Rotten to the core

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history.

However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.

“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department. “But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.”

[…]

Apple typically asks suppliers to specify how much every part costs, how many workers are needed and the size of their salaries. Executives want to know every financial detail. Afterward, Apple calculates how much it will pay for a part. Most suppliers are allowed only the slimmest of profits.

So suppliers often try to cut corners, replace expensive chemicals with less costly alternatives, or push their employees to work faster and longer, according to people at those companies.

“The only way you make money working for Apple is figuring out how to do things more efficiently or cheaper,” said an executive at one company that helped bring the iPad to market. “And then they’ll come back the next year, and force a 10 percent price cut.”

In January 2010, workers at a Chinese factory owned by Wintek, an Apple manufacturing partner, went on strike over a variety of issues, including widespread rumors that workers were being exposed to toxins. Investigations by news organizations revealed that over a hundred employees had been injured by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause nerve damage and paralysis.

Employees said they had been ordered to use n-hexane to clean iPhone screens because it evaporated almost three times as fast as rubbing alcohol. Faster evaporation meant workers could clean more screens each minute.

Apple commented on the Wintek injuries a year later. In its supplier responsibility report, Apple said it had “required Wintek to stop using n-hexane” and that “Apple has verified that all affected workers have been treated successfully, and we continue to monitor their medical reports until full recuperation.” Apple also said it required Wintek to fix the ventilation system.

That same month, a New York Times reporter interviewed a dozen injured Wintek workers who said they had never been contacted by Apple or its intermediaries, and that Wintek had pressured them to resign and take cash settlements that would absolve the company of liability. After those interviews, Wintek pledged to provide more compensation to the injured workers and Apple sent a representative to speak with some of them.

Six months later, trade publications reported that Apple significantly cut prices paid to Wintek.

“You can set all the rules you want, but they’re meaningless if you don’t give suppliers enough profit to treat workers well,” said one former Apple executive with firsthand knowledge of the supplier responsibility group. “If you squeeze margins, you’re forcing them to cut safety.”

[…]

“You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive.

“And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”


There’s more at the link.

Keep this in mind the next time you see some whiny-boo-hoo occupier bitching about how unfair their life is on a shiny new iPhone.

(h/t Anglachel)



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82 Responses to Rotten to the core

  1. Rangoon78 says:

    I usually try to inject a little pro-Apple tidbit when the blogs I like go off on the evil ones of Cupertino (doesn’t help much.)
    But here goes.

    Apple not turning blind eye to supply chain problems: CEO | Reuters

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/27/us-apple-supply-idUSTRE80Q20T20120127?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FtopNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Top+News%29

    And here’s a view that runs contrary to to Times piece:
    The Bashing of Apple’s Supply Chain Social Responsibility Practices- A Counter and More Pragmatic View | Supply Chain Matters
    In supply chain circles, anytime you write or speak about Apple, it is bound to draw lots of attention.  Dell, once the premiere example of world class global supply strategy and capability, has long-since fallen on hard times, and Apple has assumed nearly every industry analyst’s recognition, including mine, as a world class benchmark in supply chain capability and performance.
     
    I find it, therefore a bit perplexing when some in the blogosphere and media tend to admonish Apple for its supplier and its social responsibility practices.  I suppose it makes for a good headlines and Google search-engine pickup and ranking.  But let us get a bit pragmatic on reality and practices.
    More:
    http://www.theferrarigroup.com/supply-chain-matters/2010/03/03/the-bashing-of-apples-supply-chain-social-responsibility-practices-a-counter-and-more-pragmatic-view/
    My son turned me onto the original Mac way back When he was a teenager; he could do amazing things in music with the Mac back then. He went on to become a recording engineer. He now works for Apple.

    I work in special Ed where the iPad is changing the lives of autistic kids.

    • 1539days says:

      When your market capitalization is as big as Greece’s economy, I think you have to do more than acknowledge there’s a problem.

    • gxm17 says:

      Exactly. And I’m sure there are no other smart phone companies that use Chinese suppliers. And I’m sure Microsoft doesn’t either!

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      Isn’t it possible to appreciate the technology while simultaneously acknowledging the real cost of privilege?

    • Rangoon78 says:

      I sent this same reply to Anglechel on Saturday. She didn’t publish it but today there’s this:

      Rotten Apples
      “There is nothing so annoying as an Apple fanboi/grrl. Especially when they are probably just some shill hired by Apple to search The Interwebz and post pro-Apple comments to blogs that have said something less than complimentary about their gizmos.

