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Apple's says Foxconn investigation remains open

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Contrary to reports published earlier this week, Apple Computer says its investigation into working conditions at Chinese factories that build its iPod digital music players is not over.

"We are still investigating the working conditions at Foxconn's manufacturing plant in Longhua," Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told BusinessWeek. "This is a thorough audit, which includes employee working and living conditions, interviews of employees and managers, compliance with overtime and wage regulations, and other areas as necessary to insure adherence to Apple's supplier code of conduct."

On Monday, China CSR, a Web site devoted to promoting corporate responsibility in China, cited a Foxconn spokesperson in saying that Apple sent a special team to the factories to investigate but found no problems.

"Apple's supplier code of conduct sets the bar higher than accepted industry standards and we take allegations of noncompliance very seriously," Dowling added.

The ongoing probe is in response to claims made by the British publication Mail on Sunday, which earlier this month published a detailed report portraying some of Foxconn's manufacturing facilities as sweatshops.

For its part in the matter, Foxconn initially denied any wrongdoing. But more recently, a spokesman for the Taiwanese manufacturer conceded that the overtime hours demanded of its employees are in violation of some local labor laws.

In its take on the issue, BusinessWeek says Apple, which clearly wants to avoid such unpleasant appearances, should set an example for the rest of the world by taking some of its $8.2 billion in cash and building its own factory in China.
post #2 of 41
I doubt that if this abuse was happening, Apple wouldn't immediately ditch the supplier for both ethical and public relations reasons.
post #3 of 41
You would think the way the media has blown this out of proportion that this is the first time it's ever happened to any fortunate 500 company. I don't get it. Wasn't Nike in the news a couple years ago for paying them like $10 a month. I mean come on and let's be real it happens everywhere (not saying it's right by any means). I just don't see why Apple should have to set the example and take some of their $8.2 Billion and build their own plant and do it all in house. Why can't other people step up to the plate too. This is what irritates me about this country. Our media has way too much control over things they only want to point out. We all know Apple will do what's best without having to have the media involved and these so called "analysis."
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post #4 of 41
Apple build their own plant in China? A ridiculous idea. If anything, they should just insist on an on-site plant monitor.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

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post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by O4BlackWRX
We all know Apple will do what's best without having to have the media involved and these so called "analysis."


Oh, that's rich! Great one!

What's next? "Apple doesn't care about money. Its only concern is the betterment of society!"?

Again, brilliant comedy.
post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by O4BlackWRX
You would think the way the media has blown this out of proportion that this is the first time it's ever happened to any fortunate 500 company. I don't get it. Wasn't Nike in the news a couple years ago for paying them like $10 a month. I mean come on and let's be real it happens everywhere (not saying it's right by any means). I just don't see why Apple should have to set the example and take some of their $8.2 Billion and build their own plant and do it all in house. Why can't other people step up to the plate too. This is what irritates me about this country. Our media has way too much control over things they only want to point out. We all know Apple will do what's best without having to have the media involved and these so called "analysis."

v

Shut up.
post #7 of 41
Oh for fuck's sake don't bring Nike up again.

post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
v

Shut up.

Wow that was a really informative post. I bet you stayed up all night thinking of that one....bet you're tired....At least some people found the comedy in my statement (thanks Louzer & SpamSandwich)...lighten up people....
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post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by O4BlackWRX
At least some people found the comedy in my statement (thanks Louzer & SpamSandwich)

Or maybe you just didn't recognize their sarcasm.
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by O4BlackWRX
Wow that was a really informative post. I bet you stayed up all night thinking of that one....bet you're tired....At least some people found the comedy in my statement (thanks Louzer & SpamSandwich)...lighten up people....

Shut up.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
Or maybe you just didn't recognize their sarcasm.

Hard to find sarcasm in 2 words 'shut up' I am a comical person and if you're saying 'shut up' sarcastically then I apologize for that, but it's hard with 2 words versus a real statement.
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post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
Apple build their own plant in China? A ridiculous idea. If anything, they should just insist on an on-site plant monitor.

Or they could build a plant in the US. But that would mean expensive union wages - Apple would have to significantly raise their prices just to break even.

No, in order to remain competitive, they've got to stay in China. That's the reality of today's cutthroat economy.

