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In Xhengzhou, Thousands Vie For Foxconn Jobs

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the surely-they'd-prefer-the-farms-oh-wait dept.

Businesses 386

hypnosec writes "Foxconn is supposedly looking to enhance its workforce in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou and despite the less-than-satisfactory working conditions in the company, thousands of aspirants are lining up for jobs in its factories. Not caring about the harsh working conditions at Foxconn, thousands of people congregated outside a labor office in Zhengzhou, the largest city of Henan province in North central China, impatiently waiting for a chance to work at Foxconn. Foxconn, which is engaged in assembling iPhones and iPads for Apple, is planning to hire an additional 100000 employees as it is aiming at augmenting its iPhone production."

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Foxconn suicides (4, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905325)

I don't get the exclusive association between Apple and Foxconn presented by the tech press. Foxconn is the world's largest electronics manufacturer and makes products for Dell, Sony, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Microsoft, HP, and pretty much every other major computer-related company. The fact they're the largest also means that there really isn't much of an option for companies like Dell or Apple to stop using Foxconn, because nobody else can assemble products at the volume required.

The Foxconn suicides [wikipedia.org] that originally drew so much media attention were the result of several external factors including several labor strikes and poor economic conditions throughout China in 2010. The working conditions are actually comparatively good for Chinese factories, and the suicide rate is less than that of the general population, but the idea of an industry darling like Apple using "slave labor" to make its products was a narrative too juicy for the media to ignore.

Though investigations did find overtime and other managerial abuses by Foxconn (making them not unlike Walmart), it's amusing to see thousands lining up to work there in contradiction to the extremely negative portrayal by the Western media such as that offered by the first linked article in the summary.

Re:Foxconn suicides (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905375)

Because Apple is their highest profile customer. They're raking in massive profits while utilizing a company that leverages the low pay of Chinese laborers and the lack of real labor laws, which has had some high profile incidents.

Thousands line up to work there because there are billions of people in the country who are increasingly being displaced and are poor, and need anything as a source of income. Doesn't mean it's a good job, just that it's a job.

Re:Foxconn suicides (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905467)

I don't think there are billions of people in China, let alone unemployed.

Re:Foxconn suicides (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905931)

1.4 billion. 4-5% unemployment rate.

Re:Foxconn suicides (0, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905543)

Would you rather the workers not have any jobs.

Re:Foxconn suicides (3, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905739)

Did I say anything about that?

Re:Foxconn suicides (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905891)

This is the choice they get: submit or starve. This is what the ruling class wants here.

The fucking asteroid can't come soon enough.

Re:Foxconn suicides (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906119)

No, the choice they get is either remain on the farm and sling poop into a rice paddy for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, or go work in a factory where the work is less arduous and much better paid.

I'd take the factory too.

Also with regards to Apple (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905805)

They charge "Made in the US" prices but use Chinese labour. No surprise that draws some attention. Also they seem to want to deflect attention from it. On their boxes they say really prominently "Designed by Apple in California". On the device where there's the required "made in" sticker they prefix it with "Designed by Apple in California".

Re:Also with regards to Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905989)

That has as much to do with their religious devotion to the idea of minimalist design as it does to trying to whitewash their manufacturing locations. They believe, at least somewhat accurately, that the design is the key to their success so they call it out at every opportunity. It's not some sort of dark conspiracy.

Re:Also with regards to Apple (5, Funny)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906049)

Indeed. It's a shame that companies like Dell, HP, Asus, and HTC have to charge the same price for their "Made in the US" products that Apple charges for their Chinese-produced goods. /facepalm

Re:Foxconn suicides (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905899)

Apple also has an image/style and a customer demographic that cares about that image. Lots of PC manufacturers have an image vaguely like Wal-Mart: boring, boxy, of mediocre quality. Those kinds of companies are much less hurt by allegations like this than Apple, because it's already widely suspected that they're selling what amounts to a rebadged whitebox product that emerged from some Chinese factory in some complex, undisclosed manner. Apple, meanwhile, is supposed to be premium and hip!

Sort of how Starbucks has felt a lot more pressured over fair-trade type stuff than, say, McDonalds has, even though McDonalds sells about as much coffee.

Re:Foxconn suicides (3, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906029)

Apple's value is just "paper". I work at a VAR for primarily data center customers. So I think HP and IBM their highest profile customers, How is this any different for those highest profile companies?

Re:Foxconn suicides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906083)

Thousands line up to work there because there are billions of people in the country who are increasingly being displaced and are poor, and need anything as a source of income. Doesn't mean it's a good job, just that it's a job.

This.

When large portions of the population have lived for generations in an isolated agricultural society are suddenly displaced by rapidly growing cities where bartering for goods/services isn't really an option and money is required to protect their homes - people will do pretty much anything.

Re:Foxconn suicides (2)

shikitohno (2559719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905411)

I don't get why people would be particularly concerned about horrible working conditions at this particular company. Factories in mainland China aren't known for having what we'd consider great working conditions in the West. This one doesn't strike me as especially bad, it's just associated with some more famous companies.

