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Judging The Apple 'Sweatshop' Charge

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the that's-laterally-not-differently dept.

828

jurgen writes "MacWorld summarizes an article published in the U.K., stating that Apple's iPods are made in China by women who work 15 hours/day, make $50/month, and have to pay half of that right back to the company for housing and food. The article also claims the workers live in dormitories where they are housed 100 per room, and are not allowed visitors." A Wired article looks at the same story, exploring the reliability of the Mail on Sunday's claims. From that article: "The situation is too murky for a rush to judgment on Apple's ethics here, and it may well meet minimum global standards. But for a company that has staked its image on progressive politics, Apple has set itself up as a potential lightning rod on global labor standards. Sweatshops came back to bite Nike after its customers rose up in arms; and Apple can expect a similar grilling from its upscale Volvo-driving fans in the months ahead."

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828 comments

A few random thoughts (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523888)

- How much responsibility falls on Apple to encourage its contractors and subcontractors to significantly exceed statutory labor guidelines or governmental requirements in host countries? (Yes, yes, we can all say that "consumers" have the power to force companies to take up the banner. After all, you can't make China change, so why not go after Apple?)

- Reports about someone earning "X" per month are meaningless out of context. How much, exactly, do other workers in their locale earn? What is the overall cost of living? (Yes, I'm aware that the article makes reference to food and rent consuming "half" their salary.) If the pay is "dismal" even by China's standards, as one of the articles asserts, then why is anyone even working there?

- No one has to work at a Foxconn plant making iPods. No one. And if it's viewed as the best alternative by individual workers who choose to work there, then it's probably, well, the best alternative. (Arguments about how people have no choice, or assertions about how people may be "persuaded" to stay in the employ of such a company once "hired" are likely to not be very persuasive to me. And if it's Chinese police or governmental entities that don't let workers leave and/or don't let them have visitors, well...)

- Who cares if there are more female than male workers? What possible bearing does this have on the situation? (I'm trying to figure out exactly why this was mentioned, because it's clearly intended to imply something, though I'm not quite sure what.)

- How, precisely and specifically, has Apple "staked its image" on "progressive politics"? (And wouldn't more effective change come from the US being able to have a global position such that it can exert pressure on the Chinese government and other human rights abusers, rather than trying to mobilize consumers to target US companies?)

I guess it always pays to go after the market leaders. And I'm saying that in all seriousness: I'm sure people saw targeting Nike as the most effective way to fight sweatshops at large, just as some might say, "Free Tibet, and you free the world." I will say that it's rather unfair that, in campaigns like these, it's often that one target, however, that bears a hugely disproportionate burden of vilification, blame, and bad press. I can't blame them though; the iPod is certainly an easy and high profile target.

I'm fairly certain that this will be read by a number of people who think that corporations and corporate behavior are inherently "evil", and that the larger a company or business interest is, the more "evil" it is and indeed must be by definition, which is an awfully one-sided and half-blind way to look at corporations.

I'd expect and hope, from a supposedly intelligent group of readers, that the majority of the comments here will be examining China's labor laws and China's human rights record, and mechanisms via which those might be changed and how responsible governments of the world can affect that change, rather than thinking about ways that corporations that legally do business in China may be further targeted.

Re:A few random thoughts (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523981)

I'd expect and hope, from a supposedly intelligent group of readers, that the majority of the comments here will be examining China's labor laws and China's human rights record
Apple deserves focus because Apple is cashing in bigtime.
I'm fairly certain that this will be read by a number of people who think that corporations and corporate behavior are inherently "evil", and that the larger a company or business interest is, the more "evil" it is and indeed must be by definition, which is an awfully one-sided and half-blind way to look at corporations.
Gee, I wonder where people get such ridiculous ideas? Could it be from stories such as the one we're reading right now?

What's broken is the law itself. The reason the US has lost its manufacturing sector and runs a massive trade deficit is pure and simple: because you can save a huge amount of money by evading US law - evading US minimum wage, evading OSHA, etc. etc. We rightfully hold up companies producing goods in our own country to certain standards. Then we stab them in the back by allowing the competition to bypass all the rules and get their manufacturing done almost for free by outsourcing. As a result, we have only shell corporations who advertise and keep profits but don't actually make anything.

Re:A few random thoughts (2, Interesting)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524038)


Apple deserves focus because Apple is cashing in bigtime.


So you are saying that it is ok to exploit people if you aren't making money on it? This type of reasoning is what is at the core of Marxism, and I do not agree with it.

Re:A few random thoughts (2, Interesting)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524148)

a)no, that's not what he's saying

b)you REALLY don't understand the Marxist doctrine....you might have vaguely heard of Stalin or Mao, but neither did what Karl Marx was writing about. Hell, they didn't even do what Lenin was talking about

c)thewired article is pretty hypocritical in it's 'don't rush to judgement' routine. Slave labour (essentially what these people have to do; it's either sweatshop work in one of those 'economic free zones' or starve) is abhorent to anyone with the least bit of moral understanding. Sure, many more companioes do it, blahblahblah, but it is no excuse. Apple should pay the company which makes Apple's product enough money and enforce that any company they do business with pays their employees a living wage. They might have to make their gear more expensive, but fuck it; if you can afford a Nano, you can afford a Nano at twice the price if it means that the people making them can have some freedom.

It's thing like this which demonstrate the horror of an absolutely free market. This, and dumping of chemical waste, etc etc etc.

Re:A few random thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524078)

Exactly. So the only reasonable course of action is this: keep hiking up minimum wage laws, and crack down on employers paying less into healthcare coverage for their workers. Then, to protect American jobs, we need very large tariffs. At this point, those in the US will be paying much more for every product than they used to. Therefore, we need to index the minimum wages to cost of living (and obviously, all other wages will follow). Then people will make more money. Of course, at that point, costs of things will also increase. But don't worry, the minimum wage will be raised automatically!