      No kidding. I’ve received a few critical comments about the Occupation post which is no more than I expected (and a response is forthcoming) but reactions to the substance of the post are nothing in comparison to the inundation of my inbox by helpful Apple defenders trying to show me the errors of my way.

      Jesus, you freaks, give it a fucking break, will ya?”

      Ouch.

      • DandyTiger says:

        She didn’t deal with the obvious inaccuracies or the big ticket item that the problem is with most all companies using similar factories, or ironically (that blows 1/2 her arguments out the window) the very same factories. Instead she thinks people pointing out facts that are inconvenient must work for Apple.

        And notice the hate language used including “fanboi”, freaks, etc. What is a “fanboi”?

        Hatred of Apple is a religion among some.

        • Three Wickets says:

          I don’t hate Apple, but a fanboi is a fanboi. They’ve been around since the cult of the mac began, and that branding made it possible for Apple to charge such high price premiums. Many luxury fashion labels do the same. Outsource manufacturing at low cost, create a strong brand image and following, price high at retail. Though not sure anyone else parks $100 billion in cash from those profits overseas. That’s a lot of money, the equivalent here of a million new middle class salaries and benefits for a year.

        • Rangoon78 says:

          I sent a definition of fanboy from Jim Dalyrimple but it hasn’t shown up yet. Basically it is used to denigrate those who write positive things about Apple (the products or the company.)

          One such tech writer is John Gruber of Daring Freball. Last month the pejorative was directed against him but misspelled “fanboi.”

           I have a serious question. Why spell it fanboi? Is that like fanboy but also gay?  
          -Gruber
          http://daringfireball.net/linked/2011/12/12/spelling-question

        • Three Wickets says:

          I don’t know, is it? I was following DT’s spelling. I also usually write Obot fratboys. Should I be spelling that fratboi.

        • DandyTiger says:

          TW, that’s not my spelling, hence the quotes. It’s meant to denigrate and shut down the argument. You are less than human, so stop arguing. Especially if you’re using inconvenient facts.

          People like brands. Some people like certain car brands. Some like appliance brands. Often the brand loyalty is just marketing, often it’s from experience with one brands quality vs. others. Some people swear by their car or appliance brands. But I’ve never seen such hatred of a group of brand loyalists as I’ve seen with those that like Apple products. It’s very strange.

  2. djmm says:

    An excellent and important post, myiq. I find it hard to believe we allow this to happen and that we, in effect, reward companies for having policies that are killing people so Americans can have toys.

    djmm

  3. 1539days says:

    You’re really making me feel bad about my new Acer laptop

  4. Three Wickets says:

    Not only does Apple squeeze blood out of its supply chain, it also then charges consumers here a big price premium for its products, unlike say Walmart. Its retail margins are huge. That’s how Apple ends up with $100 billion in cash. Then there’s their long standing policy against philanthropy. Apple as a company needs to update its cult.

  5. yttik says:

    Good post.

    That’s the first thing that turned me off to OWS, “we are the 99%” No, actually we are the one percent. The 99% is the majority of the world that has to work 14 hours a day and doesn’t even have hot running water.

    • gxm17 says:

      My husband works 14 hours a day (and only gets paid for 8) and he has an iPhone. I really don’t understand this meme that people who own Apple products don’t work. We work hard, long hours and we are grateful that all but one person (my SIL who was laid off back in September) in our immediate family have jobs. Yes. We count our lucky stars. But we do not live lives of leisure.

      • Three Wickets says:

        49 million Americans today live under the poverty line. Not sure many of them can afford iPhones and Mac Airs, and not sure OWS is representative of that 49 milllion or even of the working class. Mostly OWS seem like middle class kids.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          If my students are any indication, a lot of poor people can afford iphones and other smartphones. But it’s often one of the few luxuries they have. I guess that’s a product of the cell phone market and practices. Many of my students don’t even have cars, but they have smart phones.

        • gxm17 says:

          My husband and I received “free” iPhones when we re-upped our cell phone contract. (We finally gave up our antiquated flip phones last year.) Most Americans have cell phones. Many are opting for cell phones over land lines. And their smart phone is “free” with their contract. Everyone in my family except for my mother has a smart phone. And none of us are rich. To act like smart phones are some kind of luxury item is to be completely out of touch with America, and the rest of the world, today. How the hell do you think the Arab spring was tweeted? On a rotary?

