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Jules bowman
Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:53:08 am

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/23/bad-apple-employ-more-us-w...


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Andrew Richards
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 1:31:11 am

Here's why.

Best,
Andy


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Bobby Mosca
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:51:38 am

Oh for crying out loud. If I were an editor, I'd have my business journalists take business classes so they'll have the first clue what they're talking about.


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Mark Dobson
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:59:08 am

For those without jobs in the USA and the people who are forced to work in almost penal conditions in China and the far East it's a lose lose situation really.

And for Apple a double win.

And for us elite consumers a convenient way of getting out hands on products that year on year do the same job better.

However Apple aren't alone with this business model, just a lot better at it than other companies.

It's a tiered global capitalist system at its finest and it's happening with all kinds of products and services from computer and phone manufacture, to the service industry, through to agriculture.

It's also a truly global market place for those seeking unskilled work. Here in the UK most of the service industries almost predominantly employ cheap labour and the same applies to fruit picking, car washing and domestic work.

Steve Jobs was a perfectionist, an enabler, an inspirational leader. However he was not a philanthropist and the company he founded is not known for its charitable works. That's been left to Bill Gates, God bless him.

Sure Apple employ a bunch of people around the world but wouldn't it make us all feel better if they either paid more for the manufacture of their products, insisted on far better working conditions and pay in the Chinese Factories, lowered their profit margin, or did more with the unbelievable wealth they have acquired through their highly effective business model.

Or as the Guardian article suggested, create new Jobs in the US and take a lower margin.


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Kevin Patrick
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:02:10 pm

The largest mobile phone companies (such as Nokia and Motorola) were the first to manufacture in Asia. They were doing it to save money. Many things were lower cost. The labor was was a lot lower. Measured in cents, not dollars. Buildings and space was lower. Distribution was lower, which was a big part of selling the same phone to many different customers. Tooling costs were lower. Materials costs were lower in Asia. It wasn't just labor.

At first, they could make phones cheaper, but not necessarily better. The companies that brought this manufacturing to Asia spent years working with the manufacturers and all the sub assembly suppliers to bring the quality level of the products up to where they needed to be. This was a huge effort. It involves the entire process. From tooling, to production of the part, to sub-assembly and testing by a variety of suppliers, to final assembly and test. Many people from many companies touch all the parts in many different ways.

Eventually, China wound up with world class sourcing and manufacturing capability. Motorola and Nokia shut down almost all their manufacturing and moved to China.

Along comes Apple and decides to enter the phone business. They could build a phone here in the US, except there are no manufacturers in the US. All the components they need are made in China, thanks to the other manufacturers. They could have final assembly here, but you would still have all the parts and sub assemblies made in China. Which is quite a lot of labor and manufacturing. Plus, you have a logistic nightmare. Instead of suppliers and sub assembly manufacturers located near final assembly, you got them on the other side of the world, some 10 hours different in time and about a day in travel.

When a company is in the process of prototyping a phone, they go through months of pre-production. During that time many engineers work along side the various manufacturers, ensuring things are done right. Each and every time a new product comes out. I believe even Jonathan Ives has said he himself has spent time in China for some of their products. If part of the phone was built in China and part in the US it would be a lot more inefficient and you'd have more issues to deal with.

Apple could try to move most or all of this manufacturing to the US. But that would be a huge effort. Because of companies like Nokia and Motorola, almost everything Apple needs is already being made in China. Batteries, displays (some might be from Korea or Japan), circuit boards, all of the components on the boards, flex assemblies, all the tooling for every single part that needs tooling. It's all in China, or nearby Asia. It's all a lot cheaper too. For more reasons than just labor.

Its a shame that all of this was once done here in the US. But, I wouldn't blame Apple. If you wanted to blame someone, blame Motorola. At least for loosing US jobs. When Motorola moved to Asia, thousands of Motorola people lost jobs. Plus, all the companies that supplied to Motorola went out of business.

The press doesn't seem to understand the cause of the loss of these jobs. It appears to be easier, or perhaps more extravagant to write about Apple. I guess people will read a story about Apple, but probably not about Motorola, or Nokia.


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Jules bowman
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:24:50 pm

Interesting Kevin, cheers.

In defence of the Guardian, it does state Apple aren't the only one.

And as an antagonist towards the current status quo, though what you say may well be true and I have no reason to doubt it:

a) If they stay in Asia, they could still pay more and ensure those working don't do 12 to 16 hour shifts for next to nothing and find human beings attempting, and succeeding, to commit suicide. The overall wage may be lower in China, but how will the workers of the nation improve that if money rich corporations squeeze every last penny of profit by valuing their labour so low.

b) Apple is American and though things may well be as you state in terms of manufacturing, Apple could still invest in American jobs and American manufacturing if social awareness was even on the radar. As it is modern corporate capitalism is bound by law to subjugate the social to the advancement of the corporation and it's share price.