Re:Foxconn suicides (3, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905571)

I think it boils down to a couple facts, the first being that apple manufactured their products in the USA for years and still made good money, but now that they are in China they charge the same prices for the goods, but pay a fraction to have them made, litterally making billions (1 billion a week in the last quarter IIRC). On top of that I personally think that people are realising the irony that Apple products are generally associated with the kind of people who boycot things like this.

Re:Foxconn suicides (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906011)

None of what you describe is unique to Apple. If you want electronics made, China is the one of the few places to do it regardless of what price you want to charge.

Re:Foxconn suicides (4, Interesting)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906063)

China *assembles* electronics. Korea, Indonesia, and a few other Asian countries make them.

Re:Foxconn suicides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905969)

Because if a big player like Apple can force this one company (or sub-group) to change their ways and people see this group of employees living like kings compared to the working conditions they have, it will get the workers so upset that they will change the industry themselves or rebel against their employers...

It is kind of like the Facebook guy making millions doing the same thing a lot of other people are doing and barely getting by.

bonch == shill (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905421)

Overly Critical Guy: This isn't bonch [slashdot.org]
Overly Critical Guy: This is not bonch.... Signed, NOT bonch [slashdot.org]

"NOT bonch"? Ha ha. BUSTED!

bonch: Seamless experiences win out in the long term. We saw this when gaming moved from PCs to consoles in the 2000s, and it's happening now in the transition to the post-PC era. [slashdot.org]
Overly Critical Guy: Seamless experiences always win out over time. We saw it when gaming shifted from PCs to consoles, and now the industry is shifting from desktops to mobile devices. [slashdot.org]

Overly Critical Guy: Android phones used to look like this [imgur.com] [slashdot.org]
bonch: Android used to look like this [imgur.com] [slashdot.org]

Overly Critical Guy: The keyboard looks exactly like Apple's flat keyboard, and the trackpad is the Magic Trackpad that Apple started offering a year or so ago [slashdot.org]
bonch: The keyboard looks just like Apple's flat keyboard introduced a few years ago, the trackpad is a clone of the Apple Trackpad. [slashdot.org]

Who does bonch shill for? Let us look at his submissions: Samsung Moves To Reduce Android Dependence [slashdot.org] , Apple Closes Marketshare Gap With Android [slashdot.org] , Apple Beats Android In U.S. Marketshare [slashdot.org] , Apple Closes In On Android Marketshare [slashdot.org] , Why Android smartphones are larger than the iPhone [slashdot.org] , Google Admits Wrongdoing In Mocality Scanda [slashdot.org] , U.S. Carriers Don't Want Stock Android Phones [slashdot.org] , iOS Closes Gap With Android Marketshare In U.S. [slashdot.org] , Google Sponsors Blog Posts To Market Chrome [slashdot.org] , Java ME Surpasses Android As #2 Mobile Internet OS [slashdot.org] , Galaxy S And Galaxy Tab Won't Get Android 4.0 [slashdot.org] , No Such Thing As Android, Only Android-Compatible [slashdot.org] , Android Chief Andy Rubin Deletes Openness Tweet [slashdot.org] , Android Update Alliance Is Already Dead [slashdot.org] , App Developers Betting On iOS Over Android [slashdot.org] , Europe Accuses Google Of Monopoly Abuse [slashdot.org] , Samsung Smartphone Sales Report Flawed [slashdot.org] , Google Reaches $500 Million Settlement With Feds [slashdot.org] , FTC Probes Android And Google Search [slashdot.org] , Is Giving Android Away Anti-Competitive? [slashdot.org] , Google Chairman To Testify At Antitrust Hearing [slashdot.org] , Google Chairman To Testify At Antitrust Hearing [slashdot.org] , Google Was Warned On Rogue Drug Ads [slashdot.org] , Android Users Warned To Avoid Public WiFi [slashdot.org] , iOS Leads Android U.S Marketshare By 59% [slashdot.org] , Google Draws Fire From Congress [slashdot.org] , Google Broke The Law, Says South Korean Police [slashdot.org] , The Care and Feeding of the Android GPU [slashdot.org] ("Android's UX architecture has serious technical issues"), Advanced Trojan Attacking Android Devices In China [slashdot.org] , Web Exploit Spams Your Google Email Address [slashdot.org] , Critics Call For Probe Into Google Government Ties [slashdot.org] , FTC Ended Google Probe Just Days After Fundraiser [slashdot.org] , How Google Avoided Paying $60 Billion In Taxes [slashdot.org] , Google Engineer Spied On Teen Users [slashdot.org] , Celebrating Google's Failures [slashdot.org] , 37 States Join Investigation of Google Street View [slashdot.org] , Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers [slashdot.org] , Scammers Distributing Fake Google Chrome OS Beta [slashdot.org] , Google Voice Mails Found In Public Search Engine [slashdot.org]

And from his "SharkLaser" account: Google Employees Caught Up Lying To Businesses [slashdot.org] , Is Google Using Google+ Search To Avoid Anti-Trust [slashdot.org] , Google Obstructs Korean Antitrust Probe, Google Tries to Standardize Android UI [slashdot.org] , Google Paying Bloggers to Tout Chrome [slashdot.org] , Fake Antivirus Scams Spread To Android [slashdot.org] , US Senators Want the FTC To Look At Google [slashdot.org] , Gaining a Remote Shell on Android [slashdot.org]

Re:Foxconn suicides (5, Interesting)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905479)

I agree with you wholeheartedly on the apple connection to foxcon. It is close to the entire electronics industry to blame. I disagree with your statements on the conditions not being horrific. 36 hour shifts wages under a couple bucks an hour, living and working in the same place, jail time for mentioning the idea of a union etc... The long lines is because china is just so screwed up that these horrific conditions, are the best they can do.