Paradise, here we come!!!!!!!111

My personal observations (2, Interesting)

rodgster (671476) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524158)

It is called a race toward the bottom.

I have personally witnessed outsourcing of people who make $1.25/hr in the Dominican Republic. "Their Jobs" are now over in China where the pay is $0.10/hr. 2/3 of the factories in the tax free zone of La Romana are now sitting vacant.

Now, that is F-ed up!

Global Corporatism at its finest.

Re:A few random thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15523985)

'd expect and hope, from a supposedly intelligent group of readers, that the majority of the comments here will be examining China's labor laws and China's human rights record, and mechanisms via which those might be changed and how responsible governments of the world can affect that change, rather than thinking about ways that corporations that legally do business in China may be further targeted.

omg you are totally not astroturfing for teh appel, right? lol u slick fagger u!

read the articles before you post (5, Informative)

geddes (533463) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524032)

You asked:

"How, precisely and specifically, has Apple "staked its image" on "progressive politics"?"
From the Wired article:
Steve Jobs' Think Different campaign celebrated labor leaders like Gandhi, who used strikes as a form of civil protest, and Ceasar Chavez, who organized poor, migrant farm workers.

Not everywhere, you can "work however you want" (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524035)

Can you imagine there are countries where women would NEVER be employed by local companies, and the only companies offering jobs to women are from outside the country? There are still countries where female workers are considered "inferior", to the point that, if they don't sell themselves considerably below standards, they don't get a job at all.

Why is anyone working there? Why is anyone working at (insert random fast food chain here)? It certainly isn't the best paying job in the world, the work hours suck but it is A JOB! It gets you money. Not much, but it's still better than NO money at all. It's not like jobs grow on trees in China either. If you can't get anything else, that's still better than starving to death.

That comment alone sounds a lot like Marie Antoinette asking the starving to eat cake if they can't get no bread.

Bottom line is, this kind of practice SUCKS. And I'm glad we hear about it, even if it is Apple this time that gets the unwanted spotlight. But this kind of sweatshop labour is, amongst other things, what makes outsourcing to third world countries and countries with very poor social standards very attractive to corporations. So it is VERY much in your interest that this kind of exploitation ceases to exist.

Re:Not everywhere, you can "work however you want" (5, Interesting)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524168)

While I agree that sweatshops suck, I have yet to hear of any practical way to bring third world countries up to first world standard that does not involve exploiting the gap in labour cost between coutries.

To put things simply, third world countries have inferior infrastructure, inferior education levels, inferior political stability and a non-existing domestic market, when compared to a first world country. The _only_ thing most third world countries have going for them is cheap labour.

The theory is that by allowing companies to exploit cheap labour, the state is given enough money to invest in infrastructure, publich schooling, police and other things that are needed to bring in more companies to the country, which will in turn create higher demand for labour, which will drive up the cost of labour. This is a slow and painful process, where the future of a country is built on the broken backs of people living today, but we have seen countries like South Korea and Taiwan raise themselves from poverty to prosperity over the course of a few decades using this method. All the foreign aid and all the U2 concerts against poverty in the world have yet to raise a single country out of poverty.

Re:A few random thoughts (5, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524037)

- Reports about someone earning "X" per month are meaningless out of context. How much, exactly, do other workers in their locale earn? What is the overall cost of living? (Yes, I'm aware that the article makes reference to food and rent consuming "half" their salary.)

Perhaps tech workers are in a different situation, but until I got my current job (six weeks ago), food and rent was consuming more than half of my wages, and I was making better money than most people I know. Think of someone on minimum wage, making $8/hr working 30 hours/wk in Montreal, where rent is likely to cost you $300-400, food is likely to cost $100 if you're lucky, public transit is another $70, heating is $100/mo in winter, and in a bad month, you're suddenly paying $700 in recurring bills on $960/mo before taxes. I'm finally in a situation where food and shelter isn't taking the vast majority of my wages, and I'm breathing a lot easier because of it.

I read an article a week or so ago where someone mentioned that these sweat shops are welcomed by the local populace. Instead of selling their daughters into prostitution, people can get jobs at these factories, earning more money than they'd ever dreamed of, feeding their families well, and being far better off than they ever hoped, because of the huge disparity between our cost of living and theirs. These jobs are highly prized, and everyone wants their crack at them. By our standards, they're not fantastic, and it would be great if we could pay them all $20k/yr for their work, but think of what would happen if we did.

If we paid these people wages that are 'acceptable' by North American standards, without thinking about what the local income is, then the entire economical balance in the area would be destroyed. Suddenly, you would have people making tens or hundreds of times more than anyone else in their area, bringing in huge amounts of income. With the market prices in the areas, the people would have no normal outlet for their expenditures, so they would either end up buying up all the land, farms, and businesses in the area, or just stockpiling money. Great for the banks, bad for inflation. When market prices begin to rise because the income of these nouveau riche is destroying the balance, everyone who doesn't have one of these jobs is going to be SOL, because they won't be able to afford the cost of living in this new economy.

So before you make judgements for Apple contracting out to a company that hires a poor populace, take the time to find out the facts.

Re:A few random thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524043)

Enter the apologists.

1 Billion+ people (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524070)

China is a very different environment than the rest of the world, something we often forget. With over a billion people, everything that can be done with manual labor is done with manual labor. Why use a backhoe when you can get ten people to dig a big hole in the ground? Chinese industry doesn't have the same incentives to automate when labor is so cheap. Besides, what would all those people do if they were out of work?

On a related note, there are very few fat people in China. It's not from lack of food, but rather due to everyone being constantly physically active. If their air quality were better, they'd be healthier than most other industrial countries.

Re:A few random thoughts (2, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524083)

I'm fairly certain that this will be read by a number of people who think that corporations and corporate behavior are inherently "evil", and that the larger a company or business interest is, the more "evil" it is and indeed must be by definition, which is an awfully one-sided and half-blind way to look at corporations.

