Labor Process and Labor Costs

I know I am totally behind on this but this is a very interesting video on how iPads are made at the infamous Foxconn factory:

Of course, the fact that workers are lining up to take these jobs is often used as an argument that the low wages and lousy working conditions (which have improved after much negative publicity) are not an issue, because otherwise, people would simply not apply to work there. Or that as bad as these jobs may be, they are better than what is available in rural China. But these are all after-the-facts rationalizations to make ourselves feel better about the exploitation of oversees workers and they are often followed by the accusatory question regarding whether one would want to pay much, much more for electronic gizmos.

Well, that last one is a moot point as the cost of labor are lower and lower in these kinds of products. Check this out, from my comrade-in-arms over at Real Sociology:

In other words, this is what was extracted by Apple from its workers. It would be perfectly possible to significantly increase workers’ wages because of this:

2 thoughts on “Labor Process and Labor Costs

  1. looks like we are all paying the price for efficiency and cheap labour, high corporate profits! I would personally rather pay more for consumer goods and buy less than exploit the working class.

  2. Those are not “after-the-facts rationalizations.” They are absolute prerequisites to having workers. In the absence of slavery, filling jobs means that those employees like doing the work under the working conditions and receiving the pay more than they like doing neither.

    Perhaps you should consider trying to improve the pay and working conditions of the jobs that Foxconn’s employees traveled hundreds of miles *away* from. It’s a simple fact that the easiest gains are in improving the shittiest jobs, which logic reveals are not in Foxconn’s factories. Once the other jobs are at least as good as a spot as a Foxconn factory worker, then Foxconn will naturally offer better pay and conditions. You’re complaining about one of the best jobs available to these people.

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