IEET > Rights > HealthLongevity > Economic > Affiliate Scholar > Richard Eskow
Hell Is Cheaper: China, Apple and the Economics of Horror
Richard Eskow   Feb 20, 2012   Huffington Post  

I hate what I’ve learned about Apple’s outsourcing to China. I hate hearing Professor William Black explain why he believes that Steve Jobs, who I admired very much in some ways, must have ignored repeated reports that employees were being cheated and endangered.

I hate knowing that Apple’s business practices are destroying the kind of good middle-class job his adoptive father had.

I hate knowing that many of this week’s news stories about China ignore the fact that American companies who outsource to China have employee fraud and death built into their business plans.

In the words of the old Bob Seger song: Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then. But I do.

Where the Blame Belongs

(to read the rest of the article, click HERE)

Richard "RJ" Eskow, serves on the IEET Board of Directors and as a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America's Future. RJ is CEO of Health Knowledge Systems (HKS) in Los Angeles.


Worth repeating and remembering this, although we already know this kind of business ethic and practice is rife, and thus continue to make our exceptions to support our own “ethical choices” and to sublimate our sensibilities?

““I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” Steve Jobs said in a famous anecdote. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.“As Prof. Black noted in our interview (audio here), “Imagine what would have happened if Steve Jobs cared as much about the health of his workers as he did about the quality of an iPhone screen.”

“Steve Jobs complained about the availability of good engineers in the US, and said they were plentiful in China. Guess that depends on what you mean by “good.” As Prof. Black notes in these comments, there aren’t many US engineers who would order workers to use a nerve toxin to clean iPod screens just because it’s quicker. Chinese engineers did, and more than 100 employees were sickened.”

“There was a famous exchange in which President Obama asked Steve Jobs what it would take to bring Apple’s manufacturing jobs back home and Jobs replied, “Those jobs aren’t coming back.” The New York Times repeats Apple’s often-repeated public justification for that position, describing the company as praising the “flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers.”

“The greatest moral failing isn’t theirs: It’s ours. We buy products from manufacturers like Apple. We ignore the reports that we hear. We read newspapers and watch television without ever demanding that their reporters ask companies like Apple at every press conference: What are you doing to protect workers overseas?

Shame on them, all of them: the Chinese government, the reporters, executives at Apple. But most of all, shame on us.”

You know, back in the pioneering PC days of yore, I did indeed think that Steve Jobs was, if not an entrepreneurial genius, at very least a visionary and innovator. At least that is what I thought until I realised how much of this vision of the future originated from literally pilfering the ideas of others, (windows computers and GUI being the most established of these visions) - For those that want to know more about this, and the truth, then seek out Robert X Cringely and specifically “Triumph of the Nerds”, first aired on US PBS back in 1996, (and you can still watch this 3 part documentary - available on YouTube).

However, my views towards Steve changed once I realised that he was in fact not the visionary giant that everyone worshipped him for, he was just a “business man with great charisma”, (and thus I have never supported Apple products nor any other products that value aesthetics over function, and profit over innovation and usefulness).

Some quotes from Steve Jobs.. (from “Triumph of the Nerds” - 1996)

“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”

“I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s success — I have no problem with their success. They’ve earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.”

“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

And the moral of this story is?..

With great business success comes great responsibility (Spiderman)

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