January 22, 2012

Why Apple took its jobs overseas and — as Steve Jobs told Barack Obama — "Those jobs aren’t coming back."

A long article in the NYT.
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
They're hungrier... and you can fuel them with biscuits. And that's why we have iPhones with beautiful glass — not plastic — screens. Steve Jobs wanted them "perfect" and "in six weeks," and that meant: China.
The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day....

“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”

180 comments:

AJ Lynch said...

Be interesting to have the option to buy an Apple product made here even if it cost more. How many people would choose to pay more for the American made product?

wv=badoggie

YoungHegelian said...

Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul.

If management can force the underlings to suffer in order to keep their stupidity from seeing the light of day (last minute re-design -- what a brilliant idea!), they will always do it.

I'm not trying to single out Apple as an "evil" company, but anyone who has ever thought they were particularly moral, even just in terms of their American market behavior, is just full of shit.

YoungHegelian said...

Oh, and by the way, as you sit at your COMPUTER to read this, remember what conditions it was produced under & think again about those evil, slave-holding, cotton producing, antebellum Southerners.

That's you in the mirror.

AJ Lynch said...

Your computer comes with a mirror?

MadisonMan said...

How many people would choose to pay more for the American made product?

Ask someone in the garment industry. Or the shoe industry.

rcocean said...

Reminds me of the old South. I mean how else could you get someone to pick Cotton for 12 hours a day and live on Yams and Cornmeal.

And of course all that Chinese cheap labor has translated into low, low, prices.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I've been inside Chinese factories and it really is eye opening. People tend to think things are manufactured by machines, but building machines to assemble things, especially things that change to meet design trends, is just too expensive. People are much cheaper.

The Luddites have won, and look at the victory!

Chuck66 said...

Plus with the 1 child rule, and for some strange reason it is more often a male then female, there are millions of guys in China who can't get dates. So they might as will leave in a barracks and make stuff for Americans all day long.

EMD said...

remember what conditions it was produced

I wonder what the alternative is, in China.

David said...

Stay in commentary, Hegelian. Or academia. Whatever you do, avoid any competitive marketplace. It will not turn out well for you.

(Written on my Apple computer. What kind of computer did you write on?)

Jason (the commenter) said...

YoungHegelian: think again about those evil, slave-holding, cotton producing, antebellum Southerners.

The Chinese are paid in money for their labor. Good wages by their standards. And unlike slaves they are free to work elsewhere, which they do every spring. That's one of the big problems with the Chinese manufacturing sector, a desperate lack of skilled employees, because they more around so much.

Chuck66 said...

AJLynch, depending on the price difference, I would pay more to buy an American product. Actually I did that yesterday with envelops. Skiped the Mexican ones at Wal Mart and bought American made ones at Office Max.

But unfortunately, I see it like global warming. Everyone talks about how bad it is to have to buy foreign stuff, but in reality, those same people refuse to pay extra to buy American.

I know a hard core Democrat who is a big believer in global warming, but he is one of the worst people I know for taking implusive long trips in his SUV.

AJ Lynch said...

ILGWU was my 1st employer out of college. The same guys who had garment factories in America also set up plants overseas. Then they lobbied Congress to limit imports to existing suppliers [and they were the existing suppliers]. I bet Jobs or his peers still do the same thing.

As the union members lost work here in America, the union lobbied Congress to establish the Trade Re-adjustment Act ["TRA"] which provided benefits to dis-located American workers. That TRA is still around and taxpayers pay for it as more and more workers get dis-located. I think some Solyndra workers just got on the TRA gravy train.

traditionalguy said...

And Obama really feels frustrated that he cannot run things here the way The Red Chinese Party runs things in China.

So Obama decided to send the Keystone Pipeline's cheap oil sand oil to China to help out his real comrades.

And as the industries that are located here wither, Bain Capital will jump in and get rich managing the crisis and selling off the parts.

If we don't like that, then we need to assemble several billion dollars and do the same investment strategy.

The stupid bitter clinger workers here are not worth saving...they should all immigrate to China and India, and then Romney Capitalism will be fully vindicated.

YoungHegelian said...

@David,


Do you have a point of disagreement, David, or do you often mistake snark for thought?

Jason (the commenter) said...

EMD: I wonder what the alternative is, in China.

Bending over in a rice paddy, pulling weeds all day. Or building a skyscraper, brick by brick, with nothing more than a wheelbarrow and a crowbar.

PaulV said...

reocean,
Working in China is better than working in antebellum Northern factory which were protected from competition by high tariffs

Chuck66 said...

I worked for a company that sent a large number of office jobs to India. They said the cost per employee in India vs the US was 35%. If they were telling the truth, it cost 3 times as much to employ someone in the US than in India.

AJ Lynch said...

Good for you Chuck. If only we could convince more people that doing that more often is in all of our economic interests.

YoungHegelian said...

@Jason,

Your points are true about wages, but really not true for freedom of movement, since China keeps tabs on internal immigration for everyone.

Actually, I'd say that Southern slaves had a relatively higher standard of living than modern Chinese factory labor. We have extensive records showing the life span of slaves, and they lives as long as their masters. Do you think Chinese laborers have the same life spans as the owners of those factories?

cokaygne said...

In China you can live with the rest of your family in a one-room mud hut over a pig sty (because the body heat of the pigs keeps the hut warm) and look forward to spending the spring walking behind a plow, or you can live in a dormitory, work in a sweat shop, and have some cash to spend on education for a better job or to date a girl who might not want a date who smells of pig shit.

Dear Americans, if you want to end poverty in this world, go for free trade and fee migration. Anything else is total bullshit.

David said...

Seriously, Hegelian, as you surf the internet with your trenchant commentary, do you think it's all made in America by highly paid union workers? Do you seriously believe that America, with 300 million people, can remain an island in a world of 7 billion? Do you think that the workers in China give a shit whether an American worker has been displaced? Or that consumers around the world will pay more to keep American factories going?

The United States has several advantages: long term political stability, an educated population, economic freedom and mobility, immigration, a culture of innovation, a large pool of wealth and capital and overall a strong work and achievement ethic. All of these advantages are being eroded, many by active policies or failures to act of our government.

It is mainly being undermined by growing and rampant ignorance, of which you seem to be unaware, perhaps because of your own youth and ignorance.

Since you are young there may be hope for you, if you are willing to open your mind.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

This video is relevant.

David said...

Hegelian, my snark has been supplemented above. But I do wonder what kind of virtuous computer you work on.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Young Hegelian: Your points are true about wages, but really not true for freedom of movement, since China keeps tabs on internal immigration for everyone.

China does keep tabs on internal immigration. People can't live anywhere they want, but they can work anywhere that will take them. Which is much different than being owned by another person and unable to leave, ever.

Actually, I'd say that Southern slaves had a relatively higher standard of living than modern Chinese factory labor.

Southern slaves had a higher standard of living than contemporary Northern workers. But you didn't see any Northerners rushing to the South to become slaves.

Toshtu said...

Can't we just import the whole factory?

Biscuits are pretty cheap in the US too.

David said...

We have extensive records showing the life span of slaves, and they lives as long as their masters.

More ignorance. Just totally incorrect. I have been studying and writing on American slavery for half a decade, and what you say is simply untrue.

For an example that should make you weep, read "Them Dark Days" by Willaim Dusinberre, published 1996. It's about slave mortality on rice plantations. It will--or should--make you weep.

YoungHegelian said...

@david,

No, David, I don't think there is any choice but for us to embrace globalization.

But, what you seem to have trouble grasping, is that being forced by economic circumstance to embrace something doesn't make it a MORAL choice, and we see from our own antebellum past where those choices can lead us.

The miserable choices of the workers in China comes from China being run by incompetents for about the past 200 years at least. Do you know just how fucked up Chinese history is? Do you know about the Taiping Rebellion or the Great Leap Forward?