Re:Foxconn suicides (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905609)

>it's amusing to see thousands lining up to work there in contradiction to the extremely negative portrayal by the Western media

It's the other way around or you are making a comical reversal

bonch is an Apple shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905641)

bonch is a shill account employed to astroturf for apple. It is used together with other shill accounts such as SharkLaser [slashdot.org] and Overly Critical Guy [slashdot.org] , to manipulate slashdot users with pro-Apple, anti-Google PR.

Re:bonch is an Apple shill (2, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905745)

You'd think so but he's just a rabid Apple fanboy. His real name's Matt Deatheridge, a supposedly grown man who spends this much of his time defending a company he is a fan of, and relentlessly bashing one of their competitors, Google.

You're Conveniently Overlooking Some Details (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905675)

While you may have a point that Apple is not the only company to point the finger at, I am amazed at the volume of iProducts that Apple moves and how quickly they move it. I had to order my Samsung Galaxy Nexus after driving from store to store to find out that they were sold out yet my friend was able to walk into a store after work and pick up the latest iPhone with no problem. How does this happen?

I'm reminded of a recent Slashdot article [slashdot.org] that had an interesting passage to me:

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.”

This raised many questions in my mind. Like whether or not other Chinese companies would respond with such force to a request? Is it just because Apple is so big that Foxconn takes these extreme measures? Are Foxconn employees experiencing longer shifts because of these pressures from Apple and, ultimately, Apple consumers?

You're also missing a point that I found interesting from the This American Life episode on these plants. One group had gone to a village that did not have a Foxconn plant but was due to get one. They looked at the village and the quality of life of the people. It wasn't pretty. After the plant opened, after people got the jobs and after electricity and running water were forcefully brought for the purpose of the plant, life improved. Sure, pollution got worse but the group couldn't argue with people being better fed, having electricity and (more) potable water. Is this a good argument for Foxconn and Apple? I don't think so but it's an ethics issue and I think you'll find a lot of people are divided on this issue.

Closer to home for me, people from West Virginia have been attacking the EPA for stopping mountaintop mining in their state. They say that the EPA is halting job creation and go on and on about how horrible the EPA is. It's so odd to me because this state is rife with environmental problems left over from just this mining and when there was no EPA and no regulations on the state level, chemical companies ran rampant in West Virginia. I wouldn't drink the groundwater there if my life depended on it now. And what was the reason for this? To give a few generations of jobs and stoke the smokestacks of the industrial USA? Sure ... but at what future and permanent and irreversible cost?

Re:You're Conveniently Overlooking Some Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905895)

Samsung makes way more phones than Apple, counting smart and dump phones. I'm sure you can find a samsung phone in any phone store.

Re:You're Conveniently Overlooking Some Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905943)

Samsung makes way more phones than Apple, counting smart and dump phones. I'm sure you can find a samsung phone in any phone store.

Er that might be true. Now would you like to consider the whole picture and talk about MP3 Players, Computers, etc all electronic manufactured devices?

Re:You're Conveniently Overlooking Some Details (3, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906021)

It's so odd to me because this state is rife with environmental problems left over from just this mining and when there was no EPA and no regulations on the state level, chemical companies ran rampant in West Virginia.

The most interesting analogy for me are the communists in Russia: a lot of the people voting for the communists now have actually first-hand experience of what the old-school communists were like, and what life was like under them. To them, that life was better than what they have now. The only way that is possible is if they focus on only the good parts, and completely forget the bad parts. There's a lot of research going into why people are making these sorts of decisions. It's not entirely surprising that people behave this way. It still doesn't make right, optimal or even in their own self-interest.

Re:You're Conveniently Overlooking Some Details (2)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906149)

The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”

The question is is why? Why can't any american plant match that kind of speed? Is it because people in America want to do more in life than work? spend time with their families in their own living space, not have a cot at work? realize that it is not healthy for one person to work 80 - 100 hours a week with nothing to eat but tea and biscuits? Even if all are true, is this wrong? and if it's true why isn't china like this?

Re:Foxconn suicides (0)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905723)

The working conditions are actually comparatively good for Chinese factories, and the suicide rate is less than that of the general population

Well, if only a few people are killing themselves things must be OK, then. Thank God. I was worried for a minute.

Re:Foxconn suicides (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906007)

Things happen, you know. People actually kill themselves in both USA and Europe.

Re:Foxconn suicides (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905781)

Because Apple says stuff like this: http://apple.slashdot.org/story/12/01/22/0445233/how-the-us-lost-out-on-iphone-work [slashdot.org]

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.

