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Ninth Suicide At iPhone Factory

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the need-a-union-app dept.

Businesses 539

shar303 writes "A ninth employee has jumped to his death at Taiwanese iPhone and iPad manufacturer Foxconn, China's state media reports. The 21-year-old worker was the eighth fatality this year. This raises questions as to whether the shiny finish of the latest gadgets available from mega corporations are tarnished by such information, and whether the mistreatment of workers deserves to be highlighted when considering such firms."

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Apple. (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298606)

A total of 11 employees have tried to kill themselves this year - two have survived.

I wonder if Steve Jobs feels proud of himself. Every Mac, iPhone and iPad is seriously overpriced and makes great profit for Apple. If Apple wanted to they could offer their manufacturers and workers a lot better working conditions, but it looks like Apple just wants to abuse it's customers, developers and workers, so much that it ultimately leads them to kill themself.

Can you even think of a working conditions where you would rather end your life than continue working there? We are talking about people who feel the need to kill themselves because of Apple's manufacturers.

Apple will just continue asking overpriced sums for their products and turn their back when their workers kill themself. Good job Apple - not only you abuse the industry, you make people kill themself.

Re:Apple. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298640)

It's not unique to Apple; this is capitalism itself in action.

Re:Apple. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298846)

It seems to be worse on Apple's factories. See these videos [engadget.com] .

Re:Apple. (1, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299168)

Alternatively, you have a few pieces of anecdotal evidence pointing at the easiest target in the entire tech industry.

Maybe HP, Dell, Lenovo, ... don't appear in said videos because posting a blog saying "zomg, HP did something awful" doesn't get you the same sort of advertising revenue as posting one saying "zomg, Apple did something awful".

Re:Apple. (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298932)

The alternative to capitalism is subsistence farming for everyone, with all the misery and environmental destructiveness that comes with it. Or you could go with communism, which by necessity is state organized oppression of those who disagree with how things are done.

The sad fact is that life is naturally miserable. Solving that problem is not easy, and the answer isn't to dumbly blame capitalism when the problem is really so much bigger.

Re:Apple. (3, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299096)

The alternative to capitalism is subsistence farming for everyone,

Um, no.

You're confusing industrialism and capitalism.

Or you could go with communism, which by necessity is state organized oppression of those who disagree with how things are done.

Um, no.

You're confusing communism and totalitarianism.

Re:Apple. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299152)

> You're confusing communism and totalitarianism.

There's no confusion.

Communism necessitates totalitarianism, of course (1, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299224)

You're confusing communism and totalitarianism

How would communism work in the real world (ie. not everyone agrees) without totalitarianism ?

Centrally directed economy means that every object anyone has, anything at all, from underpants, socks, to phones, ipads and even computers only got to that person at the direct command of the government. How could such a system not be totalitarian ? In a theoretical "perfect" communism any call you make over the phone needs to get approved by the government (or one might even say that only calls initiated by the government would be legal).

Interestingly, the reverse is not true. A system can perfectly well be totalitarian without being communist. Though I suppose some communist tendencies (such as interference in everything) are unavoidable. They're (in Latin America, or Iran for example) generally not nearly as pervasive as in examples of communist states though.

Re:Apple. (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299110)

Holy false dichotomy, Batman! The choice is not, nor has it ever been, between pure unregulated capitalism and Soviet-style communism. What China has now is basically a political oligarchy that controls the people with an iron fist while allowing corporations to practice almost completely unrestricted capitalism.

The Gilded Age, in which a small group of elites grew enormously rich and powerful on the backs of people who remained incredibly poor, and the multiple market crashes and panics that happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries, taught us that unrestrained capitalism is not a sustainable economic model. Since then, we've struggled to find the right level of regulation that will encourage stability and maintain a robust middle class while enabling growth. Different people have different theories on how much and what type regulation is the most effective, but the idea that unrestrained capitalism is the way to go takes an almost willful ignorance of history.

Re:Apple. (0)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299252)

The Gilded Age, in which a small group of elites grew enormously rich and powerful on the backs of people who remained incredibly poor, and the multiple market crashes and panics that happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries, taught us that unrestrained capitalism is not a sustainable economic model. Since then ...

Unfortunately that same age also taught us that "a little too much" socialism did not merely result in crashes, panics and lots poor people, but in gigantic massacres, starvation, totalitarianism and gulags.

