategy to knock China down. Frankly, my former drummer is in the far east. He eats for 50 cents a day..Curried shrimp, veggies, rice, fish, lobster, steak. His rent for an air conditioned apartment on the beach is 75USD/month. He bought food for seven brits travelling there and paid a grand total of 6 bucks for enough food and beer for seven people, including five main dishes, appetizers and all the rice they could down. Ya wanna bitch for a worker getting parity to buy what he needs in his economy? Start griping for the minimum wage earners in the US. Hell 10USD/hour will not get you a cheap apartment (750USD/month for a cheap one bedroom here) pay your utilities AND put groceries on the table daily after taxes get yanked. By ratio they have less money for living and eating than these Chinese do. And if you were ever in any ghetto project I suggest that an armed security presence and belligerent uniformed personell are part and parcel of that gig. Frankly I would like to see the ghetto rapper thugs get down and do some pushups.. What horrible punishment. It could like make your shoulders get stronger and develop your triceps and improve circulation .. cannot have any of that happening. Couch potatoes everywhere will be up in arms.

Wake up and smell the roses. The US is one big sweatshop.

Yer Pal
BirdTribe

UrbanFuturistic
06-14-2006, 11:52 AM
We demand low prices and we turn a blind eye.Best thing about that quote, of course, is the implication that there's any connection between Apple and low prices. I mean, they're not Walmart now are they.

DrQuincy
06-14-2006, 12:05 PM
before spouting (bad) conspiracy theories, do some research. this article cites the conditions surrounding an apple product, but it goes for many, many other products as well. "company camps" have existed in this manner for some time, and there is no reason for them to stop.

here. i'll help get you started in your research: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=chinese+sweatshop&btnG=Google+Search

I'm not "spouting" conspiracy theories, bad or otherwise. I'm making the point that a lot of people's sources of reference are often of spurious origin. You're a good example of that because you think putting some keywords into Google constitutes research.

CupOWonton
06-14-2006, 02:30 PM
Ya wanna bitch for a worker getting parity to buy what he needs in his economy? Start griping for the minimum wage earners in the US. Hell 10USD/hour will not get you a cheap apartment (750USD/month for a cheap one bedroom here) pay your utilities AND put groceries on the table daily after taxes get yanked. \
Someone in another thread was trying to convince me that if someone cant get their dreamjob they should flip burgers.
I dont know of anywhere in the US you can have a place to live, and food to eat for mininmum wage without being slave labour and working double shifts.

deadplant155
06-14-2006, 06:30 PM
How is this a rumour?...
How is this news?...

do people seriously still not know about manufacturing plants in china? what do you think the "made in china" sticker means? this has been going on forever....if you don't like it don't buy the products, but you'll basically not buy anything at all....

maX_Andrews
06-14-2006, 07:00 PM
Apple's response to the issue at hand:
http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?home&NewsID=14935

RobertoOrtiz
06-16-2006, 01:25 PM
Apple eyes labor conditions at iPod plant

Quote:
"Apple Computer Inc. is investigating claims of poor working conditions at a Chinese iPod factory, the company said Friday, vowing not to tolerate any labor violations.
The company was responding to a report by a British newspaper, the Mail on Sunday, that alleged workers at an unnamed iPod factory were paid as little as $50 to work 15-hour shifts making the devices.
The Mail's report did not provide many details about the location or ownership of the factory, but its allegations provoked a vigorous response from Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif."

>>LINK<< (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060616/ap_on_hi_te/china_apple_computer;_ylt=AlkFzKTOrEarWD40crj.Jvus0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3cjE0b2MwBHNlYwM3Mzg)

-R

RobertoOrtiz
06-16-2006, 01:32 PM
Well Apple just launched an investigation. This is HUGE egg on their face.

I wonder how the ad will be?
"Hi I am an Apple and I run sweatshops "

All kidding aside, if true, and it seems it is, they should had a better standards and practices department for their manufacturing division.
-R

UrbanFuturistic
06-16-2006, 01:50 PM
Actually, now that it's appeared in the Mail on Sunday I'm less inclined to believe it.

PhantomDesign
06-16-2006, 01:59 PM
You can probably dig up dirt like this on ANY large company. You delegate tasks to other corportations & eventually somewhere down the line, someone somewhere does stuff like this or worse. It doesn't justify sweat shots, however it's impractical and illogical to boycot companies based on ONE connection to some sweatshop somewhere. If the entire company is supported by sweatshops, then we have a problem.