While i agree with most of what you said, it's not unreasonable to think that a corporation has but one goal, to make money. It doesn't care how it does this, if it can do it legally or even ethically, then great. If it can't, then it'll do it anyway.. Making money will always come first no matter what, and you know why? Because even though a corportation is a legal person, it does not have feelings or any reason to care about those people it hurts since it's not a real person.

Far easier to burden on corporations. (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524126)

Ever notice there is no crying over the fact that the US/EU/Etc allows trade with China even though its known that China (or insert any country of your choice) has labor practices which are no liked/lawful/etc where the product is eventually sold?

Why is that?

Simple, its far easier for these activist to pick on corporations than governments. Governments don't care. People call corporations souless but governments are too. Worse we put these people in power only to have them ignore us.

Plus one thing corporations do that governments don't do is pay you to shut up.

Either stop all trade with countries whose labor practices don't agree with your local or shut the fuck up. Want to see your economy tank, fine, try to apply your laws to someone else's country before dealing with them.

Hold Apple/Nike/etc accountable, yeah right. What a spineless concept. Requires no risk on those objecting.

Re:A few random thoughts (1)

caffeinatedOnline (926067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524134)

¥1 is ~$0.12 on the exchange for China. So that worker that is making $50 is making ~¥410, x 12 is about ¥4920. Doing some research on salaries in the 2 cities that Foxconn has plants in, this is on the low side, but would be akin to working at McDonalds here. *shrug* I remember when I first moved out of the house and worked for close to minimum wage, I would spend close to half my salary on room and board. Have to love how taking something so out of context can sensationalize it.

"Context" has no meaning in globalized world (0)

Elixon (832904) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524181)

"- Reports about someone earning "X" per month are meaningless out of context..."

I think that this is maybe business logic but it is immorall. Does it mean that the work of the people on the other side of the world is valued less? Is not this the way how the exploatation of poor countries starts? Is not the "contexting" the beginning of the problem?

Isn't the logic dangerous?: "Look that slave is the king among other slaves because he has exactly 30% more food then other slaves!"
Yes "contextually" he lives on pretty high level... BUT(!) isn't that king slave still just a poor slave?

O man... how can be the "contextual" stuff misleading when speaking about humans in globalized world.

Re:A few random thoughts (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524192)

- No one has to work at a Foxconn plant making iPods. No one. And if it's viewed as the best alternative by individual workers who choose to work there, then it's probably, well, the best alternative. (Arguments about how people have no choice, or assertions about how people may be "persuaded" to stay in the employ of such a company once "hired" are likely to not be very persuasive to me. And if it's Chinese police or governmental entities that don't let workers leave and/or don't let them have visitors, well...)

They most certainly do have a choice. People come to the cities by the thousands to escape farm work because they view factory work as better. Whether it's making iPods or farming gold, the people with those jobs often view themselves as lucky compared to their rural counteparts.

- Who cares if there are more female than male workers? What possible bearing does this have on the situation? (I'm trying to figure out exactly why this was mentioned, because it's clearly intended to imply something, though I'm not quite sure what.)

Condescention and patronism, that's why they did it. They're trying to imply that Apple is some kind of big sexist monster and they're taking advantage of women. Ultimately, it makes a better (as in more widely read), but sensationalist story. Like, take the dorms of 100 with no visitors: if everybody brought one person, they'red be 200-300 people in there eating, smoking, and going to the bathroom. What was previously marginal working conditions would turn into an ecological disaster. And in-work housing is a very common thing in China from what I've heard.

About half of my income goes to my housing and food, just like the people in the story. The reason I make 60 times as much money as they do is because their standard of living is lower, as well as China's monetary policies which keep their currency's valuation at articially low levels.

I'm as against sweatshop labor as the next guy, and I believe that the world in the long run is ultimately made better by having good working conditions and not producing quite so much consumer crap. However, if you take a few basic facts totally out of context in the name of making a story, then you don't really have a news story, you have a tabloid headline with a list of bullet points. It's assassinating the truth.

If somebody's got to step in here, it's not a corporation, it's a government. If any single corporation elected to stop these labor practicecs (if it were not already in their charter), they would become un-competitive and the execs would be ousted because they did not act in the best interests of their shareholders. And in order to convince them, you've got to convince the American public that they don't need new crap all of the time, that they don't need Walmarts, cell phones designed to last 6 months, driving to work, and an identity that hinges on what you have rather than what you do. No matter how many people raise the alarm at sweatshop labor, most of them enjoy the fruits of an unequal partnership with a country with an immense amount of cheap labor and don't necessarily want to give that up.

It's Foxconn, Not Apple (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523890)

... and have to pay half of that right back to the company for housing and food.
It should be noted that by "the company" they mean Foxconn, not Apple. I don't really care for Apple but it should be noted that they are outsourcing the business to create parts of their iPods. Everyone does this. Hell, I challenge you to find a company that knows specifically where every single component in its product is made.

Like all large corporations, I believe it's now in their best interest to make the most ethical choice regarding human rights. Even if it means charging another $10 per iPod.

Apple should be given the chance to investigate and cancel their contracts before they're torn apart. Otherwise, if you wanted to ruin a company you could set up a shill business that has factories down in Latin America where the workers are beaten. Then route the parts you are selling to the company you want through that distribution center and alert the American media.

Re:It's Foxconn, Not Apple (3, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523973)

I agree that Apple should have the opportunity to investigate and cancel their contracts if necessary before we crucify them. However, it should have investigated this company more thoroughly for human rights issues before it awarded the contract in the first place. For failing to do this, Apple indeed deserves some heat if these allegations are true.

Now that the allegations are out, Apple reputation as a "progressive" company relies on what they do next. If they ignore the allegations until they get too big, like Nike did, then their reputation will take a big hit. If they act immediately to investigate and take appropriate action, I think all will be forgiven and forgotten fairly quickly.

