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Foxconn may replace workers at its plants with robots. The plants which have been dubbed as "hellish" by the Chinese media, also are cutting their sucide payouts. They already don't pay for workers who die of exhaustion.  (Source: Telegraph UK)

Foxconn is blame news orginizations' reporting of the deaths for provoking more suicides, dismissing that poor working conditions are to blame.  (Source: Southern Weekly)
Company also blames news networks for the suicides

Foxconn seemed to be turning the corner in working conditions and corporate policy.  It had raised employees' base wages and instituted additional performance based increases, as well.  It even had retracted its contract letters to employees demanding they didn't kill themselves.  Now the manufacturer -- which services Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and a host of other companies -- is turning to some controversial new changes.

First of all, at its annual shareholder meeting yesterday, Terry Gou, CEO of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry (owners of the Chinese Foxconn unit) blamed news agencies and company payouts for the rash of suicides.  He first read a letter from one of the employees who killed himself, which stated:
...now I'm going to jump off Foxconn, really leaving now, but you don't have to be sad, because Foxconn will pay a bit of money, this is all your son can repay you now.
He also stated that 6 of the 12 suicides, which occurred in May after the story received international attention, may have triggered a "Werther Effect" -- people reading about the story and deciding to kill themselves.  As a result, Gou is handing control over "welfare management work" to the Chinese local government, which may chose to block internet coverage for the events.

He also announced that Foxconn will no longer pay the families of employees who kill themselves.  Recently a worker died, apparently from exhaustion from working long hours and Foxconn refused to pay his family, as well.  The new policy, though, ends suicide payouts that could total as much as 10 years worth of salary.

Foxconn has also started to flee China, where it currently employs over 800,000 people.  In the shareholders meeting it said that the rise in wages from ¥900 ($132) to ¥1,200 ($176), and for top performers up to ¥2,000 ($293), is compelling it to move to countries with cheaper labor or seek alternative options. 

It says that it may replace employees with robots, building a fully automated assembly line in Taiwan.  This suggestion is somewhat ironic, given recent Foxconn factory workers' complaints that they felt like "robots" when performing their duties. 

Chairman Samuel Chen says that the company may also shift employees and orders to its Vietnam plant, where labor is cheaper.  Chen says that Foxconn is working with the companies that contract it to make these moves as smooth as possible.


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Just low....
By Freezebyte on 6/9/2010 11:46:39 AM , Rating: 4
I'm starting to question how much of my electronics stuff has been built upon the suffering of almost near human slavery across the ocean. I feel just as guilty as Foxconn for being part of the problem.

What to do about it is the hardest question, besides never owning and now will NEVER own any apple product period.




RE: Just low....
By Connoisseur on 6/9/2010 11:56:52 AM , Rating: 5
I wouldn't forget to throw in Microsoft, Sony, Samsung... really just about any major electronics manufacturer in the world. Don't they ALL do business in comparable plants? What about just about every "Made in China/Taiwan/India" product? It's a lot more dicey than just "Stop buying Apple"


RE: Just low....
By therealnickdanger on 6/9/2010 12:05:34 PM , Rating: 3
There's nothing you do. Even using your computer to discuss your disgust of the system is the result of sweatshop labor.


RE: Just low....
By Freezebyte on 6/9/2010 12:08:25 PM , Rating: 1
I guess I could become a liberal hippiem shun/hate everything electronic and corporate built, smoke pot and sing songs.

Oh wait, South Park already did that.....


RE: Just low....
By bupkus on 6/9/2010 2:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh wait, South Park already did that.....

But thanks for the humor... this subject was getting depressing. </sarcasm>


RE: Just low....
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just low....
By quiksilvr on 6/9/2010 1:36:07 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, last time I checked they sold:
40 million Xbox 360s
5 million Zunes/Zune HDs

Not to mention all the overpriced accessories and peripherals for those products.


RE: Just low....
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just low....
By ekv on 6/9/2010 1:54:12 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, software is their "primary" business. However, your original statement used the word "major". It was not clear you meant "primary".

http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/

MSFT is a major player in the hardware market. I don't think "OEM" is quite appropriate, but they are a major player.


RE: Just low....
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just low....
By hughlle on 6/10/2010 5:09:33 AM , Rating: 4
hahahaha, what a tool.
microsoft are big in software. microsoft are big in hardware. everyone knows this, name one person that is not aware of the xbox 360 :P

we rate you down cus you're dumb as f*** :)


RE: Just low....
By ekv on 6/10/2010 4:32:18 PM , Rating: 1
When I say that hardware is not their "primary" business am I not saying it is "NOT THEIR MAIN BUSINESS"?

I didn't say they were a pure hardware company, but they are a "major player". OEM isn't the right word, the correct term eludes me at the moment -- damnit, maybe I'm getting old -- but they sell tons of h/w. How many millions of xbox's? along with mice/kb, etc.

