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Athens
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Jan 28, 2012, 01:57 AM
 
NYT reposts Foxconn story in China, to different reaction | MacNN

Im surprised no one is talking about this article.

I think it is pretty telling how ignorant many of us are at the way things are like in China. I've always reserved opinion on the company because I have seen much worse there. And more important they continue to get better and better. So even though they have a long way to go to catch up to us, as long as I saw progress in the right direction I was happy. After all what we enjoy today didn't occur over night.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 28, 2012, 05:26 AM
 
Sank like a stone.

People tend to ignore that the only reason we know about these issues at all is because Apple is pretty much the only tech company that audits their manufacturing conditions and makes those reports public.
     
mduell
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Jan 28, 2012, 06:56 AM
 
Apple couldn't give a single fark about worker conditions in China. Shipping products is the priority.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 28, 2012, 07:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Apple couldn't give a single fark about worker conditions in China.
That is quite obviously false.

Even if you're cynical enough to believe that they don't give a shit, it's rather important for image reasons.

Why are they the only ones (or at least the first) to publish the results of these internal studies? Why do they push for better pay than any of their competitors?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jan 28, 2012, 10:36 AM
 
I can see why Apple take an interest in these things but I think their role is a little overstated. These are employees of Foxconn, not Apple. You could follow the supply chain down and more than likely find out that the ink used by the company that prints Apple's packaging was hand-squeezed from venomous octopi by 8 year olds in a backstreet indian sweatshop or someyhing like that. What about the companies making the clothes worn by Foxconn workers? What do those factories look like? Is that Apple's fault too?

Unless Apple is found to making unreasonable demands that Foxconn sacrifice employee rights then really the anger should be directed at Foxconn or the chinese government.

The conditions have started to improve and the consequence is that Apple and Foxconn have started to move some production to Brazil where the rights of workers are as they were in china years ago. The only reason it doesn't still happen in the US or UK is because the governments have rules for worker welfare. Its the only way to stop it.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
mduell
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Jan 28, 2012, 11:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That is quite obviously false.

Even if you're cynical enough to believe that they don't give a shit, it's rather important for image reasons.

Why are they the only ones (or at least the first) to publish the results of these internal studies? Why do they push for better pay than any of their competitors?
They publish the whitewashed study for image/PR, including drowning out whoever is complaining about them. No one else cares about the criticism as much, because their business models focus less on their image.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 28, 2012, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
They publish the whitewashed study for image/PR, including drowning out whoever is complaining about them. No one else cares about the criticism as much, because their business models focus less on their image.
Considering that virtually all the controversy over Foxconn in the last two years has been based upon their reports, I'm not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that they've been "whitewashed".

I also find it interesting that the attempt to bypass Apple's "whitewashing" resulted in the realization that apparently Apple DOES care, because conditions at Apple's plants are substantially BETTER than at any competitors'.

Of course, this is based upon second- and third-hand info from unverifiable (to us) sources, so grain of salt and all that — in contrast to the incriminating reports, which are from Apple themselves.

Hmm.
     
Person Man
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Jan 28, 2012, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
The conditions have started to improve and the consequence is that Apple and Foxconn have started to move some production to Brazil where the rights of workers are as they were in china years ago.
This is NOT!!!!!!!!! true!

The reason they built a manufacturing plant in Brazil is not because the "working conditions in Brazil are like China was years ago."

The reason they built a manufacturing plant in Brazil is because Brazil imposes HUGE tariffs on electronic goods that are produced outside the country. There was a time when it was illegal to import electronics like computers into Brazil from other countries, so for instance, the Apple II, II+ and IIe were cloned in Brazil. That was relaxed in the 1990s I think but the government still slaps a tariff of up to 25% on the value of luxury items. That translates into very high cost. The iPhone hasn't penetrated well in Brazil because it is so expensive. Brazil is a huge market and Apple and Foxconn know that building their electronics there will allow them to lower the prices to reasonable levels.
     
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Jan 28, 2012, 12:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
The reason they built a manufacturing plant in Brazil is because Brazil imposes HUGE tariffs on electronic goods that are produced outside the country.
This is a fact.
     
The Godfather
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Jan 28, 2012, 01:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Its the only way to stop it.
yes, because AAPL shareholders should never be held accountable for unethical investing.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 28, 2012, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Godfather View Post
yes, because AAPL shareholders should never be held accountable for unethical investing.
There's a conundrum here.

One part is that conditions in Apple's contractors' factories are, by Western standards, atrocious.

Another is that they are, apparently, a league above everybody else's contractors' factory conditions, due entirely to Apple being the only company that gives a shit (for image reasons or whatever; that's pretty irrelevant).

The third part is that if conditions weren't what they are, Apple wouldn't actually be able to do what they do, and two-thirds of us probably wouldn't be able to get that cool iPhone/iPod/iPad, and even if we actually managed to get one, we might not be able or willing to pay for it.

As a consumer, if you're unhappy, don't buy Apple stuff. The problem is that out of all the options, Apple is the LEAST unethical out there.
     
