In which some twit called Mike Daisey takes me to task

Apparently, Mr. Daisey is an actor, author, commentator and playright. Perhaps I should have heard of him too.

He\’s getting shouty about this, saying that I\’m a racist neoliberal who knows nothing about the issue and therefore I should shut up.

Or something.

Just as a little stylistic note:

We have no idea what the actual suicide rate is at Foxconn—we only know a large number of people were throwing themselves off of the roof of the workplace, again and again.

People who throw themselves off a roof again and again are not commiting suicide, they are bungee jumping. Suicide by leap is a one time deal not something repeated: perhaps this is why I have not heard of Mr. Daisey as an author or playright.

Now let us take his arguments in order:

Yes, conditions are terrible across the entire Special Economic Zone.

Are they? Isn\’t that something that has to be proven, not asserted? And terrible compared to what?

I do love that he said it, because it makes it so clear to refute: these are not just \”poor people living in a poor country\”. This is the economic engine in which all of our devices are made—we created that revolution over there, and we exported and created those jobs.

No, not quite: the Chinese themselves stopped having an economic system which denied the possibility of creating those jobs. They abandoned Maoist idiocy back in 1978 or so.

When we look at what the conditions are in the SEZ we need to look at, well, compared to what? Compared to China outside the SEZ? Compared to China before the SEZ?

At which point we might want to have a look at the figures of Angus Maddison. GDP per capita is the appropriate one.

In 2008 China\’s GDP per capita (and yes, of course, all of these figures take acount of inflation) was $6,725. This makes the place developing, almost middle income.

In 1978, before the SEZ, it was $978 (recall, these are already adjusted for inflation). So we\’ve a 6 or 7 times improvement (GDP per capita is not a perfect measure of this but it is the one we\’ve got, the only one which is really of any accuracy at all over long periods of time) in living standards not just in one lifetime: this is in the time between my sitting my O levels and my writing now, the time between the Sex Pistols and Katy Perry.

Just as an example of how fast this growth is, the UK was at $974 in 1600 AD: we didn\’t get to $6700 odd until 1948. What took us 450 years in economic development has taken China some 45.

Someone, somewhere, is doing the right thing in terms of improving Chinese life, aren\’t they? Might actually be something to this don\’t have Maoist stupidity and embrace neoliberal global capitalism maybe?

Just to make it quite clear and plain to our actor here: I do not say that everything is peachy: I say that things are getting better. Getting better the only way the human race has ever found to make things better. Economic development. And the other thing I\’d say about this. He\’s complaining that things are getting better for more people faster than has ever happened before in human history.

Woes eh? Oh Woes.

Well, yes, they’re poor people living in a poor country. That’s what being poor means, having to work extremely hard to make very little. Yes, that is a harsh thing to say but then reality can indeed be harsh.(He\’s quoting from Tim here)

First—may I say—daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. It is refreshing to see the neoliberal model laid out so glaringly.

Yes, that is the neoliberal model laid bare. Hmm, I wonder if we know anything at all about how people can get richer? Umm, gosh, is there anything we can see in history about this? How about this as a plan: industrialisation in something vaguely approaching a market economy? It has, after all, worked everywhere it has been tried. It\’s what took our forbears from the idiocy of rural life to three squares and the leisure to consider the morality of factory work.

It\’s also what took the poor of Germany, of the US, Italy, France and so on to being the richest generation ever to belch on the wealth of the planet.

You know, there might just be something to this industrial development shite. Worth pondering, surely? And it\’s not even neoliberal this idea: straight classical economics. Smith, Ricardo, yes, Marx himself, all pointed out that the division and specialisation of labour and the resultant trade of product would lead to an increase in that wealth that can be enjoyed.

And of course, what bastards we neoliberals must be for advocating that others do what made us all so stinking rich. It just beggars the imagination that anyone proposing public policy might propose something that actually works, doesn\’t it?

What\’s disgusting here is the underbelly. The clear implication is that because these are \”poor people living in a poor country\” they don\’t deserve safe working conditions, or working hours that don\’t result in people dying on the production line, or factories that don\’t have explosions that could be prevented. Because they are Chinese they deserve less working protection that we would afford Americans. It\’s a nasty streak of thinly-veiled racism that underlies a lot of the neoliberal arguments: that the people who suffer in other parts of the world are less human than we are in the first world, and this ameliorates our responsibility to give these jobs the basic protections we believe in for American workers.