P.S. I am NOT an apple fan, but I think ignorance is a bigger problem than propriotery ugly products.

P.S.S. I think you would have to compare this to normal working conditions in that region to determine whether or not people are actually being exploited. What may appear to be sweat shop from our perspective might be a major improvement in another country.

thomaspecht
06-16-2006, 09:14 PM
sure, many companys are probably manufacturing their products under similar conditions. apple however is some kind of a luxury brand - or at least tries to come off that way, not like your el-cheapo whitebox product. they pretend to be better than the average, stylish and whatnot.
if rolls-royce or jaguar manufactured their cars in china, would you buy into the whole luxury thing or be willing to pay their high prices, knowing that they produced it as cheaply as possible under horrible conditions?

as for the issue: i don't think we are paying less for products these days than we used to when these were made "at home". the manufacturers however probably are earning more from producing cheaply and selling their stuff at the old prices. should be true for most brand products. all IMO of course.

pgp_protector
06-16-2006, 09:25 PM
Someone in another thread was trying to convince me that if someone cant get their dreamjob they should flip burgers.
I dont know of anywhere in the US you can have a place to live, and food to eat for mininmum wage without being slave labour and working double shifts.

The Military :D

They supply your housing & food, you do what your told when your told, and work as long as they tell you to work, and the pay is great ;)

(NOTE: Was in the USMC, so this is in jest for those of us with broken funny bones)

bobakabob
06-16-2006, 10:15 PM
Good thread. The unseemly business practices of some multinationals need exposing. Rather sad - indeed shocking - to read the replies of some who think this is some kind of "hoax", "rumour" or "conspiracy theory". Much of the glorious bubble of hi tech toys in the West is founded on sweatshop slavery in the East (not to mention West). Clearly an unpalatable truth.

jud
06-17-2006, 11:42 AM
I have read several online reports about apple is going to investigate this and that, and that they never knew about these conditions, that to me is just a load of corporate crap, if I owned a company and sub-contracted work to another country to make my product you can be damn sure I would have staff visiting those sites on a regular basis and reporting back to me about all the goings on etc. even before sub-contracting out the work I would want to know how much it would cost per unit and how can it be made for such a low price, and you can bet your a** that any company in their right mind would do the same, I dont own an I-pod mainly because I hate the way it has to be used, that round rub your thumb roulette wheel thing makes a mockery of my well evolved thumb and fingers, I dont care where a product is made, at the end of the day it is the employees responsibility to know their rights, if they don't then they will get used and taken advantage of, and if they don't have any rights they have to fight for them, and im sure that most of the workers in china know very little about employee rights in other countries due to how China keeps a tight lid on all information coming into and going out of the country, but I know for sure that any rational human being knows when they are being treated unfairly and has an accurate sense of right and wrong.....people run countries not the suits or politicians.

But im sure someone here will contradict or shoot down everything I have just said, and I welcome it.

PyRoT
06-17-2006, 12:35 PM
I have read several online reports about apple is going to investigate this and that, and that they never knew about these conditions, that to me is just a load of corporate crap, if I owned a company and sub-contracted work to another country to make my product you can be damn sure I would have staff visiting those sites on a regular basis and reporting back to me about all the goings on etc. even before sub-contracting out the work I would want to know how much it would cost per unit and how can it be made for such a low price, and you can bet your a** that any company in their right mind would do the same, I dont own an I-pod mainly because I hate the way it has to be used, that round rub your thumb roulette wheel thing makes a mockery of my well evolved thumb and fingers, I dont care where a product is made, at the end of the day it is the employees responsibility to know their rights, if they don't then they will get used and taken advantage of, and if they don't have any rights they have to fight for them, and im sure that most of the workers in china know very little about employee rights in other countries due to how China keeps a tight lid on all information coming into and going out of the country, but I know for sure that any rational human being knows when they are being treated unfairly and has an accurate sense of right and wrong.....people run countries not the suits or politicians.

But im sure someone here will contradict or shoot down everything I have just said, and I welcome it.