It's simply not factual to say otherwise. What do you think they are? Look at Google, or Citizen, etc. Any large conglomerate.


RE: Just low....
By rburnham on 6/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 12:06:41 PM , Rating: 4
I don't feel guilty. These guys signed up for the job, and they can quit if it's that bad. Sure, they feel like robots. Manufacturing is monkey work. I, for one, welcome robots replacing manufacturing personnel, just like I did when it started happening to our bloated and incompetent auto manufacturing industry here in the states. Robots... a higher initial investment, but higher productivity, less complication, and better precision.

Ask these people what they'd prefer... working at foxconn and being unhappy, or being homeless and poor and being unhappy. They signed up for the wages, the terms, and they will need to deal with it as long as they CHOOSE to remain employed there. They are at the point now where they could benefit from unions, like we were decades ago. It's up to them to get the ball rolling.

It's not the US's job to play police and fix everyone's problems around the globe. We unionized (though now it's hurting more than helping), we had our own revolution in 1776, we had our own civil war to sort out differences internally... but now we feel the need to meddle in every other country's internal reform evolution. We were allowed our natural growth, let's let them have theirs too. They will appreciate it a lot more when they initiate it and are successful rather than overseas corporations tossing them a bone every now and then to shut them up.


RE: Just low....
By MartyLK on 6/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 12:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Wow. Best response I've ever had. Explain to me again why it's MY problem that people take and keep jobs they hate? Why is it MY problem the Chinese gov't doesn't value worker health and happiness? What can I do about it? Nothing, really. It's their system and they are the only ones who can fix it.

How would you feel if one of the Islamic countries started using their oil money to pressure our government to act a certain way toward american citizens? Oh, wait, they do, and I'm sure you're not happy about that either.

Instead of calling ME the idiot, why don't you just take to heart that there is only one way to change government and its treatment, lack of protection, or oppression of its citizens. Here it is... the PEOPLE of that COUNTRY must get FED UP enough to CHANGE it. Until the breaking point is reached, it will be business as usual. And there's nothing I can do about it here in Indiana. It really is up to them.


RE: Just low....
By YashBudini on 6/10/2010 12:36:31 AM , Rating: 2
"Explain to me again why it's MY problem that people take and keep jobs they hate?"

The fact you asked that question.


RE: Just low....
By Klinky1984 on 6/10/2010 8:17:43 AM , Rating: 2
You're lucky you're not there because you weren't born in China. Billions of people don't have or barely have enough food to eat or water to drink & it's not because of shortages. You could very well have been born in a rural village in china or a war-torn country in Africa. A lot of the luxury you enjoy in life depends greatly on who your parents are. There isn't anything you can do about being born where you were born, but I think it's important to show some empathy for those who may not have as great an opportunity as you do rather than shrugging it off and going "sucks for them".

Admittedly being born in the USofA doesn't guarantee a life of luxury and really no where does, a lot rests on the individual. But people born into a repressive society run by corrupt communists, theocratic or crazy dictators really don't have a lot of options, they can't even leave their own country in some cases.


RE: Just low....
By BansheeX on 6/10/2010 4:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
Enough with the guilt trip. If you're so genuine in your concern, why don't you donate all of your extraneous belongings? No movies, no games, no books, no computer, no television, no cell phone, no extra pairs of clothes. Face facts man, if someone is being wronged, it's their responsibility to rise up. And if you want my opinion, it's not voluntarily contract agreements they should be pissed off about, it's involuntary currency devaluation. Chinese wages would be worth a lot more if China didn't soak up our inflation. They lend us money to buy their products in exchange for a never ending stream of IOU interest. Dollars do not have value unless they are eventually exchanged for goods. They are artificially suppressing their purchasing power to enhance ours. Is it stupidity or do our bankers control their politicians? Who freaking knows? But if they were to stop doing that, their production would suddenly be consumed from within instead of shipped here and we would be completely screwed for two decades at least.


RE: Just low....
By Klinky1984 on 6/11/2010 11:44:02 AM , Rating: 2
There is nothing that dictates any of those items need to be made by essentially child/slave labor. It is easy for you to say what you say because you're in a country that does not repress your freedom of speech or assembly.

Here is what happens to people who speak up:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/25/china-...

There will need to be a re-balancing of power and monetary wealth. Sustainability & a less profit driven world would be worthwhile ventures. The world is not a play thing for the top 10%.


RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 12:58:38 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
But you friggin want to still put ALL blame on them.


Yeah... I do, pretty much. Unless they were captured by thugs in trucks with assault rifles, dragged to the factory in shackles, and held there against their will under armed guard with dogs and spotlights... it IS pretty much their choice to stay. There's a pointed difference between a crappy job and slavery.


RE: Just low....
By The0ne on 6/9/2010 1:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
I think someone's in denial here. There's a cause/effect or rather demand/supply rule going on. No exact person/company/government/country is solely to blame.