        • Three Wickets says:

          90% or more of the world has feature phones (not smart phones), you can tweet and text on those too. They cost 10% or less than an iPhone with a contract. Most cell phones in the world are unlocked, so you pay for the hardware upfront instead of paying for it via the service contract over time. Same diff in the end. You’re paying a steep retail margin for the iPhone. It’s just that the payments are being financed for you over time, like a mortgage.

        • gxm17 says:

          And I’m sure that feature phones (and parts) are not made in China. They’re all made in the US in factories that hire union labor. I don’t think so. As a matter of fact, I could find no information about any smart or feature phones still being made in America.

          In actuality (BBM): “The Smartphone User
          Slightly more males than females are getting smartphones (53% versus 47%) which is what we would expect for technical early adopter products. In terms of demographics, Hispanic Americans and Asians are slightly more likely to have a smartphone than what their share of population would indicate, which is a trend we see in the adoption of other mobile data services. While smartphones started out in the business segment, two-third of today’s buyers of smartphones are personal users.”

          Point being: The entire world is using smart and/or feature phones. They are not merely “toys” for rich slackers. They are a global phenomenon and they are changing the way we communicate and interact. Whether you like it or not, change is here and it ain’t going away. Let’s bring this hi-tech factory work back to America so that Americans can be employed and labor conditions can be better regulated.

          The solution isn’t hating Apple (or Microsoft). The solution is to stop America from bleeding jobs and tech work. And that’s something our government and our politicians can do something about. We just have to vote people into office who want to do something about it.

        • DandyTiger says:

          90% or more of the world has feature phones (not smart phones), you can tweet and text on those too. They cost 10% or less than an iPhone with a contract.
          Um, an iPhone 3gs is free with a contract (iPhone4 is 99 and iPhone4s is 199). Maybe if you get a simple enough phone they give you a discount on the contract, which works out to 10% less, but I’m guessing not.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      Technically we’re the four percent, but that’s not much better.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    My $500 Toshiba laptop would probably cost $5,000 if it were built here ? But thanks to the Bush/Obama policies, my $500k house is only worth $250k now 😦 (It’s almost paid off, so we’re much better off than some homeowners)

    • 1539days says:

      I work in a technology hardware field and I’ll tell you something. The difference is peanuts. Rick Santorum has been saying that leaving wages out of it, the real expense in American manufacturing is regulations that China does not have or ignores. Many companies, if they buy the components from China, can assemble them for maybe 10% more.

      Where we’re being killed is the reality that you can’t build an iPad in America. Processors, circuit boards, LCDs and touch screens are not manufactured here. It’s like getting a T-shirt in the US. It’s possible to find a supplier if you want 1,000. If you want 30,000, only China can do it now.

  7. Three Wickets says:

    Here’s an OWS supporter defending her $800 haircut on facebook.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      OMG!!! I cut my own. 😆

    • ralphb says:

      The NYT is paying for her haircut, as she’s writing about it for some story. However, let’s assume she is wealthy and wants to buy an outrageously expensive haircut, why is that your or my business?

      Since when did one have to be poor to support the working class in America, as I think OWS is trying to do? I seem to recall that FDR, JFK and RFK weren’t raised in poverty yet seemed to care about the less fortunate. Or have you forgotten about them?

      Just about the only thing I can find admirable in Mitt Romney is that he seems unable to talk about his wealth and seems to be quite uncomfortable with it all.

  8. mothy67 says:

    Really want to dump my yahoo email account as I am sick of being bombarded by obama ads and the eternal pro dem news stories. Anyone know of any companies that offer free accounts that are less political? Switched to ixquick for search engine. The little they get from me is negligible but I’d rather it was nothing.

  9. HELENK says:

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20120128/NEWS/120128010/Right-work-opponents-Occupy-Super-Bowl-Villag

    do these fools really want to get between a football fan and the super bowl? not the sharpest tools in the shed are they

  10. Three Wickets says:

    It all comes back to jobs. The industry talks a bit about the non-privacy and soft-piracy that drive Google’s business model, but the industry doesn’t talk enough about the economic impact of free-ness for the millions who actually make, create, originate stuff…because those people are supposed to be outdated horse and carriage to Google’s Model T…nevermind the fact that Google itself doesn’t really create or make any content themselves. Facebook is ten times smaller, but they’re getting there with the bad habits too

    Apple makes a lot of money because it doesn’t hire people to make stuff here. Google makes a lot of money because it doesn’t pay people who make stuff here. Both are a problem for employment.