Naah, I won't shoot down everything hehe
I think that Apple did know. It s one of those things that you assume when you outsource work to China. As for rights violations? Well, even if those employees got their rights, those would still be considered highly exploitative by western standards. They can't pretend it's right even if those employers did do things by the book. Refere to the analogy someone made about a rolls-royce being made in china..

I dont think I agree with that whole knowing your rights thing. In China it may be a simple choice between exploitation and just enough money to get by, or no work at all. Do you think Chinese authorities would care if you tried to stand up for yourself and were fired? I doubt it.

I think China is a despicable country. Just because so much of our production depends on them and their human rights abuse, we let them have their way. Search engines giving up information that leads to arrests is just terrible in my opinion. It is to me a big contradiction for Google in my eyes. Not sure if they did that but I don't know how we governments don't put pressure on such countries to change.

Tomek

Solothores
06-17-2006, 12:54 PM
;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFAeEJ6-07Y&search=corporation

jud
06-17-2006, 04:38 PM
I dont think I agree with that whole knowing your rights thing. In China it may be a simple choice between exploitation and just enough money to get by, or no work at all. Do you think Chinese authorities would care if you tried to stand up for yourself and were fired? I doubt it.

I hear what you are saying and respect your opinion and I do agree to some extent but if you are talking about one person, then the effect would be minimal to non-existent if they tried to get some rights etc. but if 200,000 of those workers stopped work then they would have a problem, and of course they would not get paid and then the only logical option for them would be to go on hunger strike seeing as they have no money for food anyway.
These people would in effect then be stripped of food, money, shelter, dignity and all other things we take for granted because of the strike and when you have people against you that have nothing to loose, you have a serious foe to overcome, then the news of the strike would spread to other sweat shops by word of mouth, and the international public would get wind of it and the ordinary man/woman on the street would see the slavery and abuse, and ask how is this happening in this day and age and why...?
As for me, im getting really annoyed about this the more I read about it, I foolishly thought there were only 1 or 2 places that did this, but now my eyes are open and im pi***d, and I plan on doing something about it, not buying the products will not work, something more needs to be done.

But thank the heavens me, you and most of the world live in a society that lets us talk and disagree about such things.

PyRoT
06-17-2006, 06:34 PM
I hear what you are saying and respect your opinion and I do agree to some extent but if you are talking about one person, then the effect would be minimal to non-existent if they tried to get some rights etc. but if 200,000 of those workers stopped work then they would have a problem, and of course they would not get paid and then the only logical option for them would be to go on hunger strike seeing as they have no money for food anyway.
These people would in effect then be stripped of food, money, shelter, dignity and all other things we take for granted because of the strike and when you have people against you that have nothing to loose, you have a serious foe to overcome, then the news of the strike would spread to other sweat shops by word of mouth, and the international public would get wind of it and the ordinary man/woman on the street would see the slavery and abuse, and ask how is this happening in this day and age and why...?
As for me, im getting really annoyed about this the more I read about it, I foolishly thought there were only 1 or 2 places that did this, but now my eyes are open and im pi***d, and I plan on doing something about it, not buying the products will not work, something more needs to be done.

But thank the heavens me, you and most of the world live in a society that lets us talk and disagree about such things.

Oh for sure! I agree 100%. If they could all strike then things would have to change.

The problem with this solution is that I wonder whether their bosses even make much moeny themselves. Secondly, they're used to this, it is the way of life there and they may not know much better. THey might see it as a hopeless situation.

However, as asian cultures are supposed to be more collective rather than individualistic it should be possible. If you know a bit of US civil rights history, the bus system boycott that Martin Luther King Jr. inspired was a really huge achievement. It took a long time and a lot of determination. They all walked for a while before discrimination was abolished.

The difference here is that the Chinese have a lot more leverage. If they went on a strike, then they would have to be paid more as the world simply would stop turning if they stopped working. Much more serious than a bus boycott.

Also, I too get really upset when i hear such things. I personally do not understand how companies making such a huge profit margin comapred to the labor cost and explitation are not guilty of some kind of human rights violations...