Re:Apple. (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299270)

Do you mean to say that there is an alternative to liberty or death? Imagine that!

Re:Apple. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299194)

Ahh, the good old TINA principle - There Is No Alternative. Preferred way out for the profiteers and their apologists. The problem is indeed really so much bigger - and you are part of it.

Re:Apple. (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298970)

This is unregulated capitalism in action. China is like the US or Britain during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Demand for manufactured product from China has skyrocketed over the past couple of decades, and the Chinese have a seemingly unending supply of unskilled labor to do the work. Companies can work employees to death with no particular worries, since there are lots of people to replace those workers with and the government doesn't seem to care. Many of the worst abuses of 19th century Western labor are present today in China.

Hopefully someday the Chinese government will enact (and enforce!) the kind of health and safety regulations that put an end to this sort of thing in the Western world (for the most part), but it will take sustained pressure both from inside and outside the country to get it done. Unfortunately, the Chinese government ruthlessly puts down dissent internally, and the external forces with the power to stop it are too busy counting their profits to care about it. Consumer pressure could play a big role in forcing change, but most people seem too enamored with their cheap Chinese-made crap to care about the people who make it.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but until the Chinese government can be persuaded to regulate its industries we'll continue to see stories of this nature (the ones that aren't suppressed, anyway).

Nationalism (1, Informative)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299226)

The situation in China is hardly "unregulated". The problem is that the attitude in China is a bit more nationalistic. They view human casualties as an appropriate cost for ensuring the strength of the nation as a whole. Market competitiveness is very important to them as their world standing (particularly in manufacturing) is a point of pride for them.

Re:Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299064)

Whatever you say, comrade.

Because Capitalism (1)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299192)

equals suicide right? I can understand these kind of blind statements when you want a "funny" modifier ... but on a serious story issue such as this - it's just plain ignorant.

Re:Apple. (-1, Offtopic)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298672)

Say goodbye to your karma.

Re:Apple. (4, Insightful)

falzer (224563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298720)

Blood will have gone into my next phone. I will purchase it humbly.

Re:Apple. (4, Funny)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298838)

So... is that where all the magic comes from?

Re:Apple. (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298856)

I am no Apple fan boy but you are not being fair.
This is Foxconn and not Apple. If Apple offered to pay more for the product what makes you think that Foxconn would pass that on to the workers or improve the workers conditions?
Also from the wikipedia.
"Foxconn produces the Mac mini, the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone for Apple Inc.;
Intel-branded motherboards for Intel Corp.;
  various orders for American computer manufacturers Dell and Hewlett-Packard;
motherboards for UK computer manufacturer Zoostorm;
the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 for Sony; the Wii for Nintendo;
the Xbox 360 for Microsoft,
cell phones for Motorola,
the Amazon Kindle,
and Cisco equipment"
Apple is no more to blame than Nintendo, Sony, HP, Dell, Motorola, Amazon, and Cisco.

Why the heck don't we just make more stuff in the US. I mean really! At one time Apple made computers in the US as did other companies.
Or at least make them in countries that care a little about their employees?

If you are going to fire off blame put it first on China. China needs to put in labor laws to protect it's own people. Second lay the blame on Foxconn for exploiting those people. Then put the blame on all the companies listed.
Finally lets all take a little blame for not caring where we get our toys from.
I am glad to say that when I went shopping for a lawn mower I worked hard to find one that was not made in China. It was made in Canada.

Re:Apple. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298966)

becuase in the US you have to pay a dropout flunky tens of thousands a year EACH, our lifestyles have put us on the downslide

remember that the next time you see someone making 50 grand a year for making a spreadsheet and filing paperwork

Re:Apple. (5, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299102)

Steve jobs once developed a factory that was almost entirely automated, requiring a very minimum number of employees to build 20,000 computers a month. they spent alot of time and energy developing and refining the process, and it was an achievement that he was really proud of..

Except they didn't sell 20,000 Next cubes a month. Probably not even in the first year!
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1990/02/26/73121/index.htm [cnn.com]

From the article "Says Jobs: ''I'm as proud of the factory as I am of the computer.''"

Re:Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298988)

Everybody should definitely be buying products made in American manufacturing facilities so it is instead Americans that jump to their death.

Re:Apple. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298996)

Why the heck don't we just make more stuff in the US.

Yes, sign me up to pay 10,000 dollars for my xbox and 15,000 for my ipad! Oh wait, nevermind I like cheap stuff. Now I am off to wal-mart! AMERICA F YEAH!