  11. myiq2xu says:

    More:

    As others have before him, Isaacson writes about what those who worked with Steve Jobs called his “reality distortion field”—Jobs’s belief that rules did not apply to him, and that the truth was his to create. “In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything,” an Apple colleague told Isaacson. What this meant in practice was that when Jobs told Apple employees that they could do things that had never before been done, like shrinking circuit boards or writing a particular piece of code or extending battery life, they rose to the occasion, often at great personal cost. “It didn’t matter if he was serving purple Kool-Aid,” another employee said. “You drank it.”

    And so, in many ways, have most of us, and not just by buying what Steve Jobs was selling—the products and the feeling of being a better (smarter, hipper, more creative) person because of them. Through his enchanting theatrics, exquisite marketing, and seductive packaging, Jobs was able to convince millions of people all over the world that the provenance of Apple devices was magical, too. Machina ex deo. How else to explain their popularity despite the fact that they actually come from places that do not make us better people for owning them, the factories in China where more than a dozen young workers have committed suicide, some by jumping; where workers must now sign a pledge stating that they will not try to kill themselves but if they do, their families will not seek damages; where three people died and fifteen were injured when dust exploded; where 137 people exposed to a toxic chemical suffered nerve damage; where Apple offers injured workers no recompense; where workers, some as young as thirteen, according to an article in The New York Times, typically put in seventy-two-hour weeks, sometimes more, with minimal compensation, few breaks, and little food, to satisfy the overwhelming demand generated by the theatrics, the marketing, the packaging, the consummate engineering, and the herd instinct; and where, it goes without saying, the people who make all this cannot afford to buy it?

    While it may be convenient to suppose that Apple is no different than any other company doing business in China—which is as fine a textbook example of a logical fallacy as there is—in reality, it is worse. According to a study reported by Bloomberg News last January, Apple ranked at the very bottom of twenty-nine global tech firms “in terms of responsiveness and transparency to health and environmental concerns in China.” Yet walking into the Foxconn factory, where people routinely work six days a week, from early in the morning till late at night standing in enforced silence, Steve Jobs might have entered his biggest reality distortion field of all. “You go into this place and it’s a factory but, my gosh, they’ve got restaurants and movie theaters and hospitals and swimming pools,” he said after being queried by reporters about working conditions there shortly after a spate of suicides. “For a factory, it’s pretty nice.”

  12. DandyTiger says:

    “Something tells me there’s another side to the story”

    Where to begin. Let’s start with:

    While it may be convenient to suppose that Apple is no different than any other company doing business in China—which is as fine a textbook example of a logical fallacy as there is—in reality, it is worse.

    Let’s see, Foxconn factories also make products by HP, Dell, Motorolla (now owned by google), Microsoft, and many, many others. Under the same conditions. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the inaccuracies. We have an obvious target that gets lots of publicity if you go after it, even when others are the same.

    A few years ago Greepeace and a few other “green” organizations went after Apple big time. It was all over the news just like this. They were the most ungreen, evil company in the world. Of course later we found it it was the opposite. They followed the best practices compared to their competitors. Greenpeace and other organizations later admitted that was true, and that the only reason they went after Apple was because they could get publicity doing it.

    So where did these stories come from then, and why all the noise all of the sudden. Turns out because Apple has opened up details of their supply chains and have turned to the The Fair Labor Association to conduct independent inspections and analysis. No one else has done this. So now their books are open as it were and people are looking. And yes, there’s definitely ugliness and bad conditions. But they did this because they want to improve things, not because they want to hide things and the NYTimes outsmarted them.

    Of course the conditions at Foxcomm are not what any of us would like. Just like conditions at LC, Samsung, HTC, etc., etc. factories are deplorable and not what we’d like to see. Hell, conditions at US based Amazon warehouses are notoriously horrible and need drastic improvement.

    Bottom line, I’m not saying Apple is better or worse. Factory conditions in oppressive as well as poor countries are horrible. Chances are many items you’re wearing, many items at your desk, many items in your car and house were made in similar conditions or worse in some part of the globe.

    I think opening up and shining a light is the best thing to do. Picking one example only as a scape goat is disingenuous.