Re:It's Foxconn, Not Apple (2, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524027)

Well Apple doesnt have to go too far to look, wired already interviewed someone on the Foxxcom plant...
Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the pro-globalization International Institute for Economics, said Hon Hai has an "excellent reputation." He says factories in China operated by big global companies like Hon Hai are very different from smaller, indigenous operations. International giants usually enforce the same work practices in China as they do in other parts of Asia, or Europe and United States, according to Lardy.
seems the whole thing is a non-issue, but its typical of the east vs west mentality. People feel that if other people arn't making 40'000 a year there is a problem. The real problem is that what is cheap here (50 bucks) could be a mint in other nations and there is nothing wrong with that. Not to mention other cultures do not subscribe to a notion of owning luxures.

Re:It's Foxconn, Not Apple (0, Redundant)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524123)

Don't you think it is strange that so many people are really happy to believe that it is a non-issue. Makes it easier for you doesn't it. If someone says something is bad, but that upsets your moral compass, you can't wait to bring up a dissenting view, somehow proving that the bad thing is not an issue.

You want to belive that it is not true. You make vague comments about the disparity of living conditons, but no actual facts - it makes it easier for you.

Re:It's Foxconn, Not Apple (1)

shilly (142940) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524136)

Oh, for god's sake! Interviewing a single commentator from a pro-free-trade foundation doesn't really equate to sustainable supply chain practice. Instead, tech corporations will clearly need to use / join / set up a certification or inspection regime, like the Forestry Stewardship Council http://www.fsc.org/en/ [fsc.org] (for wood products) or the Ethical Tea Partnership http://www.ethicalteapartnership.org/index.asp [ethicaltea...ership.org] (for tea), in time. Large consumer-oriented corporations that don't worry about sustainability, stakeholder management, etc etc, are in for a rough ride in the coming years.

Okay Apple fanboys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15523896)

Time to defend Apple.

But, but... (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523935)

They can only afford to pay market labor rates, so that they can keep their prices so low and pass the savings on to you!

Sign me up! (3, Funny)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523900)

Pay only $25/month for rent and food! Wow...sure, no visitors, 100 per room, but it'll be like being in college all over again.

Re:Sign me up! (1)

Kharne33 (871110) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523955)

I would say that this is what other workers in China are saying. Sure they will ask for more money like everyone else does but at the same time they will want the factory to grow so that their friends can get jobs too. Also quite a few of us pay half our wages for rent and food. Unless they are being mistreated i don't see anything wrong with this.

Re:Sign me up! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524057)

Erh... consider that those 25 bucks are not really 25 bucks, but 30 hours of work per week.

Still think it's so cheap?

Re:Sign me up! (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524133)

Yes - I work 40+ hours a week right now and pay more than half my salary toward food and rent. Perspective is important - $25 in America doesn't go far, but it's not the dollar amount that counts. If $25 paid for rent and food for a month in a major American city, we wouldn't think it was so bad. Not to say that living with 100 of my closest friends in a room would be fun, but just based on money, if the article is to believed about half going to food and housing, it's not so bad.

Re:Sign me up! (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524067)

Half your income for food and rent is not that outrageous - although living in a barracks is probably a little rough. It would be much more informative to indicate the median and average incomes of women in China is - it's probably less than $50/month.

Also, an interesting comparison: If you make minimum wage in the US, that's a gross of around $11,000 per year - or just over $900 a month (I used 48 working weeks of 40 hours for annual income of $11040 at minimum wage of $5.75). I don't know where you live, but rent and food and utilities for a single person can easily come up to $450 per month, and that's not counting taxes (although, if your AGI is only $11k, taxes are fairly low). So, relatively speaking, there are people in *this* country that are in no better condition, except perhaps we don't have many company-owned barracks-style housing projects.

This is an interesting question though, and the real question is along the lines of "Is it better to have jobs and housing that is less than high-income countries but better than nothing, or should you leave them without any jobs at all?" I feel it's more constructive to look at methods of improving standard of living other than creating factory jobs, but right now that's what we've got - because most people in rich countries already have enough food, so providing people farmland and irrigation resources does not result in something for which the rich are willing to trade - but the rich are willing to trade for things like entertainment devices and low-cost daily items.

Anyway, I don't think this is a unique issue to Apple, only it's more sensational to post stories about well-known consumer brands. Remember, most media outlets are about making money and providing entertainment, not really providing useful information to generate social change. (I did say "most" not "all" - some outlets really do try to change things, but those aren't the ones you typically hear discussed around the water cooler.)

If this turns out to be true... (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523911)

...then stockpile all the U2 iPods [wikipedia.org] you can. They'll quickly become quite rare and collectible once Saint Bono gets wind of this.

If what turns out to be true? (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523933)

That Apple uses subcontractors in China to manufacture its hardware, like countless other manufacturers the world over do, and that the prevailing labor conditions in those subcontractors' facilities is not unlike it is, and has been for ages, elsewhere in China?

Re:If this turns out to be true... (1)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524064)

I can actually see that as a serious comment being that Bono is so dedicated to feeding the poor, orphaned, and widows.

Re:If this turns out to be true... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524093)

The same people that make his fashionable sunglasses? Fuck Bono.

Darn tootin' (0, Flamebait)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523924)

Much better to let them starve to death. The lot of 'em. Food is for pussies. Apple should pull the plug immediately.

sweatshop? (1, Interesting)

z84976 (64186) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523927)

Don't look at what they make or how long they work. That doesn't matter one bit. If that worker over there working such long hours for so little, and then paying part of that back for lodging, didn't think the job was worth it they would quit. For a bunch of idiotic Americans to force companies to close up shop just so they can feel good about that company is just irresponsible. Believe it or not, folks, conditions suck in a lot of places in this world, and sometimes that job, and that offer of clean housing, is the only thing standing between a life of misery in a rice paddy, or starvation, or sex slavery, or you name it. Before you go poo-pooing a company like Apple or Nike for having "sweatshops" you should really google around for results of actual studies about what happens to people when the "do goody" American idiots get them kicked back out on the street. Not pretty. The only people it helps is the (usually very liberal and comparatively rich) Americans, because it makes them feel good. That's it.