Re:Apple. (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299006)

Why the heck don't we just make more stuff in the US. I mean really!

How many Americans do you know who would really be willing to work on an assembly line? I did it once for a summer job, and it wasn't fun. Already we need to import immigrants to do things like yardwork, and yardwork is way better than assembly-line stuff. It would take a serious economic downturn before people would want to go back to factories.

Re:Apple. (2, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299126)

Thousands of people in this country would jump at a chance to do assembly line work.

As for the line that "we need to import immigrants to do things like yardwork", thats just the line pro-immigrant-explotation people spew. Yards were cleaned and grass was clipped before everything went to illegal and migrant labor in the 1990s. I should know, I worked yard crew in college, about the time the immigration laws stopped being enforced the illegals who would work hard and cheaper put us all out of business.

Re:Apple. (4, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299136)

Have you ever seen films like Roger & Me?

There were Americans who were proud to work those kinds of jobs, proud to say they worked in such a factory.

Re:Apple. (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299274)

I did it once for a summer job, and it wasn't fun.

Just because you didn't like working in a factory doesn't mean everyone dislikes it. I'm sure there are factory guys out there that pay to have someone do their yardwork.

Work is also not always fun. It's good to have a job you don't hate, it's great to have a job you enjoy, but even jobs you enjoy and love will not always be fun.

Re:Apple. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299038)

Oh jeez, Canada? That's even worse. Those poor Canucks spend their days working in -40 CELSIUS, that's like I dunno -9000 Fahrenheit, for like 12 hours a day. Oh and their days are really dark since they are so far north. Their factories are just really big igloos and most Canadians have to forage for their own food. For instance, I had to go club a few seals the other day just to feed my family, and then PETA threw blood all over my igloo. Don't get me started on the epic trek it is just to GET to work, most men my age have to wear their fathers pajamas and make it to work through blizzard or polar bear.

Re:Apple. (1)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299206)

Why the heck don't we just make more stuff in the US. I mean really!

Because it costs more to treat people more humanely, which you are required to do in the US. That's literally the only reason. It's also the reason why there's hostility and vilification toward labor unions/movements in the US, because they fight against poor working conditions and dirt wages (which ends up costing corporations money, and we can't have that!). For more things to be made in the US, the US's labor system would have to become more like China's, or China's labor system would have to be made at least as humane as the US's. And don't believe for a second that corporations wouldn't prefer the former over the latter.

If you are going to fire off blame put it first on China. China needs to put in labor laws to protect it's own people. Second lay the blame on Foxconn for exploiting those people. Then put the blame on all the companies listed. Finally lets all take a little blame for not caring where we get our toys from. I am glad to say that when I went shopping for a lawn mower I worked hard to find one that was not made in China. It was made in Canada.

Everyone doing business with the Chinese government/system (legitimizing and empowering them) is to blame.

Re:Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299212)

We outsource because slave labor is illegal in the US. You are only fooling yourself if you believe that companies will treat slave labor any differently only because it bears a different name or different location.

Re:Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299052)

Fucking worthless troll parasite. Another Apple article to troll eh?

Fucktard. Do you get paged when an article is posted?

Oh and if you feel so righteous, you never seem to complain about Microsoft employing children in Asia. I know you never read the articles, but you could have done a small search using Bing (I know you hate Google) and you could have found out easy that Foxconn makes shit for pretty much every tech company in the US (Apple, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, etc...).

Re:Apple. (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299120)

Everybody was raving about the iPhones for a long time after their release. Recently, Slashdot has been printing nothing but bad press about Apple...

But I hated Apple before it was cool to hate Apple. Hmmph!

Re:Apple. (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299268)

I often think that Slashdot should not allow AC posts containing words like "fuck", "shit", etc. as it just encourages the trolls.

Re:Apple. (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299072)

This isn't Apple's fault or any of the other companies who contract through Foxconn. This is China's fault for letting the companies get away with this crap.

I work for a government agency, if they could get away with it they'd work us this hard to, so it's not just a capitalism or Apple issue.

Yeah, "suicides" (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298616)

Turns out there is an extremely high suicide rate amongst engineers who lost their iPhone prototypes.

One was in such despair that he shot himself 25 times, with several different caliber weapons.

Re:Yeah, "suicides" (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298778)

One was in such despair that he shot himself 25 times, with several different caliber weapons.