Yes, quite, it\’s racist to suggest a method by which the poor can get rich. Racist to suggest a method which we know works. Racist to suggest that Chinee, Muslim and Hindoo might indeed be both worthy of and able to enjoy the levels of wealth and leisure that we pinkish people have. Racist even to suggest the method by which all of this can happen: division and specialisation of labour and trade in the resultant product. You know, something so well known that it\’s actually on the back of the £20 note?

A couple of little details:

Those numbers aren\’t comprehensive. We have no idea what the actual suicide rate is at Foxconn

Excellent, then we have two alternatives here. We know that the recorded rate, the one that is being campaigned about, is one tenth of the rate in the general Chinese population. Our alternatives are thus that we note that, according to the figures we have, conditions at Foxconn are less likely to lead to suicide than conditions in China in general. That\’s one way of putting it certainly.

The other is to say: Ah, well, yes, I know I was making lots of noise about 18 suicides in 2010. But that was bollocks, yes, sorry, don\’t know what came over me.

The argument that is actually being tried, we don\’t know the number of suicides, no idea whether it\’s high or low, but it\’s a damning indictement all the same: that\’s not wholly and entirely convincing, is it?

On industrial safety he says:

and this ameliorates our responsibility to give these jobs the basic protections we believe in for American workers.

To which the answer is that, at least as far as the figures being used by our actor inform us, Foxconn seems to be safer than the average American workplace. The US fatal workplace accident rate is 3.5 per 100,000 full time equivalents. We\’re being told to look at four (or is it five?) deaths among Foxconn\’s 1 million workers and thus conclude that they must, therefore, have appalling working conditions. Are bereft of the safety we offer to the average American.

This could be of course but again it\’s something that needs to be proven, not asserted. If our actor has the numbers that show this then be delighted to revise my views: as JMK pointed out, changed facts should lead to changed minds.

But in the end so far we\’ve just had the usual shouty from a luvvie who has had his preconceptions challenged. What do you mean that I\’m not a knight on a white charger saving Johnny Foreigner from exploitation?

It\’s this last where the thespian falls off the edge into gibbering madness:

It is instead all about wages, which as I have argued for years do not have to be coupled to safe working conditions

No, sorry matey, you do not get to violate the basic law of economics. There are no solutions, there are only trade offs. We have no magic wands, we cannot all have a pony and unicorns do not poop rainbows.

This again is not new: Adam Smith points out that all jobs are in fact paid the same when we adjust for how difficult they are, how dangerous, how noisesome, the skills required to do them and so on.

Safety in a factory, paid vacation time, the quality of the food in the cafeteria, the wages paid, these are all traded off against each other. For they all come out of the same pot: that portion of the value added by labour which is to be paid to labour.

We see it in our rich, western world. Trawlermen, loggers, divers, they have more dangerous jobs than the rest of us. And yes, they do get higher wages (in regard of skill levels) than those of us who do not face such dangers in our working lives.

It is from exactly this that we are able to calculate the statistical value of a life. Around $5 million currently in the US. And that\’s why we tend to introduce safety measures which cost less than that per life saved and do not introduce safety measures that cost more than that. Do note, this is not what we, the neoliberals, decide that someone\’s life is worth. Rather, this is what we observe people value a life at through their actions.

And we also note that poorer people value lives less highly than rich people. The trade off is different (for a detailed discussion have a look at either the IPCC reports or the Stern Review. This calculation is crucial to the assumptions about the damages to be wrought by climate change).

This isn\’t a surprise either. Someone on $4,500 a year is going to view a one in 100,000 risk of death for an extra $1,500 a year (general Chinese manufacturing wages as opposed to Foxconn such) differently from someone on $50,000 viewing the same decision.

Which is why the value of that statistical life rises as the country generally gets richer, for it\’s just a corollary of Maslow\’s hierarchy of needs. We all of us trade off such risks all the time. I think I\’m right in saying that the risk of death in an auto accident is around 1 in 100 over a lifetime. Yet many of us still drive cars given the benefits we derive at such risk. We take showers despite the fact that people really do die falling over in them. We have sex despite the risks. We trade off safety for what can be gained by that extra risk.