All corporations in their current form need to perpetually expand. Need to keep raising their share price. And perpetual expansion is actually impossible. Write the word corporation on a balloon, then start expanding that balloon (by blowing in it). What happens? It doesn't perpetually expand. At some point it bursts because of finite limitations.

So as the level of disposable income reaches saturation expansion continues by reducing costs. Pay less for materials. Pay less for labour. Pay less for health and safety. Destroy bargaining organisations (Unions) Cut corners. Fines cost less than doing things correctly. Etc, etc.

Corporations are socially destructive. I believe the current economic malaise is a pretty good indicator that the grand modern capitalism venture is fundamentally flawed.

Ok, to the letter of the law no Apple and its ilk are not duty bound to give a shit about the world and the people and nature upon it, and that is the fault of Government and those that manipulate Government (usually those with the power and influence to protect their own vested interests in modern capitalism) but that is not, in my eyes at least, an excuse for not giving a shit about the world.

If any of these companies want to follow the letter of corporate law and maximise profits at the expense of the social and the environmental then obviously they can as things currently stand, but then no-one can complain when people like me, and in this case the Guardian, call them up on it and point out they are being dirty little scum bags in the context of social and environmental factors.

Apple would make less money, both in the short term and the longer term, by investing in American manufacturing. But they would still be turning more than a tidy little profit. Maybe the current CEO wouldn't be worth $650m in shares, but really, apart from him who gives a f*** about that. You can only drive one car at a time. You can only live in one house at a time. And all the money in the world won't make your willy any bigger.

They are American. Americans are their people. And many many of those people are suffering in order for Apple, and their ilk, to mint it.

That is, i'm afraid to say, pretty shitty [this is a fact, not opinion... just saying]

Go outside and kick someone weaker than you. Make them cry. Make them feel worthless and helpless and less than they should as a human being.

Not very nice is it.

So why should corporations be able to do that on a mass scale and have it justified because of the articles of corporation? Or because others have done it first, or do it at the same time?

The is no humane justification for the actions of corporations, be that Apple or Tesco or Pfizer or Motorola or anyone.

We call our kingdom Civilisation. Is there any greater misnomer currently doing the rounds?

/left-wing monologue


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Andrew Richards
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 1:51:43 pm

I'm not going to get into my personal politics on these forums, but for the sake of furthering the discussion, here is an essay originally published on Slate in 1997 on this subject by Nobel Prize winning economist, Princeton University professor, and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Best,
Andy


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Mitch Ives
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 7:58:16 pm

[Jules bowman] "Corporations are socially destructive. I believe the current economic malaise is a pretty good indicator that the grand modern capitalism venture is fundamentally flawed."

If only it were that simple.

What they have managed to conveniently side-step in all these papers, discussions, etc. is the real reason it can't be done here.

You couldn't build these factories in America if you wanted to. The environmentalists wouldn't stand for anything that big or dense, even if it had zero pollution.

And even if you got past that, it would take years to get it through the approval process. City managers would be trying to blackmail Apple for free iPads for all the local school children, like they did in CA over the new campus.

And even if you got past that, during excavation they'd find a bone or an errant snail darter and that would be the end of the project while we do a 7 year environmental impact study.

No, America doesn't really want jobs... they just want to talk about it...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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Jules bowman
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:33:48 pm

"“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.

“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”


Indeed.

"Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option."

well, really, it isn't now is it dears. There are other options. What they meant to say was 'going overseas, at this point, maximises profits to a huge degree, so FU Barack.

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.”

And no-one at Apple saw an issue with that. That 8000 workers are a) living in their workplace b) woken from their limited rest period because someone at Apple changed their mind c) are doing 12 hour shifts on a breakfast of tea and a biscuit.

Really?


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Craig Shields
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 1:08:12 pm

Unfortunately, this is how businesses are. They don't care that workers aren't making a living wage. They don't care that workers are committing suicide. It's all about the profits. I have no doubt that Apple would use 10 year old children in those factories if it was legal and could save them some money.

While in Vegas last week. I bought a small bottle of water for $5. After realizing how stupid that was, I wondered "where is this money going?". I'd bet my house that the guy that sold it to me isn't seeing it. He's probably working two or three jobs to stay above water.



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Chris Kenny
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 4:09:43 pm

[Craig Shields] "Unfortunately, this is how businesses are. They don't care that workers aren't making a living wage. They don't care that workers are committing suicide. It's all about the profits. I have no doubt that Apple would use 10 year old children in those factories if it was legal and could save them some money."

Foxconn plants manufacturing Apple products pay above the median wage paid to factory workers in China -- and factory jobs are quite attractive compared with many available alternatives. A common pattern is for young people from rural areas to move to large manufacturing centers, get jobs, and send much of their income back to their families -- in other words, the wages paid by such factory jobs aren't just "living wages" for a single individual, but are often raising the standard of living for entire families.

