4 thoughts on “China, my China

  1. actually, my impression of the NYT story was a little different. it wasn’t just about the money, it was about both the fact that apple could overwork chinese workers, and the fact that the u.s. doesn’t really have the infrastructure for large scale manufacturing of the kind that apple needed to produce the iphone. the key quote is the same one that krugman highlights:

    “The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.”

    i expected the article to be more about how much cheaper chinese labor is than u.s. labor. but actually that’s not what the article says. in fact, it mentions that labor costs are relatively trivial for high-cost devices like the iphone, ipad or a computer. what i took away from the article is that the long-term shedding of manufacturing in the u.s. has made it even harder for those jobs to ever come back. it’s not just a matter of wages or working conditions, we need a cluster of easily accessible suppliers.

  2. I saw many of the same points you saw, although I disagree regarding money. Ultimately, corporate decisions are ALWAYS about the money. Also, the article did say that Chinese labor is cheaper and, more importantly, that labor was readily available when contracts come in.

    The huge irony in the article — no surprise that writer didn’t mention it — is that totalitarian China is much more “business-friendly” than the U.S. and thus makes it easy for guys like Jobs to abandon American workers. If a Jobs-type guy asks for a new gigantic warehouse in a week, the government says “Yes, Mr. Jobs, you’ll have it in two days.”

    Of course it’s just not about wages and working conditions. It’s about the fact that we don’t have a government for the people. That’s why manufacturing is gone, along with all the jobs, and why corporations can send all their work to China. What we need is a government that serves the people, as China’s does, but without China’s suppression of personal liberties. Instead, all we’re getting an uptick in suppression of our liberties, but without the jobs. (Thanks, Barry.)

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