Old guy, I wish America was as perfect as my initial response to your comments might have indicated. It is not. Many other civilizations also preceded the American one, again, as you rightly pointed out.
You are not going to get me to say anything wrong about India :) I love the country and respect the people too much to disparage its ancient civilization. However, we only have today, right? And we have to do whatever we can to correct anything we see wrong, as a famous, founding father of India did!
Jokes aside, greed is what drove the West to manufacture in China and it is driving capitalism today but it must be tempered with respect of others' rights. Hopefully, manufacturers will still be able to make money even after implementing labor rights we can all acknowledge exemplify the best of all civilizations, old and new.
Consider that these poor, abused people are getting to eat and sleep indoors instead of starving and dying outdoors. I am so sick of people judging parts of the world they have no real understanding of base on conditions in the US.
Yes, we have "standards rigorously enforced by regulators, monitored closely by human rights organizations and constantly scrutinized by lawyers" add to that minimum wage laws and labor unions and you have the real reason jobs have been moved overseas.
But, China is cracking.
The Chinese government has had to allow farmers to sell their products to the highest bidder (rather than being forced to sell to the government at the price the government sets), the beginnings of capitalism. The reason? Farmers saw no point in doing the work without any reward for that work.
Factory workers in some regions have organized and demanded better pay and working conditions. The results have been meager but it is a start, from the ground up, towards western conditions.
Japan has taken manufacturing jobs from China! Japan is so good at automation they can beat even the near slave labor rates in China for many products. This indicates that in the near future, cheap labor will not be much of an advantage. Then China will need a new plan. A quick look around the globe will indicate that a system of free exchange of products and services and the ability to gain personal wealth based on knowledge and hard work results in great increases in wealth and stability for a nation as a whole.
The US has such a staggering debt there is no way out but to inflate the currency. The Feds have been printing extra dollars since 2008 and are expected to continue to do so for at least another two years. If the Feds double the dollar supply, labor rates in the US will be effectively cut in half. That should return many jobs to the US. That will not be good for China overall but, with a second viable manufacturing option, companies would be in a better position to consider working conditions when negotiating contracts.
Conditions in China are better for the people then they have been in a long, long while and are improving every day. There is little point in hand wringing over the fact that they are not yet quite on par with the west.
Agermano, Correct. The better labor conditions we enjoy in the West today were won over decades and perhaps over a century as you rightly pointed out. But they were won because many people, including those who were better off and didn't have to fight, never kept quiet. I have read the history of European and US labor struggles and know that many people gave their lives so we can enjoy the rights we have today.
The 8-hour workday was not a right handed happily down by employers and shareholders. Workers fought for it just as they did for vacation days, sick days, pension and retirement packages, and even the finer things many Chinese workers haven't even heard about like ergonometrically correct chairs, desks and computer stations!
We didn't leave the workers to fight for these by themselves in the West. Many of the people who ensured these became "rights" were themselves well off and didn't experience firsthand the problems they wanted eliminated. But they empathized with the workers and put themselves in these workers' positions.
Apple is taking the right steps to correct problems at its contractors and has said it expects to unearth even more problems. Even these ones will be corrected, the company said. Apple is not alone but by leading the company ensures others will follow.
You are right. You are not guilty because no crime has been committed. That means I am not guilty too and everyone is innocent, including the Chinese government. But I can also think of laws that were on the book years ago but which we are ashamed of today.
You are also right in acknowledging the problems that exist in China and noting that with increasing prosperity the Chinese worker would be better able to represent themselves, change their working environment and perhaps even their system. A former literature Nobel laureate wrote: "The man died in a man who keeps silent in the face of tyranny."
If there's any guilt today it's because we often keep quiet when we can at least speak for those less fortunate that we are.
i like yr confidence - america - the USA u refer to has seen civilisation fr yrs before 1600 and then after 1850. give or take a few decades.Barely 200 yrs of civilization that too which gave rights to all only in 1970s. Oh come on drop the epaulettes on yr shoulder. i come from a civilisation from 3000 BC to date. a bit decadent today but was a WORLD leader till 300 yrs ago. INDIA.
i agree that opposition to any system helps correct it and keeps it in stability - yes. but most of us homo sapiens sapiens - as they qualify us cannot get rid of our greed and the need to becoming better off.
i hv penned the words with care as i always do. please introspect ma friend
Susan, I doubt option A is going to happen anytime soon unless a major disaster occurred or we were at war with China. Something crazy like that would pull manufacturing back pronto. Otherwise, like Steve Jobs reportedly said, those jobs aren't coming back. Some manufacturing will return occasionally but not the millions of manufacturing jobs already lost.
No, Sir, I am not guilty because no crime has been committed. You ask a bunch of questions but don't wait for the answers. Yes, I would probably do many or all of those things, if there was no other viable alternative.
You make a critical mistake in assuming the workers' rights which Westerners and, particularly, Americans, enjoy just spontaneously happened. You seem to have no appreciation for the fact that these customs and conventions were worked out through market or political processes over a century or more. It is wrong in the extreme to apply our notions of right and wrong to a country which is trying to get its foot into the 21st century.
China does have many problems, and working conditions is one of them. But China is also a one-party State which makes forcing change there very difficult. The only hope we have of changing the state of affairs there, and everywhere else in the developing world, is for us to set good examples of Liberty and orderly market processes. As the prosperity of the Chinese people grows, pressure will come from below and within to change conditions. Any attempts to short-circuit this process will lead to unnecessary conflict, and obstinacy on the part of the Chinese rulers, which will end up hurting the very people you claim to want to help.
Hi Old Guy, Thank you for the comments and the perspective. It's much appreciated. The historical perspective you injected is relevant and it's certainly true that "we have all been guilty always."
We have also been responsive to plights around us. We have been good at identifying injustice and trying our best to correct them. We have built many institutions to assist the weak and destitute. We make sure the rich can continue to increase their wealth but we also make sure they don't have to do this at the expense of our society. We've exported the best of mankind.
America gave the world the concept of basic human rights and taught mankind these rights are universal. I agree that imbalances and injustice are a part of our lives. We also strive to be better than we are.
I agree that the working conditions at the Chinese factors may be one of the worst, but then one has to look from the perspective of the workers working there as well. For them, they don't really have much choice in terms of a better place to work. Philanthropy is limited and there's no such thing as a free lunch. If the factories are forced to improve upon the working conditions, all of this means additional costs. Their cost advantage may no longer remain and they may not be able to compete. So what happens then? They shut the factories down and fire the labor. Hence, I feel there may not be an easy solution to the situation.
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.
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.