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Made in China: Tech, Ethics and Economics

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Cuzza 1st September 2010, 08:09 Quote
Very interesting article, thanks a lot.

It seems that with the global economy becoming ever more singular, outsourcing will continue to send all work to the lowest bidder, which means by default the bidder who is willing to screw his workers over the most. And as much as I applaud the Chinese people for standing up for themselves and demanding a better deal, they can't win, because as soon as they get their demands met a cheaper option will be found in another country where people are valued even less. And it really must be difficult to value your employees when when there are 400,000 of them. Let's not pretend Hon Hai gives a flying f*** about it's workers. They are just numbers.
yakyb 1st September 2010, 08:18 Quote
It must be awful, how steve jobs can live with himself with apple on a 60% profit margin i do not know. (i would gladly pay 10% more for a Mobo if it got passed directly onto the workers.

I feel very fortunate to live in the UK, and when i ever i think work could be better here i will remember it could be an awful lot worse

i just hope that someone is trying to help these people
(i also hope this article goes some way to help them)
LooseNeutral 1st September 2010, 08:39 Quote
Not to mention an under valued currency, which is screwing everyone 'cross the globe. India can't even get away with it because they don't carry as much weight within the global economy. Oh, but they tried and got threatened with all sorts of trade sanctions. Damn, even Japan is moving major mfg lines to China! Funny part (sad actually) is who's going to buy all the lovely products when unemployment really goes through the roof. Intel feels the heat, all of them do. Intel lost something like 16% trade value in one day last week. Over a billion dollors...poof! Poor shareholders. Foxconn got in the spotlight because Apples market value has increase over 50% this year alone. You won't hear about the poor conditions and stuff like suicides at the George Forman Grill plant.
Steve Jobs gets paid for stock market value at Apple, he gets paid in stock. But, he is one of the major shareholders at Disney, and serves on its board. Then there's Pixar, a division of disney that Jobs co created as well! Now he's bought into the company that makes, get this, "Liquid Metal"! Only one machine in the world and he's going to build a boat load of 'em. Wait till it gets worse, and no one can afford their stuff. It's overpriced and under powered. They'll feel the heat too!
perplekks45 1st September 2010, 09:35 Quote
Great article! ;)

I really think we will run into trouble in the next 5-10 years just because the western companies don't care about anything but profit and therefore always try to find the lowest bidder. Then again, we all want to pay the least amount possible for our stuff, be it clothes, electronics or even food.
alpaca 1st September 2010, 11:36 Quote
great article. the other side of the coin, so to speak.
t1alek 1st September 2010, 13:13 Quote
Easily the best article I've read on bit-tech and one of the overall best for a long while.
Coming from a small, small fairytale country with some of the highest wages in the world it is eyeopening.
wuyanxu 1st September 2010, 13:15 Quote
well summarised and very informative on the little things that the headlines have missed.

to be honest, i feel the problem lies with the single child policy. all those early 20 years young workers are the once loving child of some parent. they cannot endure such hardship and sometimes they will result to extremes.

it is a long term problem. raising salaries is only part of the solution. i think long term solution is to move factory into the countryside, away from big cities that is full of spoiled young workers.
justicefornone 1st September 2010, 13:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
it is a long term problem. raising salaries is only part of the solution. i think long term solution is to move factory into the countryside, away from big cities that is full of spoiled young workers.

After getting back from Beijing a few weeks ago probably would help the most moving things into the countryside however the road networks there are... frankly, horrific. Once you leave the citys it deterotates fast, and if there are accidents you can't go anywhere, we were stuck for an hour and a half on a road that was 4 lines both sides because of a smash where the people who had the smash and nearby people had to sort it out!

After being there nothing in this article really suprised me, and has been mentioned. How Steve Jobs can sleep at night is beyond me. He probably just covers himself in money till the guilt goes away.
HandMadeAndroid 1st September 2010, 13:53 Quote
Bit-tech is just part of this system, constantly pushing and promoting the next big tech thing to a bunch or largely white, middle class spoiled western brats whom think its their born right to have this latest crap to cover their insecurities and inadequacies as human beings. What's even more comical is you are collectively so bored with your lives that you have to block them out by plugging into, or looking at some device.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8
yakyb 1st September 2010, 14:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandMadeAndroid
Bit-tech is just part of this system, constantly pushing and promoting the next big tech thing to a bunch or largely white, middle class spoiled western brats whom think its their born right to have this latest crap to cover their insecurities and inadequacies as human beings. What's even more comical is you are collectively so bored with your lives that you have to block them out by plugging into, or looking at some device.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8

what a load of horse sh1t (mostly)
Sifter3000 1st September 2010, 14:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandMadeAndroid
Bit-tech is just part of this system, constantly pushing and promoting the next big tech thing to a bunch or largely white, middle class spoiled western brats whom think its their born right to have this latest crap to cover their insecurities and inadequacies as human beings

I don't deny that bit-tech is a part (albeit very small) of this "system" - I state it in the brief foreword. That said, what the article makes clear (I hope) is how complex and involved the system itself is, because what you're really talking about is the global economy. Ultimately, China is going from being a poor, agrarian, rural economy to a modern, capitalist, consumerist, urban economy and culture in the space of 20 years, whereas it took the UK closer to 200; these are huge forces at work, and it's important to try and recognise them, and your own role in them.