DrQuincy
06-17-2006, 10:19 PM
;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFAeEJ6-07Y&search=corporation

It's a shame Michael Moore is in that video; if he wasn't he was it might have had some credibility.

vsPiotr
06-18-2006, 12:36 AM
SBS in Australia recently had a documentary about a woman from Nokia and an independent advisor going on a visit to a massive factory in China to see if they have ethical standards so that Nokia wouldn't get in trouble by getting their chargers made there.
Similar story. 2000+ workers, all live in dorms, get paid legal minimum wage but they must live in the dorms and pay rent, must buy food there, if they're late 5 min, they loose 1/2 hour pay. Lots of other penalties during a 10hr+ day.
The english chap that was running it said "we have contracts but we don't get anyone to sign them because we could get sued that way." and "we don't comply 100% with the law but we do comply with market forces".
And all this they were willing to show on camera, all the time I was having this feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg...
The "funny" thing was that the Nokia reps in the end said that they didn't really have a problem with this.

(if anyone else saw this show, probably a few months back now, please post the title).

[written on a chinese made keyboard, whilst sitting on a chinese made office chair all whilst wearing sneakers that were probably made by kids in a 3rd world country.]

Stahlberg
06-18-2006, 03:50 AM
if you are talking about one person, then the effect would be minimal to non-existent if they tried to get some rights etc. but if 200,000 of those workers stopped work then they would have a problem,
Hardly, that country has over a billion potential workers they'd just ship as many as they want in from some far province.

These people would in effect then be stripped of food, money, shelter, dignity and all other things we take for granted because of the strike and when you have people against you that have nothing to loose, you have a serious foe to overcome
A romanticized view of what you wish would happen. In reality, the would-be strikers all realize they'd be left without food, money, shelter and dignity and would never start a strike in the first place.

then the news of the strike would spread to other sweat shops by word of mouth, and the international public would get wind of it and the ordinary man/woman on the street would see the slavery and abuse, and ask how is this happening in this day and age and why...?
More naivetee. Everyone there already knows. But ok, let's say you SOMEHOW through some magical means manage to start a general uprising of workers. Remember what happened when the students tried that? The military gets called in. Tanks, AK47, hundreds of thousands of soldiers from some far province (who feel no kinship with the protesters), demonstrators are killed, ringleaders rounded up and executed for disturbing the peace or treason or whatever...

The way to change China is not to cut it off from the West and boycott it. That will only send the country back to the 70's or 80's. Only when the average standard of living is raised in the provinces will workers start to demand better treatment. The only way is to keep pouring money into whatever capitalist cracks have appeared in the supposedly communist facade, and eventually the whole rotten commie regime will crumble like the Berlin wall.

jasondesigns
06-18-2006, 04:24 AM
Wake up and smell the roses. The US is one big sweatshop.

I have to say that this seems a little off base. Everybody knows that you can't live off minimum wage in the U.S. Of course you cant pay $750 usd a month and still have money to eat. I worked many crap jobs fresh out of highschool, and didnt have nearly enough money to pay the rent entirely for an apartment. I had to have as many as 4 roomates at a time. I still was able to put myself through college, and continually work towards my goal.
I think the main point is that these people in most cases dont have any other choice but to work at these places... its that or starve. And what will they be able to ascend to. You cannot take any classes / go to school if you work 15 hour days in a factory. I think the example of your friend is an exception.
As an American I recognise that we are a little spoiled with regards to worker rights / benefits. If you compare to the rest of the world. I live in Hong Kong, not even the mainland. I know that the way the majority of working class live and work would be hard to fathom for the average American.
Hey, back when I was making minimum wage... Sure I thought I should be able to have enough money for an apartment / food ... all of that. But I knew it was just not realistic. But I could always feel some comfort in the fact that if I work hard enough, I just might be able to elevate my existence. Not so for these workers.

opus13
06-18-2006, 04:48 AM
... I dont care where a product is made, at the end of the day it is the employees responsibility to know their rights...


i just wanted to preserve that bit for posterity.

brkn
06-18-2006, 11:49 AM
SBS in Australia recently had a documentary about a woman from Nokia and an independent advisor going on a visit to a massive factory in China

--

(if anyone else saw this show, probably a few months back now, please post the title).

it was this:
For those interested in this kind of subject, there was a good documentary, supported by Nokia (so draw your conclusions with that in mind) called 'Made in China', about a team sent to one of Nokia's Chinese manufacturing facilities to do an audit of what was going on there. Quite interesting, if not worrying.

http://www.spinwatch.org/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=8

PyRoT
06-18-2006, 12:31 PM
I bet that no matter what this investigation leads too, nothing will change in the long run.