To NOT understand this concept and put complete blame, in this case, in China is ludicrous not matter how smart you make it sound. I'm quite sure you agree after thinking about it further.


RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 1:36:41 PM , Rating: 5
I do agree with you that the world is driven by supply and demand of products. You are absolutely correct. Just like we share some blame with BP for the oil spill by demanding more more more cheap oil, this is the same type of situation with us demanding cheap electronics.

HOWEVER, I refuse to step away from the principle of CHOICE. These Chinese workers can unionize, group together, and stand up for what they feel they deserve. China, having the largest singular population of any place on Earth, it seems ridiculous to think they can't get it done if they are truly pushed to the point they won't take anymore. It will make our electronics cost a bit more. But there will still be demand, and we will still pay more over here in glorious america. While I agree with you that the problem is no one entity's FAULT, I continue to assert that it is the Chinese workers' RESPONSIBILITY to change it... not ours. If they are content living on $150 a month and that saves me $50 on the iPhone, you can bet I'll take it. But you can also bet I'll pay the extra $50 if they decide to stand up for themselves.

Guys like the ranty poster above are a lot of the problem. They are quick to call people like me who believe in responsibility uncaring and selfish. I see it all the time. I'm a social worker with a psychology degree. There are people who need it, and there are people who feel entitled to have others fix their problems for them. We are all dealt different hands in life, and we all have the responsibility to play them as well as possible. Some things we truly need help on, and other things it's up to us to man up, stand up, and fix them ourselves.

Please, don't call me uncaring or stupid for expecting people to do for themselves to some degree. If help is needed, sure, provide it. But only after they try (in earnest) to fix it themselves.


RE: Just low....
By TheDoc9 on 6/9/2010 2:00:59 PM , Rating: 5
By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.
-Adolf Hitler


RE: Just low....
By The0ne on 6/9/2010 2:12:01 PM , Rating: 4
Note quite that brash in my response. But you're making it way way way too simple in that the worker simply has to make a choice, which you are correct.

However, you know as well as most people here, that to make a choice in a communist country means certain risks/consequences. I still can't imagine personally how one can judge poor working conditions in the rice field to poor working conditions in a factory. Both are bad and equally devastating to one's life.

So therefore, what's left for the worker? To move to another company that carries the same ethics? To rally and protest? This is bad btw. So then what choice does one really have in a country like China and to what extent? At the end of the day it's about what you can live with and NOT get shipped off to some "training" camp. Is this the same in US? No, it is not. Thus the argument of "choice" when view from so called Western perspectives is really subjective.

My family immigrated to US when I was only 3-4 years old. We've gone through wars, communists countries, poor working conditions, etc. Choice is always there but NEVER easy. Indeed the western worlds have it much too easy when speaking about others, all due to inexperience.

Or to put it simply, it's easier said than done.


RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 2:22:53 PM , Rating: 4
I agree with you, and respect the experience that your opinion is forming from. I just posted a reply to another poster that addresses a few of the points you brought up. Rather than repost all that here, I'll just sum it up and leave it to you to read the other post if you wish:

Chinese problems, Chinese workers, Chinese responsibility to stand up against it first.

As long as we continue the human practice of drawing lines in the sand and calling ourselves "sovereign" over our sandboxes, it will be the responsibility of people living inside that sandbox to initiate the change. If they can convince others to help, so be it, but they MUST be the first to stand up. Until then, we are barking for and assuming costs upon ourselves for an assumption that they want help, and a gamble that the change will stick once we are "done".


RE: Just low....
By The0ne on 6/9/2010 2:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you mean Marty, he's just venting :D

If you mean the original poster, he's in a state where he clearly needs to make a "choice." I hope he chooses NOT to support products he knows are coming from questionable conditions; and there are many of them hahaha

I understand you want the people to stand up first, but you have to understand it is not that easy. It was never easy in US history and won't be for China and others. But we are at a different stage in human history where some nations, like US, has the influence and capability to "prevent" what could be come bloody conclusions. Nations like China and especially North Korea are more or less totalitarian in their rule. Hence, why we continue to read and hear the limitations of ones right.

In some sense, China is even worse because they allow just enough freedom so that its citizens are not discontent enough to rally up. You sentence a few to serve as examples to instill enough fear without breaking the entire business down. This, obviously, covers a wide range of issues from hacking, bribery, corruption, etc.

So while you and others stand here and voice your opinion that these people must choose and make a change, their take is irreversibly different than yours. Is a choice really a choice when it's confined within limitations to begin with? How can freedom and free will be so when they can only be allowed under strict conditions with deadly consequences?

Again, history should have taught us many things that we shouldn't be avoiding. While I don't want get off topic, a fine example would be when US waited til millions and millions of lives were lost before engaging in the war. That is not something we should be doing in this day and age when we do know better. Hate Bill Gates all you want but what they are doing with their nonprofit organization is a great thing. It's something we know we can prevent.