Athens  (op)
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Jan 28, 2012, 02:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
They publish the whitewashed study for image/PR, including drowning out whoever is complaining about them. No one else cares about the criticism as much, because their business models focus less on their image.
So you ignore what the people in China says then. The actual workers and the people who say Foxconn is a much better place to work then many of the other factories in China.
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Athens  (op)
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Jan 28, 2012, 02:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
There's a conundrum here.

One part is that conditions in Apple's contractors' factories are, by Western standards, atrocious.

Another is that they are, apparently, a league above everybody else's contractors' factory conditions, due entirely to Apple being the only company that gives a shit (for image reasons or whatever; that's pretty irrelevant).

The third part is that if conditions weren't what they are, Apple wouldn't actually be able to do what they do, and two-thirds of us probably wouldn't be able to get that cool iPhone/iPod/iPad, and even if we actually managed to get one, we might not be able or willing to pay for it.

As a consumer, if you're unhappy, don't buy Apple stuff. The problem is that out of all the options, Apple is the LEAST unethical out there.
Well technically if you are a unhappy consumer about it you can't by any electronic goods. Would have to give up Sony, HP, Apple, Samsung, Nintendo, and everything else that is enjoyed.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 28, 2012, 03:04 PM
 
Yes, that's why I referred to it as "a conundrum".

I guess it needed spelling-out.
     
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Jan 28, 2012, 04:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Well technically if you are a unhappy consumer about it you can't by any electronic goods. Would have to give up Sony, HP, Apple, Samsung, Nintendo, and everything else that is enjoyed.
Exactly. I think is point was that it's unfair to single Apple out on this as the press has been doing.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 28, 2012, 06:38 PM
 
     
The Godfather
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Jan 28, 2012, 07:24 PM
 
What you gotta do is dump all your China-associated stock, starting with the most embedded corps, and repair your smartphone until it becomes woefully inadequate and puts a damper in your lifestyle, even if it only costs $200/$300/$400 plus sales tax (on the unsubsidized price).
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 28, 2012, 07:43 PM
 
And where do you get the parts to repair it?

Oh yeah...
     
lpkmckenna
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Jan 28, 2012, 07:51 PM
 
I'm more concerned about Foxconn's employee housing than I am about their work conditions and pay rates. And neither of those things matter at all compared to the environment disaster that China is bringing upon itself and the whole world.

And I'm sure the working conditions for migrant agricultural workers in the U.S. is far worse than working at Foxconn.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jan 28, 2012, 08:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Godfather View Post
yes, because AAPL shareholders should never be held accountable for unethical investing.
What percentage of all investors in the stock markets do you imagine are ethics conscious? Personally I think 5% would be a generous guess.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jan 28, 2012, 08:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
This is NOT!!!!!!!!! true!

The reason they built a manufacturing plant in Brazil is not because the "working conditions in Brazil are like China was years ago."

The reason they built a manufacturing plant in Brazil is because Brazil imposes HUGE tariffs on electronic goods that are produced outside the country. There was a time when it was illegal to import electronics like computers into Brazil from other countries, so for instance, the Apple II, II+ and IIe were cloned in Brazil. That was relaxed in the 1990s I think but the government still slaps a tariff of up to 25% on the value of luxury items. That translates into very high cost. The iPhone hasn't penetrated well in Brazil because it is so expensive. Brazil is a huge market and Apple and Foxconn know that building their electronics there will allow them to lower the prices to reasonable levels.
Nonsense.

The UK has a 20% tax on everything and you don't see Apple opening factories over here. Brazil has a large population but most of them are very very poor so the market for Apple isn't that big anyway.
As workers rights improve, the cost of manufacturing rises, that is why it shifted from the west to China and India. They are getting richer and ethically conscious people in the west put pressure on them so their workers rights are improving but this means the costs are going up. When they get too high the manufacturing will start to shift to Africa and South America. South America is preferred by Apple because it will save them a lot in shipping costs. And shipping time.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Athens  (op)
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Jan 29, 2012, 12:55 AM
 
Its because of logistics, Foxconn already has a couple plants in Brazil for HP and Sony as well. When you consider how far China is from South America it makes sense to build additional plants in the south. A lot of it has to do with Foxconn being maxed out as it is in China.
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Jan 29, 2012, 09:47 AM
 
The UK's tax isn't on the importers, it is on the products. Brazil has a protectionist taxation policy that makes it very expensive to manufacture things outside the country and then import them. This is not at all unique. Mexico has, as an example, a very complex and expensive system to support domestic auto manufacturing, wherein any vehicle coming into the country is "imported," and if you're just visiting you need to get a "temporary importation permit" which is good for a limited period of time. This is why VW had a plant building the original Beetle up until the 1990s-they couldn't afford to import cars made elsewhere and still profit at all.

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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 29, 2012, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Nonsense.

