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Foxconn May Close Factories In China

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the dying-for-some-better-pr dept.

Businesses 476

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Foxconn, the manufacturer whose clients include Apple, Dell, and HP, is on the verge of pulling out of China after a spate of suicides. The CEO has accused workers of killing themselves for financial compensation, and the company has stopped suicide payments to suicide victims' families. Foxconn's CEO also told investors that it is considering moving its production operations to Taiwan, and automating many parts of its business, a move which could see 800,000 workers lose their jobs."

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Instead of actually addressing the problem... (3, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550382)

All this will do is just move the problem. Unless they thought having to actually give a damn about those workers was a problem.

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550416)

All this will do is just move the problem.

No, it solves the problem as they are moving to ROBOTRON IV are workers are programmed no to commit suicide unless their boss tells them to do so.

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550606)

No, it solves the problem as they are moving to ROBOTRON IV are workers are programmed no to commit suicide unless their boss tells them to do so.

Those robots will never fit inside a standard sized Suicide Booth [wikipedia.org] so chances are they'll work in those factories until their little robot arms fall off ;-)

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550418)

Give a damn about those workers...in China? Since when has any company who manufactures their products in China ever really cared about the workers? That's why they manufacture in China, cheap labor they can look the other way at.

Parallels to the Union movement last century (5, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550706)

Although there were "guilds" in europe for ages, the modern trade union emerged in the US as the train union. At the time train workers were like foxxcon workers. There was no assurance a route would ever return you home. You lived in company towns along the way. And the main fixture there was the bar where you wasted your pay check. Accident rates where high and efficiency or scheduling was low. Since you lost your wages and never saw your family, what were you living for?

The train unions first emerged not to demand better wages but better living conditions. They sold themselves to the train owners as a plan to increase professionalism and public respect. It worked. accident rates did go down. Barrier's to entry and standards increased training, retention of experience, and professional conduct. Workers took pride in their work. Many bars were closed People returned home on time and with money in their pockets.

Today we often see unions as protecting lazy workers form being fired or demanding higher wages via collective bargaining. What we don't see is that these are small perturbations about a dynamic equilibrium between labor and management. That is we no longer have the deprevating working conditions of the 19th century to see what could be the case if management got the upper hand when labor markets were not tight. The excesses of unions we see to day are tracebable to fact that in some markets it's possible for manufacturer's to push along price increases as long as they can gaurenttee the competion pays the same costs. E.g. car manufatuter's would agree to a wage increase at GM as long as there was also one at ford. IN any given port, the same principle allows port owners to pass along long shoremen wage increases.

What we have here in foxconn is a throwback to the same early situation. Workers living in company dorms, shitty pay, long hours and dangerous working conditions. That is to say, no union.

The real problem with this is not the sad plight of those poor workers. But actually because it undermines the status of workers who work in countries with state or union mandated good working conditions. Those jobs get shipped out. There is a push to relax those costly standards to get the jobs back.

The solution to both these problems is not for the FOX conn to unionize. It would be good if they did but until that becomes universal in asia it won't fix the problem, it will just move it. INstead the solution is to put a tarrif on all imports from countries that makes the playing field level.

if your workers have below-OSHA woking conditions then imported goods get a tarrif that is equal to the cost to US companies for maintaining OSHA standards.

this then makes it cost neutral for foxcon to have better condtions because it can outcompete companies that don't do that.

Re:Parallels to the Union movement last century (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32551026)

This would work only if all of the developed countries simultaneously applied the tariffs and if the countries with the exploited workers accepted it.

Neither case is likely. If France wanted to impose these tariffs, then companies in another country without these tariffs, such as Germany, would be at a competitive advantage. This would cause the companies that use Foxconn to simply move operations to Germany instead of France. Additionally, the countries with exploited workers have a lot of political power. China, for one, isn't going to let massive tariffs be imposed.

Re:Parallels to the Union movement last century (3, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551130)

I think the OP is talking about import tariffs. If the import tariffs are in the USA, moving from France to Germany wouldn't help Foxconn sell to the USA.