Anyhow, this is getting to be too large of a subject to talk about. Sigh. Yes, it is their choice. Yes I do agree they need to rally up. How that is going to be done I absolutely have no clue.


RE: Just low....
By SublimeSimplicity on 6/9/2010 2:34:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Please, don't call me uncaring or stupid for expecting people to do for themselves to some degree. If help is needed, sure, provide it. But only after they try (in earnest) to fix it themselves.

"Suffering as such is not a value; only man’s fight against suffering, is. If you choose to help a man who suffers, do it only on the ground of his virtues, of his right to recover, of his rational record, or of the fact that he suffers unjustly; then your action is still a trade, and his virtue is the payment for your help. But to help a man who has no virtues, to help him on the ground of his suffering as such, to accept his faults, his need, as a claim-is to accept the mortgage of a zero on your values. A man who has no virtues is a hater of existence who acts on the premise of death; to help him is to sanction his evil and to support his career of destruction. Be it only a penny you will not miss or a kindly smile he has not earned, a tribute to a zero is treason to life and to all those who struggle to maintain it. It is of such pennies and smiles that the desolation of your world was made."
- John Galt


RE: Just low....
By wallijonn on 6/9/2010 4:34:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just like we share some blame with BP for the oil spill by demanding more more more cheap oil, this is the same type of situation with us demanding cheap electronics.


We don't demand anything. Marketing figures what we are willing to pay, then when it finds a price point where inventory starts to move, sets that as "the" price, provided that the same profit margin can be kept. In the case of the oil industry they can withhold production to keep the price high.

If electronics are not cheap enough the public won't buy them. The companies decide how much profit they want. Then Capitalism uses the cheapest labour possible to ensure the greatest profit. It's Marketing's job to convince us to buy products.

But to say that we share blame because we desire something is akin to saying that we share blame for air pollution because we breathe. It's a spacious argument.


RE: Just low....
By rmclean816 on 6/10/2010 1:56:58 AM , Rating: 2
basically what your saying is that the slaves in America could have freed themselves if they just had of tried harder.

The only reason they are free is because someone helped them get there.

Don't be an idiot.


RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/10/2010 1:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to tell YOU to not be an idiot, and warp my words. I didn't say they COULD fix their situation, I said we need to help if an when they earnestly try first.

It's not wise to call someone an idiot when your own argument (?) is as incorrectly based and poorly executed as your own.


RE: Just low....
By tedrodai on 6/9/2010 1:11:36 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry to interrupt...but what are you (and people like you) doing for them? I'm sure your heart is bleeding for them...so that is helping their situation how? This guy is advocating that we, everyone outside China, stay out of the way they govern their own problems--which may or may not be the best policy (I lean towards agreeing but have no faith in their government, so...), but at least it's a suggestion.

Meanwhile, your plan of action seems to be to demonize "people with their attitudes", pretend to sympathize, and then go back to watching TV. "People of China, I understand your misery, and I think someone should do something about it!" I bet they're on their PCs googling for moral support as we speak!

As long as it makes you feel better...but terms of results:

Pot, kettle, black.


RE: Just low....
By Klinky1984 on 6/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just low....
By Mogounus on 6/9/2010 1:36:56 PM , Rating: 1
NOOOO... I accidently uprated him. Shit...


RE: Just low....
By kfonda on 6/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just low....
By chagrinnin on 6/9/2010 5:35:09 PM , Rating: 2
Eeewwwwww,...THAT'S where pixie dust comes from!? Geez,...well,....I'll snort one more line,....but that's it! :P


RE: Just low....
By chagrinnin on 6/10/2010 1:33:47 AM , Rating: 2
One hour later, chagrinnin's nose buried deep in the ass of a unicorn, his muffled voice can barely be heard....

"Jus' one more, baby,...*snif*,...that's all. *snif,snif* Come on baby,..give daddy a li'l popcorn."


RE: Just low....
By chick0n on 6/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just low....
By YashBudini on 6/12/2010 8:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
You're clueless how the law works or what happened at McD.


RE: Just low....
By YashBudini on 6/10/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just low....
By KillerNoodle on 6/9/2010 1:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
Robots free people from doing repetitive mindless jobs like these so they can pursue other jobs that utilize their minds. This leads to a smarter population because they need to learn to succeed not just memorize a pattern.


RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 1:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you! The manufacturing base in my town is so oblivious to that possibility. For 30 years as they sat there drinking wine coolers out of gas station cups, putting part A on part B, they FAILED to take advantage of the free college diploma they could have earned on the company's dime to prepare them for days like this when we all realize that the $30/hr labor they provide isn't worth $10. They fight evolution so hard and vehemently, even though the times are upon us to move up or move out. Stay relevant, or get left behind. Such is the path of evolution.