    • 1539days says:

      Ironically, we stopped using Foxconn in favor of even cheaper no-name Chinese manufacturers.

      • DandyTiger says:

        Actually that’s an interesting trend. China is becoming more middle class. So successful factories are getting more expensive. Soon this won’t be an issue in China, but will move off to other asian countries and african countries.

        Bottom line is it’s a global issue first world nations should deal with. There’s no excuse for basically using slave labor. Of course it would be nice if those countries in question gave a damn. But I guess policing everything is our job. Well, policing and caring about the morals of some issues that get media attention at least.

  13. Rangoon78 says:

    The non-profit organization Business for Social Responsibilty has published an open letter to The New York Times pointing out several inaccuracies and misleading statements in the publication’s recent report that suggested Apple has ignored worker problems at manufacturing partner Foxconn.
    https://www.bsr.org/en/our-insights/blog-view/letter-to-the-new-york-times-from-bsr

    H/T Appleinsider

  14. yttik says:

    I don’t understand the controversy. Apple is being vilified? Apple is a huge for profit corporation using over seas labor in order to increase their profit margin and reduce their taxes. They are the one percent, like dozens of other corporations. Why do people feel as if they should defend Apple?

    This is good example of why crony capitalism is such a problem. Depending on the political wind, some corporations are favored, others are declared the enemy, and whoever is in power targets some industries and gives tax breaks to others. This creates an uneven playing field that really screws over anybody on the bottom trying to compete and participate in the free market.

    • DandyTiger says:

      I’m not defending Apple for using horrible practices. What I’m doing is pointing out the inaccuracies in the blog post quoted and the original NYTimes article. The big issue here is how many companies are the same or worse, but somehow Apple is singled out. It’s not that Apple is doing good, it’s that they’re being used as a scape goat for some other agenda, often just as a way to grab headlines. E.g., the greenpeace experience I mentioned, and in this case that Apple is more open and trying to improve which is being used against them instead of insisting others do the same.

      There is no doubt whatsoever that Apple is out to make a profit and is doing things no one likes. Just like their competition. It would be strange though to vilify and try to destroy one company for what all are doing, and many are worse. You might ask yourself, why that company in particular?

      If it’s just that Apple seems like a symbol of the 1% and they have to die. Eh, I get it. Go for it. But just like with OWS, where is that effort coming from, who behind the scenes keeps pushing for that, what are their goals, what is their agenda?

      • yttik says:

        I think the demonization of Apple is a response to the hypocrisy of our current political climate. Corporations are evil, we hate the 1%……except for Apple, President Obama, the Hollywood elite, etc, etc.

      • Three Wickets says:

        Nobody is going to “destroy” Apple from a blogpost. But the truth is they rake in enormous profits by doing things large corporations do to make enormous profits. Just as Goldman Sachs has done in another business sector. And some push back against Apple’s business practices is warranted. The piles of cash offshore, the outsourcing standards, the high pricing, the relatively stingy hiring in its home country and market where it makes most of its money, the no philanthropy policy which they only lifted a few months ago. These are things Tim Cook should address to help make Apple an even better company. Because some of these bad practices are going to catch up with them.

      • DandyTiger says:

        OK, now this is getting silly. So we’re bashing Apple because of Obama? Or because of our political climate? Apple is just like Goldman Sachs. Really? Apple is bad because they have high prices? Damn those free iPhones with contract, they should be cheeper.

        Like I said, Apple hating is a religion with some. Me, my religion is hating Wood Moulding Specialists for their evil, evil wood moulding designs.

        • 1539days says:

          I think the problem is that Apple is the unofficial sponsor of the creative class.

        • Three Wickets says:

          Christ, why so defensive. I don’t hate Apple, I own and have owned Apple products over the decades. These business issues have become more relevant to public discourse lately, and rightly so.

          And yes Apple products are expensive. Free iPhones from AT&T is somewhat like a no money down mortgage. You as a customer will eventually pay what AT&T paid Apple for the phones with markup. You’ll just pay it applied and amortized over time in your service bill. So you can be angry with AT&T and Verizon instead for their high monthly fees. 🙂 In business whether it’s Apple or Google, there is no such thing as free in the end. The cost or price finds its way to you the consumer and the consumer society in different ways. These companies are not charities. I believe Apple’s market cap is now bigger than Exxon Mobile, and Google is getting there. Some corporate responsibility would be good.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Me, my religion is hating Wood Moulding Specialists for their evil, evil wood moulding designs.