Myliobatidae
06-18-2006, 01:57 PM
Why do you think a 27" TV costs less than $200, its everywhere, the only way to stop it, is to stop buying pretty much everthing, and it doesn't stop when you get to the US, all the illegal immagrants are being exploited in this way also...

Apoclypse
06-19-2006, 03:58 AM
Apple's image is suposed to be the laymens product, product for the people. Their commercials make everything else stark dreary and all about business. In 1984 they had the big brother campaign and apple were the ones who were ging to take on big brother. I think we've found out recently that Apple is just big brother with sneakers. After all the rampant suing (of users trying to fix what apple messed up btw) along with other things, and now this. I just see apple as another Microsoft. The bottom line is all that matters. Sure they'll look into it. When the media hype dies down they'll just keep on doing it as all other companies out there would do, but wasn't Apple supposed to be different?

Things like this, the hypocrsy casually flung around to bang a buck, is what I don't like about this country.

I wanted an Apple so badly, I defended them when i thought they were the good guys. Now I think I'll stick with linux and screw all these freaking hypocrite bug business bastards. I'm done with Apple.

JDex
06-19-2006, 04:40 AM
I wanted an Apple so badly, I defended them when i thought they were the good guys. Now I think I'll stick with linux and screw all these freaking hypocrite bug business bastards. I'm done with Apple.

It's so easy to say that... what are you gonna run the Linux OS on?

The resistors, capaciters, harddrive platters and nearly everything else inside of any computer you can buy come from a factory just like or worse than this alleged scenario... If you really want to change things like this, do things that can really lead to a solution, not choose to focus your anger towards one company that's playing by the exact same rules as all of their competition.

swampjesus
06-19-2006, 10:28 AM
Unfortunately, business is business. You may thank free market zones and outsourcing. In not so distant future, 3d wannabes might think about career change...

pixelmonk
06-19-2006, 01:55 PM
It's a shame Michael Moore is in that video; if he wasn't he was it might have had some credibility.

Michelle Moore has about as much credibility as a baboon's asscrack after being fed exlax. Of course that has nothing to do with the fact he spits out more bs than that baboon's asscrack.

UrbanFuturistic
06-19-2006, 02:30 PM
The resistors, capaciters, harddrive platters and nearly everything else inside of any computer you can buy come from a factory just like or worse than this alleged scenario... If you really want to change things like this, do things that can really lead to a solution, not choose to focus your anger towards one company that's playing by the exact same rules as all of their competition.

...aaand it'll cost a monkey's buttload less. I think the point is, at least with a PC running linux it'll cost a great deal less so why spend all that money on an Apple product when, as it turns out, it's still made in a Chinese sweatshop.

It's like spending 100,000 on a Bentley only to find Made in Taiwan stamped on the boot; if someone was thinking of buying an Apple because they thought maybe Apple were somehow more ethical and therefore worth the cost and now it turns out they're all the same, they're not still going to pay over the odds now when they can buy a PC from an equally 'ethical' company for a lot less.

wombat778
06-19-2006, 02:31 PM
For those interested in the issue of China and labor standards, you might consider checking out this article in today's London Times:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,29390-2231993,00.html

The article should help show why a simple "make labor standards better/improve wages" approach may not always work. Investors may just run away, leaving the country and its workers worse off than before.

Quote from the article:

He said: I dont think China has the luxury to put in labour laws that are totally out of reality. It cannot be in parallel with Europe. Business is attracted to China not only because of its labour costs but also because of its efficiency. If regulation starts to affect that and flexibility, then companies could turn to India, Pakistan and South-East Asia. He said that plans to cut the working week would be unpopular with companies and employees who want to do the work.

Pixlmonky
06-20-2006, 12:35 AM
A wierd way to think about it.....and I don't completely subscribe to it....

The way a product is priced is by finding out how much people will pay for it. Price it as high as you can and still have the right amount of people buying it. If you think of workers the same way, they get paid as little as possible and still have the right amount of workers to fill the factory. The difference in the US (and others) is that you have a choice, and there are labor laws.