RE: Just low....
By GourdFreeMan on 6/9/2010 4:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
That assumes they both possess the necessary education and intelligence to seek more skilled positions, and their country has enough wealth and capital for those jobs to exist. A more realistic scenario is that the current generation of employees move into low wage service industries (e.g. foodservice, cleaning, transport) or start small business if sufficient wealth exists in their community, otherwise they become unemployed. The next generation is more likely to profit from better employment opportunities, assuming automation permits continued economic growth, and does not migrate away.


RE: Just low....
By UnWeave on 6/9/2010 2:02:57 PM , Rating: 4
I don't really think the choice between being homeless and, ultimately, dying of starvation, lack of shelter etc. and working in poor conditions with completely unfair terms is actually much of a choice. Work at the Foxconn factory, or live in complete poverty. Which would you pick? Yeah, and so would almost everyone else. The fact that they choose to do it is not a valid argument here, because if they don't they will probably die.

As for setting up unions, yeah, it would help. I'd imagine that getting one set up is far harder in a country like China than it is in 'the land of the free', though, or anywhere that human rights are actually respected. You say it like all it will take is one of them to go, "Hey, let's form a union". That isn't even almost the case.

I agree about not policing the world insomuch as it shouldn't fall entirely on the shoulders of the US. However, it is because of the greed and complete lack of remorse or understanding of people like you, in first world countries, that they are in that position. Of course, I couldn't say that without noting the Chinese government's complete willingness to allow foreign countries to manufacture there in the first place, but we're the ones who are out for the cheapest labour possible, regardless of consequences.

You mention your revolution, in 1776 . The world was a very different place then, but you make out like they should just do that again. Yeah, easy. And civil war, too, I'm sure that will be easy to do in the most authoritarian country in the world, the one with by far the biggest military (in terms of numbers of troops). Also, the US seem pretty happy to try and sort out world problems when it suits them; for example, in the middle east. I in no way mean to suggest that you support that, but it still makes the "It's not our job to do x about y" argument largely worthless, unless you also support complete withdrawal from most all other occupied nations.

It's not that you don't feel guilty that I take issue with - hell, I don't feel particularly guilty, and I bet a lot of others don't, either. People tend not to when the subject in question is thousands of miles away, and something you'll probably not experience first-hand. The problem is your "It has nothing to do with me, let them sort themselves out" attitude. They are there because of us, because we want as much as we can get for as little as possible, and because we don't care enough about how we get it. They aren't nearly as able to effect a change in their position as you seem to think. Even if they were, it's far easier to sit there in your chair and write (most likely using something that contains parts made by their labours) about how they have the choice than to actually do it.

So whatever, call me a hypocrite because I clearly use a computer, but at least I am able to acknowledge some responsibility, rather than using "We did"s and "We had"s, all the while denying it has anything to do with me.


RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 2:18:26 PM , Rating: 2
Really good well written argument. Was wondering if anyone could do that here after my first reply.

I do agree that the complexity of blame and responsibility will always be daunting in a world where we spread modern guns and ideas to places that might as well be another planet in terms of development. I would, however, support acting on behalf of these workers only after they've tried to change what they're faced with. If they try to revolt on a societal scale, I'm all for helping them out in any way we can as a nation.

China, however, is not some third world country that is undeveloped and hopeless. They are making staggering scientific advances and developing their nation to a degree not seen in many other places. They are funding it through places like Foxconn. I read an article last time I was at the dr office in Time magazine from a few years back that showed many of the ways that China is set to surpass us and become the next superpower in time. Granted, it's mass media and I am inherently distrustful, but Time is generally considered a reliable source. The people of China were proud of their nation's achievements, and worked as a whole to help progress their country in the face of growing pains. I don't think the discontent is as far reached as people want to believe from reading snippets of whatever happened at Foxconn today articles on tech sites. Most Chinese people seem to be more patriotic than any American has been for decades.

I do agree that things are harder now in terms of revolution, with governments being more and more autonomous, better armed, and with virtually limitless resources. However, we as a people in the US are guilty of maintaining our own status quo, which most of us find unfavorable. You are correct, a lot of us sit in chairs and type about our woes rather than picking up arms and going at the govt we dislike. I can honestly say, though, that I am not fed up enough to take a gun and march capitol hill given the consequences. First, there aren't enough people at the breaking point to provide enough effect to bring about changes. Not right now, anyway. The American revolution didn't take place over a weekend either. It was many years of obnoxious government that drove them to the point of armed revolt.

I think the Chinese people are probably having a growing dissent, a lot of them are unhappy. Of those unhappy, some may think patriotically and look forward for China's future benefit for their work now. Others kill themselves. Others just keep working. It IS their responsibility to signal, as a majority, when enough is enough. At that point, I expect them to take the lead in doing whatever they need to do. It won't be pretty, it won't be free... change never is. But it will be their will, and if it's a big enough problem that enough of them want to change it, I don't care how entrenched your govt is, you can't suppress your society's majority.