'You're headed for a one-term presidency,' Jobs told Obama at the outset. To prevent that, he said, the administration needed to be a lot more business-friendly. He described how easy it was to build a factory in China, and said that it was almost impossible to do so these days in America, largely because of regulations and unnecessary costs

Dell execs in contrast just say boring/"content free" stuff like:

"Extending our relationship with Foxconn allows us to help customers grow and succeed by making the most of their IT investments, in a way they've come to expect from Dell," said Sean Corkery, vice president of Dell's supply-chain operations.

"We expect our suppliers to employ the same high standards we do in our own facilities. We enforce these standards through a variety of tools, including the Electronics Industry code of conduct, business reviews with suppliers, self-assessments and audits."

Re:Foxconn suicides (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905971)

Because Apple execs brag about Foxconn rousing servants from bed in the middle of the night, handing them a cup of tea and a biscuit, and forcing them to work a 12 hour shift?

iOS now has more marketshare than Android (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905333)

According to Reuters, Apple surpassed Android in marketshare [reuters.com] by the end of 2011, confirming earlier reports by both Nielsen [nielsen.com] and NPD [gigaom.com] . 150 Android smartphones couldn't beat the iPhone 4S. With 15 million iPads sold last quarter, the tablet market is now larger than the entire desktop PC market. Apple’s profits ($13 billion) exceeded Google’s entire revenue ($10.6 billion).

Who cares? Well, in January 2011, Slashdot triumphantly reported that Android surpassed iOS in marketshare [slashdot.org] . All year, Android fans cited Android's marketshare as proof that it was taking over the smartphone industry, that the lack of centralized control was superior to the "walled garden", and that Android was "winning".

So what happened when the opposite occurred and Apple reversed Android's marketshare lead by the end of the year? Despite multiple submissions from several users, and news coverage ranging from Arstechnica to CNN, Slashdot refused to publish the story. All the sudden, it wasn't considered newsworthy despite the publication of the other story a year earlier.

This is a Linux advocacy site whose initial userbase was driven by hatred of Windows marketshare. Marketshare is still highly fetishized around here. Anything negative about the marketshare of Linux, or platforms based on Linux, gets killed. Slashdot is intentionally not providing you full tech news coverage because it caters to a specific demographic of emotionally-invested users who are more likely to generate repeat page views.

Upset that your submissions didn't get accepted? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905573)

Apple Beats Android In U.S. Marketshare [slashdot.org]

bonch writes "Reuters reports that Apple outpaced Android marketshare in Q4 2011. Driven by huge demand for the iPhone 4S leading to a record-setting profit quarter, Apple's marketshare doubled from a year ago to 44.9%, squeaking by Android's at 44.8%. 'Overall, Apple sales are now growing at a faster rate than Android across the nine countries we cover', said research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech."

Apple Closes Marketshare Gap With Android [slashdot.org]

bonch writes "A Nielsen report states that the launch of the iPhone 4S helped Apple close the marketshare gap with Android, raising them to 44.5% compared to Android's 46.3% in December, coinciding with an earlier study by the NPD group. Apple sold 35 million iPhones last quarter, with the iPhone 4S making up 57% of those sales. RIM continued its decline but still outsold Windows Phone 7, which came in at a measly 1.6%."

Re:iOS now has more marketshare than Android (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905841)

According to Reuters, yo' mama so fat she uses an ipad to make phone calls.

State of the Times (0, Troll)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905367)

Lemmings queue for choice spaces at the precipice.

I wish them luck.

Re:State of the Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905671)

Pampered Western geek filth scumbags think they know it all when their actual knowledge outside computers is utterly laughable.

#firstworldarrogance #geeksareshit

Re:State of the Times (4, Funny)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905737)

Lemmings don't actually jump off cliffs (on their own). Really [snopes.com] .

Anyways, you only need one Blocker and you're good to go. At least until you hit the nuke button - "Oh No!"

Re:State of the Times (4, Insightful)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905747)

People who want to create a better life for their families within the context of an oppressive regime queue for choice spaces that could potentially help them, and put a little more food on their table.

I wish them luck.

"less than satisfactory" (2, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905371)

"Less than satisfactory" according to white, paternalistic Americans who frequent Whole Foods.

Sorry to stereotype here, but let the Chinese figure out what is satisfactory or not.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905453)

Exactly. Most people in the U.S., thankfully, have no idea what it is to live in subsistence farming. The poverty those people are born in would terrify those of us born in developed nations.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905777)

Exactly. Most people in the U.S., thankfully, have no idea what it is to live in subsistence farming. The poverty those people are born in would terrify those of us born in developed nations.

I fail to see how living in poverty implies that sub-human work conditions, which are so appalling that they even force workers to suicide in droves, becomes somehow acceptable and even desireable.

And by the way, how many subsistence farmers do you know that committed suicide due to farming?

It's people like you who, during the industrial revolution, made it socially acceptable to have small children work themselves to death in a multitude of industrial jobs, including coal mining. And I bet you actually believe your defense of sub-human working conditions actually helps people and makes you a better person.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (2, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905913)

I fail to see how living in poverty implies that sub-human work conditions, which are so appalling that they even force workers to suicide in droves

You meant to state the fact that Foxconn's suicide rate is many times lower than the United States, instead of bullshit like our media does, right? right?