I had to make a comment in the US minimum wage. It was/is never meant to be a carreer income. It is meant to keep younger workers from being exploited (among other thins obviously). Makes me laugh when people criticize it and want it raised. Think it thru. You raise minimum wage->overhead goes up->need to raise the cost of product->now the minimum wage earner can afford lees than they did before. Exact oposite of the stated intent.

Also...This is not an Apple bashing. The reason we are discussin Apple is because the article was written about them specifically, not because of "fanboyness". I garuentee that we will be using "insert company name here" within the next few months. Who was crying "fanboy" when it was Nokia or Cathy Lee Gifford? Comes up all the time with a different label on it.

It is a good debate to have. Should be discussed. Definitely disheartening.

Apoclypse
06-20-2006, 05:16 PM
It's so easy to say that... what are you gonna run the Linux OS on?

The resistors, capaciters, harddrive platters and nearly everything else inside of any computer you can buy come from a factory just like or worse than this alleged scenario... If you really want to change things like this, do things that can really lead to a solution, not choose to focus your anger towards one company that's playing by the exact same rules as all of their competition.

The image that apple potrays is that they don't play by the same rules as the other guys. I'm not saying that I think anything about business practices such as these, my point is that apple is trying to be something they are not. They are, just like you said, like very other wolf just dressed in sheeps clothing. The hypocrisy is what really gets to me not the whole sweat shop thing. The fact that they are acting like they knew nothing and are just findng out about the sh*t , is what really pisses me off. Listen you run a sweat shop admit it and show your true face, don't act like you have to investigate it. This underdog's got teeth.

JDex
06-20-2006, 11:45 PM
The image that apple potrays is that they don't play by the same rules as the other guys. I'm not saying that I think anything about business practices such as these, my point is that apple is trying to be something they are not. They are, just like you said, like very other wolf just dressed in sheeps clothing. The hypocrisy is what really gets to me not the whole sweat shop thing. The fact that they are acting like they knew nothing and are just findng out about the sh*t , is what really pisses me off. Listen you run a sweat shop admit it and show your true face, don't act like you have to investigate it. This underdog's got teeth.

They don't advertise anything about how all of their products are made entirely in the USA or that all laborers are "sweat" free or anything of the sort... they advertise that they make a superior performing product that is more secure and user freindly... they also tout their recycling programs. Whether their products are superior or more secure is a matter of great debate, they're recycling program is less subject to such debate... Any other notions are either your own, or there is some super-secret marketing campaign happening in your neighborhood that hasn't hit the web or rest of the world. I couldn't give a flip if you don't buy an Apple, but dismissing good tools because they compete directly with the people you'll buy from instead using the same business tactics IS entirely hypocritical.

opus13
06-21-2006, 07:04 AM
from the apple homepage... how apropos

http://images.apple.com/startpage/images/2006/05/nike_05242006.jpg

"all your sweatshop are belong to us"

sanyilajos
06-21-2006, 07:08 AM
hmmm I'm so surprised about all the angry people,
i work as an interior designer and 3d artist at a company who pays me 250 euro/month,
wich is 316 $, now i work 9 hour per day and i work another 4 hours Saturday.
NO no, i dont live in China, but In Romania ( its in easter europe) and my salary is considerd to be good/acceptable.
If the pour chines earn 50$ per week then believ me that is a good salary fot them, espacialy you have no ideea whats the real value of 50$ is in china.

China is the country with the fastet growing economy, and soon .. cheep products will flod all europ and US, for example cheep ceramic tiles made in china is grabing more market share in Europ, puting local manifacturers to cheange their strategy, they cannot compete in price only in quality.

greekdish
06-22-2006, 09:26 AM
The final solution :
Millions of robotic workers attached to modular assembly lines along with robotic workers to do every other usual manual labor task.

... I give it 200 years.

And then we will have stories in the newspaper or online of how cruel we treat these robots, and never giving them breaks, or never oiling their moving parts, or not paying them anything. :rolleyes:

Its funny how 200,000 workers make iPod's....Since Apple first released their iPod, they have sold 50 million....which makes ONLY about 250 ipods per worker....when did Apple sell their first iPod?? 3 years ago? Didnt realize it takes a week to build an iPod. :deal:

I think Apple should fire these lazy employees and hire a whole bunch of hard working Indians. :thumbsup:

dfidler
06-24-2006, 11:52 AM
I really shouldnt get into this, but I cant help myself. I have read through all of the posts and links posted so far and have found this subject to be interesting. However, the 'lets boycot corporate America (or whichver country) or write our Congressman" thing really bugs me, so I feel the need to bring some things up that will hopefully not be ignored because I am typing this while being really annoyed.

