Terrors, eh, just terrors:
And that was when something snapped. Two days later hundreds of workers marched against the appalling conditions at the camps that house its estimated 15,000 workers. For hours protesters blocked the main road into the vast industrial estate to demand better conditions.
Foxconn, the Taiwanese company in charge of the site, suspended operations on December 18 promising improvements after its customer, Apple, put the site “on probation” — meaning all orders were placed on hold.
The controversy is the latest in a familiar line to hit Foxconn, the biggest private employer in neighbouring China, and Apple, the world’s most valuable company. A series of suicides at the vast Foxconn City industrial park in Shenzhen, China, in 2010 prompted international condemnation and brought promises of improvements to working conditions.
Foul conditions, foul job, £100 a month.
Yes, this is exactly what it was like in China in 2000. Things had vastly improved by 2010 when those stories about suicides turned up – the ones where the rate inside the factories was lower than that outside in China more generally. And now those very same factories pay a thoroughly – by global standards – middle class wage.
No, not because of unions. Nor labour activists. But because if they didn’t pay that much better wage no bugger would turn up for work. As Paul Krugman has pointed out the wage in any particular factory is determined by the general wage rate of the economy around it. Which is, in turn, determined by the general level of productivity in that surrounding economy.
That’s just the way it works. Rich countries pay high wages to everyone, poor low to all. So, to increase wages in one place the necessary thing is to make the whole country rich. Which is exactly what China has done this past couple of decades, what India as yet has not done. And that’s it. Wages are shitty at the Apple/Foxconn India factory because wages are shitty in India.
GDP growth, it’s what raises wages.