Outsourcing jobs from the U.S. began in the ’80’s when other countries went on a shopping spree with U.S. government bonds. This was the kindling. The fire was ignited after NAFTA opened wide the doors to extremely cheap labor in Mexico and Canada.
At this point, the U.S. has very little manufacturing and tech innovation. Globalization sent much of our service industries overseas as well. Plus, companies are asking U.S. workers to train their own foreign replacements.
It seems that in China, at least, cheap labor doesn’t want to be so cheap any more. Foxconn Technology, for example, has workers whose salaries are increasing 20% to 30% annually. But at $135 a month, you wouldn’t think this would be too much of a drain on the makers of the such items like the X-Box unit that had sales of $6.7 million worldwide in 2010, with the online video service breaking the $1 billion mark.
Foxconn founder, Terry Gou, hatched a brilliant plan to foil the evil workers’ designs on all his money!! He announced last July that Foxconn will deploy a million robots to replace those pesky workers! Though, not to scare the workers in the meantime, the article above referenced the company’s statement that it wants its employees to move “higher up the value chain.”
Unfortunately it seems that the employees have interpreted “higher up” to mean way higher up. As in heaven-ward. These stalwart Chinese workers took Ghandi’s example of putting his personal self at risk with hunger strikes to protest the exigent human condition in India at the time to an extreme. After allegedly being stiffed on their severance pay when refused raises, they decided to promote themselves to the next realm in a very public way. 300 of them threatened mass suicide according to this article.
Hons, I have to say I find two very extreme points here. On the one hand, here in the U.S., our workers took all of this rather quietly, slipping into that good night of unemployment and COBRA benefits until they ran out, and now half of us are poor. Yet actually, even considering the Occupy Wall Street movement, we are still sadly rather quiet and compliant about the lack of jobs and home-grown industry.
Now, at a much faster rate, the Chinese workers face outsourcing to technology – robots taking their jobs. Foxconn apparently decided to cut off the workers cash flow sooner rather than later, which might have been a little mistake looking at things ruthlessly. The workers responded with a death threat – their own deaths. I am not really educated on their wonderful culture, but I would suspect that this would bring enormous shame to the company.
I have to wonder at these factory owners, company owners, business big shots, what the OWS folks call the 1 percenters – what on earth are they thinking? Who is going to buy their pretty gizmos and frocks and appliances and widgets if we are all either dirt poor or dead? Who will be able to afford those fancy Smart Phones? I ask you!