On wages - The dollar wages suck by American standards but not by Chinese standards. The chinese are not in America, I thought that was kind of obvious from the article. Security guards and waitresses makes $25/month (non coastal chinese cities). Wages, too, are about supply and demand and China has a suplus of workers.

On costs of goods in China - $400 for a PS2; These are in the cities mate. Hong Kong is *in* China, so your statement is technically correct. Did you know that rents are higher in Hong Kong that similarly sized housing in Silicon Valley or New York? What conclusions do you draw from that?

Minimum wage employees in the US make ~1200 USD/month (160 hours/month * $7/hr = 1160/month). A PC will cost ~$1000 USD to your door. What conclusions do you draw from that?

On 15 hour work days - I routinely work 15 hour work days and so do most of us in the software industry. Do we do it because we like it? No. We do it because it is the norm, because consumers demand more and because corporations have become really good at manipulating their employees. We do it because we know that if we don't, the company will just hire some wet-behind-the-ears kid who will. However, if you stop buying software because you think I need saving, please... think again. I'd rather have a job so that I can pay my rent, feed my family, etc. Actually, please.. BUY MORE!

On paying rent - Are you kidding me? You think that they shouldn't have to pay rent? Grow up! Oh, wait, you meant that they should not need to pay 50% of their wage on housing? 40-50% of net income is typical for housing in US households.

On forced to rent from the factory - American history not 100 years ago; mining camps. Read up. Too far back? Logging camps and Oil patches in Canada and the US today. No really, read up.

On China's 'Industrial Revolution' - For much of the country, China is going through the equivalent of the Industrial Revolution. If you remember your grade 11/12 studies, the Indus. Rev. was especially important to 'Western' culture for it's economic impact (if this subject interests you, please read world bank studies, WTO studies, you will see some amazing parallels to US development). It is also known as a period of child labour, deplorable working conditions and exploitation (by today's local standard) as the farmers migrated from the fields into the cities in search of something better. You know what, they found it. 'Yeah, but it was 150 years ago!' And the majority of China is farm land, give them time. "But we're better now! We have learned!" Wake up!

On Penalties for being late, etc - No really, if you find their working conditions to be deplorable, remember that they are different from you culturally. Don't apply your culture to their lives. To do so is ignorant.

If you just can't help yourself, please don't write your congressman. I am sure that they have enough junk mail. If you must write a letter, please write it to the chinese government; I am sure that they take these sorts of complaints very seriously. :-/ Okay, so they could care less about what you say, but they do care about their economy where poverty is actually hurting them and acting as dead weight (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/11/AR2005071101710.html), and they need to find ways to solve the problem. Gee, they are doing it all on their own, without your letter. Gee, ain't that special. :-/

In Summation - The workers are going through what your forefathers did and the Chinese will either do likewise or not, but it is not your place to bring your values to their society. If you think that apple should not be employing these workers, then by all means, please don't buy their product, that is your right. Make statement! Rally us behind you and stunt the economic growth that has flourished in China! Take food from the mouths of those people in China. Remove the power that their working class has already gained. Remove all of the things that your forefathers used to pull themselves out from the gutter and be glad and happy that you made a difference. Yay you.

But please don't talk to me about how bad they have it when a net 400M chinese have actually improved their standard of living in the last four years.

You call these factories 'sanctioned slavery'? a) You are on glue. b) 'slavery' exists in every country in the world. If you don't see it, open your eyes. I urge you to quit your job and tell me what kind of grand living conditions you enjoy. Tell me that isn't slavery. "But I have the right to quit my job and find another!' And they don't (rhetorical question; actually, they do)? "But their only choice is to work at another sweatshop." Tell that to the guy that has no education in America. Talk to a factory worker in Detroit; what are his options?

Tell that to the Hispanics in California cleaning and fixing your roads. Tell that to the Negros manning nearly every counter and pump station in Southern America. Tell that to the slavics who are picking up your 'rubbish' in the morning or sweeping your streets in the UK. I don't want to turn this into a thread about racism, but seriously, there are entire groups of people in 'modern' cultures who are financially oppressed too.