Re:Parallels to the Union movement last century (1)

charliemopps11 (1606697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551158)

I agree 100%. Very good explanation btw.

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550444)

Yes, now they will have many robot suicides!

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550490)

oh oh... my heart's starting to bleed... ok ... wait... wait... ok it's better now. FUCK CHINA AND FUCK CHINESE WORKERS. FUCK FOXCONN EXECS, FUCK IBM EXECS...

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550612)

Please don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (0, Flamebait)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551088)

I think we have found someone who really only cares about themself.

It seems to be a growing craze these days.

And to you AC sir, go fuck yourself.

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550502)

It reminds me of the business that removed the clocks from the waiting room in response to complaints about wait times.
   

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550724)

actually, from the standpoint of getting results, I'm sure that stopping compensating people for committing suicide will reduce the suicide rate. And I agree that a much more effective strategy would be finding out why it is that being dead is better than working at your plant.

Re:Instead of actually addressing the problem... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550770)

And I agree that a much more effective strategy would be finding out why it is that being dead is better than working at your plant.

It probably will support their families for a significant period of time or get them out from under a serious debt.

Truth != Flamebait (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550598)

Not that /., foxconn or China would know the difference.

Poor Planning (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550430)

Killing yourself for financial compensation is a poor long-term business plan.

Re:Poor Planning (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550462)

Point being? There are places like Gaza where not killing yourself is an even worse business plan. Companies move their operations to China mainly to exploit the cheap labor. The labor being cheap mostly because the Chinese government doesn't enforce labor laws and doesn't give the people their fair share of the profits. Preferring instead to invest it in debt instruments in other countries to keep their wages artificially low.

Re:Poor Planning (2, Insightful)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550674)

The labor being cheap mostly because the Chinese government doesn't enforce labor laws and doesn't give the people their fair share of the profits.

First part about the labor laws, seems like a valid complaint. But the second part, about 'fair share of the profits'. Where does that come from? As an employee, you are getting paid for the work you are doing not any profit that is made. If you want to get a share of the profits, you need to be a share holder. Some companies do offer 'profit-sharing', but that definitely not the norm.

Re:Poor Planning (2, Insightful)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550856)

Sacrificing yourself so your family can get financial help seems to be the motive. In which case, stopping payments for suicide would remove the motive.

Probably why life insurance companies don't pay out on suicide.

Re:Poor Planning (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550916)

"Killing yourself for financial compensation is a poor long-term business plan."

Depends on your cultural POV.

In China, families and groups matter while life is historically very cheap. Consider the custom of "human wave" military attacks during the Korean War. Chinese soldiers quite bravely flung themselves at their objectives, sometimes winning, sometimes not, but often being shot down in droves.

We are used to a future with hope, which we consider perfectly normal. The rest of the world is by and large a hellhole where dying to benefit ones family may be a good call.

Re:Poor Planning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32551078)

financially its genius: no more costs for the rest of your life!

Psst... Hey China.... (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550432)

You gotta make it look like an accident. Ya think with all the pirating you do, you might have gotten ONE episode of The Sopranos?

Re:Psst... Hey China.... (1)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550600)

Many people gave their lives just to bring you the iPhones and iPads! Treasure these devices!

Instead of suicide bounties from Foxconn exec's (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550434)

How about bounties for Foxconn executives?
[/joke]

china w will miss u (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550442)

thanks for participating in the world economy from now on you will have to compete fairly with every other nation bla bla bla bla bla,

SECOND POST BITCH!

They all must take their own lives now (-1, Troll)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550452)

In order to bring great honor to foxxconn. All workers who would normally be fired are expected to sacrifice their lives at the factory closing ceremony.

Re:They all must take their own lives now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550478)

That's Japan you idiot.

Re:They all must take their own lives now (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550544)

If that's China, that'll come in the form of homicides. Of the workers.

Then bills will be sent for the bullets.