To say now, "Oh, well this is better for the workers than subsistence farming" is true. But we're in bed with the Devil, and glossing over it with words like "globalization" doesn't change anything.

lemondog said...

New trend? With rising fuel costs. will US companies bring manufacturing jobs back from China to the US?

Overseas US companies accused of using child labor are pilloried and boycotted. Will Apple be subject to the same standards?

EDH said...

Ever notice how much golden age nostalgic nonsense is peddled by so-called progressives in order to convince people to give them more power so they can lead us out of the horrible present to a new promised land?

“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,” said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor Department until last September. “That’s disappeared. Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”

David said...

The myths about slavery persist. How do you even measure the "standard of living" of a slave? Mostly, they had enough to eat. That was because the masters wanted them to work. Beyond that there was virtually nothing in their lives that we would define as a "standard of living" in economic terms.

John Smith said...

The real problem is losing skills and capabilities. At some point USA labor costs will be forced lower and Chinese labor costs will rise making US cost effective.

Jason (the commenter) said...

David: The United States has several advantages:

You left out the biggest one: a culture of quality and trustworthiness. Which is why many companies are moving their factories to Canada, Mexico, and even the United States when they can. And also why companies are moving their factories out of China and into even cheaper countries as the price of Chinese labor rises.

China is not Japan.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oh, and by the way, as you sit at your COMPUTER to read this, remember what conditions it was produced under & think again about those evil, slave-holding, cotton producing, antebellum Southerners.

Also....remember why it is that the flood of illegal aliens is being condoned by the left (mostly). Illegals doing the jobs that "American's won't do"

Meaning....crap jobs at cheap wages and being able to be exploited because they are under the radar and illegal so that you can continue to enjoy the fruits (literally) of their cheap labor.

Enjoy that inexpensive lettuce and don't worry about the working conditions of the kitchen staff or your housekeeper.

That is YOU in the mirror.

YoungHegelian said...

@David,

My source for the lifespan of slaves is

"American Slavery 1619 - 1877" By Peter Kolchin

Yes, the situation of slaves in the mega-plantations were horrible. And, I'm not talking about Caribbean sugar plantations where the conditions were barely short of genocidal.

But that was not the life of 9/10's of American slaves who were owned in small groups of 5 or less by their families.

michaele said...

The whole article was a very sobering read. Frankly, it left me depressed about the future of a vibrant and growing middle class.It seems unavoidable that some brutal financial reckoning is going to have to take place.

David said...

So your stance is one of moral outage, yh. Well good for you. In the meantime companies like Apple are creating wealth and jobs worldwide, and people are flocking to those jobs. The benefits of those jobs fall unequally, and the jobs make life difficult for others who need to compete. You can sit back and be morally outraged, or you can get into the business of creation, which will have some positive impact on our unfair and unequal world.

As to slavery, you must have read some article comparing current Chinese workers to American slaves. That is the same comparison that the slave owners made in the 19th century, except that they made the comparison with northern factory workers. The argument was superficial and wrongheaded then, and it is now.

Good luck but really, please read the book Them Dark Days.

Maguro said...

To say now, "Oh, well this is better for the workers than subsistence farming" is true. But we're in bed with the Devil, and glossing over it with words like "globalization" doesn't change anything

Let's not get all overdramatic about this - industrialization and economic development ALWAYS starts with jobs that are barely better than substinence farming. Nothing exceptional about that, it's true of every country that's ever had a sustained rise in its standard of living.

I'm sure China would prefer to jump directly from an impoverished agrarian economy directly to everyone making $25 an hour, but that's not the way it has ever worked for anyone else.

Michael said...

The article was actually quite good. There was no way the author could spin it for a progressive agenda. The toothpaste is out of the tube, so to speak.

Toshtu said...

This is China's problem, not ours.

If Apple is complying with Chinese laws, it's no moral burden on me for using Apple products.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

EDH,

..."Romney, on the other hand, voluntarily turned down $268,000 in pay over five years when he was chief executive, which was equal to about 20 percent of his total pay during that time. In 1960, for example, he refused a $100,000 bonus. Mr. Romney had previously told the company’s board that no executive needed to make more than $225,000 a year (about $1.4 million in today’s dollars)..."


Would we better off, worse off, or the same if more folks followed Romney?

Michael said...

Dont just look in the mirror, lefties, look at what you have on your body. Given the way most of you dress it is improbable that you wear a single article of clothing made in a first world country.

chickenlittle said...

Have the lives of the Chinese not improved relative to what they had a generation ago?

Jason (the commenter) said...

chickenlittle: Have the lives of the Chinese not improved relative to what they had a generation ago?

A generation ago they were experiencing yearly famines, so yes.

YoungHegelian said...

@Maguro,

I'm not making an argument for impossible economic miracles in the 3rd world. As I said to David, I accept the necessity of globalization.

My point is that we are in bed with China, and China has one of the messiest modern histories & just got out from underneath the most evil government on the Earth for its time (Mao's China) to now being just an also-ran evil government.

We are in bed with the Devil, and we should expect blowback from this.

David said...

Yes, the situation of slaves in the mega-plantations were horrible. And, I'm not talking about Caribbean sugar plantations where the conditions were barely short of genocidal.

But that was not the life of 9/10's of American slaves who were owned in small groups of 5 or less by their families.


Wrong again. Nine tenths of the slaveowners were small holders, but a majority of the slaves lived on large plantations. Your statement is a common error, but a crucial one.

I have read Klotkin's book. It's a good general survey, but you are reading too much into his book on the lifespan issues. There was variation, and under some conditions slaves had similar mortality experiences as white master families. But more detailed studies of specific areas and plantations have discredited the general notion that you cite.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

"Given the way most of you dress it is improbable that you wear a single article of clothing made in a first world country."

I have a lot of european made clothes and accessories, but they are not cheap.

If folks want an affordable way to buy american made clothes go here.

YoungHegelian said...

@David,

As to slavery, you must have read some article comparing current Chinese workers to American slaves.

Do you ever put a crimp in the contempt and condescension, or is that bit switch just set on by default?

chickenlittle said...

I fell asleep last night watching "Two Jakes." I don't think I'll finish watching it either. What go to me was the portrayal of the incredible natural wealth beneath Los Angeles and the vilification of its use. Self-destructive mentality at best.

Paul said...

The Chinese workers sound more like slaves than workers with the descriptions they gave in that article.

You might mot know this but China is internally in the throws of a depression.

Huge amount of unemployment.

But I guess Obama don't care as long as he is prez.

chickenlittle said...

PB&J wrote: I have a lot of european made clothes and accessories, but they are not cheap.

I picture lots of black woolens--Dieterwear and suchlike.

Michael said...

PBandJ. Dude, Filson is a great American brand. There are lots of them that still make their goods here. My point is that Filson is probably ten times the cost of what mostpeople wear. Yeah, they last forever,etc, but they are not cheap. I wear Filson hunting pants that are thirty years old and my hunting vest will outlast my sons.

Kirk Parker said...

EMD,

"I wonder what the alternative is, in China. "

Well, yes, that's an interesting (but not easy) question.

jimspice said...

Get rid of unions and deregulate business and you too can sleep in a company dorm and be roused 24/7 for line duty.

David said...

Helegian, you do not know very much about American slavery. Just enough to pretend and get away with it, unless someone is around who actually knows the subject. To put a fine point on it, that person in this forum is me. Your supposed knowledge of the subject is a pose. My default switch is contempt for ignorant poses.

The Crack Emcee said...

This makes Apple's use of the Dali Lama as a spokesman very clear.

Oh, how I love NewAge.

Bill said...

"Ask someone in the garment industry. Or the shoe industry."

I'd actually say that the example company for this statement is New Balance, whose shoes (and much of their clothing) are all made in the US. The price isn't higher, either.

When I buy a pair of NB running shoes, it gives me that faux sense of doing something right.

Chip S. said...

@jimspice--Since fewer than 7% of US private-sector workers are members of unions, why aren't they already living in dormitories and subsisting on rice?