Which is, as I say, where our speech declaimer really goes off the rails. Of course safety standards are lower in poor places. This is because people are poor, see, and they take different decisions about the trade off between risk and income that we plump pink people do.

For us to insist upon greater safety than those exposed to the risks insist upon is, well, colonialism, isn\’t it? For we are imposing our risk/income desires on others who have a different set of desires.

So, to recap. Campaigners say that we exploit the Chinee because of low wages. When challenged, oooooh, no, it\’s not about wages. Campaigners say that it\’s about suicides: when challenged, actually, we don\’t know the suicide numbers. But we\’ll insist that it\’s exploitation anyway. But lookee here! Workplace safety is lower, exploitation! Umm, but it seems the death rate is lower than the US…..ah, well, yes, but we don\’t have the full figures see, exploitation! Plus that complete and total ignorance of the necessary trade offs involved.

And as to neoliberalism laid bare. Yes, the industrial revolution is the only way we humans have found of improving the living standards of the average guy in the street. I, as a liberal (even if neo) would like the living standards of the average guy to increase. Thus I support the industrial revolution. Yes, in all its mess and clamour: for it is making things better.

I\’m out and I\’m proud. As a neoliberal I buy things made by poor people in poor countries. For that\’s how poor people and poor countries get rich. Which is, I hope at least, what we all agree we\’d like to see happen? So, do tell, what are you doing to make the poor richer?

71 comments on “In which some twit called Mike Daisey takes me to task

  1. Just been to the Forbes page.

    The level of argument of your opponents is pathetic. I’m not saying you are right (actually I agree totally), but the level of intellect and real world experience is woeful.

    Prejudice, ignorance and wilful stupidity.

    O/T I like the bit about being ethnic Chinese.

  2. Try this. He’s an actor who acts out anti-Apple stuff:

    Mike Daisey—the critically-lauded monologist whose one-man show about these very problems with Apple, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which played at New York’s Public Theater to critical acclaim last year—actually singled out David Pogue for failing to investigate Apple’s practices.

    I’d note he also falls into that interesting crowd of not-bloggers, like darling Nadine, who see having to actually interact with the venomous public as beneath their dignity.

  3. “People who throw themselves off a roof again and again are not commiting suicide, they are bungee jumping.”

    Superb. That ought to find its way into any 2012 list of quotes of the year.

    As a separate but related observation, Daisey’s objections liken him to a Caliban raging at the world’s reflection.

  4. Bravo, Tim.

    The only way this post could be improved, is if it were published as an article in the grauniad. That would get the grolies choking on their tofu as they read it on their ipads :)

  5. BTW, I can see why he is a critically-lauded monologist. His blog doesn’t allow for comments – apparently a dialogue would would be very destructive for these monologues.

  6. Anyway, doesn’t “critically lauded” translate as “you have to be paid to want to come to my show”?

  7. Actually, I think ,”critically lauded” means, “endured by those who want to be seen to be cool”

    Quite brilliant defence of Classical Capitalism, Mr Worstall. von Mises would approve.

  8. “…critically-lauded monologist whose one-man show about these very problems with Apple, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which played at New York’s Public Theater to critical acclaim last year…”

    Translation: teeny-tiny talent playing to an audience of about five, including his mother and a dog. Unlikely to EVER be seen in anything people might actually volunteer to see for enjoyment’s sake.

  9. If i could only be bothered to pick you ginorance apart… but i can’t. You Sir are an idiot and it would serve you well to realise that sooner rather than later. How much money do you earn in a year, gross?

  10. Largely agreed, except for one point.

    If suicides are occurring at Foxconn, the investigation of the problem cannot be carried out solely on statistical grounds. A suicide rate is extant because of individual suicides, which need a case-based investigation/study. In other words, suicide rates may be lower than national averages, say for instance, and yet these may be linked etiologically to some work condition. Though Foxconn employs large numbers of people, a population-based approach cannot be utilized since it is a single corporation with homogenous conditions at work, and its workers do not form a random sample from the larger population on the whole. Rates themselves provide little information in this regard.

    Best
    -S

  11. #11,

    Such an erudite argument must be utterly convincing. We are all clearly horribly wrong and must prostrate ourselves before the altars of the New York Times and “The Public Theatre” (well, there isn’t much money to be made playing at private theatres …)

    Anyway, he’s back.