Or maybe Apple should become a charity and give their products away... Or just make a huge donation to the Gates Foundation...
post #13 of 41
Bickering is always annoying on forums. Especially when it goes back and forth for more than 2 posts.

I agree that it is pretty stupid the way the media has blown this way out of proportion. Still, that's always the way it's going to be when you're on top; and Apple is definitely on top in the portable music player market (with good cause). Still, I think it's stupid to worry too much about conditions of workers in other countries. 3 reasons:

1. The amounts people earn are reported in dollars, and they don't translate over very well in my experience. When I lived in a foreign country for a couple years, everything sounded RIDICULOUSLY cheap if you converted the prices into dollars at the current exchange rate. Exchange rates are not very accurate reflections of the buying power of a currency in terms of things like food or rent.

2. I like getting cheap consumer products and it is really easy for me to ignore what might or might not be happening on the other side of the world. I still sleep great at night.

3. If you raise the cost of doing business somewhere, then you may quite likely just lose that business altogether. I think the people who work in so called "sweat-shops" are really quite happy for the opportunity. If the "sweat-shops" left, they might have no jobs at all. People cannot be worse off with the option to work in a "sweat-shop", since they still have available any options that were there before the "sweat-shop" came. Hooray for sweat-shops!
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Wasn't Nike in the news a couple years ago for paying them like $10 a month. I mean come on and let's be real it happens everywhere (not saying it's right by any means).

Well, as a matter of fact you are, you are just apparently unaware of the fact. Its a pretty poor argument, by any means. Its not an affront to Apple anyway, its their supplier but my question is why do you have such a profound emotional investment in whether or not Apple is 'blamed' by the media? True, it happens all the time but your examples also bear witness to the fact that 'the media' (whatever this obscure abstraction refers to) is not only 'blaming' Apple; other companies are also called to account for their business practices. However, this is necessarily beside the point since the issue is with Foxconn, not Apple.
"Humanity as a collective
subject has to set a limit, and freely renounce
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"Humanity as a collective
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post #15 of 41
You're right, though: Let's be real! Let's be real and actually confront the issues instead of blaming some kind of abstract, phastasmatic 'media with an agenda' picking on 'my favorite corporation'. Corporations don't have feelings. If you want to be real, you should accept that fact, too.
"Humanity as a collective
subject has to set a limit, and freely renounce
further 'progress' in this direction." - On Windows Vista
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"Humanity as a collective
subject has to set a limit, and freely renounce
further 'progress' in this direction." - On Windows Vista
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post #16 of 41
The issue isn't really with Foxconn. The only reason this is in the news is because it is an Apple factory. People care very little when obscure corporations are breaking labor laws. Your editor is only going to publish your peice if the readers will care about it. That's why it seems like the winners always get picked on--because people know them care about what they do. Plus I think at least a little part of a lot of people's nature is to want to tear down the guy on top.
post #17 of 41
Whether or not it is true that the only reason it's in the news is because it's an Apple company (maybe the instigating reason is that it's a NORTH AMERICAN or perhaps a multinational corporation, which is different, but I think it would be pretty difficult to substantiate your claim), I don't see anywhere in these articles an insinuation that Apple is therefore a 'bad' company. I think its pretty obvious or at least reasonable to believe that Foxconn is responsible here, that they are allegedly in violation of Apple's code of conduct for manufacturers by the fact that Apple is investigating and rather promptly at that. In anyThe problem should be determined and dealt with whether or not there is an 'unfair' amount of coverage. Believe it or not there are actual, real people behind the words of these articles. To displace the issue of possible human rights violations onto an issue of media bias so we can continue to bask in the illusion of an innocent globalization seems to me a most insidious form of lying.
"Humanity as a collective
subject has to set a limit, and freely renounce
further 'progress' in this direction." - On Windows Vista
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"Humanity as a collective
subject has to set a limit, and freely renounce
further 'progress' in this direction." - On Windows Vista
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post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
Bickering is always annoying on forums. Especially when it goes back and forth for more than 2 posts.

There's the door...

Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
Still, I think it's stupid to worry too much about conditions of workers in other countries.

Why is it stupid to care? Because you're an asshole?

Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
When I lived in a foreign country for a couple years, everything sounded RIDICULOUSLY cheap if you converted the prices into dollars at the current exchange rate.

