Originally Posted by astrubhar
These posts are ridiculous. I can't believe people are saying "well everyone does it so lets just ignore the problem". Apple is sitting on a pile of cash. Stock prices are affected mostly by revenue and growth. There is no reason they can't give all their overseas workers a raise. It would significantly improve their lives and cost Apple almost nothing. This protest is simply saying Apple can do better and it should think different and show other companies how to do things. It's easy to sit in your home, with air conditioning, food in the fridge, TV and internet on demand and ignore the fact that most people don't have these luxuries. You have absolutely no idea what it's like to be these people. Your careless attitudes are embarrassing.
Making working conditions in China into Apple's problem not only misses the point, it encourages the worst kind of limited thinking around what is in fact an almost intractable problem.
What if Apple gave "their" (Foxconn's) workers a raise? Since Foxconn assembles products for a slew of other CE manufacturers, would Apple need to foot the bill for those products as well? Should there be some kind of test for who has to pony up for better-than-prevailing wages, depending on how much cash on hand they have?
And even if they did that, we're talking about the merest sliver the Chinese labor force. Once Apple "did the right thing", do the people taking Apple to task sit back and bask in the knowledge that they changed the world?
"Everybody else does it", in this case, is extremely significant, since the West is absolutely addicted to cheap Chinese goods, and those goods are cheap because of relatively low wages. If every manufacturer outsourcing manufacturing to China were to do the altruistic thing and arrange to have those worker's pay and benefits increased (and how much is enough? Does their housing need to subsidized by these firms as well, since living conditions are quite poor compared to the West?), prices on a huge swath of consumer goods would rise abruptly. It would have a huge impact on our economy, probably reigniting a drop into recession if not full blown depression.
Are you prepared to argue for that? Because if you're not, your basically saying "Apple has a lot of money so they should just fix their tiny corner of the problem and that'll satisfy me." That's not being serious about Chinese working conditions, that's just passing the buck. It's like demanding that a wealthy philanthropist fund a soup kitchen without ever having a word to say about the economic conditions that make such institutions necessary, or exploring options to bring that necessity to an end.
Myself, I'd like to see a systematic, industry wide
response to Chinese working conditions, but I'm not optimistic that the tech tail can wag that dog. China is a great big autonomous country with its own history, politics and prevailing notions of what's fair. Acting as if it falls to the West to provide solace and guidance for their poor benighted citizenry smacks of same "White Man's Burden" thinking that has caused so much suffering around the globe.
OTOH, demand for workers will drive wages up, and if they get high enough to warrant it, manufacturers will shift production to the next corner of the globe with enough hungry people to work for peanuts.
It's called global capitalism. I'm not a huge fan, but I'm not naive enough to think that Apple somehow calls the shots.