Maguro said...

The Dali Lama - now that is one surreal dude.

chickenlittle said...

jimspice said...
Get rid of unions and deregulate business and you too can sleep in a company dorm and be roused 24/7 for line duty.

Control bloated union demands and freebies in this country and you'll still have unions.

pm317 said...

NLRBs, unions and their corrupt goons having a chokehold on the economy with complicit politicians

versus

a totalitarian regime dictating an agenda for their workers who have no rights

There should be a middle ground, don't you think? Of course the perfectionist capitalist Steve Jobs will want his product yesterday by hook or crook.

mccullough said...

Steve Jobs isn't coming back either.

chickenlittle said...

mccullough said...
Steve Jobs isn't coming back either.

RIP. We need more of his type.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Maybe we can replace each NY janitor w/ 20 of these workers.

AJ Lynch said...

Btw, Obama's question to Jobs was what you'd expect to hear from a college sophmore blogging the event on his Ipad. I am sure Obama thought his question was spectularly insightful but it actually showed Obama just doesn't know how things work in the real world.

YoungHegelian said...

@David,

No, David, you started our exchange with snark.

You have not quoted one source in your defense, and I gave my source. Your say I'm mistaking my source, but yet give no reason why. It's a historical claim. Kolchin makes it or not.

If you knew your stuff, you'd have this sources at hand. You had your chance. You don't.

You're a pompous shit, David. Live with it.

pm317 said...

From the article: Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.

Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.

The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.


We know Obama has done plenty for his union goons and vice versa but what has he done for the workers -- maybe help them acquire industrial skills? reshape education to supply skilled workers for the manufacturing sector?

I agree with another commenter above that Obama asking Jobs that question shows his incompetence.

bagoh20 said...

You want your iPhone or your want your ideology - you can't have both.

MayBee said...

I thought Althouse posted about this before, and Jobs also explained to Obama about how his tax policy keeps Apple from bringing the money made in China back into America, as well as how regulations harm Apple's ability to build factories here.

bagoh20 said...

"Get rid of unions and deregulate business and you too can sleep in a company dorm and be roused 24/7 for line duty."

Or, roll out of bed at noon, get the check out of the mailbox, pick up the food stamps and get my buzz on.

Now, who you gonna vote for homie?

Jay Retread said...

The Republicans and those Democrats who have been bought off by international corporations want American workers to compete and ultimately work under similar conditions. Now that these corporations have been given the power to completely buy the American political system the deal has been sealed. When will regular Americans rise up and take back their country from these international corporations who have no allegiance to the U.S.?

EMD said...

I'd actually say that the example company for this statement is New Balance, whose shoes (and much of their clothing) are all made in the US. The price isn't higher, either.

When I buy a pair of NB running shoes, it gives me that faux sense of doing something right.


Not true. You can get cheaper NB shoes that are made in Viet Nam, among other places.

The U.S.-made NBs sell for around $135.00. The foreign-made ones, $70.00.

sleepless nights said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
எருமமாடு said...

'You can fuel them with biscuits.' You can use machine metaphors to refer to people are so desperate that you can 'fuel them with biscuits'.
Greetings from India. Here, employees of multi-national corporations can be 'fueled' with salaries one-third that of their US counterparts. Let's see. A call center employee can start work for less than 500$ a month. Did you get that? 500$ a fucking month. Do you know who takes these jobs? Bright young people with graduate degrees in engineering and the arts, with research degrees in social sciences. They take call center jobs to answer phones and be abused by racist Americans because these fucking multi-national corporations can pay better than Indian industry or higher education ever will be able to. Cut the condescending crap, ok? Fact to chew on (and to tell the Occupiers): Anybody who earns more than 34,000$ a fucking year belongs to the world's richest one per cent. You lead privileged insulated lives. Your country (closely followed by Great Britain) bears principal responsibility for perpetrating conditions of poverty - not only by unfair trade practices but by forcing third world countries to open up their vulnerable markets and working populations to predators from abroad. Like fucking Apple. Deal with it. No, my heart is not bleeding for the unfortunate American middle classes. It never will. Not when they are capable of producing shit articles that describe fellow human beings with lines like 'You can fuel them with biscuits'. You make me sick.
We are the REAL 99 per cent. And we are so fucking angry.

EMD said...

We are the REAL 99 per cent. And we are so fucking angry.

Invent the next f-ing iPod then, and stop whining.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

How many people would choose to pay more for the American made product?

Ask someone in the garment industry. Or the shoe industry.

Some people certainly do. I have a shop on Etsy with my handmade knit and crochet accessories. People could buy lower rent versions of most of what I make for a fraction of my cost at the WalMarts of the world. But, enough people choose to buy handmade that hundreds of thousands of sellers set up shop just on that one website.

Consumers who prioritize cost below other considerations may be a minority, but they certainly do exist.

Jay Retread said...

Is it not funny that American based international corporations are using Communist enforced slave labor to decimate the American middle class? "Give'm enough rope" indeed.

MayBee said...

Viking appliances are all made in the US.

Does everyone complaining about Apple and/or China have all Viking appliances? Most of them are even stainless steel, so you can use them as a mirror.

Chip S. said...

Your country (closely followed by Great Britain) bears principal responsibility for perpetrating conditions of poverty

No. Every country is responsible for its own economic conditions. Narasimha Rao understood this. Why don't you?

Phil 3:14 said...

Bill Gates would do this but not Steve Jobs. He's

enlightened

edutcher said...

And never forget, Jobs was a Progressive Democrat.

David said...

We have extensive records showing the life span of slaves, and they lives as long as their masters.

More ignorance. Just totally incorrect. I have been studying and writing on American slavery for half a decade, and what you say is simply untrue.

For an example that should make you weep, read "Them Dark Days" by Willaim Dusinberre, published 1996. It's about slave mortality on rice plantations. It will--or should--make you weep.


Question for you - seriously - there was a study by a couple of University of AL profs about 20 years ago that said the physical conditions of slaves were similar to that of a poor, white trash farmer of the same era.

True?

YoungHegelian said...

Yes, the situation of slaves in the mega-plantations were horrible. And, I'm not talking about Caribbean sugar plantations where the conditions were barely short of genocidal.

In Brazil, it was genocidal. They figured out how many slaves were needed to plant, cultivate, and bring in a year's crop and only imported that many slaves each year.

The previous year's slaves would have been worked to death.

Chef Mojo said...

Nice to see everybody is getting an uncomfortable lesson in Jefferson's Dilemma.

We condemn slavery - or in this case, morally reprehensible labor practices - and yet we can't live with out its products.

Like antebellum slave owners or factory owners, you're in so deep that there's nothing you can do to extricate yourself from the moral morass you find yourself wallowing in.

Time to just accept you're not the pure, moral creature you think yourself to be, and fucking deal with it.

Remember, the English thought themselves our moral superiors for not being a slaveholding nation. But they still bought our cotton.

Phil 3:14 said...

I do enjoy my cheap lettuce, both the kind from Arizona farms and from northern Sonoran farms.

Could you let me know which is harvested by "exploited " workers so I can buy the right kind.

George said...

This thread shows a serious lack of understanding of how a free market economy actually works. The prevailing perception appears to be that job creation is a zero-sum game, i.e., jobs gained in China only result in jobs lost here in the US. Not exactly.

I would point out that as Apple moved manufacturing to China, thus speeding up its new product cycles and lowering its costs, the resulting growth created thousands of new, much higher paying jobs here in the US that never existed previously. That's how the free market works. New jobs in China AND new jobs in the US.

Why would you want to keep the grunt jobs here? Why would you want to have a new iPhone model every 5 years instead of every year, and costing more each time rather than less?

And please, no lying about only buying "Ethical Oil," "Virtuous Computers," or higher-priced American-made goods. I've been in line with you guys at the pre-dawn gatherings to get the latest, coolest Apple offering. You're buying the "Apple Free Market Win-Win Model." And you love it.