Thanks for the tip! You mean, not every country uses the same currency?

Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
2. I like getting cheap consumer products and it is really easy for me to ignore what might or might not be happening on the other side of the world. I still sleep great at night.

I fucking hate you.

Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
Hooray for sweat-shops!

post #19 of 41
ASIDE

Why is it that the people who call upon you to 'face the facts' or to 'be realistic' are always the ones with their heads farthest up their asses?

"Let's be realistic and demand the impossible."
"Humanity as a collective
subject has to set a limit, and freely renounce
further 'progress' in this direction." - On Windows Vista
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"Humanity as a collective
subject has to set a limit, and freely renounce
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post #20 of 41
I like the way you think Scientifics. Insightful comments, fun to read.
post #21 of 41
Have you seen the problems that apple are having with it's staining Mac books and for the past 3 years have you noticed the plastics getting thinner and cheaper . Why should Apple have to go to China , they abuse the countries that have set up there and given them work . Why not set up in India or what about all the illegal immigrants from Mexico? Why do they have to set up in China . When Mac were looking at changing to intel the word was that they were looking at Vaio as a role model to designing the new range . Maybe just the inside motherboard and drives but kept the cheaper looking plastics . Vaio have brushed aluminum , slick free from finger prints black Plastics.
They could even go one better and do as HP does they manufacture in Tokyo with physically or mentally challenged people .
There are other countries and even now in Japan a job is better than no job.
China has many double standards and only wants companies to invest for the short term and then the technology and production rights get taken over after 5 to 10 years . BMW USA I am sure use many non- american staff at it's plants.
Even better designed in California built in USA? Just can't skim so much off the top. I guess.
post #22 of 41
What happened in this thread? It looks like it's been overrun by juveniles.

Quote:
Originally posted by jamezog
Or they could build a plant in the US. But that would mean expensive union wages.

It is not difficult to open a non-union plant in the US but that doesn't necessarily mean enough in terms of cost.
post #23 of 41
But I have to wonder what wages might be if they got rid of the minimum wage laws. Who knows, that might even make manufacturing and assembling consumer electronics in the U.S. a viable business plan. However, I still doubt it. That just is not our comparative advantage in the U.S.
post #24 of 41
I am the last person to be a grammer stickler, far from it... but "Apple's says Foxconn investigation remains open" that is just...wrong...and it is the headline! wowza!
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post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by Placebo
I doubt that if this abuse was happening, Apple wouldn't immediately ditch the supplier for both ethical and public relations reasons.

Foxconn is easily Apple's closest manufacturing partner. They have been building Macs for Apple since at least the early nineties (pre Power Mac). Foxconn/Hon Hai used to build Macs at their facility in Singapore for years long before they started building stuff in China.

Quote:
Originally posted by O4BlackWRX
We all know Apple will do what's best without having to have the media involved and these so called "analysis."

Would Apple have done had this not been reported in the media?
post #26 of 41
While I do believe that US companies, at least, should make certain that their business, and manufacturing partners in other countries obey the laws that are in effect there, I question whether they should, or even have the right to demand more from them.

Over time, these things take care of themselves. It can't be imposed from the outside.

If one looks at the other Asian countries that, over the years, were at this low level, it can be seen that now they are not. It's a natural evolution. The same thing is already happening in China, and eventually, it will happen everywhere else.

Attempting to force it only results in resentment. Internal economic development always bring up wages and benefits. But it takes time. As the work force becomes more fully employed, workers gain in strength.

In china, the work force is already aging. Countryside workers pouring into the manufacturing regions has slowed as conditions in the countryside have improved, and manufacturers are already complaining that there aren't enough new workers for expansion. Wages are going up, as are benefits, and the quality of working conditions as a result of this. Chinese manufacturers themselves are looking to lower cost areas, such as Vietnam. Ironic, isn't it?

While I don't like to see poor working conditions, or poor wages for anyone, we have to be realistic about it as well.

