Apple’s iPod and China’s Foxconn

In light of some heavy news coming out of China’s Foxconn, I would like to voice my opinion of what we, iPod consumers, have been allowing with our dollars. I do not have a single ounce of doubt that Apple knew the working conditions at most Chinese integrators, Foxconn included. In a communist country that puts the liberty of its people at the foot of its leadership, it is no surprise that workers at Foxconn were being mistreated and worked 80 extra hours each month. Our pocketbooks that led to iPod purchases increased the demand for iPods. In turn, Apple pushed Foxconn to manufacture more iPods. For a fixed capital manufacturing firm like Foxconn, where the main competitive strength lay in its cheap labor force, it would be impossible to increase production without adding cost unless you were doing something wrong. Did Apple know exactly what was going on? Probably not. Did Apple know that it was stressing the manufacturing capabilities of Foxconn? Most likely. Foxconn claims that Apple sent a special envoy to investigate conditions at the factories and declared them fine. The special envoy probably received some special treatment with beautiful Chinese women, delicious Chinese cuisine, and super-clean factory conditions… for the time they were there. I for one will be selling my iPod. I don’t want to be using a product that resulted from the abuse of Chinese workers, that resulted from a company (Apple) taking advantage of its superior market position. Steve, suck it up and acknowledge that you put pressure on Foxconn to deliver and that you knew that would stress the manufacturing capability and that that would cause some stress in the supply stream.


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