Re:"less than satisfactory" (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906163)

I fail to see how living in poverty implies that sub-human work conditions, which are so appalling that they even force workers to suicide in droves, becomes somehow acceptable and even desireable.

That the working conditions Foxconn is providing are desirable is a simple empirical fact. They are certainly perceived as better than the conditions the applicants are coming from. That doesn't mean they're good by any western standard, it just demonstrates that humans live in extremely poor conditions.

It's people like you who, during the industrial revolution, made it socially acceptable to have small children work themselves to death in a multitude of industrial jobs, including coal mining.

It was, of course, better to have them work themselves to death in the fields.

And I bet you actually believe your defense of sub-human working conditions actually helps people and makes you a better person.

It's not clear that it's possible for a society to get from the bottom -- the bulk of the population engaged in hardscrabble subsistence farming -- to a Western standard without going through what you term "sub-human" working conditions along the way.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905463)

"Less than satisfactory" according to white, paternalistic Americans who frequent Whole Foods.

Sorry to stereotype here, but let the Chinese figure out what is satisfactory or not.

And form trade unions, have their skulls cracked by the state enforcers, etc. It's all part of energing as an industrial nation.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (4, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905719)

Exactly.

To put things in perspective, China's GDP/Capita is about equal to what the United States had 120 years ago in 1890. If you compare the various metrics of 1890 United States with 2012 China, the people of China are doing very well for themselves.

The people of China want a better life for themselves and they are willing to work to get it. This one company employs a million people and competes within the labor market to get them, which is why Foxconn is one of the best employers to work for in China. Nobody is holding a gun to the heads of these employees, its quite the contrary in spite of what Americas mainstream media wants to tell us.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (5, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905507)

Cultural relativism has many positive uses, but using it to give a pass to international labor exploitation isn't one of them.

There are some folks would like nothing more than to get us desperate enough to be exploited in a similar way right here at home.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905831)

Please state one positive use of Cultural relativism. I can't think of any. And I'm not talking about weird food and custumes - just moral issues.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (3, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906187)

I'll try.

Many of the guys we memorialize they were important to our country, say George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, owned slaves.

Cultural relativism allows us to acknowledge the positive things they guys did, while understanding why they simultaneously engaged in something we see as 100% unacceptable.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (4, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906147)

This. I am so sick and tired of supposedly progressive people using tolerance to excuse horrific behaviors of other people around the globe. Yes, we do need to be tolerant of the cultures of others. If another culture wants to eat dogs, so what? We eat cows and pigs. Unfortunately, many people on the left, most of whom are otherwise quite intelligent and have very finely tuned moral compasses, take this argument WAY too far. Muslims want to force their women to dress in cloth bags? Heeey, who are we to say that we're better than they are? Tribes in Africa removing the clitorises of their little girls? Well, you know, they just do things a little bit differently... It is bullshit. We can (and need to) respect the rights of other cultures to do things in their own way, but that doesn't mean that there is no valid concept of universal morality. It is ALWAYS wrong to treat one gender/class/race as less than human. I don't care how many generations of your ancestors did it that way, or what your holy book says. This does not fall afoul of our need to respect cultural differences, it is simply a fulfillment of our obligation to our fellow human beings.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905515)

Satisfactory is better than the otherwise inescapable poverty of the countryside.
And I don't mean that in a patronising way; from a documentary I saw, that was the only reason people were scrambling for factory jobs. To escape a worse situation.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905945)

In many cases the alternative is worse than that, thanks to corrupt local governments: lots of farmers are being displaced without the compensation they're supposed to get (in favor of well-connected developers) and essentially end up penniless refugees in the city, where they don't have a lot of choice but to take the first job that comes along.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (1)

fliptout (9217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906019)

I've seen Henan province firsthand, and this is absolutely true.

The rural Chinese are severely disenfranchised and have little opportunity for education and health care. A factory moving to their town would be a godsend.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906027)

Thats why people everywhere take jobs. Its just insinuation without substance.

That impoverished countryside is impoverished because China is poor. China will remain poor until most of the people are involved in wealth creation, such as working in factories. The western world took these same steps 120 years ago. Our mainstream media is inexplicably painting the picture that its bad for the people of China to rise up out of poverty in the only way known to work. Fucking laughable.

Re:"less than satisfactory" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905545)

I agree, indentured servitude can be a perfectly satisfactory alternative to starvation and homelessness or even in some cases actual enslavement. Using moral relativism to white-wash human rights *IS* insightful! MOD PARENT UP!

Re:"less than satisfactory" (1)

Tailhook (98486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905657)

paternalistic Americans who frequent Whole Foods

...and express their paternalism on the iPhones/Pads they tote around.

Whatever. Just don't expect me to pay western regulatory and wage costs for my iPhone 5. That could lead to filthy manufacturing somewhere in N. America!