Re:They all must take their own lives now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550570)

The major problem with Chinese suicides is that you're hungry again in an hour.

Re:They all must take their own lives now (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550744)

Foxconn Exec: It's iPhone, not iP0wne!
Foxconn Employee: Yes, there's a difference?
Foxconn Exec: Yes, yes there is. You know what you have to do ...
Foxconn Employee: No ... really? For that?
Foxconn Exec: Yes, for that. We can't exactly sell them like this, can we?
Foxconn Employee: Um, I would buy one like that.
Foxconn Exec: Really? Hmmm ... that's a great idea! Very good.
Foxconn Employee: Thank you.
Foxconn Exec: Oh, not good for you, good for me. It's my idea now.
Foxconn Employee: No ... really?
Foxconn Exec: Yes, yes it is. You know what you have to do ...
Foxconn Employee: This just isn't my day.
Foxconn Exec: No, no it isn't.

Put into perspective, 800,000 chinese is like (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550454)

800,000 chinese is like 8000 red blooded americans in pay, but quality? You can't beat american made. OK, anything beats chinese made, but you get my drift!!!!

The Happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550460)

It seems people at Foxconn inhale air from The Happening http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0949731/

Re:The Happening (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550676)

The Happening sucked. But it sucked ten millions times less than Battlefield Earth.

So.. factories are *moving* within china (1, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550472)

Taiwan = RoC: Republic of China
Mainland China = PRC: People's Republic of China...

And that doesn't even consider the eventual reunification that *both* sides desire. (although the desired terms are wildly different...)

Anyway, I know it's great to have people employed, but if it can be automated, why wasn't it before now? The more tedious jobs we can do with machines, the more people are freed up for other things.

You can't transition to a "post-scarcity" economy without putting a few people out of work, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be a goal.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550492)

Anyway, I know it's great to have people employed, but if it can be automated, why wasn't it before now? The more tedious jobs we can do with machines, the more people are freed up for other things.

You incorrectly presume that there is a something else, that they can move to that in a short enough time, and that they want to do so.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550538)

You can't transition to a post scarcity economy at all without heavy wealth redistribution.

Otherwise the economy tears itself apart in the transition, which is where we are now.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550878)

You can't transition to a post scarcity economy at all without heavy wealth redistribution.

Otherwise the economy tears itself apart in the transition, which is where we are now.

Is that the latest wackademic gobbledygook that's being used to justify taking wealth from productive members of society so all-knowing goverment bureaucrats can bribe stupid voters with bigger welfare checks, or "free" health care?

Let's go broke spending other people's money! Greece here we come!

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (1)

B4RSK (626870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550660)

Anyway, I know it's great to have people employed, but if it can be automated, why wasn't it before now? The more tedious jobs we can do with machines, the more people are freed up for other things.

Why wasn't the work automated? Cost. It's cheaper to pay $130/month for a human to do the work than it is to invest millions in factory automation.

This can be true even in developed countries. I worked for a German company for several years. This company produced very small items that needed to be packed in boxes of between 50 and 500 pieces. It was possible to automate the work but even considering German wages it was cheaper to pay humans than to buy machines.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551160)

When I first started working in developing countries, I had to get that concept into my head.

Me: Why don't the workers have the proper tools for the job? They'll be more efficient.

Owner: Because the difference in efficiency and the low labor cost mean that the tool won't pay for itself for five years. For the the same amortized cost, we can just hire seven more workers and get higher production, anyway.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550848)

I think in the past its been cheaper to do everything by hand and not with a machine. Since Chinese people have been growing spines (example - the Honda plant situation where workers were pissed Japanese employees made 30 times what they did for the same work...) we're probably looking at the begining of the end of cheap Chinese labor and thus now the need to a) find a cheaper place to fullfill the ever bottoming ratchet of cheap labor we are addicted to or b) automate more with machines.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550962)

"but if it can be automated, why wasn't it before now?"