If we look at this in ten years time, we will see a different situation.
post #27 of 41
Thank you melgross. Your way of stating things was quite a bit less invective than my comment, but I can get carried away sometimes. I definitely agree that corporations should obey the laws of the countries in which they operate, but beyond that, you need to let economic growth work things out itself.
post #28 of 41
as a resident of this country i have to say that that companies in america and europe need to hire a full time person to go in an keep an eye on chinese companies.... this person CANNOT be a mainland chinese person.... they have to be western born and raised.... they also need to be morally upright people that aren't going to give in to the system in which they are living.....

there is a massive cultural difference that was created in Maoist China in the past 57 years...... that cultural difference is that lying is not wrong.... i have yet to come across any form of lying which an average mainland chinese person thought was ethically abhorrent.....

the other massive cultural difference is the respect of human life beyond you and your immediate family.... it doesn't exist here..... unless it's your life or someone you are related to it is worth 0 RMB....this is social darwinism at it's extremes.... if i can gain something by screwing someone else over, that's ok..... the golden rule has not been issued a chinese visa.....

as long as these two cultural differences remain there will always be problems in china of this sort..... the only people with the power to change it are companies that are doing business here and in other third world country.

simply accepting it as fact isn't going to fix the problem..... the solution to the problem lies with the companies coming here and the end-consumer who has the choice to buy a product.....

as consumers we have a problem.... we want to buy what is cheap, but we also want to be morally responsible..... the dilemma is that a complete lack of transparency on these issues is virtually non-existent.....

i think a consumer action group should be created that certifies companies as "ethically responsible".... the third party which investigates a company at the companies expense and the company gets to put the "humane labor certified" label on their product.... something a consumer can look for.... this is something a company can then use to market it's product to those who wish to purchase products that are manufactured under a standardardized ethically acceptable means....

at the moment we accept what companies say about their manufacturing.....

it is possible to be humanely and environmentally responsible and profitable.... i think this idea that it is not possible is a lie we tell ourselves.....

this approach is working for companies that are aimng to be environmentally reponsible and that are looking for sustainability.... the carpet company Interface is a good example..... the CEO is like a celebrity among those companies which are trying to make a positive impact for the future of globalization


we don't have to accept the fact that globalization has necessary evils if we, as a collective consumers, say that we don't want it to be.
post #29 of 41
While I think it is possible that there may be a niche market for slightly higher priced items certified as being made "humanely", I very much doubt that those products would gain a larger market share than similar cheaper products without the certification. I don't believe that Americans en masse actually care enough about what happens to people they don't know. Certainly there is a healthy social conscience about such things, but the fact that no consumer group exists to perform the function you are describing could be good evidence that not enough people actually care to have made this happen yet.

It's very similar to the "Made in the U.S.A." label campaign. While there are a few people (a niche market) who actually look for and purchase these products, most people just want to find the best deal. Gloabalization is by no means innocent, but that does not make the free market system immoral. It is merely amoral. As Marx pointed out, we are now bound together by cold cash connections. Perhaps someone can figure out a way to make people want to buy more expense "humanely" produced products, but until they do, let's acknowledge at least that the workers producing these products are better off than they would be without the corporations who are "exploiting" their labor, and enjoy our cheap consumer electronics that are slowly making their world a better place as their economy develops.
post #30 of 41
Unfortunately, it's very difficult to go into another country these days, and lay down rules. I say unfortunately, not because it was easy to before, and that it brought enlightenment to those countries. I think we can agree that it, at least for the most part, didn't.

But rather that because, today, while we can bring enlightenment, we aren't allowed to. But that enlightenment is a standard that these countries don't have an interest in meeting, because they see it as making themselves less competitive. Competitiveness is The Word among rising nations. And who can say that they are wrong?

If the Chinese culture has found itself to be as intlplby says, then it will suffer for it. But they have to see that for themselves.

Meanwhile, China, and other desirable countries for international manufacturers, set the standards for the companies wishing to enter. Not the other way around.
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Competitiveness is The Word among rising nations. And who can say that they are wrong?

I think I can. It's an ephemeral gain at the expense of the long term. A country that allows itself to be polluted because of low or no standards, in the name of competitiveness, may pay for that temporary gain for a century in health problems and expensive clean-up. A country that allows its people to be virtual slaves in the name of competitiveness won't be looked at favorably by its own decendants two or three generations down. It is a phase in economic development that I would hope that is unnecessary because it's a valuable lesson in history that shouldn't be ignored.
post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by intlplby
there is a massive cultural difference that was created in Maoist China in the past 57 years......this is social darwinism at it's extremes.... if i can gain something by screwing someone else over, that's ok..... the golden rule has not been issued a chinese visa.....