Re:sweatshop? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524024)

didn't think the job was worth it they would quit.

And do what? When your paycheck is in company store tokens, there's no way out. You going to buy food once you're no longer employed? I wonder what their other expenses are beyond food and housing? Company uniforms? Mandatory laundry service? I bet whatever company this is actually employing and housing these people can make sure that after a year of work, all the women get is "another year older and deeper in debt".

Defend them for what they're doing, feeding and housing people that might otherwise be starved and exposed. Don't stand up on your soapbox and talk about how great capitalism is and how if they save their little tokens they might one day be able to buy a whole loaf of bread, because all you're doing is showing us that your intellectual fly is open.

I admit, I'm a selfish bastard (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524072)

And as such, I consider those sweatshops, where companies can get their goods manufactored practically for free, as a threat to my job, since sooner or later the same will happen to software develop... rats, already happened!

Stop sweatshops! I want to keep my job!

Re:sweatshop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524088)

Or, if the situation is truly bad, Apple could pressure Foxconn into improving living conditions and paying employees better. Leaving isn't the only choice. You can't justify exploiting a situation by saying it's merely better than the alternatives.

Last night, the news had a story about third country nationals working at US military bases. The military contracts out for many things, such as cafeteria workers; the contractors then often hire people from other countries (in Iraq, for example, Pakistanis or Sri Lankians). The military has recently imposed conditions, such as:

1. Contractors are required to give their employees copies of their contracts.
2. Contractors may no longer confiscate their employees' passports.

Some job is probably better than no job for these employees. But that's not to say it can't be made better, that there can't be some decent job rather than just some job.

Re:sweatshop? (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524121)

On the other hand would you feel good about yourself buying something that 1 item would keep that person in money for a year.

You also should google around for sweatshops in the US and why they were outlawed.

Also while your at it look at some of the practises these places did. For example (I forget the company, dont have the details here) one such company actually fired the women if they got pregant, with mandatory monthly pregancy checks.

Yea those dam evil liberals for stopping that.

You are missing the point (2, Insightful)

Mofaluna (949237) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524177)

Besides the 'optional' moral and ethical aspects, the real problem with more and more products being made in 3rd world sweatshops is that eventually Americans and Europeans will be affected too. Once there is enough unemployment due to jobs being 'outsourced' to foreign sweatshops the average westerner will have the joyfull choice between starvation or giving up on the little bit of civilisation we achieved and start working in a local sweatshop for food and healthhazards just like we did a century or two ago.

iPod+Nike (1)

WinEveryGame (978424) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523941)

Wonder where Apple got inspiration for "Tune Your Run (Nike + iPod)" campagin.

"Your favorite sweatshop (was "workout") companion."

OH NOES!!!1!!! (3, Insightful)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523944)

Good christ, I pay a damned sizeable portion of my income for rent and food. I have two jobs, and my typical work week goes well into the 60+ hours range with no overtime. Where's the news story on that?

Re:OH NOES!!!1!!! (2, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524076)

The difference is, you chose the circumstances surrounding your employment and housing situation.

In China, its somewhat different. You're living in a company dormitory, and they basically control every aspect of your life, from where you live to what you eat. The factories are likely exploiting young women from poor rural families who don't have many options... its difficult to marry, since an increasing number of rural Chinese young men are moving to the cities for work. Many of these girls end up in prostitution or virtual slavery.

Most Americans go into debt by choosing cars, colleges and homes that they cannot afford.

Re:OH NOES!!!1!!! (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524120)

The article should have more figures to put things in context. Yeh, people are shocked at how much we make here in the US but on the other hand expenses are high. By the time you pay rent/mortgage, buy food, and pay for basic utilities (water, electricity, hear) a large chunk of your pay is gone. Depending on your city/state and job it could easily be half-or-more of your pay. So we

The question is (and forgive my ignorance) is the 50EUR per week "the norm" over there for factory work?
And are normal housing costs about 1/2 pay?
Is the other half enough to get by? If so, how comfortably?
And most importantly, are they abusing their workers?

I'm not defending Apple for the sake of defending them. If the pay is common/adequate and they aren't abusing their workers (and letting them quit whenever they want) then the story isn't as big as some are fearing.

They left out just enough details to make the story go one way or another.

Re:OH NOES!!!1!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524132)

Where's the news story on that?

Superdan2k is a whiny bitch...news at 11!

Re:OH NOES!!!1!!! (5, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524175)

  • Your Recent Submissions

superdan2k pays damned sizable portion of income for rent and food by dr_dank - status rejected

Sorry man, I tried.

All blown out of proportion (5, Funny)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523954)

This is all meaningless hyperbole. For example, who can consider working on Apple products "work"? Instead it is like Christmas play time every day. When you work on an Apple product, you are like an elf in Santa's north pole! Sure you only get 50 bucks a month, but you can go visit the marmalade forest and make bubblegum pie whenever you want!

And furthermore, you get good karma which ensures that you will go to heaven and receive 72 virgin powerbooks with infinite Altivec and a double dual core. We should be envious of these lucky women. They are an inspiration to us all.

Re:All blown out of proportion (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524092)

"And furthermore, you get good karma which ensures that you will go to heaven and receive 72 virgin powerbooks with infinite Altivec and a double dual core."

/me looks at the idea and thinks "and this is bad?"

/P

Incomplete Characterization (2, Funny)

Badlands (906315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523956)

Don't forget "latte-drinking"

Re:Incomplete Characterization (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524138)

Don't forget "latte-drinking"

And turtle neck-wearing.

Re:Incomplete Characterization (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524173)

And elevator-breaking.

Re:Incomplete Characterization (1)

Mark Hood (1630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524167)

Yeah, after all I drive a Saab, not a Volvo...

If you're going to make crass generalisations about Apple fans, at least get it right!