Two words. "cost effectiveness"

In the United States, investing in a fleet of robots can be cheaper than supporting a hundred workers. In China, you can employ an ARMY of workers, for the investment required for a single robot.

This is the reason so many corporations are moving to China - not to help the Chinese who need jobs, but to make as much profit as possible, for as little investment as possible.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32551074)

Taiwan = RoC: Republic of China
Mainland China = PRC: People's Republic of China...

And that doesn't even consider the eventual reunification that *both* sides desire. (although the desired terms are wildly different...)

You really open a can of worms with that one. You're right that a significant minority want unification if differences could be resolved, but this is not a common goal. For instance, my wife is Taiwanese, and she and her family do NOT want unification. The previously elected president Chen Shui-Bian was the first president in the current government not from the Kuomintang party but from the DPP, a party that is pro-independence. Even the current president from the KMT, Ma Ying-Jeou, likely does not want unification, but rather stronger economic ties. Most Taiwanese favor the status quo-- de facto political sovereignty without severing ties with China by formally announcing independence (source [duke.edu] ).

So, no, the factories are not moving within China.

Re:So.. factories are *moving* within china (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551102)

>>>You can't transition to a "post-scarcity" economy without putting a few people out of work

What do you feed the machines after the oil wells start to run dry (already in progress), and oil skyrockets to $500 or more per barrel (after 2020)? I wouldn't describe that as post-scarcity.

Aside -

I think the world is overpopulated. I also think that's the prime reason pollution is a problem - we're sitting in our own filth. If the world only had 1 billion (like the year 1800) that problem would disappear.

Foxconn and the mob (0, Flamebait)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550486)

They have got some nerve coming up with such a lame excuse when everyone knows they are very keen to "suicide" their employees when embarassing leaks (Apple mostly) happen... They value their profit more than life and will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to keep their contracts with Apple. Apple (and others) should cut all ties with foxconn asap. I invite everyone to just boycott products made at foxconn...

I want a fact check (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550488)

Foxconn employs almost 1 million people? Really? 1 million out of 1.3 billion?

There's no way they are going back to Taiwan. Labor costs are 5x higher. The logistics are higher cost too.

Maybe Foxconn's days are numbered as an Apple OEM and this is just the blame shifting.

The bottom line is that Western consumers are perfectly happy supporting distopian labor conditions.

Re:I want a fact check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550534)

5x labor costs doesn't matter. China is 20x behind the West in cost of labor.

Re:I want a fact check (2, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550900)

Damn our minimum wages, safe working conditions, evironmental laws and employee protection laws!

Re:I want a fact check (1)

Concern Is A Faggot (859837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551168)

Yes, damn them indeed!

It's called a tradeoff - you can have those things, but the cost is going to be your economic well-being. Life's a bitch, ain't it?

Re:I want a fact check (2, Interesting)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550604)

Labor costs might be 5x higher, but if you can automate 80% of the work, it comes out even. That might not be possible, but put another way, they now have 5x the motivation to automate everything they can.

Re:I want a fact check (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551132)

The bottom line is that we are perfectly happy supporting distopian labor conditions.

There, fixed it for ya

Accusations (1)

cymbeline (1792306) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550498)

"The CEO has accused workers of killing themselves for financial compensation, and the company has stopped suicide payments to suicide victims' families."

Yes, obviously the workers who killed themselves are in the wrong.

Why does it always seem that the world turns upside-down in the world of business and economics?

Monetary Encouragement (2, Interesting)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550626)

Yes, obviously the workers who killed themselves are in the wrong. Why does it always seem that the world turns upside-down in the world of business and economics?

In the U.S., families often encouraged the police to classify suicides as "accidental" gun-shot wounds. For example: "Gun cleaning accidents." This avoided many social stigmas for the surviving family. As such, the family quietly encouraged the police to do this.

When Foxconn kills suicide payments, the families will pressure the police to classify the deaths as "accidents". Thus avoiding some bad press for Foxconn. It is amazing what a little financial encouragement can accomplish ...