Re:"less than satisfactory" (2)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905871)

That seems rather shortsighted. If companies can only compete due to the exploitation of a disenfranchised population, they'll move most of their jobs to that location and argue for the same conditions in the places they moved from. Consequently, you won't be able to make a livable wage because some poor sod somewhere else can do it for fractions of a penny on the dollar. The solution is not to ship back jobs or block of trade but to impose some kind of tariff on companies that violate some standardized notion of decent working conditions: a livable wage, time for rest, vacation time, health insurance, etc (give or take a few benefits). If we can't establish ethical treatment of others, we can hardly expect any for ourselves.

100,000 employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905405)

That's good news! With that number, they will probably be able to afford a communal iPhone.

People in the US used to do this (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905443)

This used to be common in America too. Young people would line up around the block to work in slaughterhouses, textile mills, etc. They, being young, thought themselves invincible. They thought they could handle whatever was thrown at them, and work their way out of poverty. They were wrong.

They'd be used up, and thrown away like chaff, and a new batch of starry-eyed youngsters would be brought in.

As long as workers are disorganized, businesses will play them against each other, and the workers will suffer for it.

Re:People in the US used to do this (2)

shikitohno (2559719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905541)

People in the US still do this. It's just that rather than manual labor being considered a respectable job for anyone, people look down on it now. Kids who grow up here treat jobs with harsh conditions like they're something to be totally ashamed of, and then let the poor and the immigrant populations handle it.

Re:People in the US used to do this (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905713)

Kids who grow up here treat jobs with harsh conditions like they're something to be totally ashamed of, and then let the poor and the immigrant populations handle it.

It's because we spend tens of thousands of dollars educating these kids in our taxpayer-funded public school system.

If all they can get is a janitorial job or jobs perfuming manual labor, then yes, that is shameful, as it would have been a waste of our tax dollars we spent on them.

Let the immigrant population handle these tasks. Americans need to perform more valuable work based on intellect. Our per capita GDP is something like $40k. If citizens are making less than that, they're hurting our economy.

Seriously, the only people that should be performing manual labor are immigrants. Americans are trained for higher-level skills. It's also a good reason to keep the borders open, so we have access to this critical labor supply. Additionally, the houses these immigrants buy through loans at $200k each also contribute greatly to the economy, like what happened in the 90's when immigration was wide open.

Re:People in the US used to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905773)

Which is to say, the only value in education is in getting a job.

That directly correlates to this:

People who perform manual labor are throw away people.

Re:People in the US used to do this (3, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906131)

My god, I am sick of this crap. Education lifts the masses, but the idea that you are above something because you have been educated is a real crock. I'd argue my grandfather (a butcher) had better control of the English language than I do, despite me attending 9 more years of school than he did.

By lifting the masses, you create a society that has values beyond simply survival. Presumably, beyond economic terms, this is useful. The injustice is in educating/lifting only an elite class.

Re:People in the US used to do this (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905643)

Required reading on this very subject: Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, which was mostly about precisely this phenomenon in Chicago.

Won't happen here (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905903)

As Sinclair noted, the reason that people then demanded change in Chicago meat packing wasn't the treatment of the workforce; it was their fear that they would die of eating infected meat. No such risk with iPhones, so there is no way of limiting the exploitation.

Re:Won't happen here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906109)

What if your iPhone starts popping up all its messages in Chinglish?
Oh the humanity!

Re:Won't happen here (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906205)

Yes, the story of The Jungle is a sad story in American History. While it did improve the meatpacking industry, the response by the average American had nothing to do with the deplorable treatment of the workers but "I am eating WHAT?!" People, at the end of the day, are only interested in their own personal self-interest. This is a sad, but true, fact that has haunted us through all of history.

Re:People in the US used to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906047)

That book is entirely meant as a socialist propaganda piece, not a piece of investigative reporting that people seem to think it is. Though perhaps if you read to the end, when he gives his socialist call to action, you might have understood that.

Re:People in the US used to do this (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905651)

>As long as workers are disorganized

and as long as both sides have a choice.

When all you get to eat are crumbs, (2)

Rufus Firefly (2379458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905447)

of course you're going to want the entire saltine.

Daily Show (2)

whrrr (1087271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905473)

The Daily Show had a recent segment [youtube.com] on a Foxconn superfactory in China.

Disclaimer: I'd like to link to the actual dailyshow website instead of a pirated youtube clip. But as a Canadian, and because of archaic television distribution rights, I can't access their website.

Re:Daily Show (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906045)

The comedy network website hosts the show in Canada. It is extremely difficult to find though. You have to type in Daily Show and Canada into a search engine. It is stupid that they have different websites for different countries but is it really that big of a deal in this case?

Liberal Bias in the Western Media (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905481)

I first want to make clear that I am not "defending" Foxconn by any means. They definitely have room for improvement, as does every other company. But to say that working conditions at Foxconn are "less-than-satisfactory" and "harsh" is clearly biased.

Relative to most other manufacturing companies in China, Foxconn is actually one of the companies that treats is employees well in that they pay their employees on time, pay overtime when it is due, and provide perks for many of their workers (including rent-free accommodations, meals, entertainment, etc.). Because of that, Foxconn is actually a desirable place to work in China considering the alternatives. Foxconn is providing an opportunity to make a livable wage for millions of people in China.