  12. JuliaM – “teeny-tiny talent playing to an audience of about five, including his mother and a dog.”

    Have you seen him?

    I would say he’s a morbidly huge talent.

  13. @surreptitiousevil and it’s clear that you should indeed lie prostrate before the alter of a well reasoned, erudite and acceptable response to a dim witted and unacceptable response in the first place. Although i dont think I’d have bothered if i were Mike Daisy, to be honest. He’s never going to convince an idiot like Tim Worstall

  14. You should probably give up this blogging lark, Tim.

    sunonthecross has rumbled you.

    I especially like how he noted your “ginorance” (sic).

    Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!

  15. before the alter of a well reasoned, erudite and acceptable response

    As soon as you come up with one.

    Although you’ll have to find me an “alter”. I don’t know where you get those.

  16. “That’s what being poor means, having to work extremely hard to make very little. ”

    “First—may I say—daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. It is refreshing to see the neoliberal model laid out so glaringly.”

    idiot

  17. Me @ #5: I meant to say ‘a flat-earther Caliban raging at the world’s reflection’.

    Otherise: bundlllllllllllllllllllllle!

  18. ““Mike Daisey—the critically-lauded monologist whose one-man show about these very problems with Apple, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which played at New York’s Public Theater to critical acclaim last year”

    And there you have it. I’ll stick with my interpretations about crap vendors I made below the Andrew Simms post.

    Man wants to make a crust as actor & playwright. Man spots he can enhance said crust by riding on the back of the millions Apple spend on advertising their products & making them a household name.
    Q. Would he endorse iPads as surefire cure for male impotency.
    A, Yes if there was a dime in it
    Q. Would he do this about a company that no-one’s ever heard of operating somewhere likewise. That didn’t push every button on the anti-capitalism remote control.
    A. Sod off.

  19. BiS,

    While you posit mendacity as an entirely valid explanation, I believe you are giving too little credit to the simple explanations of “wilful ignorance” and errant “true belief”. The latter being something our colonial cousins take to the sort of extremes we, in the Old World, generally reserve for the likelihood for success of our favourite sports teams.

  20. The French press has been getting in a lather lately about a “wave” of suicides at France Telecom, PSA and Renault. (About 2 or 3 a year, actually.)
    Since these giant employers only employ tens rather than hundreds of thousands, it would appear that the suicide rate of office workers with comfy chairs, free health care, 7 weeks holiday often in a company-owned complex, final salary pension, etc is HIGHER than the suicide rate at Foxconn.

    So There! Tim’s argument demolished with two dodgy statistics. Neo liberal economic growth does not make you happier. (Unless you’re still alive, of course.)
    Back on your heads.

  21. “takes me to task”: quite right. But do you know, some plonker at Forbes rattles on with “takes … I to task”. Must be an Aussie?

  22. SE
    We’ve a saying for that though, haven’t we?

    “None so blind as those who will not see.”

    And Nelson of course.

  23. The point about the suicides is that workers who choose to kill themselves by jumping off the factory roof may be making a protest against their employer. Suicide rates among Buddhist monks may be low (I don’t know) but we pay attention when they burn themselves to death as a political protest,

    Regarding workplace safety: the comparison with US workplace fatalities is disingenuous. The relevant comparison is with US factories making electronic goods.

    I suppose that the cost of improved workplace safety standards in Foxconn’s factories would fall mainly on Apple’s customers. If the marginal customer would prefer to pay more for their iGadgets in return for killing fewer Chinese workers, then it’s entirely appropriate for them to communicate that preference by threatening a boycott. How else could the market clear?

  24. “Regarding workplace safety: the comparison with US workplace fatalities is disingenuous.”

    It is isn’t it.

    The comparison should be with workplace safety in other Chinese industries.

    Maybe jumping off roofs is a common way Chinese protest industrial disputes. Not so much a walk out as a step off.

    Not so sure about the bungee jumping. Trampolines seems a more likely explanation…..

  25. “Which is why the value of that statistical life rises as the country generally gets richer…”

    Not sure it’s quite that clear-cut.

