Shadow of Foxconns

Two weeks ago, Professor Robert told us something about capitalism and the inequality between workers and big corporations. During the class, I could not help but remember again about the topic I discussed with my GSC classmates about the “14 jumpers in Foxconn” issue. It was really impressive and this issue is a very typical example of global expansion of capitalism with the development of globalization. Many workers are in fact under the shadows of “Foxconn”s.

Foxconn, a very famous Taiwan-registered corporation, is the world’s largest maker of electronic components including printed circuit boards. Also, it is a representative factory of some of the most famous multi-national corporations like APPLE, SONY, DELL and so on in Guangdong, China. From January 23rd, 2010 to November 5th, 2010, 14 workers chose to jump off the building and died in this year because of the huge working pressure they were under. When the attraction was caught, Chinese people are surprise to find that the extremely bad working condition and working pressure is not the worst thing to those workers. In the agreement between the workers and foxconn factory, except for the basic eight-hour work request, workers were requested to sign an attached agreement which showed that they would volunteer to work overtime. Some of them were willing to sign the attached files for their monthly pay is only about 1300RMB (about 200 US dollars) which is a little bit higher than the minimum wage standard made by the Government of Guangdong Province. Most of these workers are peasant-workers and such little money sometimes even affords the basic cost of a whole family in a village of China. Besides, for many workers at the bottom of the company, their jobs are really boring. The only thing they can do is to repeat the same movement millions of times. With such kind of conditions, it will not be hard for us to imagine why workers would have the thought to jump off the buildings. In my opinion, it is still not the worst thing. We have a Foxconn factory in Guangdong Province, so how many “Foxconn”s are there in China? How many “Foxconn”s are there all over the world? It is certainly countless. Foxconn is just the tip of the whole iceberg.

Factories like Foxconn maximize profits by enlarge surplus value created by workers. To achieve this, they move manufacturing productions to developing countries so that they can decrease the manpower cost. In my opinion, as the normative system to govern the economic system was not completely established and people were anxious for success, many problems have arisen when developing countries were attracting foreign investment especially in 1990s. The conflicts between workers and corporations exist all the time. People have the right to make profit, but I think that humanity and moral standards are something basic beyond it. Since most of them actually do not have the ability to change it, we should pay more attention to this group of people and help them going out of the shadow of Foxconns.

Reference:
富士康员工跳楼坠楼事件_环球网(Chinese, means Foxconn issue_huanqiu website) accessed at http://www.huanqiu.com/zhuanti/tech/fushikang/

by John Wang

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