Again, I am not defending Foxconn, but it really irks me to see people here blast Foxconn for poor working conditions when the vast majority of them have never been to Asia. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But I really wish people would be more objective in their assessments of the situation.

Re:Liberal Bias in the Western Media (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906269)

You know I can grow to like this kind of logic, it will be very useful when US employment situation is criticized on Slashdot in the future. I'm going to bookmark this thread so when, say, another state gets on the news for union busting, I can say "well the alternative is getting laid off and going homeless, so not having a real choice about how you're compensated is a pretty desirable alternative. You should see how much worse off other states are." Oh man I can't wait to call people paternalistic assholes who can't relate to American culture, and get modded up to boot!

Please fix headline... (3, Informative)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905501)

In Xhengzhou, Thousands Vie For Foxconn Jobs

I know the keys are right next to each other on the keyboard, but "Xhengzhou" is simply not possible in the Chinese spelling system. You got it right in the summary (Zhengzhou), but the headline is just nutty.

Thousands Vie For Foxconn Jobs (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905517)

Yeah, they're dying to get them.

Plantation slavery 2.0 (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905521)

Plantation slavery was not much different from the way these workers live in their dormitories. I would hazard a guess that slave owners actually generally cared about their slaves significantly more than Apple and FoxConn care about these workers. In fact, the very fact that workers aren't even allowed to socialize in their dormitories suggests to me that on balance, plantation slaves might have actually had more freedom since they were free to form families (who admittedly could be sold like slaves), socialize and often free to work for money once their field work was done.

I say this not to defend plantation slavery as anything objectively good, but to note the irony that someone who defends FoxConn's treatment of workers while holding views antagonistic toward actual plantation slavery is being very hypocritical because on balance, these workers have it even worse. I'm white and if I had to choose between being a field slave in the South vs working under the conditions the FoxConn workers do with the sort of future that awaits them, hands down I'd choose to be a slave. At least then the master's tyranny would end at sun down.

Re:Plantation slavery 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905769)

maybe after seeing your mother, daughter or wife raped, beaten to death or sold off you'd realize you might have made a mistake.

Re:Plantation slavery 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905813)

I'm tempted to have your excessive hyperbole beaten out of you.

Re:Plantation slavery 2.0 (2)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905837)

The part of slavery that is fundamentally wrong isn't hard work and poor conditions. It's owning another human being as property. It's not having the freedom to pursue your own destiny. Foxconn workers have the freedom to quit their jobs if they choose to. Slaves do not.

Re:Plantation slavery 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38906055)

Slaves always had the option to die too -- the likely fate of a Chineese with no connections, no assets and no job.

Re:Plantation slavery 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905885)

Umm...what? Jesus, I think you should do a bit more reading about plantation slavery.

Are you black? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905977)

And are you old enough to know what slavery means?

Are you also Chinese? And have you lived in China long enough to know what oppression means in China?

No?

Then how in the world can you even begin to compare these two forms of oppression?

I do believe you've managed to insult two different ethnic groups at the same time.

Re:Plantation slavery 2.0 (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906009)

I'd say it's closer to 1880s-1890s American "company towns", like mining encampments where the mining company owned all the housing and the local store. I agree it's not good, but there are not-good historical parallels that don't require hyperbole.

Re:Plantation slavery 2.0 (5, Interesting)

cartman (18204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906067)

I say this not to defend plantation slavery as anything objectively good, but to note the irony that someone who defends FoxConn's treatment of workers while holding views antagonistic toward actual plantation slavery is being very hypocritical because on balance, these workers have it even worse. I'm white and if I had to choose between being a field slave in the South vs working under the conditions the FoxConn workers do with the sort of future that awaits them, hands down I'd choose to be a slave. At least then the master's tyranny would end at sun down.

You're very mistaken about the relative conditions of plantation slavery compared to developing countries' low-wage labor. Plantation slaves made no money whatsoever, and their imputed income from consumption was certainly less than 10% of the $400/mo which Foxconn workers earn. In addition, plantation slaves were frequently beaten severely for non-performance. Most of the slaves did not even survive the journey to the new world, because of harsh conditions on the slave ships. Those who did survive and had the misfortune to end up in the Carribean, usually lived about 5 additional years because of overwork.

Your notion that plantation slave owners "cared more" about their slaves is absurdly incorrect. In many places of the carribbean, the ratio of freemen to slaves was something like 1:10, which posed the constant risk of violent slave rebellion, so violent suppression was necessary and continuous. The slave owners did not "care" about their slaves as they generally worked them to death within 5 years.

As an aside, I've noticed that much criticism of the industrial revolution and of industrial development more generally, is based upon extraordinary over-estimation of the quality of life before the industrial development. There is a great deal of romanticizing (especially on the far left) of subsistence-farming life, of medieval conditions, of village agriculture, and (in this case) of plantation slavery, of all things. All of those modes of life imply an annual income of $300-$400 and severe back-breaking physical labor.

On every step of the way to industrial development, conditions for workers are better than they were previously. The Chinese people lining up for these jobs are not stupid. They are aware that the alternative is village agriculture, and that village agriculture work is harder and far worse paid.

