iSlave | Kylie Purtell - Capturing Life

Thursday, 15 April 2010

iSlave

The next time I complain about my salary I'll try to remember these poor people and just shut the eff up!

SMH.com.au has an article today about the appalling conditions and wages of factory workers in China, who make the majority of Apple & Microsoft products. You can read the article for yourself here.

I think the worst thing about this is how much profit these companies make, yet, they really don't do anything, despite what they tell us, to ensure that the people making these products are duly compensated. It's just wrong. Especially when you consider Bill Gates and his philanthropic foundation, giving away money left, right and centre, yet he can't even ensure the companies he uses to make his products, which make his money, are at least paying and treating their workers properly.

I think in the end though, the biggest problem is we, the consumer. Nobody is prepared to pay full price for things these days, everyone is looking for a discount, and companies follow accordingly by trying to slash their prices as much as possible, while still making money. And I spose the easiest way to do that is to have your product made for the cheapest possible cost, whether that violates human rights or not.

And our appetite for technology is so insatiable that I spose a lot of the big companies have to find ways to be financially competetive. The whole thing is just a poor reflection of the excesses of western society.

What do you think? Does hearing things like this make you not want to buy another piece of technology or anything that has been produced in China (if that's even possible these days!)?.

Do you struggle like I do with the moral ethics of consumerism, and wanting to not contribute to the horrible plight of people less better off than yourself, but still really really want that latest gadget?

P.S. Do you like my post title? Can't believe I haven't seen that one on a news website yet! I'm sure it's been used somewhere though and I just haven't seen it!

8 comments:

  1. I wish I could remember the website, but a while ago I was really into this site that 'rated' business based on their ethical/environmental practices.

    Your post has a great point, thanks for sharing! :)

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  2. This kinda thing really makes me think....thanks for sharing...

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  3. I find it interesting that Apple has stipulated that its workers should not more more than 60 hours per week.

    Hello?
    That's 12 hours a day on a five day week!

    This is the plausible deniability of outsourcing. They stipulate minimum conditions to the factory owners, the owners say, "sure, whatever!" and then do as they please. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Western brands really have to stop acting surprise when the appalling conditions are revealed. By now, it rings as hollow as tobacco companies feigning ignorance about the dangers of smoking.

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  4. @Bill- I thought the same thing when I read the 60 hours! I was like, that's way too much, especially considering how little they r working for. Makes me feel sick.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this article. I buy Apple products all the time, but did not realise they were undertaking these practices. Although I am sure all big business is the same if we look hard enough. So the dilemma is, do we look and then not buy, or only buy from the one that treats its off-shore workers better than the other. I will have to think on that one for a while.

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  6. @Amy - If you ever remember the website let me know.

    @Farmer's Wife - Not a problem :)

    @Kakka - I hear ya, it's totally a dilemma. Coz then I worry about the fact that if everyone stopped buying those products then those poor people would probably end up having to be treated the same elsewhere just to feed there families. It really all has become a vicious cycle.

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  7. On the other hand if Chinese industry had to pay what we consider a decent wage most of the western companies would leave and the economy would implode, leaving millions of people unemployed. I think most of them would rather make little than nothing.

    And when you look at wage figures it's important to realise that the cost of living in China outside of the large cities is very low. I made far less there than I do here but I lived like a queen there while I don't even live like a baroness here. Paying the typical Chinese factory worker US$20 per hour would make him a relative millionaire and destabalise the economy.

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  8. I agree, it's hard to rail against consumerism, and as you say, finding goods not produced in China is highly difficult. We do our best by only getting what we need and not constantly upgrading over and over like I see many people do with phones and laptops.

    I'd be interested in that website Amy mentioned, will have to do some hunting.

    And yeah, restricted to 60 hours, snort, imagine if it was that way here, there'd be an outcry!

    PS, yes, great post title!

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