Print 30 comment(s) - last by lagomorpha.. on Aug 3 at 8:40 AM

Foxconn will be replacing much of its Chinese work force with robots.  (Source: Southern Weekly)

Robots don't ask for raises, can't be worked to death, and -- most importantly -- don't commit suicide.  (Source: Walden University)

The move should help pad the profit margins of Foxconn parent company Hon Hai and its CEO Terry Gou. The billionaire playboy was the first to suggest that the company's Chinese employees be replaced by robots.  (Source: Baidu)
Chinese giant is top supplier of Apple products and also does contract for many other American companies

Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd. (2317) last year had to contend with a firestorm of negative publicity following a string of suicides [1][2][3] at its Chinese subsidiary, Foxconn.  Most of the suicides occurred at the company's Shenzhen city-factory, which employed 400,000 people, and was a major manufacturing center Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhones, iPods, and iPads.  The suicides claimed the lives of at least 12 employees, and at least one other employee was allegedly worked to death.

After these incidents, Taiwanese billionaire and Hon Hai CEO Terry Gou suggested one possible solution was to replace employees with robots.  Most thought the suggestion was far fetched.  But Hon Hai is looking to prove doubter wrong, announcing a sweeping plan to replace its Chinese laborers with robots.

The new robots have many advantages over humans.  They're suicide-proof (unless you believe a certain controversial GM commercial).  Their families can't sue you when you work them to death, as a) they don't have families, and b) you can't work them to death (or it would be much harder to, at least).  And best of all the robots collect no pay or benefits.

Foxconn currently has 10,000 robots at its plants.  The majority of its labor, however, is human labor.  That will change as it expands to 300,000 robots next year and 1 million robots within 3 years.

That new robotic army could replace much of the company's current 1.2 million employee work force.  Ironically an employee last year complained about the robotic nature of their job stating, "Life is meaningless.  Everyday, I repeat the same thing I did yesterday."

Aside from the suicide and working conditions complaints against Foxconn, the robots are also a response to the rising wage demands of Chinese laborers.  This trend has forced many major Chinese manufacturers to move to cheaper countries, like Vietnam, or -- like Foxconn -- consider automation.

The new Foxconn robots will be proficient at many chores, including spraying, wielding, and assembling.  While they will certainly slash jobs at the manufacturer, some are predicting that they may help to raise the salaries of the remaining specialist workers.

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It may be your undoing...
By bigdawg1988 on 8/1/2011 10:29:06 AM , Rating: 4
If you can make products using robots, why bother using China at all? Apple and others may end up coming back to the states if they find out they can make products using mostly robots. Unfortunately it won't help the economy a whole lot, since the robots will probably be made in China, or Vietnam, or somewhere else. Guess the Chinese workers will have jobs for a few years making robots... then back to the paddy fields!

RE: It may be your undoing...
By cjohnson2136 on 8/1/2011 10:35:31 AM , Rating: 2
The jobs probably won't come back to the US simply due to business tax stuff and other crap like that.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By idiot77 on 8/1/2011 10:57:36 AM , Rating: 3
Give it a rest. Just because the marginal rate is high means very little. It's the fact that are loop holes to use base their companies in countries like Ireland that basically have 2% or less. Even if their actual US tax rate paid is ~5 to 10% depending on industry, they will go to the cheapest most easily exploited countries to set up shop.

Bottom line is globalization is bad for the general public when it comes to economy because it's a race to the bottom. Now that China isn't the bottom, so they'll move onto another country until it "accidentally" moves up.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By cjohnson2136 on 8/1/2011 11:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
Why are you complaining about what I said. What you said is exactly what I was talking about.

By therealnickdanger on 8/1/2011 11:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
Don't worry about it. His name is clearly more than an avatar. :P

RE: It may be your undoing...
By idiot77 on 8/1/2011 11:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
Taxes aren't the problem, loop holes are. Perhaps we aren't in exact disagreement. I read it slightly different the first time.

Our trade agreements is what is going to bite us in the rear.

By cjohnson2136 on 8/1/2011 11:25:21 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I just said taxes cause it had something to do with it. I don't know all the factors which is why i said stuff to imply all the different things involved in business tax, including loop holes

RE: It may be your undoing...
By therealnickdanger on 8/1/2011 11:10:20 AM , Rating: 2
They don't call it the bottom line for nothing. If I owned Apple or some other business looking to maximize profit, i would take every opportunity to cut costs, even if it meant 0.1%. When you're making billions, those extra bits are a big deal.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By knutjb on 8/1/2011 12:33:31 PM , Rating: 3
The point you are missing is taxes are the only reason to move offshore, regulation the hidden cost. The current admin has dramatically increased regulations. Kathrine Sebelius just made "free" birth control and counseling the new rule for all health insurance companies.

Those costs will trickle down to companies, stockholders, employees, and consumers. Not sure what law she accomplishes this under but it will cost all of us. This is one of many reasons to go offshore.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By lagomorpha on 8/1/2011 8:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
In fairness, for every $1 spend in the US on birth control we regain $1000 in reduced incarceration expenses 18 years down the line so in the long term this makes economic sense.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By knutjb on 8/2/2011 12:03:25 AM , Rating: 2
Zero population zero expense. Human beings will always commit crimes. To make a moral decision of human life based on expense is so Chairman Mao... Try adding a little deontology to your utilitarianism.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By Murloc on 8/2/2011 5:23:25 AM , Rating: 2
the fact is that an accidental pregnancy probably means white trash 16 years old girl or ghetto girl.
Which means criminal son with no dad in a bad location.

Those who can't afford the day after pill are exactly these people.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By lagomorpha on 8/3/2011 8:40:13 AM , Rating: 2
People that use birth control or have abortions do go on to have children, but they have them later in life when they are more likely to actually pay attention to them. Young people that can't afford birth control are in no shape to become parents, it's a recipe for fully occupied prisons in the future.

Socialized contraception is the best investment tax dollars could be spent on.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By nafhan on 8/1/2011 12:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
Bottom line is globalization is bad for the general public when it comes to economy because it's a race to the bottom.
This really depends on your definition of "general public". Those at the bottom of the global heap would likely prefer a crappy factory job to subsistence farming or starvation.

RE: It may be your undoing...
By Sazabi19 on 8/1/2011 12:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, sounds familiar. Domestic labor prices are rising? Let's outsource! That has to be a good move!

RE: It may be your undoing...
By stirfry213 on 8/1/2011 11:03:41 AM , Rating: 4
In a factory the size of this one, I think you would be astonished the number of technicians that would be required to maintain, as they suggest, a million robots. Adding a factory like this in the US would still employ thousands, just not 400,000. Plus, this is exactly the type of jobs we need in the US. These would be high tech jobs that require at least some secondary education, even its a certification or vocational training. The old factory job of textiles/appliances and the "put part A in slot A" are gone or leaving the US for good.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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