You have to respect that employee's dedication and work ethic to be able to accomplish that. Hell, I'm such a wuss I'd probably have stopped shooting myself after the first bullet.

Re:Yeah, "suicides" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299018)

One was in such despair that he shot himself 25 times, with several different caliber weapons.

Pausing only twice to reload.

Re:Yeah, "suicides" (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299050)

One was in such despair that he shot himself 25 times, with several different caliber weapons.

And then threw himself through a closed window on the 10th floor. Very tragic story.

Causality (2, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298636)

whether the mistreatment of workers deserves to be highlighted when considering such firms.

Workers killing themselves as proof their employer mistreats them? Seems just a tad presumptuous. Likely? Sure. Matter of fact? Of course not.

Read the reports. See your future. (4, Informative)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298918)

See the Chinese news reports cited below where the undercover reporter both connects the dots for you and, if you work for a living, gives you a terrifying glimpse of your future.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/19/the-fate-of-a-generation-of-workers-foxconn-undercover-fully-tr/ [engadget.com]

Suicide? (1, Interesting)

Maarx (1794262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298648)

Any reputable confirmations that this is, in fact, even suicide, and not the government turning a blind eye when one of it's huge sources of technology hardware starts knocking off troublemakers?

WoW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298670)

I have never seen so much liberal-bullshit crammed into a single sentence as that last one. Congrats, you must be proud.

Re:WoW (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298800)

I have never seen so much liberal-bullshit crammed into a single sentence as that last one. Congrats, you must be proud.

Yes, if you die because of good old-fashioned US-American values like capitalism, you deserve to; and you should be proud to die for such a heroic principle. Every death that makes somebody a few bucks is a good death.

TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (5, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298676)

noting that this factory's staff is over 400k employees -- or roughly the size of Cleveland -- and that this is not really news, and I tend to agree.

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298816)

Sound good to be work in USA only 10 hrs a day and 2 day rest per each week :(

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298876)

Yeah, China's suicide rate is really high period. 13.9/100000 according to wiki. With a population of 400k, this particular company will need more than 4x more suicides this year before this becomes a real issue.

It sucks, but the people who are there are usually fleeing even worse conditions in rural china.

People act so surprised by this, as they buy their high-complexity electronics from wal-mart at dirt cheap prices.

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299066)

do the words 'sampling bias' mean anything to you? average rate in China might be less relevant than you think for the average rate in a particular segment of China's population.

--
captcha: embalm. Creepy in this context, even for /.

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298912)

400,000 employees? C'mon. Really? The biggest factory I've ever worked had about 10,000, and I thought the place was huge (took 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other). TechCrunch is claiming 40 times that amount..... it would have to stretch for miles.

As for the suicides:

Stupid. Even if you loss an iPhone or whatever, and get fired, so what? Working at Walmart isn't that bad of a job. Better alive than dead.

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299086)

This is also reported by the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/technology/22suicide.html?src=mv

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299088)

Do the math again. Assuming the 10,000 and 400,000 were distributed over a square area, and not all lined up in a row, it would take you (40 ^ 0.5) * 15 = ~6.3245 * 15 = ~1.5 hours to walk from one end to the other. And some of these Chinese and Taiwanese factories are the size of a small city, anyway.

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299132)

FoxConn has several locations, so not all 400K employees are in one place, but the biggest location is probably several times larger than anything you've ever imagined a single company could be. The name of the town escapes me for the moment.

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (5, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299222)

Here's a source [cnn.com] . Foxconn has 486,000 employees according to fairly reliable sources.

According to this [wsj.com] 2007 WSJ article, they had over 450,000 factory workers, 270,000 of which were at a single 2x1mile site.

In other words, the suicide rates for Foxconn workers is slightly below average.

meanwhile, in other news from Taiwan (0, Redundant)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299026)

another Apple 4G prototype was discovered left behind at a restaurant table during the Friday lunch hour.

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299092)

Just another Slashdot hivemind excuse to bash Apple and Jobs. I'm sure someone here can tied in a Microsoft slam with this too

Re:TechCrunch called bullshit yesterday (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299140)

And they must have it pretty good compared to us poor folks in Cleveland, since they average about 150 suicides of working-age adults per year.

Don't know if you all saw this. (5, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298688)

Don't know if you all saw this or if it was on Slashdot at all, but Engadget has a full, human-done English translation [engadget.com] of the article written by a reporter who went undercover at the factory.