"But he can get an education, he has choices!" We are what we experience. The people in these living conditions grow with each new generation, that's the way it is. Education in China costs $250/year for highschool, so the parents will kill themselves trying to give one of their kids a chance, just like mine did. Just like your parents or grandparents did.

You won't change their culture, money will. Money is an indisious tool. A weapon even more powerful than any individual because it acts as a catalyst for EVERY individual. They want it because it 'will make their lives better'. "But I am proposing that we boycot companies so they will get paid MORE". Which will feed inflation and widen the poverty gap even more making things worse. Your scenario still has the poor getting poorer... but they get there faster. Good job.

Why does the US value it's 'freedom' above all else? Do you think that word strikes a chord in [nearly] every American because the 'evil' Brits said, "Here you go". Do you think patriotism comes from a sense of welfare or achievement? No, it is because the US fought every step of the way for it, through pain, death and toil. Let the chinese ACHIEVE their own balance. Let them do it their way. Their country has had to endure 150 years of cultural and financial change in a couple of decades. Of course there is going to be chaos; their country is changing faster than their inhabitants can which causes dead weight.

No, what really annoys me is when we cling to our 'White Man's Burden'. When we think that it is our responsibility to make the world a better place. "We are better that you are, so you should be like us." Could we be any more pompus? I understand that your intentions are good, but I urge you to do a whole lot more research into China before you decide to pull your financial support away from them.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian, working for an American company while living in the UK. The company that I work for does not outsource to china or operate any 'sweatshops' except for those in the good ol' US of A and the EU.

PyRoT
06-25-2006, 06:04 AM
Seeing as that was your first post, Welcome dfidler! :)

I agree with what you say. My opinion simply is that though their sweatshop wages may be somewhat equivalent to minimum wage in the US, doesn't make either scenario acceptable. Both should be increased. The corporations hiring these people can easily afford an increase. As could many other small businesses providing the change was widespread.

Here in Australia, we do not have ghettos. Maybe I'm not aware of them but even if there was there are surely not near as bad as the US. We do have a minimum wage but you'd be hard pressed to find a job that actually pays it. The result is still a nice economy and most people being able to get by with some good management of their money.

As an exmaple, minimum wage here is around 12.80 I think. Most jobs pay above $17/h though. To be a data entry person, or outbound call centre person you get at least $18/h. Sure many of these jobs are starting to be outsourced to India but you can easily find such a job here if you want it. Either way, most people get enough money to make a decent life for themselves. So.. IMO, if we raised wages in the US and China, things would get better faster than boycotting or writing to congressman even though both of these things could be succesful in rising wages.

Tomek

kaiser_pro
06-25-2006, 11:37 AM
if you are all really worried about being morally upstanding then you must reseach two things:

Who are the poor sods who mine (largely by bare hand) all the tin used for soldering your electronics?

What do corperate entities do with the money that we give then in exchange from products?


there are some benevolent exceptions, how ever they are just that, not the rule


**end of moral crusading**

opus13
06-27-2006, 04:00 AM
I really shouldnt get into this, but I cant help myself. I have read through all of the posts and links posted so far and have found this subject to be interesting. However, the 'lets boycot corporate America (or whichver country) or write our Congressman" thing really bugs me, so I feel the need to bring some things up that will hopefully not be ignored because I am typing this while being really annoyed.


blah blah blah blah. get over yourself. no one is going to read your diatribe past the first 2 paragraphs, as it just comes across as an excuse and justification.

http://www.chinacsr.com/2006/06/26/foxconn-admits-breaking-labor-laws-in-china/

fact is that they were breaking the laws, and now apple is being thrown under the bus for giving their stamp of approval.

solidcg
06-27-2006, 09:52 AM
...

<<DELETED BY MODERATOR>>

Where's her freedom?

John-S
06-27-2006, 11:01 AM
Ok, Necessary? : (

kaiser_pro
06-27-2006, 12:53 PM
more to the point superfluous, seeing as its from the wrong continent. I doubt very highly that al jazeera is allowed into china, effectivly being a state run media entity with faint religious overtones.

RobertoOrtiz
06-27-2006, 01:29 PM
Ok this thread has gone off rails...



CLOSED!
-R