US worker suicides (2, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551044)

In the US various insurance benefits are often void if you commit suicide (at least the larger benefits), which is a financial reason for classifying a suicide as an accident. And I have never heard of a US corporation paying a family of US workers due to suicide.
I think Foxconn is more compassionate in this specific instance than a typical US company, but the whole thing backfired.

but if you go postal and shoot up your office and the cops take you out, that's not suicide here in the US. so you're family gets life insurance benefits. you get a little infamy, and you can work out some of your pent up rage on helpless coworkers.
Of course it seems more embarrassing for your family for you to be a homicidal maniac, so suicide is still probably preferable.

Re:Accusations (1, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551042)

Everyone in this thread seems to be turning this TRAGIC story into a joke, and I don't get it.

The workers weren't killing themselves for fun. They were killing themselves because Foxconn no longer allows them to take breaks. And Foxconn tells the workers they must work over 60 hours each week, even though it's technically illegal. The workers kill themselves because they are mentally & physically exhausted, and they see death as an escape. Yes it's irrational but after you work an 80 hour week, almost nonstop, let's see how irrational you become.

Foxconn is blaming the workers, when they should be blaming themselves for tyrannically abusing their underlings. In either the EU or US these executives would already find themselves sitting in front of judge.

What happens when China goes Democratic? (4, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550518)

No jokes about that horrible Guns n Roses album, shudder.

    The first world for the past 40 years has been using China as a source of cheap industrial labor that relied heavily upon absolute totalitarianism finds itself dealing with nascent labor unions, human rights organization and popular dissent and outrage during times of strife and disaster. As this increasingly puts strain on the kleptocratic communist party and the equally corrupt Chinese state military a rumbling/robust market economy is emerging that stands to give a significant financial foothold to an emerging Chinese middle class to the world's 3rd largest economy. Once you have a middle class anything goes, once you lose one, well...

No army in the world can stop an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo

Re:What happens when China goes Democratic? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550738)

popular dissent and outrage during times of strife and disaster.

See, that isn't going to happen anytime soon because the US which is seen as the leader of "the west" has so much debt to China. And to the Chinese, they think that America's crisis wasn't because of regulation (which it was) but rather as a failure of "capitalism" which the US actively suppresses.

When you control the media, you can control everyone in a 1984-esque dictatorship, you can play with numbers and make China seem like its improving and the west seem like it is in decline.

Re:What happens when China goes Democratic? (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550836)

Manufacturing moves on to India, then Africa and eventually back to the States. It's the circle of life~

Maths don't matter to reality! (5, Insightful)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550522)

These suicides are well within the statistical expectations for a worker population that large. But People don't care about facts, just emotions.

Re:Maths don't matter to reality! (0, Troll)

DVSD91 (1146313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550904)

Haha. Serves them right employ workers in America! This is the main problem in this country you all miss the real story the fact that they employ 800,000 non American workers to build mostly America products. Until we stop buying products not built in America we will not grow. Way to out source foxconn.

Re:Maths don't matter to reality! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32551002)

I'm sure that you'll never even see this comment, but you ARE aware that Foxconn isn't an American company, yes? And that Foxconn gets contracts from other companies to build their electronics for them? So Foxconn isn't outsourcing anything - if you want to say someone's outsourcing, blame Apple/HP/etc. The american companies whose names are on the electronics you buy.

And for what it's worth, it's not just electronics - I used to work in home textiles. One of my vendors used to take american cotton, ship it to India/China, have them process it, and have them ship it back - where it was then cut and sewn here. When we asked how much we, as the retailer, could save if they were to do all the processing in America, we were surprised to find out there were no savings. That shipping it overseas was more cost-effective than processing it here.

Food for thought - but I'm sure all your clothing is made in America, right? And all your electronics, too, right? Everything from the power cable to your computer all the way to your router - all built or assembled here, right?

Re:Maths don't matter to reality! (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550924)

Not if you count the attempts.