Mark

PS :) for the humour impaired.

Sweatshops are GOOD (0, Flamebait)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523957)

Sweatshops are GOOD. Of course it doesn't seem that way seen from our first-world perspective, but is better than hunger. It's usually the only way out from extreme poverty. We had an industrial revolution where childen worked in similar circumstances. It's not something to be proud of, the feelings are all against it, but you cannot jump from having nothing to having everyting. As Groucho Marx said "I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty". Poor countries need sweatshops, need free trade of agricultural products, and need less subsidies. That's the way out.

Re:Sweatshops are GOOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15523991)

Spoken like a true Capitalist.

Re:Sweatshops are GOOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524054)

Spoken like a true Capitalist.

So you'd prefer a communist dictatorship then?

Re:Sweatshops are GOOD (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524073)

Sweatshops are GOOD. Of course it doesn't seem that way seen from our first-world perspective, but is better than hunger.
One can say the same thing about slavery.
Being better than the worst thing imaginable (death by starvation) does not make something good. It makes it not the worst, which is an entirely different matter.

And no one can "work their way out of poverty" on sweatshop wages. It's living hand-to-mouth. You might as well recommend that someone "work their way out of poverty" by collecting 5c deposits on Cola bottles.

How is that the way out? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524116)

Sorry, but this is BS.

It is as much a "way out" as hard work is the way out of poverty in our world. It isn't. If anything is, education and information is.

Work never made anyone rich, only poor. It exploits your workforce and turns it over to someone else. HE gets rich, granted, but that ain't something you benefit from in any way.

Re:Sweatshops are GOOD (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524186)

The sweatshops are installed to ensure those who work there never leave poverty. If they begin to scale upwards the social ladder you won't have anyone who is willing to work for such low-wages. This is why sweatshop owners crush any attempts by their workers to unionize.

Really, do you think you could work at a sweatshop for 30 years and retire, send your kids off to school? No your kids end up working there and their kids... and so forth.

Three possibilities, one answer (4, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523961)

It's undisputed that most of Apple's products are made and assembled in China. In recent financial filings, Apple says most of its manufacturing is performed by third-party vendors in Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea and Singapore; and assembled in China.


From this, I take it there are three possible realities:

1. Apple knew of the work conditions, and set up the "third party vendor" system so that they didn't have to hear how it was done - kind of like Ken Lay tried with Enron. "Oh, my goodness, I am shocked - shocked! - to hear that there are bad labor systems being used!" And then they can plead ignorance.

2. Apple didn't know about the work conditions. Their system was "Look - here's the work, let's go tour the plant, looks good - modern equipment, this will work. Quality of the iPods is good, so let's go with this." They didn't look into the work conditions - though I'd be curious to see if there was any kind of contract stating "treat workers kindly".

3. The situation is not as bad as it looks. I'm not counting out the original article, but since it does mention that there are several countries, including Japan (which I understand has decent employee laws compared to other countries), it could be this plant is an isolated incident - but 1 and 2 still apply about "What did Apple know, and when did they know it". It could even be that the rules of "employ mainly women" was used as a good point - "Let's give work to these women so they can earn a decent wage", which may now look bad. It's all about the intent.

Either way, I would suggest there is only one answer: That Apple take immediate steps to show how it "Thinks different", and insure that no matter what the conditions are *now*, that those conditions are up to par with good employee relations.

I have a lot of faith in Apple, but I'll find it very hard to purchase future products if these allegations are true, and the company that Jobs built is unwilling to take steps to ensure good living conditions for their employees.

Re:Three possibilities, one answer (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524050)

I have a lot of faith in Apple, but I'll find it very hard to purchase future products if these allegations are true, and the company that Jobs built is unwilling to take steps to ensure good living conditions for their employees.

Whose products will you purchase, then, exactly? This is exactly the type of reaction I talked about here [slashdot.org] .

Re:Three possibilities, one answer (4, Insightful)

agent dero (680753) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524066)

"I have a lot of faith in Apple, but I'll find it very hard to purchase future products if these allegations are true, and the company that Jobs built is unwilling to take steps to ensure good living conditions for their employees."

Bullshit, bullshit, and more bullshit.

It sounds like you're an american, so I'm going to reply based on that assumption. What kind of shoes do you wear? Most likely they were made in sweatshops. What kind of clothes? Do you eat fruit, ever? Most likely that was picked and processed by low-wage immigrant workers. Do you use any sort of electronics? Guess what, those were made by low wage workers too, probably in sweat shops.

Hate to burst your progressive thinking little bubble, but, somebody who lives in California, will probably have to make more to live than somebody in rural Nebraska, the same applies here. In most counties like this, the major corporation that's got the sweat shops is the best job around.

I'm not saying that I agree with this, but let's be honest, this is not an Apple factory, this is a company that Apple contracts with, because guess what Apple doesn't make the drives, chips, and a lot of other parts that go into their products.

It's too early to be ranting, but let's be honest, in most first world countries, MANY aspects of our lives were produced in third world countries on the backs of sweatshop workers.

It wouldn't surprise me... (-1, Troll)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523968)

Apple enslave their users and artists using DRM, so why not their workers? Apple is a dodgy company, and the only reason they get portrayed as being "cool" and "good" is because people know they do some of the same stuff as Microsoft, and know that Microsoft are "bad".

The fact is, just because Apple is a competitor to Microsoft doesn't make them good. Apple seems to have all of the same traits (DRM, closed-source software, lawsuit-happy) as Microsoft, with the only difference being that they don't enjoy the same market share.

Re:It wouldn't surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524005)

They're slaves?

Cool. How much does Apple charge to bypass the "no visitors" rule? Hundreds per room....