    At least as likely, imho, to reflect the fact that as people get richer they have fewer children, and to expect more (or all) of them to survive, so tend to “value” each one higher?

    (The scare quotes being to indicate that this is not valuation in pure monetary terms)

  26. @Surreptitious Evil, Feb 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Although you’ll have to find me an “alter”. I don’t know where you get those.

    Look in an early COBOL manual… Verb “ALTER”, even more evil than “GOTO”. :-)

  27. Thank goodness sunonthecross was spared having to prove Tim’s ginorance. Personally, I agree that his ginorance is plain for all to see.

  28. Surreptitious Evil:

    Guys like sunonthecross (and Daisey) are nearly immune to reasoned argument; nor is pointing out a lack of reason in their arguments likely to evoke a more reasonable response.

    Their default mode is a litany of invective toward anyone they perceive as opposed to them (politically). Quite literally, nothing else counts except which side of the fence you’re on.

  29. Pingback: Foxconn Followup | Rampant Speculation

  30. It’s a shame he doesn’t allow (cope with?) comments on his own site, whilst directing all and sundry to ‘contact’ Tim on his Forbes blog.

    His last post makes a few interesting points that sound reasonable without a second thought, but he also continues with the sly comments, safe in the knowledge that he doesn’t have to deal with rebuttals or questions on his own site.

    He hasn’t quite got this blogging-and-smearing lark down to a fine art, yet.

  31. On the other hand, he’s doing a great job of creating noise for his side street production.

    Perhaps he’ll issue a press release next?

  32. What does “ameliorates our responsibility” mean? I think I get what he wants it to mean, but the word “ameliorate” seems quite inappropriate.

  33. Pingback: How playwrights can influence global trade policy, and how to keep poor people poor | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

  34. Just go to his blog (I know, it’ll only encourage him) but have a look at his videos. Unfunny is what I would say. A man with not much to say but he says it over and over and over and over.

  35. I read Daisey’s posts: his main point is that Foxconn is blatantly failing to meet Chinese safety standards, and that Apple is choosing to do nothing effective about it. That’s something I’d like Tim to address.

    On the other hand, it’s odd that Daisey’s second post, replying to this one, repeatedly complains that Tim hasn’t linked to Daisey’s first post, whereas the first three words above are, er, linked to it.

  36. PaulB – “The point about the suicides is that workers who choose to kill themselves by jumping off the factory roof may be making a protest against their employer.”

    Doesn’t strike me as likely though. Strapping explosives to themselves and detonating them in the dining room (as at least one Chinese man did this New Year), yes. But if someone died off a Chinese roof I would assume they went out for a smoke and lent over too far.

    “Suicide rates among Buddhist monks may be low (I don’t know) but we pay attention when they burn themselves to death as a political protest”

    Sixteen in the Tibetan borderlands in the last 12 months. Bet you didn’t notice.

    “If the marginal customer would prefer to pay more for their iGadgets in return for killing fewer Chinese workers”

    You mean they would prefer to pay more in return for preventing more Chinese workers killing themselves?

  37. >On the other hand, it’s odd that Daisey’s second post, replying to this one, repeatedly complains that Tim hasn’t linked to Daisey’s first post, whereas the first three words above are, er, linked to it.

    Initially Tim didn’t provide a link (hence my earlier comment). Seems that Daisey hasn’t been back since Tim corrected this. (I’m sure this was an oversight on Tim’s behalf, he always links).

    >Tim- you need to defend yourself, because pretty clear that Daisey is getting the better of you.

    Don’t think I’d go that far, but yes, Tim needs a follow-up.

  38. Oh, I read it, Thornavis. Though I always wonder why you human-life-on-a-slide-rule types always seem to think you’re dodging the moral implications of your bloviations. I mean, statements like “Poor people value their lives less than rich people do, we can tell that by the desperate choices they make!” are so morally moronic they defy belief. The same goes for “The deaths of so many little yellow and brown people are obviously justified by this trendline on my productivity graph!” And I wish for once you econ twits could grapple with the obvious political frame of your graphs and all-too-aptly-named regressions. Since China pegs its currency to ours, and supplies us with so many products, its workers are essentially “American” workers economically – only they are deprived of American political protections. They’re in the American economy, but NOT in the American state. Which makes them completely exploitable. This is reminiscent of a certain labor relationship in the antebellum South, which should give you pause. Instead, you ignore it. But by all means carry on, Poindexter! And you should certainly value your own life as far as the statistics allow you to. At least now you know who Mike Daisey is.