Just thinking about 100,000 jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905551)

Can you imagine the impace that many jobs would have on a local community in the US?

I realize these jobs will never come back to the US, but sigh. I long for the days before the decline of Western Civilization.

Groundhog day, same story over and over (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905559)

The increasingly number of stories on the poor working conditions in China are frustrating, because they are so dense. It would be much more honest to compare Foxconn to other Chinese factories, rather than to the practically-no-longer-existing factories in the Western world. It would make for a less exciting story - and probably also a less dualistic one: I'm afraid if the discourse is not framed in terms of bad villains (Foxconn and Apple) leagued to exploit the poor good guys (the defenseless Chinese peasants), it is less easy to stimulate discussion. But this is all stuff that cleverer people have said before me, why do we keep rehashing it?

Re:Groundhog day, same story over and over (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906221)

Interesting point. Who are we in the western world to talk about working conditions in factories like these, when we barely have manufacturing of this type around, and are buying products from these companies?

Don't know how I feel about having this pointed out, but it's certainly food for thought.

newsflash, stupid news orgs! (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905607)

When people are starving to death, living in areas so polluted by heavy metals that the chinese govt denies the who access to take soil samples, and where there is such a sickeningly huge divide between wealthy and poor, it should come as no surprise that people will rush from dieing of hunger and poisoning to dieing of overwork and poisoning.

The implied "look, thousands line up for these slave labor positons, so they can't be as bad as everyone says! So, its OK to buy chinese made things!" Is so morally destitute and wrong it defies reason.

Newsflash fuckers. Just because people are lining up to try to crawl their way out of the chinese agricultural infrastructure where they live in straw huts and lack basic sanitation, doesn't make the hellholes they are scambling to get to any less hellish.

Re:newsflash, stupid news orgs! (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906069)

"When people are starving to death, living in areas so polluted by heavy metals that the chinese govt denies the who access to take soil samples ..."

The who is taking soil samples now? I thought it was the beatles.

"Planning to hire an additional 100000 employees" (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905753)

When is the last time anyone heard that phrase in the U.S.?

Re:"Planning to hire an additional 100000 employee (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38905843)

When is the last time anyone heard that phrase in the U.S.?

If Americans would be productive doing repetitive tasks for 75 cents an hour, I bet you would hear it everyday.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/08/business/global/08wages.html

Re:"Planning to hire an additional 100000 employee (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906161)

Most people where happy about the "leveling of the playing field" aspects of recent improvements in communication, technology, and travel. I can remember people talking in the late-90's about how the internet was going to make the world a better place, now that all the smaller countries could participate on the same terms as the first-world big guys. But all I could feel at the time was sad (selfishly so, admittedly). Because, unlike most of the cheerleaders, it occured to me that a level playing field was great news for poor countries--but really BAD news for the rich countries. If you're making $1 a day, the chance to make 75 cents an hour is a godsend. If you're making $15+/hr. though, this means you're about to be out of work.

Working conditions on a farm (3, Interesting)

husker_man (473297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905839)

One summer when I was 15, I worked on a farm/ranch in western Nebraska. I worked twelve-hour days six days a week harvesting hay, helping out with dehorning/deballing of steers (not a fun task!), and general farm maintenance activities. Only day off was on Sundays. It was a hot, hard, smelly job. I personally enjoyed it (I treated it like an extended Boy Scout Summer Camp that I got paid for), but the bulk of the other teens out there complained and found it far too hard for them.

If you compare the general conditions of the Foxconn factories to the working conditions in the rural countryside, I would be willing to bet that it's far better to be a Foxconn employee than a farm worker (or other such rural worker). And honestly, if you don't have a job in China (for all their vaunted "Socialist" (socialist in name only, IMHO)) it's better than starving. It probably does amount to slavery, unfortunately.

Re:Working conditions on a farm (4, Insightful)

arose (644256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906105)

I bet you had the "luxury" of talking to your fellow coworkers and maybe, maybe even some protective gear. You certainly weren't guaranteed to fuck up your hands by doing the same exact thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Though I do conceede that your bed might have resembled a coffin as well...

Welcome to the new "legal" slavery. (2)

tdp252 (519328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905883)

Endorsed by corporations everywhere in the name of "globalization".

established contractors superior to no-names (4, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38905995)

As numerous as Foxcon's flaws are, they pale in comparison to the more numerous non-name contractors. The non-names break many more labor laws, pollution and safety regulations, and stiff wages. They bribe or have connections with the petty bureaucrats. They've been known to pack up machines on off-day Sunday and disappear leaving workers unpaid and unemployed. Everyone knows this is going on and make movies and write books about it. I've seen several. The workers know this a crave the established contractors. A new farm boy will do a couple stints at a no name and they qualify for a Foxcon. It takes time for the legal system and societal expectations to take firm root.

"Vie" in French means "Live" (1)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906075)

What an odd article title.

It's not every day you see the verb "Vie" when you could use a slew of other terms to mean "strive for," but mostly "Vie" in French means "Live".

A double entendre?

typo in title (1)

xandroid (680978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38906095)

"Zhengzhou" not "Xhengzhou"

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