DELL, Apple, HP and Silicon Valley. The Asian connection.
Emerson radio assembly line – Flicker
After reading the story How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work in Dayen’s Daily Roundup as well as Globalization and the iPhone in the same post, I was pretty upset. Not by what they said or what I read in the articles themselves but rather by what is continuously left out of all such pieces that attempt to explain why companies have chosen to have their Toys and such manufactured in Asia, in particular.
The article in the New York Times tries to compare factories in China with doing the same thing over here but this comparison is odious at best. It’s very like comparing sumo wrestling with the WWF or boxing with Taekwondo. We are dealing with totally different cultures and there by totally different views and approaches to living, working and life in general.
With our culture of western puritan work ethic and it’s adversarial slave based economic system going back for hundreds of years, there is little respect or workers and/or their employers. Compare this with the Asian culture which is very, very different in this respect.
The Buddhist, Taoist, Confucianist background of most Asian countries is deeply seated and effects their whole world view and so the way they work and how they manage their factories. this can be seen in the other things that the produce.
To expect people in this country to adopt this way of doing anything is unrealistic at best.
This not not an apologetic post on American business. On the contrary, it is more a condemnation for taking advantage of a situation for their own profit.
Then their is the derogation of the education in this country.
“Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.”
But this does not take into account that in China (and a lot of other countries) education is highly subsidized, if not free. Add to this the fact that food, housing and health care are also provided either free of cost or subsidized as well. This is a very big chink of change. With these items out of ones budget, one does not need as much compensation. But these things are all left the writings and reporting done as well as any management memos.
How many companies would be willing to supply these things or pay the taxes to do so ? Damn few I would suspect but they do not have a problem with doing business with countries that do. Yet they complain about having to remain competitive in the global market place. If they wan a level playing field they had better pony up or shut the hell up.
The truth is that corporate America has become both users and pushers of techno toys and this always turns out badly. Just ask any junky.