There are many who believe that corporations like Foxconn are evil. Apple contracts components from them and they turn around and pinch pennies while their employees are slaving away for long hours, working with hazardous chemicals, taking no breaks, and receiving very little compensation. This is our perspective here in America, isn’t it?
Images of factory worker abuse have been around since long before any of us were born. If you think about the industrial revolution in America, you will realize that the modern society we enjoy today was built in the backs of exploited factory workers. While it is true that this may not be a necessary evil, it is an evil many societies have had to endure in the name of building a stronger nation.
Remember when “made in Japan” conjured negative images in our heads? I do, and I don’t believe that is the case anymore. Today, Japan is highly regarded for its machinery and transportation exports. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea have all followed suit and used sweatshop tactics to build their economies. Essentially these nations were hungry and wanted to grow. Some business is better than no business and revenue, regardless of how it’s generated, builds the infrastructure and social programs that characterize a developed nation.
In china citizens flock to employment agencies to except Foxconn jobs because they are not presented with many other viable options for earning a paycheck to feed their families and keep clothing on their backs. Hopefully, none of us want to see others suffer, but we have been blessed in this country because, our forefathers did the work for us. We have the government resources to protect us from employer abuse because, somewhere along the way, somebody sacrificed so we could have it.
Since 1979 when China decided to embraced capitalism nearly 600 million people have escaped starvation and poverty by choosing to take employment in sweatshop-like environments. A perfect example is the Chinese village of Shenzhen. They were one of the first areas to embrace China’s economic reforms and to begin growing the economy. Thirty years later it is a city of 10 million people and a hotbed for manufacturing jobs.
If we take a lesson from history we can conclude that China is progressing very quickly and we may soon begin to see breakthroughs in the way they do business. I think America has a habit of forcing our politics onto other nations before they are ready for them. Sometimes you just need to allow something the freedom to grow and choose its own path.
Consumers should realize that a forced change over in China will end in one of two ways. Either Apple will pull all of their contracts from China over the labor disputes and Chinese workers will be left with no jobs or Americans will have to suffer tremendous price increases. Is an iPod worth $800-$1200 to you? Will you pay $1600- $2500 for an iPad? That’s what manufacturing in developed nations costs and it will be passed on to the consumer.