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China The Media Apple

Foxconn "Glad That Mike Daisey's Lies Were Exposed" 332

theodp writes "Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's largest supplier and the target of allegations of poor work conditions, welcomed a retraction of a This American Life radio program episode it said was based on lies. 'I am happy that the truth prevails, I am glad that Mike Daisey's lies were exposed,' Louis Woo, a spokesman for Taipei-based Foxconn said. 'People will have the impression that Foxconn is a bad company,' Woo added, 'so I hope they will come and find out for themselves'. Foxconn also said that it has 'no plans to take legal action.'"
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Foxconn "Glad That Mike Daisey's Lies Were Exposed"

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  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:04AM (#39402499)

    I don't think that tariffs will help specifically, but if China would stop forcing an exchange rate with their currency then the problem would, to an extent, fix itself as China's currency becomes more expensive.

    What we really need to do, IMHO, is to recognize the somewhat confrontational relationship we actually have with China, and to stop sending proprietary processes to China for manufacture. That might mean that China still makes the plastics and the PCB, but the parts get shipped here for soldering and final assembly. The best way to reduce the speed of knockoff copying is to not engage in manufacture in a place that essentially encourages knockoff copying. Sure, it'll still happen, but it'll take longer, especially when new devices eventually come out where the processes have changed and can't be instantly replicated in that environment.

  • I see...no culpability by a totalitarian government here...

    1 - Make life conditions horrible for population
    2 - Offer sightly less horrible conditions in factory
    3 - ???
    4 - Profit, and repeat step 1

    I keep seeing this argument pop up, "hey, at least its better then the farm" like it is a good moral position. In this example, China does not seem to interested in improving the lifestyle of their rural population for it would undercut a steady supply of workers in the factory. The human becomes part of the machine and like any part, when it goes bad, just replace for we have a large inventory in stock.

    That is how your argument reads under the BS about its better then the alternative. I imagine that the government would not want to consider more humane, western labor laws for two reasons, there would be larges amount of people dropping their agro tools and flocking to cities for work, but higher wages, less work time, safer conditions means that companies have to pay more for labor and thus take off for "greener" pastures in less enlightened countries. Now what do you do will all those people that has hopes for a job.

    Foxconn will continue to exist, because we feed the machine by buying stuff made there, and because the government needs Foxconn to help keep the populous if not happy, at least quiescent with the idea of a better life.

  • by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Monday March 19, 2012 @12:21PM (#39404107) Journal

    To build a ipad in the USA, you will be paying $18-37 an hour. Your factory will be required to meat all OSHA and EPA standards. The manufacture cost of a single iPad will jump to at least $1100.00 add a 40% markup and now you have a 16gig ipad base model selling for $1599.00

    Not buying it. AMD makes microprocessors in Germany, a country with as strict or stricter labor laws and regulations, and the result is certainly not chips that cost twice as much.

    Or is your argument that Americans are that much less competent at everything compared to other Western nations?

  • Re:Daisey's Response (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Monday March 19, 2012 @12:44PM (#39404413) Homepage

    In what way is he a proven liar?
    It's just as likely that Foxonn / the Chinese government rounded up a few workers, got their stories straight, and then tipped off TAL to Daisey's "lies".
    The follow up fact checking could simply have been fed a different story.

    Why believe story B over story A? From your perspective, there is exactly as much evidence for one as there is for the other. Bottom line is that unless youw ork on Foxconn you don't know what goes on there. It boggles my mind that so many people are so eager to default to the "Foxconn is okay and better than most." conclusion with 0 evidence, yet they're so quick to skewer a Western company if they don't hand out raises to the unions who encourage workers to sabotage the line so they can work overtime.

    Read/listen to the retraction.

    Daisy's personal story was incredibly full of holes, and he admitted it on tape. EG, just to start with, the guards at Foxcon don't have guns. An illegal underground union for $20/day workers wouldn't meet at Starbucks. He lied to TAL about his translator. N-Hexane was a problem at other suppliers a thousand miles away, not Foxcon. Basically, Daisy's story was so full of holes once a US reporter, based in China, started looking at things it all fell apart.

    The result is basically anything that Daisy said he has personally experienced in a monologue can't be trusted: it may be based on "truthyness", actual events that he heard or read about in a newspaper, but in no way should one believe that they actually happened to him.

  • by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:15PM (#39404789)

    Why did you neglect to mention that Wintek also works for Apple?

  • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Monday March 19, 2012 @02:23PM (#39405727)

    At no time in The Jungle does Upton Sinclair write "I, Upton Sinclair, saw..." And while much of the incidentals in The Jungle are based on real things that happened, you'd be in a lot of trouble if you tried to use The Jungle as evidence to indict anybody. Upton Sinclair never accused a living person of a criminal act in The Jungle, but Daisey makes several falsifiable claims alleging real crimes by real people against real victims.
    Upton Sinclair also never represented his work as an account of actual people in an actual situation, which Mr. Daisey repeatedly did to the TAL producers.

    "Muckraking," such as it is, still requires that real claims come with real evidence. Modern examples like Michael Moore's or Kirby Dick's works are content to jump back and forth between factual claims, innuendos, and moral appeals, but what makes it "muckraking" is that they never affirmatively lie. They might edit out things against their agenda, they might represented a sequence of events in such a way as to maximize emotional response, they may choose their subjects in such a way that slants their presentation of the truth.

    But they never tell you the sky is green, because to them such species of claims shouldn't be necessary. When Mike Daisey said the guy with the claw hand was injured making Apple products, he was telling us the sky was green. His stories in the end aren't even about China or technology manufacturing, they're just a narrative about guilt and his emotional response to globalization, and a certain sort of liberal NPR listener, highly susceptible to demonstrations of guilt, is the consumer. That's why he made it a narrative with himself witnessing things, to elicit emotions and empathy.

    If he'd said "people were poisoned by hexane, making the gadgets in your pocket," it still would have accomplished muckraking and had the virtue of being true, but instead, he said "I saw a dozen 13 year olds poisoned by hexane at Foxconn making iPhones," not because he saw that, but because doing a one-man show with "Steve Jobs" in the title sells more tickets than a one-man show about Chinese labor abuses as such.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.