  39. @Thomas Garvey

    If Foxconn a Taiwanese company is supposed to treat them as American employees then Apple may as well actually employ Americans. Happily this would free up many of the Foxconn employees no doubt eager to leave those terrible factories and embrace the other fine opportunities available and you’d pay more for those wonderful Apple products knowing it’s helping American factory workers.

    The important question which hasn’t been addressed as far as I can see, are these employees being treated worse than in other Chinese factory jobs? If not then perhaps your time would be better spent trying to deal with some real problems?

  40. Daisey, although he looks full of himself, when prodded and forced to deal with criticism, actually started talking more sensibly and carefully. Thomas Garvey, on the other hand, is swelling up like a bullfrog as he gets to slay what he imagines is a blog full of econ nerds. Take that, Poindexter, with your inhuman slide-rule!

    I’ve spent my life in the Humanities (not Economics), and there were always sad cases like this around, who in their own minds imagine that they have slayed society’s oppressors by a few well-chosen slave-owner references. It’s amusing to watch how the more intelligent leftists treat them — they don’t want to alienate someone who’s on their side, but you can sense the relief when they’re persuaded to leave the argument, or better still, to leave the room.

  41. Tom.
    “It’s amusing to watch how the more intelligent leftists treat them — they don’t want to alienate someone who’s on their side, but you can sense the relief when they’re persuaded to leave the argument, or better still, to leave the room.”

    Isn’t that a form of cowardice though ? I prefer to say if I think someone’s talking through their hat whether I generally agree with them or not and I don’t object if they do it to me.

  42. They’re in the American economy, but NOT in the American state. Which makes them completely exploitable.

    Likewise factory workers in Germany making Porsche 911s for the American market. Exploited to a man.

  43. Metaphysical question: is it possible to be morally moronic? ((c) Thomas Garvey).

    I can see how a chap can be morally uneducated, or morally inarticulate. Or just plain bad. Equally I can see how a chap can be intellectually moronic.

    But morally moronic?

    I sense an evasion. And the presence of another flat-earthed Caliban.

  44. If Foxconn employees can afford to bungee jump, they’re being paid too much. Or I’m paying too much for the iPhone which pays their wages.

    Nobody pays me to bungee jump. Been offered a pony to rig my car exhaust to the cabin, though.

    It’s an Alfa GT, best looking car you can buy for less than £70k. Bloody eyeties should pay me to drive it.

  45. This is simple hatred of progress, industrialism and the Evil Capitalist Corporations. Standard Marxist bullshit, at the end of the day.

    The whole argument about sweatshops and safety… wtf? Have these critics worked in such places? Where the fuck is the safety issues??? These guys are assembling pcbs and shit. Safe as milk.

    The only issue is to with the fact they are boring and repetitive tasks. Like most jobs. FFS.

    Standard middle class fuckwittery really.

  46. pps. I’ve also worked in a kitchen… I wonder if the fat actor twat worries about the hours the chefs in NY work, and their health and saftey conditions… somehow, I doubt it

  47. statements like “Poor people value their lives less than rich people do, we can tell that by the desperate choices they make!” are so morally moronic they defy belief.

    This is what is known as “revealed preferences”.

    Many poor people do indeed value their lives, in currency terms, less than most rich people do. We can see this by the risks they are willing to take to earn money compared to the rich people, who often just take the risks for fun.

    Now, this is not a ‘moral situation’ – moronic or otherwise. But it is clear, demonstrable economic reality. If the mere thought of it offends you so mightily, you can happily substitute “safe but unpleasant” for “less safe”.

    You generally don’t find trust fund millionaires working as bin men. Even Polly only managed it for eight months before running away to the sheltering bosom of the Guardian, and that was “book research”.

    I used to build submarines. Heavy, dangerous and dirty shit. And boring and repetetive..”

    Not as dangerous, dirty or boring as sailing on them. Seriously. Or, quite probably, not smelling as regularly of shit.