What, this surprises you? (5, Insightful)

indie1982 (686445) | more than 7 years ago | (#15523994)

You want cheap consumer electronic goods? That's what happens i'm afraid. Their manufacture will be farmed out to the cheapest bidder. And don't just think it's Apple doing this, it's all the big electronics companies. Hell it's not even just electronics, take the dairy industry. Farmers want a fair price for thier milk, the big supermarkets want cheap milk so you shop at their shops. So the big chains force the farmers into taking less money.

Looks at his iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15523996)

And feels good - one less woman in China forced into sex slavery, but instead able to live for herself and raise the money needed for later in life.

And all you with Creative players, iRivers, and so on, can feel as good themselves, because they're probably using the same types of conditions to make the products, and saving even more people from a life of poverty.

Does it change the way the computers work? (2, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524007)

Why should anyone care about this?

As long as the work is completely voluntary, the workers have decided that it beats the alternative. It's an improvement in their lives. Often times, a huge improvement - their families get enough to eat now. No one is doing anything wrong, and all the activity is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

It also doesn't change the way the computers work.

Now I have to go back to drinking my coffee. It's fair trade, shade-grown coffee picked by virgin tribal girls under a full moon. Tasty.

Let the Parodies Begin! (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524008)

Well, I can't wait to see the iPod ad inspired parodies that this is likely to produce!

Can't find the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524010)

I've just searched the website of the paper making those claims... there doesn't appear to be any information on the story currently posted on their site; perhaps they pulled it. Anyone from England know how much credibility this paper carries in the U.K.?

Re:Can't find the story (1)

shilly (142940) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524184)

It's firmly on the right of the political spectrum (in our family, it's known as "The Daily Bigot" and its sister paper is called "The Bigot on Sunday"). It's known for being pretty vicious. However, I don't think it would have run the story if the editor wasn't fairly sure of the facts as reported.

Rhetoric (1)

skubeedooo (826094) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524013)

iPods are made in China by women who work 15 hours/day, make $50/month, and have to pay half of that right back to the company for housing and food. ...whereas if they had to pay half of that straight to some other landlord instead, it would be ok. wtf? Or maybe that's not the point. Perhaps the shock revelation is: "chinese ipod workers spend half their salary on food and accomodation". Tragic.

They did? (2, Insightful)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524014)

Sweatshops came back to bite Nike? Last I checked Nike is still one of the largest shoe makers in the world and the bulk of their labor is more then likely still done in a "sweatshop." This notion that consumers care is BS. People want to get shoes, clothes, electronics, and whatever else they desire at reasonable prices. The fact is if most these companies used standard wage practices we would be paying more for items, and if they were made in more industrialized countries we would probably go broke trying to buy half the stuff we wanted.

In the end, most consumers really do not care where the products they purchase came from. They are just glad that they have their new HDTV, designer clothing, or iPod. This notion that people will do something about the sweatshop labor is absurd. A few people might not buy one, but trust me, most people who want one will still buy one without a second thought.

Luxury! (3, Funny)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524015)

iPods are made in China by women who work 15 hours/day, make $50/month, and have to pay half of that right back to the company for housing and food.

I don't know about you, but I sure wish that my living expenses were $25 a month. Heck, I wish they were only half of my income!

Re:Luxury! (1)

big dumb dog (876383) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524125)

Don't be a Troll!
Your bills would be much less than 1/2 your income if you worked 15 hours a day and shared a room with 100 other people.

Objection Your Honor! (1)

Doomedsnowball (921841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524018)

Hearsay! A report about a report? Yeah, that's murky at best. And what is the cost of living in that part of China? Half of my friends in San Francisco (yes, they are Chinese) spend half or more of their monthly income on rent and food. Nobody visits them either. Are they being whipped? Are they being forced into working? My friends in SF also work 15+ days and 50+ hour weeks. BFD. It sucks everywhere until people make a concerted effort to fix things. Are you going to pay more for your precious nano to help the impoverished Chinese workers? I didn't think so. I don't think Apple is going to face any sort of backlash remotely similar to Nike. The variables are way too different.

A sweatshop for consumer merchandise? Never.... (4, Interesting)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524042)

This is stupid. I look around my room, and It's probably likely at least half, if not more like 80% of the stuff here probably has some sweatshop labor in it (with 20% being made in the US if I push it). Although Apple and the related company are no small fries, they are in the overall picture of this sweatshop labor stuff. Ohhh, Apple indirectly uses sweatshop labor. Time to gang up on them, and about every other company that does it, especially directly.

I'll be the judge of that! (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524045)

> The situation is too murky for a rush to judgment on Apple's ethics here, and it may well meet
> minimum global standards.

What's a `minimum global standard` then? Something fair and reasonable, or just some law cobbled together by the WTO, IMF, UN and other completely fair, unbiased parties with no vested interests?

Half their salary. (1)

thelonestranger (915343) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524077)

So what? How much of the avarage persons monthly salary does rent/food/bills consume? I know in my case its half as well.

Bloody Luxury (5, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524089)

I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah"

The other choice for the women (1)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524090)

Well, if Apple did not manufacture iPods in China, those women would be tending pigs for $0 dollars per hour.

So why is this a bad thing exactly?

Maybe Apple should team up with Nike (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524094)

Nike was the leader in "sweatshop engineering" although I think they have cleaned up their act quite a bit. But I can see a combo Ipod-sneaker in the future. Oh no, I shouldn't have mentioned that. (one week later Apple applies for the patent :)

Re:Maybe Apple should team up with Nike (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524194)

I take it you're being sarky, yes? Only you've done it well enough I'm not entirely sure you didn't miss the announcement of the Nike+ system that has a pedometer pocket in the trainer, and then a bluetooth connection from it to a device plugged in the bottom of the Nano to communicate your performance in realtime over the earphones.

Send in the experts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524101)

Perhaps Mr. Jobs should send in Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford to pay off the workers.

"Made in the USA" used to matter (4, Insightful)

csoto (220540) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524108)

It still matters to me. I just bought a pair of New Balance shoes, and I only buy NB athletic shoes because they still make some in the USA (check the inside label, because they also make some models abroad). I'm also a bit of a woodworker/tool junkie, and I refuse to buy tools made in China. I'll settle for Japan, Europe or Mexico if USA isn't available. But nothing from Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, etc.