Phil 3:14 said...

The whole article was a very sobering read. Frankly, it left me depressed about the future of a vibrant and growing middle class.

Can I presume you're not really too concerned about a vibrant and growing Chinese middle class?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Question for you - seriously - there was a study by a couple of University of AL profs about 20 years ago that said the physical conditions of slaves were similar to that of a poor, white trash farmer of the same era.

True?


I think so.

Long ancedote.

Some years ago, I had a client who was in his 90's. Born in 1902. His father was in his late 60's (born about 1840) at the time that my client was born. HIS father (client's grandfather) fought in the revolutionary war!. Imagine. Three generations spanning from the Revolutionary war, the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

They lived on a farm in Western Missouri and owned slaves. It was a hard scrabble farm and everyone lived the same. No big mansions and slave quarters.

The life stories that my client told me were fascinating. About his family. The Great Depression and about the slaves that the family used to own. Some of whom were quite elderly when my client was small and who still lived on the farm and nearby when he was a child.

The ex-slaves and their children were given parts of the land and some homes, by his father after the Civil War and they all continued to live side by side....and probably still do to this day.

After the war, many of the freed slaves from his father's farm went to St Louis. Shortly afterwards, most of them moved back 'home'. They didn't like the city and wanted to come back to what they considered family and to a life that they liked.

That's his story.

Freeman Hunt said...

These jobs are in high demand in China. It's not slavery.

If you closed all these plants, the people working in them would be forced to go back to doing whatever less desirable things they were doing before they were hired. Much worse things than working in a plant with paid housing.

Chip Ahoy said...

Okay, these biscuits of which you speak, what kind are they?

Slaves.

In Louisiana I lived in a place that built within an old played-out pecan orchard. Scary Halloween trees all over the place. Everybody had two of them, one in the front yard and one in the back yard, very clever how they arranged that and every subdivided property still be different.

Across the highway is an old house with a classical Southern facade. The pecan orchard picks up again on the other side of the highway. There is a horse stable on the property prominent to the highway and running lengthways with it. It is a very long building, but no activity to be seen so naturally it attracted the attention of neer-do-wells in search of mischief, such as my thirteen year old self and my undisciplined mates. The stable turned out to be built of hollow ceramic bricks the likes of which we've never seen. Rats were living in the bashed out bricks, they made perfect miniature rat abodes.

Still no human activity.

We explored the whole place. We got braver and braver with successive visits until finally we were into the barn of what appeared to be an operating farm, but never any people. Cows, but no people.

In the area between the house and barn stand a row of tiny cottages full of charm and whim. Like little picnic houses of something. They puzzled us. Made of the same bricks as the stable. One door. No windows. Tiny fireplace each. Seven little huts, tiny houses just like our hostess likes, in various degrees of disrepair, and then at length it finally struck us, the horror that descended suddenly like a pall cast across our pallid selves. Slaves. We pissed ourselves and ran.

JAL said...

As I heard it from a retired Corning exec in my family, the "beautiful glass" sceen is a type of glass manufactured by CORNING (USA). It was called Gorilla glass when Corning engineers created it, only they did not have a use for it. So they didn't manufacture it commercially.

When Jobs came to Corning looking for a special glass they said -- "We already have it." "No no" he said. "Yes yes" they said.

And Corning went into hyper-overdrive here in the USA to switch a plant into producing Gorilla glass for the first iPhones.

Now what happened after and with the Chinese factory -- who knows, as the design and shape of the iPhone's screen has changed from version to version -- but that's the story on the First use of "beautiful glass" instead of plastic screens.

And that is why many of us have smart phones with "Gorilla" glass.

Freeman Hunt said...

Get rid of unions and deregulate business and you too can sleep in a company dorm and be roused 24/7 for line duty.

Entirely wrong. Enact a state controlled economy, impoverish your people, and they too will clamor for jobs where they sleep in a company dorm to be roused 24/7 for line duty.

JAL said...

You notive how many of the Occupy people have Apple products, iphones, iPads et al?

Hahahahahah.

MayBee said...

Freeman- that is genius.

AprilApple said...

In China they are willing to work in poor conditions; yet without the jobs their lives are worse. In American, we refuse to lift a finger without all sorts of benefits and free this and free that. Sad all around.

Michael said...

JAL. Corning produces the Gorilla glass in China in factoriescwhich abut the ipad factories.

JAL said...

Fair Use (SOPA & PIPA be banished!)

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2011 3:13 PM
Subject: Steve Jobs book excerpt

Next was glass. “After we did metal, I looked at Jony and said that we had to master glass,” said Jobs.

For the Apple stores, they had created huge windowpanes and glass stairs. For the iPhone, the original plan was for it to have a plastic screen, like the iPod. But Jobs decided it would feel much more elegant and substantive if the screens were glass. So he set about finding a glass that would be strong and resistant to scratches.

The natural place to look was Asia, where the glass for stores was being made. But Job’s friend John Seeley Brown, who was on the board of Corning Glass in Upstate New York, told him that he should talk to that company’s young and dynamic CEO, Wendell Weeks. So he dialed the main Corning switchboard number and asked to be put through to Weeks. He got an assistant, who offered to pass along the message. “No, I’m Steve Jobs,” he replied. “Put me through.” The assistant refused. Jobs called Brown and complained that he had been subjected to “typical East Coast bullshit.”

When Weeks heard that, he called the main Apple switchboard and asked to speak to Jobs. He was told to put his request in writing and send it in by fax. When Jobs was told what happened, he took a liking to Weeks ad invited him to Cupertino.

Jobs described the type of glass Apple wanted for the iPhone, and Weeks told him that Corning had developed a chemical exchange process in the 1960s that led to what they dubbed “gorilla glass.” It was incredibly strong, but it had never found a market, so Corning quit making it.

Jobs said he doubted it was good enough, and he started explaining to Weeks how glass was made. This amused Weeks, who of course knew more than Jobs about that topic. “Can you shut up,” Week interjected, “and let me teach you some science?” Jobs was taken aback and fell silent. Weeks went to the whiteboard and gave a tutorial on the chemistry, which involved an ion-exchange process that produced a compression layer on the surface of the glass. This turned Jobs around, and he said he wanted as much gorilla glass as Corning could make within six months. “We don’t have the capacity,” Weeks replied. “None of our plants make the glass now.”

“Don’t be afraid,” Jobs replied. This stunned Weeks, who was good-humored and confident but not used to Job’s reality distortion field. He tried to explain that a false sense of confidence would not overcome engineering challenges, but that was a premise that Jobs had repeatedly shown he didn’t accept. He stared at Weeks unblinking. “Yes, you can do it,” he said. “Get your mind around it. You can do it.”

As Weeks retold this story, he shook his head in astonishment. “We did it in under six months,” he said. “We produced a glass that had never been made.” Corning’s facility in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, which had been making LCD displays, was converted almost overnight to make gorilla glass full-time. “We put our best scientists and engineers on it, and we just made it work.” In his airy office, Weeks has just one framed memento on display. It’s a message Jobs send the day the iPhone came out: “We couldn’t have done it without you.”

End of fair use extract to explain the "beautiful glass." (Which folks who've read the book already know. Sorry to bore you.)

;-)

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Michael -- as you can see it STARTED in the USA. What Jobs and Corning did after that is, as they say, the rest of the story.

BEK477 said...

AJ: I wouldn't consider an American made IPOD because the quality control and the cost would not be up to world class standards.

Folks, I've visited electronics factories all over SE Asia and they are light years ahead of the USA. Their workers arre excited to be making 'good' money and their labor and skills are in demand.

We have let our mmanufacturing base rust and rot. in turn the education system is turning out a defective product. The average HS student graduating from a public school in SIngapore has a beter grasp of Mathematics, English and Science than his USA counter-part.