Much in intlplby's excellent post (especially the underlined part) is affirmed in other publications, including Harry Wu's remarkable series of books about his life in Mainland China's gulags. My only amendment would be to say that any golden rule that was already on the Mainland (i.e., the Chinese Christians who live by it and promoted it) was long-ago imprisoned and left to die.

This is a deep-rooted cultural problem that won't be solved by Apple alone. Nor is it just Apple or FoxConn's problem. Pressure must be brought to bear on the Chinese governments (Mainland especially) to establish consistent and higher labor standards and enforce them. Such pressure can be induced by numerous means, among them diplomacy, incentives, tarriffs, trade restrictions, import compliance standards, and strong public opinion.

The greatest risk we face in massive migration of production to foreign countries is depletion of our capital base. If we can't pays the money, we can't makes the choice (to use the old American colloquial adage). If we allow trade deficits to continue, provoked by broad product discounts, we will lose our ability to have any effect on such problems.

Business Week might have some reason to make the recommendation it did, but in my experience their advice in such matters is rarely correct. Japanese factories in America have done much to change American business practices, but they haven't significantly changed labor union agreements or the cost of living in Michigan. They have simply moved in to places in America where they are not bound by labor agreements, where the people have a good work ethic, and where the cost of living is low. If Apple were to build a factory in China, the workers might be happier, but for Apple alone their cost of production would be higher, their sales would decline, and their nice factory would go away. Labor abuse in China will continue as long as China condones it. Apple's building a factory in China would be mere tears in the ocean.

Apple has shown time and again that, when faced with an issue of customer dissatisfaction, they will do the best they can to fix it. They are not perfect in this, but they are better than almost all others. They will do the same thing here... they will do their best, and their best will be as good or better than anybody else's.

But if foreign news reporters are so concerned about labor conditions in China, then they should criticize China. Why didn't they? They're probably criticizing Apple because they can't get Chinese authorities to listen. They might believe that they can't have the same impact on Chinese policy as does a successful American company. And ask yourself these questions: Why didn't China's local labor bureau bring this problem to Apple's attention? Why did it take a British newspaper to do so?

So if you really want to help solve the problem, write a letter of complaint to the Chinese governments and threaten to stop buying Chinese goods. Write to your political leaders about it, too. And if you want to put pressure on companies that benefit from poor labor practices in China, then put it on all companies whose products you see labeled as made in China. You should be stunned to see how many there are.
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by AlmostBoughtaLisa
Much in intlplby's excellent post (especially the underlined part) is affirmed in other publications, including Harry Wu's remarkable series of books about his life in Mainland China's gulags. My only amendment would be to say that any golden rule that was already on the Mainland (i.e., the Chinese Christians who live by it and promoted it) was long-ago imprisoned and left to die.

This is a deep-rooted cultural problem that won't be solved by Apple alone. Nor is it just Apple or FoxConn's problem. Pressure must be brought to bear on the Chinese governments (Mainland especially) to establish consistent and higher labor standards and enforce them. Such pressure can be induced by numerous means, among them diplomacy, incentives, tarriffs, trade restrictions, import compliance standards, and strong public opinion.

The greatest risk we face in massive migration of production to foreign countries is depletion of our capital base. If we can't pays the money, we can't makes the choice (to use the old American colloquial adage). If we allow trade deficits to continue, provoked by broad product discounts, we will lose our ability to have any effect on such problems.

Business Week might have some reason to make the recommendation it did, but in my experience their advice in such matters is rarely correct. Japanese factories in America have done much to change American business practices, but they haven't significantly changed labor union agreements or the cost of living in Michigan. They have simply moved in to places in America where they are not bound by labor agreements, where the people have a good work ethic, and where the cost of living is low. If Apple were to build a factory in China, the workers might be happier, but for Apple alone their cost of production would be higher, their sales would decline, and their nice factory would go away. Labor abuse in China will continue as long as China condones it. Apple's building a factory in China would be mere tears in the ocean.

Apple has shown time and again that, when faced with an issue of customer dissatisfaction, they will do the best they can to fix it. They are not perfect in this, but they are better than almost all others. They will do the same thing here... they will do their best, and their best will be as good or better than anybody else's.