          I thought I was the only one.

        • DandyTiger says:

          … Apple products are expensive.

          Here’s the real irony about that. Apple products are now cheeper partly because of using these factories and partly because of economies of scale.

          But the main complaints about Apple being a snobbish company with expensive products got that reputation because… wait for it… all their products were made in the US. And when Jobs got fired from Apple and founded NeXT, those products were also made in the US, in Fremont, CA, and he got even worse complaints because of the high price.

          So why should they make their products in the US again?

        • gxm17 says:

          Three Wickets, that’s why I put scare quotes around the word “free.” “Free” meaning the phone the service provider was “giving away” at the time. The truth is that neither the iPhone or any of the feature phones I had previously received with my contract renewal were “free.” That’s the nature of the service provider I use.

          What I don’t understand is why folks are singling Apple out. As I said before, I could not find one smartphone or feature phone currently being manufactured in the US. They’re pretty much all out of China. (As well as Microsoft’s Xbox.) If Apple is rotten, then they are all rotten. And that’s not even touching on all the other products Americans consume that, either wholly or piecemeal, originated in China.

        • Three Wickets says:

          A brand new unlocked iPhone 3GS 16GB retails for $470.00 at Amazon. Unlocked means before the service contract mortgage. It’s the most expensive smartphone out there, apart from those limited edition Ferrari branded specialty smartphones that Nokia Vertu makes overseas. 🙂

        • DandyTiger says:

          An unlocked iPhone 3gs 8GB ranges from 250 – 375 from a quick web search. Interesting that you picked a more expensive model to use as an example. And no, iPhones of any model are not more expensive side by side with equivalently featured Android models because of both economies of scale and the outsourcing we now don’t like Apple to do (vs. complaining about their prices when their products were all US made). In fact there are many articles from business analysis and directly from competitors complaining how they can no longer match Apple’s prices.

  15. Rangoon78 says:

    Remember the couple in Chris Guest’s “Best In Show”-

    Meg Swan: We met at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks but we saw each other at different Starbucks across the street from each other.
    Hamilton Swan: I remember what I was drinking when I met you. It was a grande espresso.
    Meg Swan: That’s right. And I thought that was really sexy.
    Meg Swan: We are *so* lucky. We are *so* lucky to have been raised amongst catalogs.
    Hamilton Swan: I’m now a big old tchai tea latte soy milk kind of guy.
    Meg Swan: Mmm. Soy. Because of the lactose. You’re lactose intolerant now.

    Read more: What’s the funniest movie quote you can think of? | Answerbag http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/708503#ixzz1ky3EsgU8

  16. Rangoon78 says:

    The Part- “I was on my Mac…”
    “And I was on my Mac!”
    Is here:

    We Met At Starbucks
    Check out this video on YouTube:

    The point: I can take a little good natured ribbing. But the “get a fucking life” stuff is unwarranted.

  17. DandyTiger says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, because that would be wrong 🙂 , but here are some more inconvenient facts:

    Infographic on context

    • yttik says:

      It’s a good moral debate to have, because the issues are not cut and dry, they’re shades of gray. American factories are not always the great satan out to exploit the third world. Sometimes we actually improve the local economy and the quality of life for people living there.

      I remember people being horrified by these 12 yr old girls working 10 hours a day in a factory making rugs. After actually reading the article, it turned out these girls had all been rescued from a brothel. As bad as it looked on the surface to western eyes, this little rug factory had actually saved these girl’s lives.

      • myiq2xu says:

        There is also this – what were all those factory workers doing before they started working there? Where would they be working if the factory closed?

  18. Rangoon78 says:

    Foxcon better place to work than Disneyland for depression sufferers ?

    Suicide Rates Highest in Happiest Places – NYTimes.com
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/happiest-places-post-highest-suicide-rates/

    While each Foxconn suicide is a tragedy, with such a large workforce 14 suicides in 2010 is neither unexpected nor unusual. If anything, Foxconn’s workers have a lower suicide rate than could be expected, on average, amongst their peers.

    The newspaper reports infer that there is a link between suicides and working conditions, and that the number of suicides is unusual.

    http://www.statschat.org.nz/2011/08/18/foxconn-suicides/

  19. DandyTiger says:

    I totally love the image at the top. It’s going make my Mac look more edgy. Look at me, I’m using a Mac, I’m dangerous. Wonder if it could get me laid.

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