Even if CHinese wage rates rise during the next ten years the productivity of the workers, the willingness of China's government to invest in critical infrastructure, the low cost of Chinese capital and rising advance of CHinese science will make such wages affordable.

The USA is in a fight for its life. We need to scratch the global empire routine, stop wasting money and effort on environmentalism, world peace intiatives, climatology and 'personal self-discovery'. We need to focus on developing the skills, infrastructure and knowledge base that can boost our productivity and maintian our standard of living in a highly competitve world.

Otherwise, we will suffer an enormous decline in our standard of living.

Jay Retread said...

One hundred years ago factories in the United States look very much like what is discribed in this article. The formation of unions changed this and played a large role in creating a broad middle class. Corporations have formed pacts with corrupt governments like Communist China to fine non-free labor. These same corporations are now being given the green light to buy the United States political system. Elites like Ann think this is all fine and dandy.

AJ Lynch said...

BEK477 said:

"In turn the education system is turning out a defective product. The average HS student graduating from a public school in SIngapore has a beter grasp of Mathematics, English and Science than his USA counter-part."

I do not blame this on our education system. It's more of an American failure in its culture while many Asian cultures are, as Charlie Sheen might say, "Winning!".

pm317 said...

JAL said...
-------------
Corning an American company (an institution I must say) came up with the 'Gorilla glass' and not the Chinese. That is the moral of the story. America cannot fall behind in its innovation.

sleepless nights said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

For our Tamil poster --

You live in one of the fastest growing (economically) areas of India.

I lived in India for several years -- I bet long before you were born.

At the time India was so protectionist -- the freedom to trade and import and export was so controlled that it was strangling India.

When we got back to the States they were already importing shoes made in China and it killed me that the restrictive trade and foreign exchange policies of India meant that Communist China was getting the global trade instead of the democracy of India. I started my kids in Bata sneakers and would have loved to see them here.

Alas. Impossible at the time.

Since that time the policies (in the 90s I believe) changed and as a result the middle class of India has exploded.

Bitch and moan as you will ... your politicians have contributed to the slow start -- but here you are -- some of the brightest and best come from India and are in India. Get your politicians to set them free.

India is not the States, but you might be grateful you are living in the middle of a time which 40 years ago was unimaginable.

Jose_K said...

And the suicides at his plants?
Soon or later those jobs will move to Vietnam or Indonesia.
And robots will do them in the end

Patrick said...

the jobs in China do not sound particularly appealing - not really slavery, but the workers aren't exactly free, either.

The thing is, however, their choice isn't between the Foxconn jobs, and jobs in America, with conditions most of us are used to. It is between the Foxconn jobs, and something worse.

edutcher said...

Jay Retread said...

One hundred years ago factories in the United States look very much like what is discribed in this article. The formation of unions changed this and played a large role in creating a broad middle class.

Actually, it was the end of WWII and the fact that the US had the only functioning industrial plant in the world.

The unions priced themselves out of existence and, freed from the mediocrity of union rules, business grew more productive and more efficient; that was what made the largest middle class in history.

The unions' big allies, the Democrats, have been taxing and regulating business to the point that many companies leave so they can make a profit. The only ones still tied to private sector unions are the auto companies - and they're dying.

Retread needs to brush up on his history. Unions helped obtain safer working conditions, but the successes of the post-WWII era came in spite of the unions, not because of them.

WV "obamay" (no kidding) How we'll have to as the Messiah for permission to breathe if he wins.

Ann Althouse said...

"Not when they are capable of producing shit articles that describe fellow human beings with lines like 'You can fuel them with biscuits'. You make me sick."

The quote "You can fuel them with biscuits" is from me, not the NYT. It was intended to be satirical, not dehumanizing. There's no reason to think that either I or the NYT was displaying hardheartedness toward the Chinese workers.

JohnJ said...

“You notice how many of the Occupy people have Apple products, iphones, iPads et al?”

(Psst...another tiny bit of dissonance for the Occupiers' nit-wit world view: Apple got much of its start-up funding from Sequoia Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm.)

AprilApple said...

Unions force whole industries over-seas. The steel industry in America was once thriving, now it is all but gone. Thanks to unions.
That's what unions do: under the banner of "fairness" and the vilification of profit, unions kill competition and force jobs over-seas. Regulations, modern era work-rules and employment laws make unions obsolete. America will continue to lose jobs if we continue to let unions destroy our manufacturing base.

Jason (the commenter) said...

jimspice: Get rid of unions and deregulate business and you too can sleep in a company dorm and be roused 24/7 for line duty.

Remember, China is a communist country, so just hand everything over to the workers and you can have all that.

Alex said...

Corning an American company (an institution I must say) came up with the 'Gorilla glass' and not the Chinese. That is the moral of the story. America cannot fall behind in its innovation.

Racist Americans think that those slant-eyed foreigners don't have the brains to make better innovations? Unfuckingbelievable.

Joe Schmoe said...

I'm waiting for the first anti-Apple documentary to premiere in my local art house theater. (The job-killing practices of Walmart was featured last year in The High Cost of Low Prices.)

Still waiting...

Freder Frederson said...

Or the shoe industry.

I always choose New Balance as my preferred athletic shoes. They manage to continue to produce shoes in the U.S. (and other traditional manufacturing countries) at a competitive price.

Alex said...

It was intended to be satirical, not dehumanizing.

Yet that's exactly what you did. Believe me professor, nobody finds the plight of the Chinese slave laborer to the least bit funny or satirical.

Chef Mojo said...

And robots will do them in the end.

Actually, no.

Robots have to be designed to a specific task and then produced. They require software designed to a specific task. This takes a huge investment in money and time. Beyond small variations to their original design task, most robots cannot repurpose to other tasks.

What Apple did could not have been accomplished with robots, not in the time frame required.

Humans are infinitely more adaptable than robots and their software. The physical capability is there, and can change on a dime with variations on their instructions and training.

If demand for your product goes up, you have a vast pool of trained and semi-trained labor to draw on. You can add thousands of qualified hands to production overnight. You can't do that with robots.

Within the Apple model, robots have very little room.

Job's genius was recognizing that it takes a vast trained, drilled, disciplined army to accomplish what he needed to accomplish. He needed an army to be able to wheel on an axis to his personal, aesthetic and philosophical specifications. He had the wealth, power and vision to make it so.

Robots can't compete with an army backed by a vision.

Synova said...

For what it's worth I absolutely refused to go to those human body "art" exhibits that were touring the US. The idea of resin saturated Chinese convicts purchased for the purpose made me sick. If I were the "occupy" type I'd have been out front with signs that read "How is this different from a Nazi lamp-shade?"

The jobs thing?

Conditions can always be better for everyone and everyone ought to work for that goal. But too many people are stupid about it. What happens to workers in China if they don't have these export jobs? An all or nothing demand... they've got to have it just as good as workers in the US... means they get nothing. It's never "all." Why hate on Chinese workers?

What are the alternatives?

Is industrialization messy? Then explain how to get to the other side of it without going through.

chickenlittle said...

Yet that's exactly what you did. Believe me professor, nobody finds the plight of the Chinese slave laborer to the least bit funny or satirical.

Yet some here find there "plight" deplorable, despite arguments that it's actually an improvement. You want the world and you want it now.

It thought "fuel them with biscuits" was pretty good satire.

Chef Mojo said...

I always choose New Balance as my preferred athletic shoes.

I do to, but not for ethical reasons.

Simply put, they are one of the very few athletic shoe manufacturers to cater to people like me with big, WIDE feet. I don't care if they produce them in "Temple of Doom" labor conditions as long as they're comfy and fit my big ass feet.

ricpic said...

If the U.S. is in such terrible shape how come General Motors just retook the lead as the largest car company (in sales) in the world, ahead of Toyota and Volkswagen? No love lost here for GM but facts are facts.

chickenlittle said...

Within the Apple model, robots have very little room.

But the fact remains that machines do an awful lot of things that labor used to do.