But if foreign news reporters are so concerned about labor conditions in China, then they should criticize China. Why didn't they? They're probably criticizing Apple because they can't get Chinese authorities to listen. They might believe that they can't have the same impact on Chinese policy as does a successful American company. And ask yourself these questions: Why didn't China's local labor bureau bring this problem to Apple's attention? Why did it take a British newspaper to do so?

So if you really want to help solve the problem, write a letter of complaint to the Chinese governments and threaten to stop buying Chinese goods. Write to your political leaders about it, too. And if you want to put pressure on companies that benefit from poor labor practices in China, then put it on all companies whose products you see labeled as made in China. You should be stunned to see how many there are.

None of that will help in the slightest.

The Chinese have shown that they don't care, even one bit, for world opinion. In fact, the more they are pushed, the more they push back.

Now that they are an economic world power, and are on their way to becoming a military power as well, they are even less inclined to bow to external pressure.

All you have to do is to look at the way they jail anyone who is thought to be a danger to stability.

No, this won't work. As I've said, it's already happening for the reasons it always happens; internal economic pressures.

Interfering doesn't always bring about the results you will think it does.

Their culture has to evolve just as those in other places have. It took the USA 200 years to generate the beliefs, and the laws that came from them, to the point they are today. And it is still far from perfect. The same is true everywhere else, no matter how smug they may be about it.

It won't take China 200 years, because they have models that we didn't have back then when we were evolving. We had to do it on the fly, so to speak.

But it will still take them a couple of generations, at least. Their form of government makes it difficult for many forms of worker organizations to succeed, as the ruling class simply looks apon them as disturbers of the stable social order.

They want to have their cake, and eat it too.

When we pressure them into doing something they are convinced is anathma to their way of looking at things, they are convinced that we want to take their cake away, and they won't allow that.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross

(snip)

The Chinese have shown that they don't care, even one bit, for world opinion. In fact, the more they are pushed, the more they push back.

Now that they are an economic world power, and are on their way to becoming a military power as well, they are even less inclined to bow to external pressure.

All you have to do is to look at the way they jail anyone who is thought to be a danger to stability.


(snip) As I've said, it's already happening for the reasons it always happens; internal economic pressures.

(snip)

Their culture has to evolve just as those in other places have. It took the USA 200 years to generate the beliefs, and the laws that came from them, to the point they are today. And it is still far from perfect. The same is true everywhere else, (snip).

It won't take China 200 years, because they have models that we didn't have back then when we were evolving. We had to do it on the fly, so to speak.

But it will still take them a couple of generations, at least. Their form of government makes it difficult for many forms of worker organizations to succeed, as the ruling class simply looks apon them as disturbers of the stable social order.

They want to have their cake, and eat it too.

(snip)

Actually, mel, I agree with most of what you're saying. (I've snipped out the parts with which I don't agree, to give you an idea of how much I concur.) But that doesn't mean we should acquiesce to their abuses.

The matter immediately at hand is what Apple should do. Apple can only do so much. As I said, they won't, in and of themselves, make China change. It is true that China will change when it makes sense to them to do so. But my point is that Apple should not be made the bad guy just because China refuses to change or fails in its responsibilities to its citizens.

More broadly, I continue to believe that China will change faster under pressure: internal and external. Pressure includes all of what you're saying, and much, if not all, of what I'm saying. Years ago, American external pressure succeeded in stopping China from taking Qemoy and Matsu, much as they didn't like it. The external pressure of our markets provides fuel for some of the internal economic pressures of which you speak. My point is that we should acknowledge all of the powers that we have available to us, and employ and manage them as a force for positive and constructive economic (and, consequentially, positive social) change in China. And as we do, we should be sure to understand clearly the differences that still remain between Taiwan and the Mainland.
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by AlmostBoughtaLisa
Actually, mel, I agree with most of what you're saying. (I've snipped out the parts with which I don't agree, to give you an idea of how much I concur.) But that doesn't mean we should acquiesce to their abuses.

The matter immediately at hand is what Apple should do. Apple can only do so much. As I said, they won't, in and of themselves, make China change. It is true that China will change when it makes sense to them to do so. But my point is that Apple should not be made the bad guy just because China refuses to change or fails in its responsibilities to its citizens.

