High-tech Plantations

Posted on January 22, 2012 by

From Market Ticker:

“We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers,” a current Apple executive said. “The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”

What Apple (and other companies) want are employees that are housed in dormitories, can be roused at midnight to work a 12-hour shift on demand fueled with only a cup of tea and a ten cent biscuit, paying them $17/day.

THAT is what Apple and these other firms demand.

It is absolutely true that America cannot fill that demand, because at one dollar an hour you can’t manage to put the food on your table for a family of four, say much less pay rent, electricity or gasoline for your car to get there and back!

“We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”

That’s absolutely true.  But America remains a monstrously-large market and America has no obligation to let you bring products into this nation without tariff or impost while you exploit the existence of authoritarian governments and environmental arbitrage.

A 100% tariff on all of Apple’s foreign-produced or assembled products should make the decision easy — is this really about the availability of a workforce, in which case it would not matter to Apple, or is it really about state-sponsored enslavement and exploitation?