***

"The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends."

OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, 1891

JAL said...

@ Alex 4:27 PM

Corning an American company (an institution I must say) came up with the 'Gorilla glass' and not the Chinese. That is the moral of the story. America cannot fall behind in its innovation.

Racist Americans think that those slant-eyed foreigners don't have the brains to make better innovations? Unfuckingbelievable.
================

Alex. I think you somehow misconstrued the comment. Or misread it. Or miscomprehended it. Or something.

Seriously.

Or you are the "racist?"

Take your pick.

Chef Mojo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

ricpic - how much EBITA did GM make in the last quarter?

JAL said...

Synova -- what is wanted is utopia.

I never understood that until I wondered why common sense did not work.

Granted, that leaves people in the sticky position of seeming to -- or in many cases perhaps, actually -- overlooking injustice and danger to others.

That is part of living in an imperfect and imperfectable world of humans.

Establishing Justice and securing the Blessings of Liberty is what America is supposed to be about. It isn't easy and it isn't all at once all right now in some cases. Not only is delayed gratification difficult for some people, working out the details of liberty and justice for all is work too hard for some of the same.

Not to mention that exporting it is also very difficult.

Utopia is not happening, guys.

Cedarford said...

John Smith said...
The real problem is losing skills and capabilities. At some point USA labor costs will be forced lower and Chinese labor costs will rise making US cost effective.

===========
No it won't. Under the mantra of "Free Trade for Freedom Lovers"! - the world is presently in a race to the bottom for lowest bid labor.
China still has 200 million underemployed just dying to move into an Apple manufacturing barracks at a S China plant. If they "fill up with jobs in another 30 years or so" - you will have 6 billion other 3rd worlders happy to do any American job for 1/3rd of what they get now.
The only way the US worker would get jobs back in the current Globalist Free Trade/Borderless Economy system is if they all have a significant, significant drop in wages. Which would force those with jobs currently protected from competition abroad - doctors, Heroes! of the military, teachers, government workers etc. to also either take massive pay cuts and/or substantially higher taxes if the US middle class continues to be destroyed by globalism.

As long as nations with high standards of living wish to gut their wealth and jobs under "Free Trade" the decline of Europe and N America will continue.

As Apple shows, along with other high tech firms moving manufacturing and R&D abroad - Reagan was pretty clueless when he said Free Trade was a core American value and we would thrive by making computers and other "high tech things like satellite phones" in our plants while China made cheap toys and sneakers.

The choices are:

1. Continuing the economic suicide.
2. Ending free trade and going with a tariff system.
3. Adjusting with socialist measures where wealth is redistributed if free trade destroys the middle class. And those safe from lower cost foreign labor in their jobs pay tons more taxes to shift their income to others.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...
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Toshtu said...

"I'm waiting for the first anti-Apple documentary ..."

Calling Bill Gates...

Chef Mojo said...

But the fact remains that machines do an awful lot of things that labor used to do.

Oh, no doubt! They produce everything from Camrys to Krispy Kremes.

But those are static. They are designed, and they you let 'em rip.

But you can't turn them on a dime to make a change on a whim in a very short time frame.

Geoff Matthews said...

Sounds like Chinese workers are just another cog in the machine.

Alex said...

Seems to me Chinese peasants are very happy to have 3 hots and a cot.

AJ Lynch said...

Shorter C-Ford:

"Doomed I tell you. We are all doomed!"

Alex said...

In the end it will be a race to the bottom until regulatory regime and wages equalize across the world. That will take another 50-100 years. By then, Apple will have $1 trillion cash and enough power to establish their own nation.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

It doesn't matter. The jive turkey sings a single line from Al Green and everybody apparently loves it.

What bullshit.

ken in sc said...

I am pretty sure that what they refer to here as a biscuit is what we call a cracker. What we call a biscuit is closer to a scone outside the US.

Ritmo Re-Animated said...

So that settles it, then: Totalitarian communism is good economics.

Ritmo Re-Animated said...

Thanks for the tip!

HT said...

Thanks for the Filson link. I knew something had to exist out there! Great to know. They last a lifetime. Um.., for those saying they're expensive, isn't that the poinT???

I am wearing my H&M jeans, purchased in 2004 or thereabouts, that I've had repaired over and over, sometimes by myself but because I want them to look good, just as often by a seamstress I know. Ah, these will last. Unfortunately they have gotten a bit too frayed to wear on casual Friday.

I'm wearing my Joan and David boots, purchased in 2003. Now these might not have been made in Europe, unlike my jeans. I bet they weren't. But point is, if we spend a bit more at the outset (if that is what it will take), maybe our stuff will last and we buy less.

At least that is what I do, but unlike probably 98% of you, I am severely constrained by space.

This is an interesting conversation. I brought up Apple's falling standards weeks ago. I probably won't be buying any more apple products unless they are used, and I can verify they are authentic, and that they were not made in China. Used electronics, cars are (IMHO) worth more if they were made in Germany or Japan, rather than China.

I think we do pretty well with clothes here in the US, so I am glad, again, to have that Filson link.

EMD said...

So that settles it, then: Totalitarian communism is good economics.

I await your solution to this horrible problem.

David said...

edutcher:

I am not aware of the study, but contemporary observers northern and southern stated that the physical conditions for the poorest of the whites in the pre war south were similar to those of many slaves. Particularly the housing and diet were similar. The poor whites were extraordinarily poor, living on substance farming on poor land that they usually did not own, having no money or excess crops to market. They probably labored as hard as the slaves too. The main difference of course was that the whites could go somewhere else, though it took considerable imagination and initiative to do so.

Robert Cook said...

"Otherwise, we will suffer an enormous decline in our standard of living."

We are already suffering a decline in our standard of living, and it will continue. There are not enough resources on the entire earth to enable the continuation of the standard of living to which we have become accustomed.

HT said...

I recommend Mind of the South by WJ Cash for further discussion on this topic.

David said...

YoungHegelian said...
@David,

No, David, you started our exchange with snark.

You have not quoted one source in your defense, and I gave my source.


I cited an important and well regarded source early on in my comments: A book called Them Dark Days by William Dusinberre. It was published by Oxford University Press in 1999. You would profit by reading it.

It's not the only source, of course, but it's one of the best.

So you were wrong again.

36fsfiend said...

From the article:

"When an Apple team visited, the Chinese plant’s owners were already constructing a new wing. The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory."

Government subsidizing business.

"Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States. In China, it took 15 days."

Looks like a focus on science pays off.

David said...

Geoff Matthews said...
Sounds like Chinese workers are just another cog in the machine.


Like nearly all of us, to one degree or another. Luckily in our country there is some real choice about which cog to be.

ricpic said...

Alex - The best I could come up with was that GM's earnings before interest and taxes was $2 billion for the 1st quarter of 2011.

pm317 said...

Alex said...
-----------

You fucking liberal are so eager to call someone a racist. I am from that part of the world and I understand research and innovation better than you do.

Synova said...

"We are already suffering a decline in our standard of living, and it will continue. There are not enough resources on the entire earth to enable the continuation of the standard of living to which we have become accustomed."

Where is the limit? Energy?

If we wanted it, we could have it.

What we have are artificial shortages of resources, because the people wanting to create those shortages aren't the ones having to do without *anything*.

See: Gore, Al.

Joe Schmoe said...

"I'm waiting for the first anti-Apple documentary ..."

Calling Bill Gates...


Or Eric Schmidt of Google. A la Melville in Moby Dick and Star Trek Wrath of Kahn--from hell's heart I stab at thee!--Jobs is on record as saying he'd use Apple's considerable cash reserves to get revenge on Google for ripping off the iPhone with Android.

Joe said...

I believe there is another reason Steve Jobs went to China. It's touched on briefly in his biography, but not enough.

In the mid-80s, Apple built a plant in Silicon Valley to produce the Apple Lisa and later the Mac. Jobs micromanaged it to absurd lengths and it was a disaster (it was far worse that the book lets on.) He ended up doing almost exactly the same thing at NeXT with even worse results.