Simply saying "you all suck for being consumers" isn't going to help anything. Neither, I don't think is saying calling out Steve Jobs on his ethics - outside investment is key to the Chinese economy (and key to our own: it's quite important that China isn't just a manufacturing economy, but also consumes goods and services, as that then helps our own companies). Should factory conditions be better and should wages be higher? Yes, of course. Should we stop making stuff in China and stop buying new stuff? No.
Nexxo 1st September 2010, 14:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
It must be awful, how steve jobs can live with himself with apple on a 60% profit margin i do not know. (i would gladly pay 10% more for a Mobo if it got passed directly onto the workers.
Let's be precise here. Apple makes a 48% mark-up on a unit, not 60%. Part of that is eaten by marketing, distribution, sales infrastructure (Apple Shops and support staff), R&D. Another substantial chunk is eaten by shareholders who want return on their investment.

Is Jobs bothered? No, Jobs is too busy being a successful businessman. He knows that the success of his company relies on the bottom line.

You bleeding hearts all say that you'd happily pay more for a product, but I remember the frequent indignant outcries over the price of Apple products. I remember the argument for piracy being made that games are just too (unjustifiably) expensive. Fact is, everybody likes a free lunch. But somewhere in the food chain someone has to pay the price every time you don't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandMadeAndroid
Bit-tech is just part of this system, constantly pushing and promoting the next big tech thing to a bunch or largely white, middle class spoiled western brats whom think its their born right to have this latest crap...
I don't think that Bit-Tech is part of that system, but it certainly reflective of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sifter3000
I don't deny that bit-tech is a part (albeit very small) of this "system" - I state it in the brief foreword. That said, what the article makes clear (I hope) is how complex and involved the system itself is, because what you're really talking about is the global economy. Ultimately, China is going from being a poor, agrarian, rural economy to a modern, capitalist, consumerist, urban economy and culture in the space of 20 years, whereas it took the UK closer to 200; these are huge forces at work, and it's important to try and recognise them, and your own role in them.

Simply saying "you all suck for being consumers" isn't going to help anything. Neither, I don't think is saying calling out Steve Jobs on his ethics - outside investment is key to the Chinese economy (and key to our own: it's quite important that China isn't just a manufacturing economy, but also consumes goods and services, as that then helps our own companies). Should factory conditions be better and should wages be higher? Yes, of course. Should we stop making stuff in China and stop buying new stuff? No.
Perhaps we should just be more conscious and conscientious consumers. It worked for free range hens. When is the last time you checked the label in an item of clothing?

Perhaps we should demand a product that allows us to connect with the manufacturing staff (I outlined in another post how) and not buy anything unless you have a fair idea about who made it and under what circumstances, and what they were paid for it.
wuyanxu 1st September 2010, 14:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by justicefornone
After getting back from Beijing a few weeks ago probably would help the most moving things into the countryside however the road networks there are... frankly, horrific. Once you leave the citys it deterotates fast, and if there are accidents you can't go anywhere, we were stuck for an hour and a half on a road that was 4 lines both sides because of a smash where the people who had the smash and nearby people had to sort it out!

After being there nothing in this article really suprised me, and has been mentioned. How Steve Jobs can sleep at night is beyond me. He probably just covers himself in money till the guilt goes away.
good point about the infrastructure in the country side. China is still undergoing urbanisation, everything outside the city is still very under developed.

during my holiday to North Wales with grandparents who are visiting UK, they cannot stop praising how well the roads are developed even for the smallest village.
Muunsyr 1st September 2010, 15:43 Quote
Brilliant article.

A very nice representation of what is happening in China and the what is happening with the worlds economy ATM was presented by Hans Rosling. It's about 20 min long but worth every minute just like this article is worth every word. Check it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html

-HandMadeAndroid: I watched that video, and while it seems to contain many facts it also seems to be propaganda - pretending to look at the big picture but omitting key bits of information.

