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I'm tempted to put up a website, try and start a petition, or something. I don't think this will fly much, but I'm not going to stand idly by. Is this a reasonable response to the working conditions in China?

No. It's a lacking response. Read the award winning "Nickel and Dimmed" to see how those very conditions, or very similar to them, also occur "at home":


Then do something about it, like denouncing any race-to-the-bottom for wages, and any lax attitude toward working conditions, and refusing to buy from the cheaper place.

Also don't take crap from neoliberals, including supposedly "progressive" nobel prize winners like Paul Krugman, that, from his comfy chair says that having the chinese workers work in dire conditions is better than not giving them work at all --as if this is the distinction that matters. How about giving them the work ALONG with the respect and pay they deserve for doing it? How about demanding that they get paid better and work in better conditions, or fine all and any companies that employee them (actually fine, like in "sanctions", not just individually refusing to buy their stuff)?

As an aside, next time your boss wants you to work unpaid overtime for long stretches? Just say no. Be warned though, that unlike some token feel-good action ("I won't get an iPad 3"), this might/will have real consequences. But if enough people do this, and insist of properly enforced regulations on the matter, it will stop the race-to-the-bottom in US workplaces too. Competitiveness has nothing to do with being a slave.

Your points are all valid, and well-stated. In addition, I think there's a place for direct action with your buying power. Workers will continue to work under worse and worse conditions until consumers say "Stop--there's no justification for doing that, not even for profit!" If not now, will we still be buying products when a worker dies for every 10 units (of whatever) made? Every 5?

As it turns out, I have a petition, at http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-apple-you-wont-contribu.... This is not just a petition, but rather a boycott: to not buy Apple products until Apple increases vendor compliance to its "standards of worker conditions" audit by 11% (from 74% now to 85%).

Why Apple? Because Apple is trying to do better; because it's extremely visible; because it can afford to better than most companies; because so many people want its products; because changing Apple will be a tremendous start toward changing the rest of the electronics industry.

I really want a new iPod touch, but I signed this petition. Please consider signing. Please consider what it means not to sign. Thanks for listening.

All that Apple is trying to do better is hide the problem. This behaviour is the true legacy of Steve Jobs.

It's been aware of the situation for more than half a decade. It pretends it does not have oversight, when anyone in tech manufacturing can tell you this is patently impossible.

In any case, I'm signing it.

Workers will continue to work under worse and worse conditions until consumers say "Stop--there's no justification for doing that, not even for profit!"

True. And the craziest thing is that the consumers and the workers are mostly the same population. It's not like dirt poor people in China produce and rich guys in Malibu consume. Most consumption if from ordinary families, workers, the middle class etc.

The problem is that people think in "modes", so when in "consumer mode" they go for the cheapest stuff. This would make sense if price paid was all there is to it, but they forget that by doing so they also alter the balance with regards to work and wages, something that will in turn affect them as workers.

From fewer factories being built in their country, to office jobs getting worse conditions, to the disappearance of the middle class, to the economy tumbling down. Henry Ford is said to have said: "If I don't pay them [his workers] more, who will buy my cars?".

Its better the op take on his little piece of the pie, and not the whole world. It really is an uphill battle since the powers that be are expert in making ~4yr old tech totally obsolete.

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