More broadly, I continue to believe that China will change faster under pressure: internal and external. Pressure includes all of what you're saying, and much, if not all, of what I'm saying. Years ago, American external pressure succeeded in stopping China from taking Qemoy and Matsu, much as they didn't like it. The external pressure of our markets provides fuel for some of the internal economic pressures of which you speak. My point is that we should acknowledge all of the powers that we have available to us, and employ and manage them as a force for positive and constructive economic (and, consequentially, positive social) change in China. And as we do, we should be sure to understand clearly the differences that still remain between Taiwan and the Mainland.

I do appreciate that you do agree with part of what I'm saying. So we disagree partly on the methods we can exert.

But don't forget that the pressure we applied with Qemoy and Matsu was to send a carrier fleet into those waters. You surely don't suggest that we attempt a "Commodore Perry"?

The only pressure we can exert, at this time, is to threaten to remove all of the manufacturers who have set up shop there. Do you think that is realistic?

Consumer organizations in this country, and others as well, I suspect, have gotten us used to the idea of the "best buy". Not the best, but the best for the price. That has gotten consumers here used to the idea of cheap imports. It's used to keep inflation down, for one thing.

With that price competition, it's difficult to have corporations use any little bargaining power they have, because consumers would rather get products as cheaply as possible, no matter what the cost over there.

I really don't see what can be done. They can't be embarrassed. They don't care. They can't be forced, we don't have the power.

It will happen at its own pace, whether we like it or not.

The only thing Apple can do is to go somewhere else. Where would that be? India, and other low cost nations are just as bad, or worse.
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I do appreciate that you do agree with part of what I'm saying. So we disagree partly on the methods we can exert.

But don't forget that the pressure we applied with Qemoy and Matsu was to send a carrier fleet into those waters. You surely don't suggest that we attempt a "Commodore Perry"?

Uh, no. (Not sure what you mean there... provoke a trade treaty by show of force?) Nor am I suggesting we threaten nuclear war over this (which was an option during the Q-M crisis). I was using that as an extreme example to make the point that America has affected Chinese behavior in the past ... once we gathered the courage to do so.

Please refer back to my original message and look at the array of responses I originally proposed. I'm saying that we can employ a whole variety of tactics and strategies in our dealings with China that will be effective. For years America and Japan have opened and closed trading in specific industries and products in order to balance trade between the two of us -- to varying degrees of effectiveness, but effective nonetheless.

Quote:
The only pressure we can exert, at this time, is to threaten to remove all of the manufacturers who have set up shop there. Do you think that is realistic?

Now we're getting down to the heart of our disagreement. You are saying, I gather, that our only option is to either do business with China or not. That's a false premise. I say we should turn it up or down, on a much finer scale, depending on how much it helps us reach our goals. We do that with other countries already, and it is effective. If we do that with China as well, it will be effective there, too.

Quote:
Consumer organizations in this country, and others as well, I suspect, have gotten us used to the idea of the "best buy". Not the best, but the best for the price. That has gotten consumers here used to the idea of cheap imports. It's used to keep inflation down, for one thing.

With that price competition, it's difficult to have corporations use any little bargaining power they have, because consumers would rather get products as cheaply as possible, no matter what the cost over there.

I really don't see what can be done. They can't be embarrassed. They don't care. They can't be forced, we don't have the power.

We also disagree in the third of these three paragraphs. I submit that we, as a nation, as corporations, and as individuals do have some power to induce some changes. Even the Reagan Administration employed a variety of the methods I listed at the outset of this discussion in order to affect foreign policy and trade, both at the product level and at the industry level. If the Chinese feel effects in their pocketbook (not severely, but enough to make it matter to them), then they will change... in their own way, to be sure.

Quote:
It will happen at its own pace, whether we like it or not.

The only thing Apple can do is to go somewhere else. Where would that be? India, and other low cost nations are just as bad, or worse.

Rather than surrender, we should remain engaged, find the best solutions we can, and employ those solutions. By remaining attentive to their specific situation, Apple seems willing to do just that. Their ability to affect change at a private company in Taiwan will very likely be greater than it would be were they dealing with a state-run industry on the Mainland.
post #37 of 41
I think we just have to agree to disagree on this. I haven't read anything anywhere that says anything other than what I've already said. If you read the Times, WSJ, or even the Chinese magazines for foreign circulation, you will see that they say the same thing. We have all gotten too far into China now. The advantage is in their corner. What they have been saying, quite publically, is that we either play by their rules, or we don't play at all.