I really do appreciate and respect your well-written reply. You seem to have taken the extra minute to think things through more deeply than most around here, and I admit I did fall prey to simplifying a lot of aspects of my argument, both for the sake of time, and figuring nobody would "get it" around here anyway. "Responsibility" and "blame" are complex issues, of which I do not have the complete picture, but I have thought it through enough to feel we should back the Chinese people when enough of them stand up and say "ENOUGH!" However, in respect to our seemingly unending human need to define territory and authority, it is NOT our place to stand up first and speak for them.


RE: Just low....
By kyp275 on 6/10/2010 3:21:32 AM , Rating: 2
One also have to take into account the cultural differences between the US and China, and realize just how diverse a group the "Chinese" people are, both culturally and geopolitically.

I'm surprised that so many here seems to have painted China and its people into one stereotype or another. To claim the US is responsible for the working conditions of Foxconn workers is to be completely ignorant of Chinese history, this is nothing new people, this kind of things have went on for as long as China itself have been around. It is merely a manifestation of the geopolitical issues between the inland and coastal regions of China, a subject whose scope is far too broad for here.

And for the record, China has had far more civil wars and revolutions than most other nation in the world...


RE: Just low....
By moriz on 6/10/2010 11:31:07 AM , Rating: 2
you have to realize that china's society is inherentally unfair. trust me, i was born there, and witnessed all this first hand.

many of these people, whom you've derided as being unwilling or not having the ability to find better jobs, actually do have the will and ability to do so, but are simply unable to. china is a nation that's operating in the 21 century, but is stuck having the social structure of the early 1900s. unlike here in north america, simply having the ability and will is not enough. resources are plentiful, but are shared very unequally. i bet you anything that there are people inside that factory with genius level intellect, but simply don't have the means to go to school. post secondary education is extremely expensive in china, and many people are forced to decide to work in these factories and support their family, or leave and make their family (and themselves) starve.

forcing changes from the inside is also impossible, since this system of inequality and corruption is too well entrenched. under-the-table deals and pulling favors is common practice in china. these workers unionize and trying to demand changes themselves will likely end up being ignored, or worse, end up with them being arrested, or slaughtered. the history of china is smeared in blood, and it might sound callous of me for saying this, but a few drops more won't make a difference. if any change were to happen, it will have to be initiated both from the inside and out. i'm not saying that boycotting products is the way to go, but there's got to be something that we can do.

i've always maintained the opinion that the next great scientist/leader/nobel prize winner/whatever-great-person is currently working away in the fields or factories of china. it's a real shame to have such potential being wasted. if i ever have the great fortune of acquiring a shitton of money, i'd put most of it into a scholarship aimed to find and bring those people out of poverty. it's the least i can do for the country of my birth.


RE: Just low....
By Hiawa23 on 6/9/2010 2:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'm starting to question how much of my electronics stuff has been built upon the suffering of almost near human slavery across the ocean.

Not me, I don't live there can't do anything about that, but love my electronics, my Xbox, & PS3. You can throw in any electronics, including Microsoft. Mostly everything we buy is made elsewhere, & I figure the reason why alot of stuff is made outside the US is simple, you don't have to pay the people in China what you would have to pay American workers here in the States, which is why they are made elswhere in the first place. It is what it is, it is the way it has been. What can you do?


RE: Just low....
By Freezebyte on 6/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just low....
By Pythias on 6/9/2010 3:52:03 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Wow, forgive me if I actually have "human sympathy" for other peeps making my stupid electronic shit in near slavery conditions and stating that i'll make a start of a difference by never buying anything Apple related again. So sorry I ain't Jesus Christ and don't have the power to move mountains.... But I guess if that results in me getting voted down on an otherwise 4chan clone of a tech news website, so be it.


Its funny that you are using an electronic device to decry the way the these electronics are manufactured.


RE: Just low....
By YashBudini on 6/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just low....
By GourdFreeMan on 6/9/2010 5:36:38 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree that the hours Foxconn expects of its employees are excessive to the point of being exploitive, I question how working in a safe, clean, quiet high-tech factory for far better than competitive wages within one's own country with the non-compulsory option of making use of company housing and eating at shops co-located at your place of employment constitutes being "near human slavery". If this is your attitude towards work, I frankly think you should feel guilty for being afforded more luxuries and a better quality of living than Foxconn's employees.

Good professional working relationships are built upon mutual respect. When one party adopts a persecution complex rather politely but firmly stating its grievances and seeking an accord, there is no reason for the other party to treat it fairly. Third parties, be they journalists, activist historians, unions, or revolutionaries just make the parties in question hate each other more and become more unreasonable.

If you want to blame someone, blame the Cultural Revolution and the fanatical agrarian policies of the early Chinese communists. The poverty of modern China wouldn't exist without them. Look at this as the revenge of every intellectual and member of the bourgeois that the communists persecuted.


you know you're a greddy B**tard when
By zmatt on 6/9/2010 11:47:03 AM , Rating: 5
You think labor in China is too expensive and contemplate moving to vietnam.




