Sunday, January 22, 2012

Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class

Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class -

Basically we are being told that the wonders of 21st Century technology depend on a string of factories that depend on working conditions similar to what the U.S. had in the late 19th Century. Look at this recent example of the view from the top of Foxconn. These problems aren't just a problem for Apple, of course. Foxconn makes things for a number of other companies such as Microsoft. But make no mistake, the flexibility that Apple admires so much comes at a real human cost. This is just as true now as it has been in the past. Those who praise Asian companies for what they do never point out one very obvious fact. The working conditions that make it possible for Apple, Microsoft and other businesses to get what they want how they want it are illegal in every First World economy. Do we want those working conditions? How can we possibly compete with them? Even if we followed the suggestions that Steve Jobs made just before his death and that other leaders in the tech field have made would they really hire people here? Frankly, I don't think so. I think you'd still see them begging for H1B immigrants because while they are supposed to be paid the same as Americans and treated the same the system is gamed constantly. But of course this complex problem has no easy answers because for the foreseeable future large publicly held companies in this country view their only mission as maximizing profits no matter the human cost.

This is also posted over on my other blog.