The only people to blame are consumers. Demand something else and you'll get it. Settle, and you get sweatshop labor. "Free Tibet" isn't just a bumper sticker slogan. If you really cared about it, you would change your ways.

This is not news. (1)

DoctorDyna (828525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524118)

If you throw enough money at any investigation into any company that manufactures more than a few hundred thousand of anything I'm sure you'll stumble on some sort of unsavory actions, which, just happen to be the un-healthy byproduct of doing business in countries where these sort of work conditions are normal, but seem utterly obscene to us.

Ah, half their pay goes to housing and food supply!"

So fucking what, so does half of my pay go to rent and food. I could only wish my place of employment provided me with housing and food, it would be 2 less thing I would have to worry about.

Apple apologists MAKE ME SICK!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524129)

I'm not surprised in the LEAST to see the majority of comments defend Apple on this one. The double standards, hypocrisy and general stupidity of Apple fanboys that now are a virulent plague on a once open source advocacy site known as Slashdot. I can guarantee that this will be modded flamebait, but its just further proof of how this site has turned into a marketing shill for Apple.

I will still buy Apple products (1)

waif69 (322360) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524145)

If they are still quality products. The living conditions of those around the world can not be viewed and judged by those in the 1st world. What those living in the 1st world would consider horrible, substandard conditions may be a huge improvement for those who are in the 3rd world. The quality of life needs to be compared to those in their geographic/political regions, not to those in the rest of the world. If one were to actually travel around the world and meet people, you would see that people can be happy without have mass amount of affluence and they may even be happier. I know it had opened by eyes when I had travelled.

It's surprising (2, Funny)

BoxSocial (945632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524149)

Wow! Who would have thought people on Slashdot would be giving Apple a rimjob over this. I totally did not see this coming!

Some thoughts (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524151)

My impulse is to decry the fact these workers have to endure such work environments. However, after having visited China a few years ago I'm not surprised.

I visited southern China in one of the larger cities (not Nanjing or Shanghai though :-). I had the opportunity to stroll through a small electronics factory, and I was rather apalled at what I saw. In general it seemed like all industrial waste was dumped into the ground next to small farm lands. In a small room about the size of a walk-in closet I saw women scrubbing printed circuit boards with Methyl Ethyl Ketone. They wore no repirators or gloves. The MEK smell permeated throughout the factory. I know MEK sold in the US have those warning labels saying MEK can be the cause for serious health problems.

Going through town I saw people driving BMWs and people living on the streets. There seems to be such a disparity between people who can afford some level of comfort and those who don't have anything. If you are living on the street it seemed like even having $10 (Chinese) for a whole month was enough to get by, according to some locals.

My point? Sadly enough it MAY be that these women may have a work environment than a lot of their peers. I can have my opinions after enjoying the benefits and expectations here in the US, and it's easy for me to apply those opinions to people living in other countries. I wish everyone was as rich and everyone had workplace safety rules. Unfortunately that's not how the world is.

Would I boycott Apple over this issue? Well, if I did that, then extension, I believe I'll have to boycott everying made in China, or perhaps everthing made overseas. I'll just have to judge myself a hypocrite because I enjoy the benefits of cheaper goods (or, to put it another way, I don't want to pay for expensive goods). Apple isn't alone in this. Take a look at all the products you see in any store. In particular, look all those little electronic accessories you see in Fry's or Best Buy.

apple fanboy comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15524152)

theySweat but iPod

Half their salary on food & rent? (1)

dissolved (887190) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524155)

Oh dear - join the rest of the world.

Can we have a comparison in REAL wages please? Not that a calculated fact would get in the way of a Daily Mail story.

Economic reality vs Social responsibility (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524162)

Hey everybody! Guess what? Apple is a very big world-wide corporation. Just like Microsoft, Nike and a million other corporations. Take whatever you think your least favorite Evil Corporation (tm) is doing and insert Apple. Odds on it is being done. If not by Apple, then by a contractor for Apple.

This is what a global economy means. Corporations seek the lowest cost labor around the world. In order to have the lowest labor costs, China allows corporations to treat laborers like slaves.

How is this bad? (1)

grims (602269) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524166)

MacWorld summarizes an article published in the U.K., stating that Apple's iPods are made in China by women who work 15 hours/day, make $50/month, and have to pay half of that right back to the company for housing and food. The article also claims the workers live in dormitories where they are housed 100 per room, and are not allowed visitors.

Ok, people are still POOR in the world incase someone forgot. They can do it for cheap and thats the bottom line - and its not like they are being trapped in chains and made to work. Did anyone answer that? Maybe this is their heaven compared to other alternatives. If they are not being forced, and they want to - who are you to set their standards? I am sure they can determine whats best for them without your help.

not quite (1)

Olentangy (118364) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524179)

"staked its image on progressive politics"

Huh?

Apple may be run by a "friend of bill" and have Al Gore on it's board, but it's "image" is certainly not defined by politics, but rather by building cool products that are easy to use.

Remember, Rush Limbough is a Mac user.

Volvo? (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15524197)

About those "upscale Volvo-driving fans":

The people who are most opposed to overseas sweatshops are in the US labor movement, which has long been at the forefront of efforts to improve labor conditions abroad. Granted, this is in no small part because better labor conditions abroad result in US workers being more competitive, since those conditions make offshore labor more expensive. But the stereotype that it is primarily upscale, "liberal," Volvo drivers who care about workplace conditions (or environmental health, or a whole range of other issues) is utter bullshit propogated by those with a vested interest in employing foreign labor in near-slave conditions, while also radically reducing wages and benefits for workers still employed in the US. A large proportion of those who drive Volvos come precisely from this ownership class. And much of the opposition to neo-slavery comes from those who drive used Toyotas and Fords.
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