RE: you know you're a greddy B**tard when
By ixelion on 6/9/2010 11:55:21 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing, things have gone horribly awry when you think Chinese labor is too expensive! The thought is hilarious and sad at the same time.


By Freezebyte on 6/9/2010 11:57:05 AM , Rating: 5
We've moved well beyond "greedy" and more into "inhumane"


RE: you know you're a greddy B**tard when
By kamel5547 on 6/9/2010 12:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well, a lot of the blame falls on consumers and retailers/Tradermark owners (HP, Apple etc). Its easy to blame the manufacturer for holding labor costs low, but as long as consumers pressure retailers for the lowest price, retailers pressure their suppliers to cut their costs, and trademark owners seek to minimize their cost the pressure will be intense at the bottom of the chain to lower their cost. Essentially companies in China get blamed for the wages and working conditions, but the whole existence of those conditions is based on the fact we were not willing to pay the cost of American (or European, or wherever manufacturing moved from) wages.

You can't have it both ways, either you want the lowest cost for yourself, or you want good conditions and pay for other people, most consumers have shown that they are only willing to pay more for percieved value, not for humanitarian reasons.


RE: you know you're a greddy B**tard when
By stirfry213 on 6/9/2010 12:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
DING DING DING! We have a winner!

Here's the question I have. Comparitively, how much would your $200 iPhone cost if it was made in the U.S.? If the average person in China gets paid $200 amonth, and the average person in the US gets paid $1160 ($7.25 minimum wage x 40 hours/week x 4 weeks), thats a 580% increase in labor. You know they work more than 40 hours a week at Foxconn. This is a horribly inaccurate comparison (it would likely cost more in the US). However, if you take that % increase alone, your $200 iPhone now costs $1160, the iPad at $500 would now cost $2900. The products would be a flop, no one would buy it.

Now you must ask your self. Is this so called "slave labor" necessary? If you built everything in US for Americans, would it stifle progress/innovation/invention? Would we be able to afford even some of our most basic electronic devices if they were made here in the US? I doubt it. My $700 42" LCD TV would cost $4060, lol.

Moral of the story, don't be so shallow or ignorant to think that the only issue with Foxconn is Foxconn itself. We all contribute.


RE: you know you're a greddy B**tard when
By DanNeely on 6/9/2010 1:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
Your calculation is grotesquely flawed because you're assuming that 100% of the retail price is labor. Roughly half of the price of a typical gadget is directly the cost of the parts that go into it. Software development costs, and profit margins for foxconn, apple, and the retailer make up most of the rest. There would likely be some increase in the total cost (if it's small enough Apple might make Foxconn eat it, or eat it themselves) but it wouldn't be anywhere near as dramatic as you imply.


By sleepeeg3 on 6/9/2010 7:47:21 PM , Rating: 2
Oh right, those parts just fly out of the ground... His thinking is dead on.

You can continue to not use logic or you can think things completely through and realize that companies provide people jobs and people have their own free will.

The media continues to shepherd sheeple against companies so they can keep "punishing" them with more taxes and increasingly expanding government power/socialism. Sugar tax, cola tax, tanning bed tax... they will even sell you a tax on electronics, if they think you are stupid enough:
http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/705154/ftc-propo...


By hr824 on 6/9/2010 1:55:01 PM , Rating: 4
Excuse me but the 66% raise foxconn workers got raised the cost to make a Ipad $3.80 at 580% it would be 33.36 and Apple is thinking about raising the price $50.00. There is plenty of room to pay workers a decent wage while keeping the price for consumers down and making a enormous profit. This is flat out greed plain and simple.


By StraightCashHomey on 6/9/2010 4:48:35 PM , Rating: 1
Your formula is fantastically fucked up.


By chick0n on 6/9/2010 11:35:03 PM , Rating: 1
Thank you very much. even your math is not really right.

what most arrogant Americans failed to realize is that, this is how the economy ALWAYS worked since Human Begins exist. You go to a place to for cheaper labor/cost and sell them at higher price. more profit.

Its just funny that all these "OMG THEy'RE HAVING SLAVE LABOR THERE" yada yada yada fuckers still shop at Walmart + still bitch that the products they're buying cost too much and want even lower price. well, yeah, you're the cost of "slave labors" elsewhere. Might as well STFU already ?


Classy
By Homerboy on 6/9/2010 11:45:23 AM , Rating: 5
So first its "You can get a pay raise/bonus!"
Then its "You're being replaced by robots."

Stay classy Foxxcon!




RE: Classy
By Iaiken on 6/9/2010 11:55:03 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not sure that will cut down on suicides...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3NGN4t4hm4


RE: Classy
By Freezebyte on 6/9/2010 12:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
Did GM actually air that? That was fucking depressing! I really hope they do go down the shitter.....


