LCR-Skeptic, Is this so hidden to the whole world? You put it so well I wonder why so many people just want to kick up dust and pretend violations are not occurring and that the manufacturers don't have a duty to do what they know is right.
Apple may not be the only demon here, but they are the most visible. They can't present themselves (and their products) as revered gifts to humanity, and then ignore their responsibility to ensure minimal levels of humanitarian rights in their....and their partners'....workplace. Not to mention enivironmental and other guidelines to which US companies and the rest of the free world adhere. You don't see nets on the sides of the buildings in Cupertino to catch suicide leapers.
You're right that no one is holding a gun to the Foxconn employees' heads, but what if they were? Would it still be ok to earn an almighty dollar (or $400,000 per employee as the case may be)?
Applie could easily open their own factories in China or elsewhere, but they choose not to for obvious reasons. They get to enjoy low cost without "owning" the responsibility. That's the same motivation that drives so many other US and European companies to turn their heads while their distributors are breaking every rule to sell products in China.
BTW....I am a stong proponent of capitalism and I am also lured by the power of cheap and innovative products. I'm a proud owner of an iPad, iPhone, and MacBook. I just want an even playing field.
Ashish, You are correct that Apple's Top Dog status has brought unwanted attention. It was inevitable and the company should have anticipated this. Apple's success was bound to attract this focus.
By the way, many people have been writing or focusing on this issue for years, if not decades and the focus wasn't always Apple. Human rights and labor rights activists have been working on this and trying to get companies like Apple to do what everyone believes is right.
You said "celebrate Apple's success." That's a worthy goal. Read recent coverage on Apple and you'll see how extensively its successes have been trumpeted by the media and shareholders. This doesn't mean we close our eyes to its faults.
As to your comments on China's workers, throughout history, the weak has always needed an advocate. We can't condemn them for wanting to work for Foxconn and a "take-it-or-leave-it" approach is neither in their interest nor in that of Apple/Foxconn. There has to be certain boundaries that companies must not cross.
I don't get it.Most of these problems at Foxconn were present for many years previously,why is that they have suddenly geared immense traction???
is it because suddenly Apple has become the most Valuable Listed company in the world (besides being No.1 in its field)???
What is it about Human nature that instead of celebrating extraordinary success(outside of Sport) we tend to demonize it???
Lets face the facts,Apple is doing what it should do-Deliver the best quality products at the best prices and also generating record profits for shareholders.
If you want to blame anybody then you should blame the entire Supplier Industry who has gotten it very wrong here.
Still,Regarding employees,lets face the facts-Nobody forced these Chinese employees of Foxconn to work there-If they feel that the working conditions are unsatisfactory/not upto the mark;They can very well leave and find alternative employment.
Its not like someone has held a gun to their heads and forced them to work for Foxconn aka Slave labor???
Nemos, Correct. You can outsource production but you don't outsource responsibility for your products. We can do all the fine tuning but Apple is in the end responsbile for its products and for the condition under which they are made. The products carry Apple's label,not Foxconn's. That's why Apple audits the suppliers to make sure they are in compliance with its terms and standards.
Where did the company fail? In not making its contractors and suppliers abide by its own code of conduct. Period.
"Foxconn is only a supplier and not directly managed by Apple - isn't it?"I don't agree with that, because it is not only a supplier, it is the main factory unit which all the Apple devices been constructed there. So we can not say it is only a supplier. Furthermore, without a factory unit you don't have a product.
It is correct to say that accusations or any issue connected with working conditions of any sort is a cause for concern. In Apple's case, it is surely a matter of moral obligation - isn't it? Still Apple has come out unscathed.
I think the only moral obligations for Apple was the large profit margin its generated and still generating on the back of cheap labour regardless of its working conditions. (It's products are still selling like hot cakes - so why the fuss?) Afterall Apple is not the only one connected with related issues of this sort. Foxconn is only a supplier and not directly managed by Apple - isn't it? But the difference for Apple is, its a reputed market leader in the technological industry - hence the pressure for change is obvious plus the bad publicity this has generated for Apple.
It's pluasible to note that ( although it's a forced change) Apple has set aside its conflicts of interest and now upholding much desired moral values. I applaud Apple for the changes.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.