The multiple suicides of workers in Foxconn factories in China have revealed Victorian labour conditions down the supply chains for the most futuristic Apple products. But the top managers of Apple escaped blame because these deaths happened in factories in another country (China) owned by a company from yet another country (Hon Hai, the Taiwanese multinational).
Well, no. The top executives escaped blame because the suicide rate in those factories is a fraction of the suicide rate across China as a whole. Having a lower than average suicide rate is not something to be blamed for.
The largest companies today are so complex that top managers are not even expected to know fully what is really going on in them. These companies have also increasingly outsourced activities to multiple layers of subcontractors in supply chains crisscrossing the globe.
Increasing complexity not only lowers the quality of decisions, as it creates an information overload, but makes it more difficult to pin down responsibilities. A number of recent scandals have brought home this reality.
And this is where the tosser becomes completely fucking absurd.
Firstly, an economist criticising the division and specialisation of labour is on a pretty sticky wicket as far as either theory or empirics go. But do recall, please, that this is the man who thinks that we\’ll have a better economy if the politicians and bureaucrats tell all those businessmen what to do. The world is so complex to manage that we should direct it from two further removes? Have things ordered by people with even less clue of what the fuck is happening?
Anyone know why Chang hasn\’t been made a full professor at Cambridge after all of these years?