Regarding the article, did I read page 4 right? That Hon Hai has (or will shortly have) 700 Million employees? For perspective, that is half the population of China itself and twice the population of the US (and many many times the country I live in). I knew they were big, but are they really THAT big?
Sifter3000 1st September 2010, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muunsyr
Regarding the article, did I read page 4 right? That Hon Hai has (or will shortly have) 700 Million employees? For perspective, that is half the population of China itself and twice the population of the US (and many many times the country I live in). I knew they were big, but are they really THAT big?

Gah, that should say 700,000! There's always one error that gets through.
stuartpb 1st September 2010, 15:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Let's be precise here. Apple makes a 48% mark-up on a unit, not 60%. Part of that is eaten by marketing, distribution, sales infrastructure (Apple Shops and support staff), R&D. Another substantial chunk is eaten by shareholders who want return on their investment.

Is Jobs bothered? No, Jobs is too busy being a successful businessman. He knows that the success of his company relies on the bottom line.

You bleeding hearts all say that you'd happily pay more for a product, but I remember the frequent indignant outcries over the price of Apple products. I remember the argument for piracy being made that games are just too (unjustifiably) expensive. Fact is, everybody likes a free lunch. But somewhere in the food chain someone has to pay the price every time you don't.

Well said, and fully agree! ;)
MajestiX 1st September 2010, 16:56 Quote
don't want to be the cynical one but everyone needs to remember, these workers are actually the ones better off. Think how bad they are and they are the employed ones, being unemployed is even worst.

This is exactly what happened, someone suicide got a payout for their family, other people followed(the payout is probably more than what they will earn in their life). They got payed out too,manufacturing company wises up scraps that from workers comp. Someones writes a story and people complain, rates go up for works but thousands of people get laid off to cover the extra cost. Week later everyone forgets about it and the unemployed get screwed.

that province is actually one of the better off and attracts a lot of people in China seeking work.

That is just the skewed pyramid of wealth we live in.

Don't say you would rather spend $10 for that mobo just donate it, even donation usually gets eaten up in "administration cost" before it reaches the people


We have become the MTV generation everything is a 5min block you only _care_ until this clips end and the next best clip gets your attention
cgthomas 1st September 2010, 19:42 Quote
Steve Jobs is a meany *smashes over-priced £2400 Mac*
Material 1st September 2010, 20:10 Quote
Excellent article, provided me with a good bit of reading over my lunch today.
zoea 1st September 2010, 20:32 Quote
Brilliant material keep it up bit-tech :)
Sloth 1st September 2010, 20:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Let's be precise here. Apple makes a 48% mark-up on a unit, not 60%. Part of that is eaten by marketing, distribution, sales infrastructure (Apple Shops and support staff), R&D. Another substantial chunk is eaten by shareholders who want return on their investment.

Is Jobs bothered? No, Jobs is too busy being a successful businessman. He knows that the success of his company relies on the bottom line.

You bleeding hearts all say that you'd happily pay more for a product, but I remember the frequent indignant outcries over the price of Apple products. I remember the argument for piracy being made that games are just too (unjustifiably) expensive. Fact is, everybody likes a free lunch. But somewhere in the food chain someone has to pay the price every time you don't.
My own understanding of yakyb's post was that he's fine paying more for some products, ones which already have low profit margins, but doesn't understand how Jobs can be comfortable with such a large profit margin and would prefer that Apple shoulder the increased price to pay for higher wages. IE: Asus makes 20% (just a random number less than 48) and Apple makes 48%. From my understanding of his post, he'd prefer that Apple not raise prices to cover wages until they were at or below 20% like Asus.

For my own opinion, since I'm not in the market for an iPod/Pad I'll leave them out, I don't think it makes me much a bleeding heart to say I'd pay $601 rather than $600 for a new PC. It's hardly even saying I'll pay more, there's more of a difference in price just by driving to a different county and paying different taxes. Just a shame that so many prices are based around ending at nines. To up the price by $1 would push most products into a new hundred, marketing would never allow it.
perplekks45 1st September 2010, 20:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sifter3000
Gah, that should say 700,000! There's always one error that gets through.
It's actually over 900,000. ;)
SpeedyVV 1st September 2010, 21:49 Quote
"It’s the fear that in a factory of 70,000, or a city of 10 million, you could just disappear and no one would notice. Those are the things that eat away at the soul.”

That statement made my hair stand up. I hope the human spirit can prevail here, but man, it has to be really hard.
SpeedyVV 1st September 2010, 21:53 Quote
Kudos for such a thorough article for such an important subject.

I dont think that it is possible to understand something as big as the social political landscape of a country like China...but we have to be aware of it.
Bumfluff101 1st September 2010, 22:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by t1alek
Easily the best article I've read on bit-tech and one of the overall best for a long while.

+1 to that
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