Re:Maths don't matter to reality! (5, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551076)

These suicides are well within the statistical expectations for a worker population that large. But People don't care about facts, just emotions.

Really? Is it statistically common for groups of people from the same workplace to throw themselves off the same rooftops in large numbers? I mean, keep in mind that these aren't unrelated people slitting their wrists or taking pills.

I'm hardly the first person to make this point, but consider the last time you heard of a rooftop-suicide epidemic at a major corporation. Can't? That's because even given the huge number of people employed by corporations it's an unbelievably rare event. In fact there have been one or two such examples over the past few decades and they were treated as exactly the unusual and horrifying event that they are.

Suicide Rates (4, Interesting)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550536)

The suicide rate in Canada is about 3600 deaths per year [fathersforlife.org] for 1992 in a population of 28.4 million. [wikipedia.org] If Foxconn employs 800,000 workers, one would expect 101 suicides, assuming the same suicide rate. This is far higher than the number actually experienced at FoxConn, where only 9 people have died as of May. [bbc.co.uk]

Based on this, working for Foxconn in China is better than living in Canada, at least as far as suicide risk is concerned.

This puts the numbers in perspective. Down with the oppressive Canadian Imperialist Overlords!

Re:Suicide Rates (2, Insightful)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550694)

This is about work related suicides, and each one of them must be looked into separately and not as a mere number in a statistic. The case with the lost iPhone should especially be taken seriously in regarding to whether executives behaved like Gestapos.

Re:Suicide Rates (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550748)

The suicide rate in Canada is about 3600 deaths per year for 1992 in a population of 28.4 million.

How many of those 3600 offed themselves at the office? How many Foxconn workers offed themselves at home?

Re:Suicide Rates (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550786)

Based on this, working for Foxconn in China is better than living in Canada, at least as far as suicide risk is concerned.

Only if joblessness isn't a factor in suicide. 'Spin' is a perspective, I suppose.

Re:Suicide Rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550794)

Still spouting this shit? You cannot compare suicide rates at one company's factory to that of unemployed, homeless, drug addicted people across an entire country.

Re:Suicide Rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550818)

Wow, way to screw with statistics. What is the psychological make-up of the population in Canada vs at FoxConn. Something tells me it's significantly different in that (at least initially), people are more mentally stable at FoxConn (otherwise they probably wouldn't be holding jobs).

I seriously suspect working conditions there are responsible for it at FoxConn, whereas in Canada it is a more individual issue (and if it's not the Canadian government should be figuring out what's causing it).

Interesting to note all the angry responses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550854)

God knows what the real reason for this story is, but obviously it's meant for the mathematically illiterate masses, not for you.

Anyway it's interesting to note all the responses from the idiots who are angry that you can do math and call this story for the absolute bullshit it is.

Re:Suicide Rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550898)

I don't think linking to a site that says "Canadian men kill themselves at rates far higher than at any time before in Canadian history" is the best way to belittle the Foxconn statistics.

Re:Suicide Rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550910)

Now how many of those 3600 deaths were for the same reason? (ex: Working for FoxConn)

Re:Suicide Rates (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550960)

All 3600 deaths in Canada were due to government mandated listening to Celine Dion, eh.

Re:Suicide Rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550952)

Down with the oppressive Canadian Imperialist Overlords!

Yeah! Fuck you Harper! Fuck you and your Canadian DMCA.

Re:Suicide Rates (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550978)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , 75% of suicides are men, while at FoxConn, it's 100%. Clearly FoxConn is a death trap for men.

In other news, people who don't understand statistics continue to fail at it.

Re:Suicide Rates (5, Informative)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551024)

First, you'd need Chinese rates rather than Canadian ones, as there are non-trivial cultural differences in play.

Second, you'd need rates for the specific demographics that are employed at the factory, and not just ones for the population as a whole. In the US, the elderly [suicide.org] have a higher rate than the population as a whole, but the elderly are less likely to be employed in a factory.

