Now, fair enough that Bloomberg champions the needs of big business, and fair enough that big business wants and need to use these places to build their products. But that does not mean that there is no agenda here. There might not be, but there is certainly a sniff of re-branding going on here.
All Im saying is there is good grounds to be sceptical at the motivation here.
Most significantly it's 2006 cover story on the use of South American slave labour by car companies:
And more recently on Victoria Secret's use of child labour:
Only last month they ran this story about slavery in the pipeline of American seafood:
Cost of labor per hour: $1.27
Nature of outsourcing: general manufacturing, electronic assembly and parts manufacturing, apparel (shoes, socks and clothing)
The same article says the cost of labour in Bangladesh is: $0.23... I suspect there's lower to be found for those willing to keep the clicking.
Nature of outsourcing: significant college graduate pool, beginning IT services
"The biggest gripe, which surprised us somewhat, is that they don’t get enough overtime. They wanted to work more, to get more money." This, the biggest gripe, at a place that had to deploy suicide nets around the building perimeters. I can't think of a more patronizing way to write this article.
I, personally, don't know what goes on at Foxconn. But the chance at holding accountable those who enable injustice was lost the day the US bank representative stood proudly in front of Congress and announced "We're too big to fail."; knowing that any backlash would be brief and easily defeated. At that moment it became clear to me that propaganda, which many thought the internet would disable, is more powerful than ever.
Disinformation has far greater utility than information.
There's some caution needed though. Most workers are female which is traditionally higher for attempted but lower for completed suicide, and they don't have as many readily accessible means. (EG, American young men have access to guns.)
The reporters say they spoke to people, freely, and Foxconn didn't know who they spoke to. The reporters seem remarkably ignorant about the fears people have about speaking out when living in an oppressive regime. (China probably executes more people than any other country; there are over 50 crimes that carry the death penalty; some criminals are interviewed for tv programmes before they are executed).
There are a lot of problems at Chinese factories. The fact that poor peasants consider factory work to be better than their regular life just shows how bad life in China is for poor people.
China still has growing pains that it needs to work through.
Note that Apple is demanding that Foxconn complies with Apple's policy for overtime - that workers earning about $18 per day must not work more than 60 hours a week. Unless it's an emergency. Or an unusual situation.
It's unfortunate that the concentration is almost entirely on Foxconn, because there are worse factories in China.
The suicide thing is probably bogus, though it would depend on who is collecting the stats on that and how. It seems too good and that's what gives me pause. If they're being graded on that now, they have incentive to under-report it. I'm not sure if we'll ever know the truth, though.
For example, I'm reminded of one incident I saw where they gave out awards for a "perfect" day. In truth, that shift was new. They didn't know how to reject defective products, so they didn't. Oops.
They found out, but they never bothered to take the award plaque off of the trophy wall. It sits there to this day, unbeaten.