The UK has a 20% tax on everything and you don't see Apple opening factories over here. Brazil has a large population but most of them are very very poor so the market for Apple isn't that big anyway.
Interesting prejudice there.
Originally Posted by wikipedia
The economy of Brazil is the world's seventh largest by nominal GDP and eighth largest by purchasing power parity.[13] Brazil has moderately free markets and an inward-oriented economy. Its economy is the largest in Latin American nations and the second largest in the western hemisphere.[14]
Brazil is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world with an average annual GDP growth rate of over 5 percent.

[...]

The owner of a sophisticated technological sector, Brazil develops projects that range from submarines to aircraft and is involved in space research: the country possesses a satellite launching center and was the only country in the Southern Hemisphere to integrate the team responsible for the construction of the International Space Station (ISS).

[...]

With still high levels of inequality, though it has diminished in the last years, the Brazilian economy has become one of the major economies of the world. According to Forbes 2011, Brazil has the 8th largest number of billionaires in the world, a number much larger than what is found in other Latin American countries, and ahead of even Japan.[20] [21]
On 12/26/2011, according to a team of British economists from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), Brazil has already overtaken the UK as the world’s sixth-largest economy.
Are you thinking of a different country, perhaps?

I know that travelling Brazilians buy their Macs here in Germany (despite our 19% VAT), because the machines cost about TWICE what they do here, if they buy them at home. I know this because I've sold to a few.
     
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Jan 29, 2012, 05:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
What percentage of all investors in the stock markets do you imagine are ethics conscious? Personally I think 5% would be a generous guess.
What percentage of people with accountability/liabity are so in a voluntary/ethic basis?

The trick is to make the law, and whoever wants to make money in Wall Street needs to feign an ethical disposition.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jan 29, 2012, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Interesting prejudice there.
How exactly is that predjuduced? You think there are no poor people in Brazil?

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Are you thinking of a different country, perhaps?

I know that travelling Brazilians buy their Macs here in Germany (despite our 19% VAT), because the machines cost about TWICE what they do here, if they buy them at home. I know this because I've sold to a few.
Whatever, the biggest deciding factor on where Apple/Foxconn build factories is the cost of labour which hinges on the rights of the workers such as minimum wage. Otherwise they would have a factory in the US and probably one in Europe.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 29, 2012, 09:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
How exactly is that predjuduced? You think there are no poor people in Brazil?
There are poor people in Britain.

No, I was amused at your conception of Brazil. It's a pretty high-tech nation, and there's certainly enough reason (market) to go through some lengths to get to market there.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Whatever, the biggest deciding factor on where Apple/Foxconn build factories is the cost of labour which hinges on the rights of the workers such as minimum wage. Otherwise they would have a factory in the US and probably one in Europe.
As has been detailed in the recent reports, a MAJOR factor is that it is no problem to recruit an extra 3000 workers literally overnight to get a change of specs or QC or production rate whatever taken care of immediately.

Of course cost is an issue, as well.

And it turns out that the only way to get Apple products into the sixth-largest economy in the world (ahead of the United Kingdom) at decent cost and actually sell them competitively is to MAKE them there.

I don't know how flexible the Brazilian job market is wrt situations as described above, but I figure that with the (as you mention) rather large number of destitute people in Brazil, Foxconn will probably not have too many problems hiring.
     
The Godfather
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Jan 29, 2012, 10:56 PM
 
According to the state of the union last Wednesday, the desired candidate for a factory worker is technically skilled. According to this thread, the desired worker is destitute. Purple squirrels on a stick.
     
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Mar 16, 2012, 02:16 PM
 
Oops... Looks like that Mike Daisey guy made some stuff up for his little show...

https://gist.github.com/2051364

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Mar 16, 2012, 05:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Oops... Looks like that Mike Daisey guy made some stuff up for his little show...

https://gist.github.com/2051364
Too late. The damage has been done. Apple might have grounds to sue, though.
     
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Mar 16, 2012, 05:15 PM
 
I don't think Apple will sue. I'm fairly amazed at the audacity of this guy, though.
( Last edited by lpkmckenna; Mar 17, 2012 at 02:45 AM. )
     
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Mar 16, 2012, 05:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I don't think Apple will sue. I'm fairly amazing at the audacity of this guy, though.
They won't sue, but they probably could.
     
ort888
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Mar 16, 2012, 11:51 PM
 
Sueing would be a PR nightmare.

I have a feeling that Apple had some involvement in this behind the scenes.

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lpkmckenna
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Mar 17, 2012, 02:44 AM
 
Today's This American Life episode opened by noting that the facts about Apple and Foxconn are essentially true. The fundamental problem is that Daisey didn't have the conversations that he says he did, or observe the events that he says he did.

It's not that, for instance, workers weren't poisoned with N-Hexane. The problem is he didn't meet those people, and he claimed he did. Child workers at Foxconn do exist, but he didn't meet any, but he says he did.

Daisey went to China, didn't do or see anything interesting, then says that had all these experiences when he actually lifted them out of a newspaper. And he did this, not just in his play, he did this in Op-Ed pieces too.

His career is over.
     
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Mar 17, 2012, 04:15 AM
 
Thanks for this thread !
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