Re:Don't know if you all saw this. (2, Insightful)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298872)

Please mod up. This was extremely informative, thank you for the link. If it wasn't on /. it should have been.

Re:Don't know if you all saw this. (3, Informative)

EricFr (1611979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298930)

WARNING: engadget is extreemly pro apple and is probably being paid by apple to calm the situation. durring the iPad launch there were tons of "fluff" ipad articles hyping the thing, at one point they even had to turn comments off because people were so angry about engadget's blatent pro apple bias

If Engadget is pro-Apple... (5, Insightful)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298952)

...then that only makes the article even more damning, because Apple does not come off well in this report. The article also provides a terrifying glimpse of your future if you work for a living.

Re:If Engadget is pro-Apple... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299288)

Depends on what value you give yourself, and how good you can make others believe in that value. I think there should be a science of “personal marketing”. As a subsection of the "self-esteem" section of a general "self-improvement" (including self-teaching yourself new stuff) that get started in school, and continue all your life.

It’s all really just a mind game.

I rather run around the streets like in a game, making money in creative ways, doing my thing...
than being practically just a resource in a stall, getting used up, and leaving life without anyone remembering you ever existed...

Yup, actually I’d rather die than this kind of job. I have no problem with death. There are worse things. (Like being a zombie at a sweat shop. *hinthint*) (Yep, or course that doesn’t mean I will just kill me, as I have many ideas before that would ever happen. But if it comes to it, I’m not going zombie. You can bet on that.)

Re:Don't know if you all saw this. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299256)

Are you saying engaget faked the translation, or faked the whole article?

Re:Don't know if you all saw this. (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299100)

That woman on the front page looks tired. And what are they doing? Hand assembling the circuit boards? That's a rather primitive way of doing things.

They make about $132 a month.

About $30 a week. Why does the U.S. continue trading with this country? I used to earn $4.30 minimum or $172 a week. The US should demand higher minimum wages, else no trade.

Re:Don't know if you all saw this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299248)

They make about $132 a month.

About $30 a week. Why does the U.S. continue trading with this country?

You answered your own question before you even asked it.

Another victim of the iSuck symdrome (0, Troll)

JaCKeL 1.0 (670980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298724)

Another victim of the iSuck symdrome...

Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298730)

Summary correctly states its the ninth fatality but then goes on to say it was the eighth this year. Fail.

Foxconn doing better than Chinda (4, Informative)

jonathonconley (1816990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298744)

Foxconn has over 400,000 employees. The suicide rate in China was ~13 out of 100,000. So that means Foxconn has a suicide rate (if the year continues on this pace) that is less than half of the country average.

Re:Foxconn doing better than Chinda (1)

Nugoo (1794744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299114)

Except that this isn't just suicide, it's suicide at the factory.

Re:Foxconn doing better than Chinda (1, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299216)

Foxconn has over 400,000 employees. The suicide rate in China was ~13 out of 100,000. So that means Foxconn has a suicide rate (if the year continues on this pace) that is less than half of the country average.

Suicide rate in the USA was 12.3 out of 100,000 in 2006; total of about 33,000 suicides; that's the latest numbers. It's amazing with Apple; first we were told that an iPhone costs $2000 (because obviously we have to add all the phone contracts to the purchase price; strange that nobody did that with any other phone), then it is the amazing exploding iPods (which, strange enough, were all damaged from the outside), now it is all the suicide at Foxconn, which are obviously Apple's fault, even though Foxconn produces for all the computer manufacturers, and the suicide rate is actually far below both Chinese and US average.

Re:Foxconn doing better than Chinda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299258)

So since it is 'normal' it makes it right?

Sure correlation != causation but have you seen the conditions in the set of factories that company owns? If my choices were go begging or work there I would pick there but maybe perhaps the factory should do something to help them? You know basic health care that many factories in other parts of the world are required by law to provide?

These people are make a 'decent' wage there but does 130 bucks a month sound right for what they do?

You are confusing 'normal' with the right thing to do...

Re:Foxconn doing better than Chinda (3, Insightful)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299290)

The counted suicides are the ones at the factory.

Suicides at home are not taken into account in these statistics.

In our western countries, suicides during work are really rare, and it's also rare to die because of an accident at work, compared to China.

And what about your sick way of counting deads ?
Any life is precious, but of course, the value of their lives is less important than the money they can provide us.