As always Steve Jobs blamed everyone else. With a Chinese factory, he could dictate what he wanted, no matter how extreme and irrational, and it would be done.

Kirk Parker said...

Further to our Tamil poster --

Please, where does your resentment come from? Before the US started "sending" lots of jobs to India, what were the job prospects for "Bright young people with graduate degrees in engineering and the arts, with research degrees in social sciences"? You owe us thanks, not hostility.

Alex said...

Maybe all this will point out the big lie that degrees in liberal arts are worth anything. They are worth shit. Parents make sure your kids take hard-core science or engineering degrees. Even legal is over-saturated so I recommend to stay away from that.

Do you know at in Asia, engineers have the status of rock stars?

Alex said...

As always Steve Jobs blamed everyone else. With a Chinese factory, he could dictate what he wanted, no matter how extreme and irrational, and it would be done.

NeXT was a failure because the systems were overpriced and not really filling any vital niche in the market. iDevices have been a smashing success because of the mediocrity of the combined electronics industry. Apple by themselves trumps them all.

PackerBronco said...

Some people certainly do. I have a shop on Etsy with my handmade knit and crochet accessories. People could buy lower rent versions of most of what I make for a fraction of my cost at the WalMarts of the world. ...
Consumers who prioritize cost below other considerations may be a minority, but they certainly do exist.


Let's take a wider view of that exchange. So I go to Walmart and buy a foreign-made item at cheaper price. Bad for America, right? Not necessarily. I have more in pocket. So maybe with that extra money I support restaurant owner in my home town. Maybe I shop at the local hardware store and keep it afloat and employing people in my community. Maybe I used that saved money to donate to my local food bank or charity. In other words, the saved money can very well go to help my community and my neighbors.

And maybe the American businesses will figure ways to compete to make better products at a lower cost to keep up with the competition.

In your moral stance, you are essentially opting for inefficiency and waste because you think the funds for the inefficiency and waste are going to the right people. But you never consider that inefficiency and waste will affect far more people than you first realize.

I'm not sure your moral stance is as clear-cut as you think it is.

Juba Doobai! said...

For the most part, this is how it is in China. You work, your employer provides housing, and may even give you the option to buy. University campuses are small towns full of retirees who bought their apartment from the uni. The question is, are American companies prepared to build or buy and rent housing to workers, with an option to buy?

Dante said...

My Brother-in-law

Jeez, I need to take a piss. I wish the cars wouldn't drive so early at 5:00 AM! Glad I don't eat so much, I hate taking a crap. I finally got to sleep early yesterday after coming down from 3 days of meth. I ran out of money, again. Why do they only give us $700.00 a month in SDI? WTF.

Well, the lap band I got was working pretty well before, thanks to SDI, and I lost a hundred pounds, but this Meth has really dropped the weight. Dammit, my skin is hanging down to my thighs. There's free food down the road, but meth is closer by, and why bother with food. Plus, I can hang out and beg for money all the time. Look sad enough, and someone is ready to feel like they are a good person by giving me money.

I used to like alcohol, but meth is better. Shit, it nearly killed me a few months ago. Ran my truck off the road, nearly killed my dog. Gave the fucking dog to my asshole rich brother in law.

I'll shoot meth, and really, I can't believe how many chicks I'm getting. Really! More than ever before.

I hate the guys who stole my shit out of my tent. And my fucking rich brother in law who won't give me any of his fucking money anymore. Yeah, he gave me a car, money, but what an asshole. He sends his kids to private school. What an asshole loser.

What the fuck do I need. I need to take a shit, I go to the gas station. They hate me, but they can't tell me no. Fuckers. OK, I'm an asshole. I fucked up. I had chances, but I got fucked over by life. And who gives a shit. Why do I only get $700.00 in Social Security Disability? My life sucks. It's sucked more than everyone else, and I deserve more. I had a fucked up life. And it has always sucked. And there has always been someone to take care of me, but my mom is 85, living on Section 8 housing. I used to be scared she would die, but thank god for SDI. She owes too much money, but at least she used to give me money before my bitch sister ran me out of the house. And I know that bitch is stealing from my mom. She took the big bedroom, that fucking cunt. She has the best room, leaving my mom in a small room. Fucking restraining orders. Fucking sister.

Living on the streets isn't so bad. Shit, there are drugs. Not enough money to buy them. And standing on the corner gets old. But then there are all the women sleeping with me. More than I ever had before. All it takes is a little meth.


A True Story.

What's better, this or China?

Kirk Parker said...

"I'm not sure your moral stance is as clear-cut as you think it is. "

I was about to say you were being too kind, that in fact it's certain that Jennifer's moral stance isn't clear-cut... but fortunately I re-read her comment before doing so. Now maybe it's just my poor reading skills, but I don't see a claim of moral superiority anywhere in her comment, but merely the assertion that there is a class of customers (of a size greater than zero) who really do buy her stuff.

Jennifer, can you clarify?

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...

We are already suffering a decline in our standard of living, and it will continue.


By which measure?

I realize it is a goal for you commies to drag everyone down and Obama is doing his best to do so, but I'd love to see you provide us some data on this.

Seeing Red said...

We are already suffering a decline in our standard of living, and it will continue.



I thought it was bad to live large?

Can't have it both ways, Cookie.

Either we're no better than the rest of the world, therefore we must live like the rest of the world, or we are better and will live better.

The rubber is starting to meet the road.

Teri said...

Americans are living in dorms to work jobs now. It's in the Dakota oil fields. It's done for the same reason the Chinese put up with it. People will do things like that for a good paying job.

And to the Indian guy: I've done a lot of call center work in the US. People yelling at you is part of the job. What you call racism is folks frustrated by workers reading scripts in an accent too thick to be understood. If people knew where the support centers were located, they'd make different choices when buying a computer. FYI, Apple support seems very good.

(No Name) said...

It's not slave labor, but it's close-

Chinese workers living in dormitories, who can be rousted in the middle of the night? Sounds grotesque.

Credit the American labor movement.

Rusty said...

I have read Klotkin's book. It's a good general survey, but you are reading too much into his book on the lifespan issues. There was variation, and under some conditions slaves had similar mortality experiences as white master families. But more detailed studies of specific areas and plantations have discredited the general notion that you cite.


Yep.
In some counties in the south whites were a minority by as much as ten to one slaves to whites. How do you control such a population? The whip?
No. You treat them as family. As the children. You treat them fairly.
Many of the pictures you see in textbooks of savagely punished slaves are really pictures of slaves in the Belgian Congo.
Slaves that misbehaved in the south were threatened with being sold to a sugar plantation in the Carribean.

Rusty said...

Robots can't compete with an army backed by a vision.



Actually, they can.
Modern CNC-Computer Numerically Controlled machinery came about as a direct result of overpriced labor. CNC machines are just machine specific robots.
With the advent of 3D printing eventually a lot of machining and assembly will be redundant. 10 or 15 years ago MIT was already experimenting with 3D printing of metal parts.
It isn't really much of a step to get robots to do complex assembly of electronic parts. In companies willing to spend the money, it's aready being done,

JorgXMcKie said...

Is it just me, or are the hard core Lefty commenters being really, really cultural supremacists? I mean, why rank on the ancient Chinese culture? Aren't all cultures of equal value?

Why are they trying to impose their cultures on the Chinese?

Surely they're not actually trying to argue the moral [or other] superiority of their preferred culture.

And as for life-expentancy, how has that turned out for Russia? I think the average male life expectancy there now is around 55. Is that what good old Communism improves things to?

Finally, watching yh flail as his pompous idiocy gets beaten from pillar to post has made my day.

Aaron said...

I did not read the article, but I can add some data:

1) Foxconn is moving factories farther inland to get cheaper labor rates. The coastal areas are now more expensive.