  48. I love the fact that Mike has posted a (probably pseudonymous) copy of a comment on here – #38 – as well, err, evidence. Of what, I’m not sure, as all the comment says is “yah, boo, you suck”. That Daisey has the courage of his own convictions (or his own marketing exercise if you take the cynical view) is support for consistency not correctness.

    If he’s reading the damn blog, why doesn’t he contribute?

  49. Daisey just owned you in his response.

    “An angry, small person who likes to puff themselves up”, to paraphrase.

    Nailed it.

  50. Thomas Garvey:

    From all I’ve gathered, those industrial (incl. electronic) manufacturing employees are the “lucky” fraction and most of the rest of the population of China would be glad to take their place or have similar opportunities. They’re “slaves’ (as you’ve likened them) only to the desire, like you, me, and the rest of us, to have a place to live, food, clothing, etc.

    Chinese food production is still rather primitive, requiring many more (70+) to provide food to the remainder. And, until that ratio improves significantly (and as it improves significantly), China’s poor will be willing–eager, in fact–to take work of a nature than people who live in more advanced nations. By and large, consumers prefer cheaper to more expensive and will patronize those who offer them what they seek at a price that is attractive to them.

    The fact that Chinese workers are making stuff for US consumers gives them no “standing” insofar as being under the jurfisdiction of US laws regarding labor or anything else. They’re subject to their own laws and if those laws require any “fixing,” their people will have to be the ones to agitate for it.

    By the way, I just thought I’d mention (because you might not be aware) that less than 3% of US GDP comes from China (and only about 12% from anywhere else–including China–than the US).

  51. Sachmo:

    You’re probably not interested in a relevant observation but I’ll lay it on you anyway.

    What you define as “owned” has a long and honorable history of usage among socialists and assorted fellow-travellers. The technical term is “argumentio ad hominem.” In other words, name-calling.

    Now, folks on our side venture into this activity now and again but, if you hang around much, you’ll find that the derisive appellations are nearly always paired with more substantive, critical analysis of just why someone’s a stupid twat or a dumb cunt (you’ll excuse the repetition there), a misanthropic weasel, a barking mad WGCE, etc., etc. It’s not a rule laid down by Tim, mind you,–just his regular practice and
    followed by most.

  52. Sachmo,

    Isn’t it interesting that Western society can afford the luxury of large fat outsourced theatrical consciences, like Mike, whereas the Chinese have to rely on their own inferior personal ones?

    It’s nice that Boston art critics can take time out of their busy schedules of Caryl Churchill plays and Robbie McCauley monologues to lecture us peons that “How Theater Failed America” is vitally important and therefore reality must change so that it works the way their dinner parties think is morally correct.

    The world is not ‘fair’. Reality owes you nothing. It is mere childishness to think otherwise and wilful ignorance to demand that others act according to your delusions.

  53. Oh come off it, Gene Berman and the rest of you idiots. Worstall is using his econ slide rule to pretend that horrible conditions in Apple/Foxconn factories are somehow necessary for economic development in China. That’s a crock. His posts are a wacky pastiche of pseudo-heroic, self-aggrandizing statistical bullshit – when Mike Daisey is simply arguing for humane working conditions which are completely compatible with rising Chinese GDP, trust me. As for the whole “statistical risk” and “how highly people value their lives” arguments – please, just too stupid to go into. Strangely, outside of one political arrangement, suddenly the statistics show that people value their lives in an entirely different way! Wow, what could that be about? Let’s ask the professor which variable on his graph stands for “personal freedom,” shall we?

  54. Pingback: In 1978 [Chinese per capita GDP] was $978. So we’ve a 6 or 7 times improvement … in the time be.… at cloudsoup

  55. Gene Berman,

    Please read Mike Daisey’s post for, as you put it, a”more substantive, critical analysis of just why someone’s a stupid twat or a dumb cunt”. He takes Worstall’s argument apart quite neatly, and then draws some quite clearly valid conclusions about his character based on the tone of the article. It’s certainly very clear to most visitors to this blog who don’t happen to be star-struck acolytes of this chap where the name calling started ;)

    Speaking of which, you should rethink how you write your posts. It’s quite obvious that your use of overly complex language (‘derisive appellations’) and seeming inability to speak clearly or succinctly is an attempt to portray yourself as more intelligent and educated than might otherwise be apparent. It’s not working – even a child could see through it.

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