Poor Working Conditions in China? (5, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298770)

Maybe one day the workers in China will get together and form a national union to ensure workers' rights. Maybe through their collective efforts they could make a workers' paradise. Heck, maybe they could turn the entire country into some sort of commune where everyone has to do their fair share and they all benefit from the profits.

I wonder if that could ever work. It's amazing that no people have ever tried it.

Re:Poor Working Conditions in China? (5, Insightful)

getNewNickName (980625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298850)

Maybe one day the workers in China will get together and form a national union to ensure workers' rights. Maybe through their collective efforts they could make a workers' paradise.

And watch all the manufacturing jobs leave the country to the next country willing to exploit their citizens. Isn't that what globalization is all about?

Re:Poor Working Conditions in China? (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298964)

You don't seem to realize I was making a joke so I'll clue you in. China is communist.

Re:Poor Working Conditions in China? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299090)

Yeah, why do you think western countries are trying to get Africans to stop killing each other and raping kids to `cure aids` and all that other medieval bullshit and start building factories and get to work for us. If you think the Chinese work for peanuts you see what these guys are going to be doing for us in the next 10-20 years. China might be the next `superpower`, but Africa will be the one after that. Whoever is the cheapest will win - getting ahead now only means you're going to be pricing yourself out a few years later.

Re:Poor Working Conditions in China? (4, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298976)

Da, I cannot believe no one is getting joke you make! We solve problem in Soviet Russia by having one story factories.

        -Joseph Stalin

IWW and Organized Labor (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299016)

I'm reminded of the IWW ("Wobblies") [wikipedia.org] when I read "Maybe one day the workers in China will get together and form a national union to ensure workers' rights."

How did that work out of for the Wobblies? Long story short: not so good.

Re:IWW and Organized Labor (0, Redundant)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299068)

Other than Stalin, am I the only one here who realizes that China is a communist country?

Re:Poor Working Conditions in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299246)

Zing!

Re:Poor Working Conditions in China? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299286)

They did. And they grew a lot of rice and made a lot of molded plastic stuff.

Then someone at the top discovered that if they give all the profits from an operation to the guy running the operation they could make more money for themselves.

So now they do it that way, and now they make a lot of shiny glassy electronic stuff, and the people who are not at the top are making noise like they want the old system back.

Outsourced Labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298772)

I fail to see if this is Apple's fault. It seems more like a 'generic strict factory' story than an 'Evil Apple' story.

More Importantly.. (1)

AZScotsman (962881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298854)

...Is there an app for that?

Re:More Importantly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298982)

Are your immigration papers are in order? Then we'll look in the app store!

Or... (5, Informative)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298936)

... maybe suicides happen every so often at all factories and we just notice this because it's the factory that makes iPhones?

I wonder how many Happy Meal Toy factory employees off themselves in a year?

Also: according to Wikipedia, Foxconn also makes "Intel-branded motherboards for Intel Corp.; various orders for American computer manufacturers Dell and Hewlett-Packard; motherboards for UK computer manufacturer Zoostorm; the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 for Sony; the Wii for Nintendo; the Xbox 360 for Microsoft, cell phones for Motorola, the Amazon Kindle, and Cisco equipment."

Is this really out of the ordinary for China? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32298938)

People like to blame Apple, Dell, or any other company that manufacturers gadgets in China (who doesn't nowadays?), but is this really their fault?

According to this URL:
http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suiciderates/en/ [who.int]

China and area have almost 55 suicides for every 100,000 people. Among the highest in the world.

Foxconn employs over 300,000 people according to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn [wikipedia.org]

And has had 9 suicides so far this year, so lets extrapolate that out to 20 in a year.

Suicide rate for China in general.......: 0.00055%
Suicide rate for Foxconn employees: 0.00006%

While this is still too high, I think we should be asking what Foxxconn is doing that results in such an *improvement* over the rest of China.

The media is getting all in a panic over 9 people committing suicide yet ignoring the big picture, which is the thousands of people committing suicide in China just in general.

Re:Is this really out of the ordinary for China? (0, Troll)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299202)

Yep, I came to the exact same conclusion (although different numbers). In 1999 the suicide rate per 100,000 was 13.9 and a web search found 800,000 employees for Foxconn, so 9 / 800,000 * 100,000 = 1.1. So if you are living in China and not employed by Foxconn then you are about 13 times more likely to commit suicide.

Actually... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32298994)

...that makes me want an iPhone even more.