Last, as I understand it, they've had 9 suicides at the factory, not just 9 suicides by people employed by the factory. The article isn't clear on whether Foxconn paid benefits for any suicide by an employee or just ones that happen on Foxconn property, but if it's the latter it's certainly a motivator.

Re:Suicide Rates (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551114)

Please, kind sir, don't bring facts and objective figures into a sensationalist iPhone/Apple business-practice-criticism thread.

Not sure this is a good thing (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550542)

Obviously, the recent spate of suicides shows us that working conditions at Foxconn in China are not optimal. But you also have to consider why people would take such jobs - it's clear they don't have any better alternatives. What becomes of these 800,000 who lose their jobs?

Also, I'm not sure I see an advantage to Foxconn, either. If they're going to be moving their operations to countries with better working conditions with a higher overhead for labor, what are they gaining? Wouldn't it make more sense to improve working conditions for their employees in China, which they could probably do while still realizing a significant savings in labor costs?

Re:Not sure this is a good thing (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550566)

Surely you mean "suicides"... Everybody knows Foxconn has blood on their hands but no one is doing anything to investigate it, possibly because we still want iGadgets to be produced...

Can't run forever (1)

reillymj (1780136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550548)

If China isn't the best place in the world to hire cheap, slave-like labor, where does that leave? Eventually, Foxconn and all the companies that rely on it to produce cheap electronics are going to have to start paying workers more. That cost will get passed on to us, the consumers. This is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather pay more for my laptop or iPhone than have to live with idea that my high-tech gadget habit is causing suicides on the other side of the world.

Re:Can't run forever (3, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550568)

Big bugs have little bugs
Upon their backs to bite them.
Little bugs have littler bugs.
And so, ad infinitum.

China already has operations in Africa, where locals are treated worse than slaves.

Re:Can't run forever (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551048)

Are you saying the world is built on bugs?

I am confused, I thought it was turtles, all the way down.

Re:Can't run forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32551138)

China already has operations in Africa, where locals are treated worse than slaves.

Moving labour to Africa? The problem with labour in Africa is that the continent is highly unstable, largely lawless in many regions, and prone to violent uprisings. Political corruption there makes China look like Sweden. The labour pool is fairly uneducated, and takes no pride in getting an education. The ones who do look for an education are looked down upon, and the thuggish tribal mentality is quite rampant.

We always see TV images of noble Africans struggling to survive, but those honest people are being held down by their peers, mostly young macho males, who want to go to war with each other constantly.

Re:Can't run forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550828)

ah yes, labour rates in Elbonia are back in vogue once again. oh and you are obviously not PHB material!

Re:Can't run forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550892)

Eventually, Foxconn and all the companies that rely on it to produce cheap electronics are going to have to start paying workers more. That cost will get passed on to us, the consumers. This is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather pay more for my laptop or iPhone than have to live with idea that my high-tech gadget habit is causing suicides on the other side of the world.

Eventually, more people will have to die for their rights. As long as corporations are willing to exploit labor for profit, and governments are willing
to allow it to happen this will go on.

God forbid apple/foxconn give 1% of their margin to the people that actually make the products. This is the problem with unorganized labor,
they have to work, because there is no alternative. work under offered conditions, or starve / die. Inevitably the government supports
the corporation, because of $$. Even here in america, corporations fight union labor.

your naivete is cute, though.

foxconn (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550558)

The CEO has accused workers of killing themselves for financial compensation, and the company has stopped suicide payments to suicide victims' families.

You know the working conditions/pay are bad when people would rather kill themselves for the insurance.

Suicide Rate (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550712)

I heard that Foxconn's suicide rate is below that of the general Chinese populace. But that doesn't stop people from overreacting I guess.

I'm sure the 800,000 newly unemployed people will understand.

They also manufacture boards for: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550816)

Cisco
Motorola
Intel
PS3
Wii
Xbox 360
Kindle

Why only say Apple, Dell and HP when there are other good names to soil with wrongful death?

Also they are moving their Chinese operations to India. Funny thing is, this is a Taiwan based business. Take that China!