RE: Classy
By kb9fcc on 6/9/2010 1:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
Without even looking at the link to refresh my memory (stupid work firewall blocks that location), just based on your response, yes, GM did air that commercial during the, em, big bowl game.

I think they also followed up that ad with one a few days later where the same robot "wakes up" after said tragic act to realize it's was just a bad dream and "life" wasn't that bad. The second ad was in response to the general outcry of the first being tasteless.


RE: Classy
By TSS on 6/9/2010 1:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
To be honest isn't this the logical outcome? Conditions where bad, foxconn goes for the least expensive option and they increased pay, the conditions wheren't good enough, so they move to the 2nd least expensive option, investing in robots.

People will get fired and be more miserable then they where before the stories broke, but atleast no human rights are violated at that plant anymore. Isn't that what we wanted?

Maybe sticking your nose in somebody else's business isn't the best thing to do.


Another example of the downward spiral
By althing on 6/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Another example of the downward spiral
By YashBudini on 6/10/2010 12:53:15 AM , Rating: 1
History repeats itself. From "Aliens":

Ripley: You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.


By YashBudini on 6/10/2010 11:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
Amazing how so many people hate the truth around here.


By xkrakenx on 6/10/2010 9:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
so what are you doing about it besides blathering like a fool? do you always look left and right before you enjoy something and make sure everybody else has at least as much as you? Self preservation involves greed as much as it does sociability. Hippie ideals about everybody getting an equal share never work out in reality.


The title of this article
By mattclary on 6/9/2010 11:46:55 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a headline the The Onion




RE: The title of this article
By morphologia on 6/9/2010 2:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
More likely, the Onion headline would read: "Foxconn cuts suicide payments to robot workers' families, threatens to replace workers with humans."

:P


Domo Arigato
By Chernobyl68 on 6/9/2010 12:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
...is Japanese, not Chinese.




RE: Domo Arigato
By morphologia on 6/9/2010 2:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yes...but that was the line, "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto." It was a Styx song from the 80s.

Oops...think I just dated myself.


Socialists just don't get it...
By sleepeeg3 on 6/9/2010 7:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
Raise minimum wages, people lose jobs. Why? That is what the economy has decided their jobs are worth. You can raise the minimum wage, but either people will lose their jobs entirely as the company moves / finds an alternative to replace them or their effective pay will be erased as products on prices are raised to compensate for the extra labor costs.

If there is no welfare, socialists policies mean a few people get to work while the rest starve in the street. If there is welfare, then many people will choose not to work, making everything more costly so that they are stuck on welfare and the rest of society has to work harder to support them. With pure capitalism, everyone would have a job and the hardest working and smartest would be rewarded.




By YashBudini on 6/10/2010 12:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
"With pure capitalism, everyone would have a job and the hardest working and smartest would be rewarded. "

Proof: Ken Lay, Michael Milken, Bernie Madoff, Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, etc etc etc. Yeah the good times, they just keep rolling in.


hmm
By Chiisuchianu on 6/9/2010 3:27:56 PM , Rating: 3
Well the Asians are going to lose their sweat shop jobs just like liberals wanted. Back to the fields, being hungry, forcing their children to work, and not raising the standard of living they go. Hope you're happy liberals. Lol, jk. We all know liberals won't ever be happy until the world is one happy communist fairy tale (which is impossible).




Cause/Effect
By morphologia on 6/9/2010 2:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
Massive payoffs in the event of suicide were a bad idea to begin with, especially in suicide-prone China. Maybe somewhat of a consolation payment, 1 year's pay at most, but 10 years' pay just encourages suicide.

Now, the guy who was literally worked to death...that's a situation where a big payoff is appropriate, especially if the payment comes from the salaries of the managers who allowed or caused that situation to happen. Something like that should be an atypical occurrence, and the effects should be punitive (punish the managers) rather than compensatory (reward people for killing themselves).

The only financial incentives the employees should get should be bonuses for productivity, not a reward for untimely death.




So, uh, as a Futurama fan...
By FoxFour on 6/9/2010 5:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm wondering how long it will be before the first robot suicide.




point of view
By laola on 6/10/2010 4:09:33 AM , Rating: 2
i guess if we don't support all electronic products, those people will eventually loose even this awful job. So the idea isn't as great as it seems.

Nowadays China is passing through a stage that was in progress in Europe in the XIX Century. So right now labour is cheap. I hope that in future it'll become more expensive. Here in my country people have to work on a plant and they don't even get paid for several months. The result is depression and feeling trapped..

For those who thinks that people can always choose the job they want - i think you're mistaken, sometimes there is no choice and nothing else to choose from. I think it's hard to understand it if you live in the USA with real good education and a lot of opportunities.




It Just Dont Work
By Funky Santa Clause on 6/10/2010 10:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
anymore, why not build a robot, they dont jump at rooftops, so sad..(=




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