The Phone and iPad manufacturer Foxconn, (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299000)

... who also manufactures for Dell, HP, Cisco and also the Playstation 3, the Wii and the XBox 360, cell phones for Motorola, the Kindle etc.

Oh yeah, let' s not forget they are one of the biggest manufacturers for cable connectors for use inside no-name computers.

Restrict access to the roof? Just saying... (2, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299042)

Restrict access to the roof? Just saying... if you can't get access to get out of the building up high, you have a hard time jumping from the window you can't get out or from the roof you can't get to.

-- Terry

This problem is not just Apple's, it's Taiwan's. (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299044)

Debt-related suicide in Taiwan has been going up for some time and it's likely to just become worse.

Life kinda sucks there for the underclass, so maybe that's why. I don't think this is limited to just Apple. It's just business as usual in Taiwan.

Kinda a preview for what the growing underclass will be experiencing in the USA in a decade or so..

Here's the article about Debt-related suicides btw: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2259336/ [nih.gov]

How doe we avoid "Chinese sweatshops"? (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299046)

What are consumers meant to do to avoid this? I would gladly pay whatever extra for my devices, if I knew the people making them had a decent standard of living. But its not an option. It's not something that can be like those phony "carbon credits" I've heard airlines offering http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/mar2008/db20080321_437700.htm [businessweek.com] . I dont think the solution is to "ask for a tip" just as you walk out the door with your iPad.

See, we complain about laws "arrgh, the government has all these regulations and red tape..." but living without them seems just awful.

What can the world outside China (and similar countries mind you) do to help the workers? We cant just make up some "weapons of mass destruction" and invade the joint. Do we just have to keep putting up with these shame stories? "Oh look! You know how popular and cool Apple are with their hit products! Look at the workers! Shame on Apple! Yeah, yeah, Apple is bad, oooh, they are evil!"

So it's Foxconn, in China, not Taiwan (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299054)

I was a little taken back because I thought this happened in Taiwan, as I don't remember hearing anything about 8 people in Taiwan killing themselves making Apple products. But no, it happened in China, so it's just business in China as usual

Sympathy... (1, Flamebait)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299118)

A ninth employee has jumped to his death at Taiwanese iPhone and iPad manufacturer Foxconn, China's state media reports.

Using the mac OS has me wanting to do this at times, but it's usually all in jest. Usually...

Taiwan is not China (despite China's denial.) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299146)

Odd. Taiwan is not China. It's a full democracy and much more westernized than any Chinese cities. Workers are free to move to any other jobs, and the pay and standard of living in Taiwan is in some respects higher than it is in NA. I am VERY critical and cynical about Chinese human rights. And those issues simply don't apply to Taiwan.

Odd indeed.

Compared to the suicide rate in China... (2, Insightful)

stephentyrone (664894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299170)

The factory in question supposedly employs 400,000 workers. The annual suicide rate in China (as reported by the WHO) is 16.7 per 100,000 people. That means that in a population of randomly selected Chinese the size of the factory workforce, we should expect to see 400000 people * 16.7 suicides/(100000 people * 1 year) * 5 months / 12 months = 27.8 suicides so far this year.

Can we conclude that assembling shiny gadgets makes it less likely that one will commit suicide? It meets the standards for publication...

Re:Compared to the suicide rate in China... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299188)

Thanks for that, I guess it makes it okay then.

Karoshi? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299182)

Karoshi (Japanese) — Death from overwork

I wonder if this kind of culture is true in Taiwan too. Anyone local here to tell us a bit about it?

The weird thing is, that around here, Foxconn is only known for very el-cheapo mainboards and stuff. The kind that has a certain reputation... for half of it being defective, or things like that. I never knew that they were producing Apple hardware.
Is this a plus for Foxconn, or a minus for Apple? (Considering I very often hear stories about how the interior is actually not that shiny, etc, well...)

Sounds like a sweat shop to me. :/

And who’s the guilty one? Well, if the products were extremely cheap (like those mainboards), I’d blame the end-customer for being ignorant. But as Apple is not cheap at all, I blame Apple’s greed. But like the Catholic church and its crazy leader (Pope Kiddyfiddler XVI), I didn’t exactly expect good behavior from organizations with a beacon of reality distortion. :/

KILLER Ad slogans! (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299238)

"We're DYING to bring you the new iPhone"
"Look at the new DROP DEAD gorgeous iPad!"

iBloodPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299242)

Blood diamonds meet the iBloodPhones

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