Re:They also manufacture boards for: (2, Informative)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550976)

You have an interesting way of listing several brands, and several products. I think you meant:
Cisco
Motorola
Intel
Sony
Nintendo
Microsoft
Amazon

null (1)

orthicviper (1800010) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550870)

now i understand why foxconn was going to not just increase wages by 20%, but actually double them. it's because they are moving operations to a more expensive country. and i actually thought they were just going to be nice to the Chinese.

Robot suicide (4, Funny)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550876)

It was like 20 years ago when I was working at the Stanford medical center, they had a mail delivery robot that committed suicide.
For about a year it was zipping around delivering mail, and xrays. It even knew how to take the elevators.

But every now and again it would just hang out by the ATM machine and act weird.

One day it just drove down a flight of stairs and crashed to the bottom shaking the whole building and crushing it's plastic casing.
I had a great photo of it lying in a pool of brown lubricant and battery acid, surrounded by doctors in white and blue coats.

There were rumors that the ATM machine rejected it.

Re:Robot suicide (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32550918)

Unemployment (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550944)

"a move which could see 800,000 workers lose their jobs"

Cool, mass unemployment. That'll help cut the suicide rate.

Given that it's China, homicide is more likely (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551106)

Suicide? No.

Homicide? More likely, even if it means someone's party-boss/Executive Audi or VW becomes their coffin.

Not the most politically correct thing to say, but those people out of work would be too overwhelming of an amount.

It's all about the bottom line (1)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32550950)

I would imagine that until now, Foxconn's bean-counters had done the math and figured out that it was cheaper to simply build a factory in China and use cheap labor to make their products. But now that their labor is causing PR problems, demanding raises, and killing themselves for insurance payouts, the bean-counters redid the math and figured out hey, if we keep this up, it would be cheaper just to move to Taiwan and have robots do most of the work. So that's what makes sense, and that's what they'll do.

I'm not talking to the ethics of the matter, just the fundamentals of the situation, which is that whichever course of action is best for profits is the one that will be taken. Just because labor wants more, and maybe even deserves more, doesn't mean that when they ask for more they won't be thrown out on their asses.

Re:It's all about the bottom line (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551072)

That's about when things start needing to get a bit more deadly, and not for the line/staff folks - but for the ones who are able to move the work.

Automating spin (4, Insightful)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551092)

automating many parts of its business, a move which could see 800,000 workers lose their jobs.

Why is there always a focus on the negative side of automation? It really means less work, same productivity. Humans no longer need to work as hard to produce the same quality of life.

The difficulty with these stories lies in the fact that it's a redistribution of wealth from the workers to the owners of the company, until those owners redistribute the wealth again by investing the savings. So it's difficult for the people who lose their jobs, as they now have to fight to get new ones. It's sad. But for humanity as a whole, extra efficiency means greater wealth, since we are now creating the same product with less work invested.

It raises everybody up in the long run. Compare medieval kings to lower middle class people of today and we find the kings did not have the amount of entertainment to choose from, the durable clothes, the variety of food available, the health care quality, perks like temperature control of their rooms, etc.

That's the overall and long term effect, the greater positive side, and something that is too often ignored.

It's all fun and games unless you're the target. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32551154)


Why is there always a focus on the negative side of automation?

A) It puts people out of work
B) Retraining on the large scale does not work due to its inaccuracy and slow speed.

Now if there was a clear way to speedily transition people, you might have a point. That, and retraining only pays for retraining - you still have to find ways to survive.

It's not like those 1930's cartoons where they just jump off the unemployment line in a matter of seconds. It's more like years if at all.


It raises everybody up in the long run

In the long run, everyone is dead. The king, his round table, the Chinese "suicide" victims, Vincent Chin, the guy that offshored your job, and you over a long enough timespan.

No, wait, wait, what!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32551120)

They are surely going to enjoy their suicide compensation money, being dead... Please better arguments for the next time, foxcunt.

Can't believe this people blaming on the employees.

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