One thing I cannot tolerate hearing, one thing that truly makes me fume with intense anger is this notion that we – the USA – need to make changes and adapt our ways in order to compete with China. The unstoppable greed and lack of human regard drives our industries, corporations and political system to focus on profit rather than the greater good. In this capacity, I am ashamed of what we have become.
On January 16, 2012, The Daily Show presented a clip which merely touches up on the subject of life in China and its factories. This is a video which should be seen by everyone; especially those who are convinced we need to compete with this disgusting way of life.
Workers in China are subjected to a life which pales in comparison to those in our prison system. Many are forced into jobs and lifestyles because their families have little choice. They often work as much as 35 hours at a time and make approximately 31 cents an hour. They are commanded to live in dorms smaller than what we see at an average American college – with 8 other roommates. Many factories provide barely enough food for sustainability, let alone proper nutrition.
Suicides at these factories have become such an issue that officials have had to implement safety nets – literal NETS – around the buildings to catch jumpers from landing in the streets below. After 17 suicides in a little over one year, Foxconn factories have been said to force staff into signing pledges stating they will not commit suicide and if they did, that their families would not seek more than the minimal amount damages.
Foxconn is the largest private employer in China. And while it is said that their factories are superior to many in the region, there are confirmed reports that the company is responsible for negligence in child labor laws and worker health and safety requirements. These same documents also state that there is simply no enforcement of the minimal regulations which do exist.
Workers are forced to work far beyond what is legal; as much as 288 hours a month. And if they do not produce to standards, they are fined, berated or punished. Factory workers have also claimed that they were paid to lie when questioned about working conditions.
These issues are not only in regards to Foxconn and Apple products. Disney, Walmart, Nike and Mattel and other American brands use Chinese factories to make products under these conditions.
In attempts to continuously cut costs and raise profits, humans are required to suffer under the abusive hands of management and with illness due to poor ventilation. Many workers have reportedly been poisoned simply by working with dangerous chemicals and known poisonous materials.
Not only are these companies profiting on the lives of their workers, but they are also killing their land, air and water. China is said to have more pollution than any other country in the world.These conditions are well known, but officials are hesitant to implement changes because it could cost them financially. In China, pollution-related disease is the 2nd leading cause of death.
Regulations which could protect the people in these regions and legislation that could protect the environment are squashed under the desire and obsession with profit and greed.
We are constantly being told that we need to educate as well as China…that our test scores are inferior. Well, tell that to the guy jumping to his death. I am thinking his high test scores were not a factor in his decision to end his life.
I do not want us to compete with a country that has absolutely no value for human life. I think doing so only brings us to that despicable level and to do that would be nothing short of evil. Let them make more money. Let them have their test scores. It seems to be working out oh, so great for the majority of their population.
There are businessmen in China who are on the Forbes list as some of the richest in the world. Yet, it is estimated that 200 million residents have an income of less than one dollar. But I suppose the income inequality in China is a fantasy to many in our country who beg for less regulation and less corporate responsibility.
I can tell you that I for one will make a much more concerted effort to avoid Chinese products until I can see obvious changes. I view it as a moral responsibility. And to those who want to see our country follow this path – you make me want to gag myself with a chopstick.
Original story HERE