Companies, and governments, are far too concerned about the possibility of losing the Chinese market to want to challange them. you don't see it that way, and that's why we won't agree on this.
post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I think we just have to agree to disagree on this. I haven't read anything anywhere that says anything other than what I've already said. If you read the Times, WSJ, or even the Chinese magazines for foreign circulation, you will see that they say the same thing. We have all gotten too far into China now. The advantage is in their corner. What they have been saying, quite publically, is that we either play by their rules, or we don't play at all.

Companies, and governments, are far too concerned about the possibility of losing the Chinese market to want to challange them. you don't see it that way, and that's why we won't agree on this.

China got to where they are by national resolve and a commitment to take a leadership position. How they went about it is far different than did we. If you think that we have become "too far" involved with China, to the extent that we must abandon our principles, then it seems you have submitted to their leadership.

Many tennis players who are not ranked number 1 become ranked number 1 by believing they can be number 1 and making a personal commitment to be number 1. I believe America must continue its resolve and commitment to be a, if not the, world leader. If we don't make that commitment together, then it becomes more likely that you and I both can look forward to more state-run prison factories and sweat-shop labor, and not just in China.

And allow me to add, before we part ways in disagreement, that I appreciate your thoughtful and intelligent commentary.

Quote:
It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. -- Thomas Jefferson
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by AlmostBoughtaLisa
China got to where they are by national resolve and a commitment to take a leadership position. How they went about it is far different than did we. If you think that we have become "too far" involved with China, to the extent that we must abandon our principles, then it seems you have submitted to their leadership.

Many tennis players who are not ranked number 1 become ranked number 1 by believing they can be number 1 and making a personal commitment to be number 1. I believe America must continue its resolve and commitment to be a, if not the, world leader. If we don't make that commitment together, then it becomes more likely that you and I both can look forward to more state-run prison factories and sweat-shop labor, and not just in China.

And allow me to add, before we part ways in disagreement, that I appreciate your thoughtful and intelligent commentary.

Ok, you forced me into it. On more comment.

I think that we have become so economically involved with China, that we HAVE abandoned our principles. As we slowly added factories there, I've been saying that this would happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about it.

But we have so much investment there now, that we can't get out.

And, as I've been saying all along, the improvement in China's conditions will occur by itself. To have a major confrontation over it won't speed it up, and will just sour relations. If that happens, we will lose all of our influence there. Where we need their help on pressing matters, such as N Korea, and Iran, we will get less than we have now. It's a matter of balance, and understanding that we have no influence over internal matters such as this. Even now, they are moving to regulate the foreign press. They do what they want.

If we moved, I can guarantee you that other countries, such as France, who are less scrupulous, will move in our place.
post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Ok, you forced me into it. On more comment.

I think that we have become so economically involved with China, that we HAVE abandoned our principles. As we slowly added factories there, I've been saying that this would happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about it.

But we have so much investment there now, that we can't get out.

And, as I've been saying all along, the improvement in China's conditions will occur by itself. To have a major confrontation over it won't speed it up, and will just sour relations. If that happens, we will lose all of our influence there. Where we need their help on pressing matters, such as N Korea, and Iran, we will get less than we have now. It's a matter of balance, and understanding that we have no influence over internal matters such as this. Even now, they are moving to regulate the foreign press. They do what they want.

If we moved, I can guarantee you that other countries, such as France, who are less scrupulous, will move in our place.



Hello,

as an FYI, I have actually visited many of the electronics manufacturing sites in China, including this Foxconn site in Longhua. Although the wages may seem incredibly low by US standards, you also must consider that the factories provide dormitory style housing and all meals for these employees, 7 days a week. They actually live at the factory. It is far from an ideal situation by what we consider normal, but compared to the alternatives for most of these people, it is a huge improvement. It is the people's willingness to do this work for this level of compensation that moves the companies decide to manufacture there. For the most part, these factories are very clean and modern. Not at all what you would picture as a "sweat shop".

Now India on the other hand....
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