The suicide rate of Foxconn employees is far below the average rate in China (or the US, for that matter). The absolute numbers look a little worrying if you forget that Foxconn employs ~1.3 million people, i.e. about the population of the entire state of Maine.

And there is zero evidence that Apple condones the hiring of underage workers. Apple mandates screening of new hires and periodic reviews to find underage workers who have slipped through. Apple also publishes this data for public review (which most other companies do not) and has now invited in independent oversight organizations.

Would US workers be happy with Foxconn factory jobs? Probably not. But China is a developing country. That's not a realistic standard to apply. If it had somehow been possible to force companies to pay US wages to Chinese workers, companies simply wouldn't have moved manufacturing to China in the first place, and development wouldn't have occurred, or would have occurred far more slowly. As things stand, the population below the poverty line (defined as $1.25/day in China -- Foxconn workers make more than this per hour) has fallen from above 80% to below 5% over the last 30 years.

None of this is to say that there are no labor abuses about which anyone should be concerned. There are, both at Foxconn and elsewhere (it's much worse in the garment/textile industry, to say nothing of, say, the mining industry). But these things need to be understood in context -- it's a little more complicated than helpless downtrodden workers being abused by greedy corporations. It's development, and it's a process. It isn't always a pretty process, but nobody has ever figured out another way to take poor countries and (eventually) make them rich.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Jules bowman
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 4:17:01 pm

In context hey. Ah, the right speaks.

Nope. It's still all wrong, sorry. And Foxconn pay above average do they. Well, let's look at the context. Is the average a fair rate? Doubt it.

There is no intellectualising the pain and misery ladled onto people for the price of a dollar. And if anyone thinks Apple, or anyone, don't know what's what, they're slipping into dangerous denier territory.


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Chris Kenny
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 4:27:03 pm

[Jules bowman] "Ah, the right speaks"

Haha. No.

[Jules bowman] "Nope. It's still all wrong, sorry. And Foxconn pay above average do they. Well, let's look at the context. Is the average a fair rate? Doubt it."

Define "fair". Seriously, this isn't a flippant question. It's the entire issue on which this debate hinges.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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James Mortner
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 8:25:08 am

Saw this article, seemed fairly dubious to me


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Bobby Mosca
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 2:24:34 pm

It's not personal. It's business. Unlike the old days, we aren't forced to work for or buy from any particular company. If you want to make it personal, that's your business and I'll stay out of it. What I don't like is when people try to use the legal or political system to make it my business. It's happening in small cases, but I hope the tide is stopped. Oh, and read some Rand already.


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Marvin Holdman
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 4:46:49 pm

Not personal? Read Rand?

OK...


"The smallest minority on earth is the individual.
Those who deny individual rights cannot
claim to be defenders of minorities."
- Ayn Rand

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Jim Giberti
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 6:39:44 pm

[Marvin Holdman] "Not personal? Read Rand?
"


I have. It was like reading cartoons without the colorful pictures.


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Bobby Mosca
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 11:04:01 pm

"Personal" and "individual" are not interchangeable in this context.

I'll be in PCB in June! Been a while, so I'm looking forward to it.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 6:09:56 pm

[Bobby Mosca] "Oh, and read some Rand already."

Uhh... what exactly are we supposed to learn from a woman who idolized William Edward Hickman?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Edward_Hickman

Shawn



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John Godwin
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 9:00:23 pm

How to justify bad behavior?

Best,
John


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Bobby Mosca
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 11:06:50 pm

A business should not operate for the interest of its employees, but for the interest in its customers.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 25, 2012 at 11:34:00 pm

[Bobby Mosca] "A business should not operate for the interest of its employees, but for the interest in its customers."

US corporations are required by law to act in the best interests of their stockholders. The legal obligation for these companies to make money quite often puts the interests of employees, customers and the general public at odds. It's a tough balancing act, to be profitable AND conciencous of your impact on people (employees,customers, the general public)... but it can be done. Obviously, some companies are better at it than others.

Shawn



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Bobby Mosca
Re: Guardian - Why doesn't apple employ more US workers
on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:49:23 am

"US corporations are required by law to act in the best interests of their stockholders."

I understand your larger point, but not exactly. For one, and this is just semantics, but the stockholders and the corporation are one and the same. But I know what you mean... The agents of management are charged to act in the owner's interest, but only as that interest is defined by the owners. There are numerous legal operating/reporting requirements (OSHA, EEOC, DOL, SEC, etc), but nothing that says the actual decisions and actions must be in anyone's particular interest.

You're right about the rest. It is a balancing act, but I believe toward one goal: to keep and/or add customers.


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