Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Working conditions in China, what is fair?

1 minute video from Aug 2010

NYT (1-26-2012) Apples ipad and the human costs for workers in China by By Charles Duhigg and David Barboza

The above article describes working conditions in an ipad factory in China. The question for today is "How much should U.S. companies lower standards on working conditions and environmental protection in their factories abroad?"

Some viewpoints to consider,
1. At the turn of the 20th century, working conditions in factories in the U.S. were not so different from those described in the article. Should this phase be considered a right of passage that countries must  slog through on the way to an advanced economy?

2. Some companies are already bypassing China for cheaper labor in nearby places like Vietnam and Malaysia. In another 100 or so years, when all countries have reached a minimum level of wealth, perhaps this problem will resolve itself.

Another 3 minute video from June 2010 (embedding disabled):


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