By Jason Perlow | February 2, 2012, 12:41pm PST
Summary: Human and worker rights reforms in China would have serious negative consequences for the efficiency and cost of the gadget supply chain.
Recent coverage in the media over worker conditions in the Chinese factories which manufacture Apple’s products have “exposed” much of what all of us in the technology industry already knew but were unwilling to accept — that China is the most powerful engine of production for the technology industry, and that the blood, sweat and tears of Chinese workers is what fuels that hungry engine, at a tremendous cost to human rights.
Also See: The dark side of shiny Apple products (CBS News)
I really don’t want to focus on the Apple side of this problem because the concern is an industry-wide problem. Apple was targeted because they are the largest and most powerful consumer electronics company in the world, but their situation is not unique.
The outsourced manufacturing subcontractors that Apple uses such as Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) are used industry-wide, by some of the largest players in technology.
Foxconn’s clientele reads like a celebrity tech roster that includes Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, IBM, Cisco/Linksys, Netgear, Microsoft, Sharp, Sony, Motorola, Asus, Acer and Vizio.
And on Foxconn’s celebrity clientele list I will also include the second and third place tablet runners and e-reader champions Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Yes, your Kindles and Nooks are also made by the very same companies with the same awful working conditions.
As much as I think the Android crowd would love to claim moral superiority to Apple as it relates to the production of their toys, it can’t.
So we should cut to the chase that Apple is absolutely not unique in having products made by workers which are paid far below that of Americans, that work unbelievably long hours in sweatshops using child labor under conditions that rival that of the worst factories during the industrial revolution in America and Europe of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Read more at ZDNet