2) Foxconn is investing in assembly robots - probably they figure they don't want to move to Bangladesh for even lower wages (Company is Taiwanese and thus speaks Chinese, etc.)

3) Chinese wage increases have been relentless. Minimum wage going up 15% in just a few days now...gulp.

4) Keep in mind the subsidies and undervalued yuan help too.

5) Sending your work to China also means sending your HR headaches, your compliance headaches, etc. Reduce those in the USA and the equation will be different.

5)a Foxconn's new factories don't have dorms, or at least they are trying to not have dorms. Managing workers private lives is not fun, and this phase of China may be coming to an end, when factories move inland, they are moving to migrants not the other way around. Let's see Foxconn rouse workers who are at their homes asleep.

6) China's demographics means the workers are getting older. Its easy to rouse 18-24 year olds to do this stuff. Try it with 40 years olds. And try it when they get overtime. Only Apple and a few other mega companies can afford these actions. When labor gets too costly, they will have trouble.

Willys said...

Was the real incentive a biscuit? Or was it a jail cell? And what is an American company doing hiring that kind of labor? What would Al Sharpton say?

craig said...

5) Sending your work to China also means sending your HR headaches, your compliance headaches, etc. Reduce those in the USA and the equation will be different.


+1. An awful lot of the disparity in labor cost between China and the USA is all the regulatory bullshit that you can ignore by outsourcing to a Chinese subcontractor.

Fact is, through our legislators we have 'erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance': NLRB, EEOC, OSHA, EPA, FTC, FERC, etc. We did this to ourselves.

ed said...

"You're a pompous shit, David. Live with it. "

Better than being the Pompatus of Slavery then YH.

Seriously. You're arguing that slaves in the Old South had it good? You're really going to try and make that argument? You're going to, figuratively, die on -that- hill?

Morality requires wealth because morality requires choices. Wealth gives you choices. No wealth, no choices. You get wealth by working, saving and investing. Or by robbing, stealing and looting. Generally I'd have to suggest the former is more effective over the long term than the latter but either way a guy with a gun and a bag of gold has more options than a guy with pitchfork and a stable full of pigshit.

History is replete with examples of bad working conditions. Again better working conditions is a result of wealth. If you want to see a situation worse than what's going on in China then look at the Russian industrialization prior to the October Revolution. Or serfdom under the Tzar.

But speaking solely for myself; so far your arguments haven't impressed me. And the whole squealing thing about how you're not being taken seriously.

You're boring me.

Ben said...

These people aren't treated that well. On the other hand, if the alternative is being jobless and starving and eventually dead... The US has a lot of poor unemployed people that could be taking the jobs that were formerly held by illegal immigrants, but they aren't. They could learn something from these "slaves."

justaguy said...

The writer and editors make a fundamental mistake of economics with this article -- namely that a factory production job equals a middle-class lifestyle. In today's modern world, a middle class lifestyle is produced by having a middle class ability to produce. A factory worker no longer is productive enough for a middle class lifestyle. In the "benighted" 1950's, with the US advantage of having the only factories and homeland that was not war-torn, a relatively uneducated worker could achieve a middle class lifestyle from work at a factory that was learned on the job. It should be noted that family farms could do the same thing in the early 1900s -- produce enough to support a decent level of living. As modern equipment shifted farming away from small farms, factory equipment moved beyond assembly-line working. Any still existing assebly worker does not make a good wage in the U.S. because either foreign competition will do it for pennnies per hour, or a machine will replace several workers and need only one supervising "factory worker". I don't think that $12 per hour with little benefits at a typical new "factory" is a middle class lifestyle. Even less so when one factors in the lack of stability as these jobs frequently move.

Today's US need is for skilled labor who can work the complex machines in modern production, not buildings of workers who are quickly trained, little paid, and easily replaced.

Zombyboy said...

Up until a few months ago, I worked for a company that had manufacturing facilities near Shanghai. I took a few trips last year to the factories (dorm factories smaller than Foxconn, but similar). Here are a few thoughts;

1- Confusing what happens in those Chinese factories with slavery is insane. It isn't slavery; the people there want the jobs because they want paychecks. The living conditions in our dorms was better than the living conditions in the barracks when I was in basic and the food is better, too.

2- While the cost of employing folks is cheaper, as noted above, part of the plus is in not having to deal with some of the red tape and overhead of having American employees. Those hassles are, mostly, gone.

3- Another part of what is great about it is that things happen fast in China. Once you're up and running, making changes becomes pretty easy. On my first visit, it was decided that we needed new office space to house Americans who were coming over with more regularity. On my next visit, just over a month and a half later, that space was built and was being furnished. Things happen fast partially because there is kind of an old west, anarchic feel to business-- the government is bureaucratic and often slow, but daily business is much more direct and pragmatic.

4- There are trade-offs, of course. Everything from language issues to the fact that the work force in the dorms is invariably less educated than what you would find in the US. With proper oversight and investment, though, quality is good, the costs are reasonable, and it's easier to do business.

5- One thing I find intriguing relates to something said above. Someone noted that China isn't Japan-- that's both right and wrong.

Japan was dinged for quality, for stealing designs and engineering, and it was thought that they would never be able to compete with American counterparts. When I was a kid, their cars were low cost alternatives to what was considered to be better American alternatives. It didn't stay that way.

China is hit for the same things, but, for example, the Foxconn factories turn out exceptionally high quality, premium goods at reasonable prices. Not only did the company I worked for manufacture in China, but all of the biggest players in our industry manufactured there or were planning manufacturing there. Don't discount China's ability to compete.

There are issues, of course. China may not yet be Japan; they're working hard to get there, though.

AlphaLiberal said...

Apple and Steve Jobs are exploiting these workers and supporting the brutal living conditions that have led to suicides. The dorms now have nets to prevent suicide by jumping. Those workers also have restrictions on their ability to interact with people, leave the compound, etc.

It's damn near slavery.

It's appalling and reflects on the values of Apple - The Almighty Buck before simple human decency.

Alex said...

Alpha - why is Apple responsible for Chinese labor policy? Apple is just an innocent customer of Foxconn.

Jason said...

I went to the Gibson guitar company's web page a few weeks ago. They were advertising for an experienced senior level project manager with extensive manufacturing experience for a new posting in China.

Just saying, libtards.

Jason said...

Yes, Alpha Libtard. It's so awful that hundreds of millions of Chinese have moved from their subsistence farming villages inland to the city in hope of landing one of these factory jobs.

Thanks to the free market reforms, China has, from 1979 to the present, managed the most rapid and dramatic decrease in poverty in the history of the fucking planet.

And you want to fuck that up so 220 million "floating population" can pack up and head back to their Mao villages in the west and near starvation.

Is there no end to your stupidity?

Joe said...

Just to be clear for the historical record. NeXT failed for several reasons, however it didn't help that the physical quality of the computers was terrible. They had extremely high return rates. A friend of a younger brother had to return his NeXT three times due to hardware failure--he actually spent less time using it than he did waiting for it to be repaired and replaced (in the end, I think he just gave up.)

Jobs' ideas about factories and assembly contributed greatly to the NeXT and early Mac failure rate.

(Due largely to Jobs obsession with design over engineering and against fans--a laudable, but not always realistic thing to have--both the Mac and NeXT were plagued with power supply and heat problems. To this day, the biggest consistent problem with Apple products are power related.)

Alex said...

Once Jobs accepted he wasn't an industrial or manufacturing engineer and left that aspect to the experts Apple quality really took off. Jobs was a UX design genius and had a talent for picking the right experts(Ive, Cook, Forstall).

craig said...

Alex said...

"...why is Apple responsible for Chinese labor policy? Apple is just an innocent customer of Foxconn."

Apple is not responsible for Chinese labor policy, but it is hardly innocent. If Silicon Valley outfits like Apple were not constantly shilling for leftist social policies, thereby making American labor less competitive, I'd be more willing to consider them innocent.

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