I recently did my bit to help the American consumer-driven economy. I upgraded to an iPhone 4 and I love it, especially the 5 mp camera with a flash. But, after watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night, every time I look it now, I’ll think about the factory worker in China who made it. According to the report, which got its facts and video clips from a MSNBC program, he or she – some as young as 13-years-old – got 32-cents an hour, lives in a company-owned dormitory room with seven other people, works up to 35 straight hours, and sometimes becomes so stressed out and depressed that he or she jumps off the top of the dormitory building. So many have jumped that Foxconn, the Taiwan-based largest manufacturer of electronics in the world, has put up nets to break the jumpers’ falls. Most of the company’s manufacturing plants are in mainland China.
Why does the union allow this to happen to workers? There is no union. Trying to organize one can get you twelve years in the clink.
Last night’s report was prompted by Rick Perry’s repeating of the Republican mantra about bringing jobs back to America by fewer regulations and more tax breaks for corporations. Perry made the statement during the Republican presidential primary debate in South Carolina.
There was a time when many American factories were almost as immoral, paying starvation wages, providing shoddy company-owned houses, and using child labor. Regulations got us away from that. Do we really want to go back to that in order to compete with communist China? Do we really want to ramp up our march back to the Gilded Age of the Robber Barons? Can’t we find a way to provide jobs without destroying the American middle class?