“Apple has become one of the best-known, most admired and most imitated companies on earth, in part through an unrelenting mastery of global operations. Last year, it earned over $400,000 in profit per employee…”
[Per the article, Apple employs 763,000 workers, of whom 43,000 are U.S. employees, giving a total of only 5% U.S. employees.]
“Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.”
[Outlier: Let us be generous and assume that American business decision-makers always make solid, empirical, business-based decisions. This would mean that overseas factories are far bigger. Foreign workers are more skilled, harder working, and more flexible than are workers in the U.S. That is, they can respond more quickly to changing situations and new instructions.
If this is true, I can see why a business would prefer to set up operations overseas. Wouldn't you? Unless there were some sort of advantages to being an American business...any benefits that it bestows to a corporation or to its employees...hmmm...tax breaks? Permission for the corporation to lease or own land (which implies that this nation stop allowing foreign nations to do the latter...)? How about this one: Access to the American market for its goods and services?
It's too bad our government currently allows equal access to our American market to both American companies and to foreign companies such as Apple. What, Apple? You say you're an American company? What makes you one? Your employees are foreigners. Your operations are performed overseas. How are you different than a foreign company? Oh--that's right: You are getting American company tax breaks.]
“Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option.”
[Outlier: Hmmm…Their only option…Does that mean their backs are against the wall? Their company is about to fail and their shareholders are at their throats? I mean, I’m just thinking of that $400,000 profit per employee, now. And the fact that their business is claiming to be an American one. And that they’re reaping the tax benefits of being an American corporation, and have been reaping these for quite some time. And that their top level employees—their American employees—have been enjoying the American lifestyle at the top of the food chain over here. I’m just not so clear on what Apple means by “their only option”.
Couldn’t some of that $400,000 per employee have been shaved off to go into apprenticeships to talented highschool and college students HERE? Or even untalented ones who tested well for the vocational/industrial aptitude skills needed to run efficient Apple factories HERE? Just sayin’…
Could it be that this is your "only option" if your company's only motivation is profit untempered by morals, and you have no scruples about eating the hand that is allowing you to feed upon it?]
“One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul.New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight. (A foreperson) …immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories…each…was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.”
Said an Apple executive: “The speed and flexibility is breathtaking…There’s no American plant that can match that.”
[Outlier: So, let me get this really clear:
Apple has taken its firm back to the days of the great robber-baron industrialists. Company dormitories, and the 12-hour workday—and Apple is proud of it. Boasting about it: How they can depend upon being able to roust their human machines from their Company beds in the middle of the night and prime these pumps for a 12-hour run with just hot tea and a cracker.
How is a real human being to respond? Let me try: None of the top-echelon Apple employees would consider this to be appropriate treatment for an adult child of their own, or anyone else they cared about. The fact that they consider it perfectly acceptable treatment for brown-skinned foreigners whom they never intend to see is dashed disturbing. (Oh, but it's perfectly all right, because a higher standard of living is brought to those they serve--perhaps like the British served the Indians?)
At the end of the NYT article was this:
“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,” said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor Department until last September. “That’s disappeared. Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”
WHOAA!!! This is the department that is supposed to be helping American workers??!! Betsey’s viewpoint comes through as skewed toward the business end. She refers to Company dormitories, and tea and cracker fuel, as “efficiency”. She considers normal humane treatment of employees to be “generosity”. I’m sure she’s a very lovely person, but she has been working with the barons too long. Probably without her being aware of it, their perspective has polluted her thinking.
Apparently, google and Wikipedia also need re-education. The Wikipedia entry for “robber baron” is entitled “robber baron (industrialist)”. And if you enter “robber barons” into google’s search box, google asks you if want “robber barons or captains of industry”.
We should be far past the days when we had cause to consider all these terms equivalent.