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Is Overseas Labor Really "Slave" laobor for Corporations?

  1. GA Anderson profile image86
    GA Andersonposted 2 years ago

    The point of corporations, (not just U.S. corporations), using cheaper overseas labor has prompted a common designation that the labor they are using is slave labor...

    I think this is an incorrect description. And I think it wrong because, generally speaking, the description is derived from the fact that this labor source is available for pennies p/hr. compared to 1st world nation's labor costs.

    Of course I have to add the caveat that there are probably exceptions where a particular overseas labor force/factory/region may in fact be true slave labor - as what I think is the general understanding of slave to mean.

    But generally speaking... If a labor standard in a country is 15 cents and hour or a few bucks a day, (just to pick illustrative numbers), and that labor force accepts that standard for in-country production, and is probably glad to be able to get it - why does it become slave labor when they do work that costs ten times more in some other nation?

    Is it slave labor if they are making an in-country branded product that is never sold outside of their country? Like maybe a Vietnamese shoe maker that makes shoes only for the Vietnamese market?  Does it then become slave labor if a U.S. corp likes the product and begins buying it for U.S. sales - with said new demand requiring an increase in production?

    If a labor force is receiving a wage rate comparable to the norm for that industry in their country - why does it become slave labor when the product of their labor is bought by an entity with a much higher wage rate norm?

    If, a corporation from FantasyLand, where a wage rate norm was $100 p/hr shipped their production to the U.S. where the wage rate norm was $20 p/hr - would that U.S. labor then become slave labor?

    Many may not like the fact that cheap labor is hurting our job market, and they may see an inequity problem when something we pay $10 to make can be made with labor only getting paid $1 - but those are separate issues and have nothing to do with the determination to describe cheap labor as slave labor.

    Just sayin' Generally it ain't slave labor, so stop trying to make it look like it is just to validate your angst concerning the reality of globalization.

    GA

    1. Stacie L profile image86
      Stacie Lposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      The term "slave labor" doesn't just apply to the wages, but to the treatment of its' employees.
      Overseas workers work 18 hr or more a day, adults and children alike, under dangerous factory conditions ,without breaks and proper equipment. employees can beat them,force them to live in crowded rooms,and keep their wages without recourse.

      1. GA Anderson profile image86
        GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Since I was speaking in general terms of overseas laborers, and included an admission that extreme examples were sure to be found - do you feel your response is the norm for these foreign workers?

        Many U.S. corporations made overseas labor conditions a deciding factor in their use.

        Here is a tidbit from Nike.inc
        ..."In FY13, 94% of factories went through a full assessment of labor, health, safety and environmental compliance. The remainder reflect the ongoing shift of factories that were in the process of moving out of our supply chain during the year. In FY13, violations were recorded in 16% of factories, a drop from 29% in FY12 -
        See more at: http://www.nikeresponsibility.com/repor … CTnzq.dpuf

        ... then there is Apple.inc
        ..."First, a recap from the FLA. The monitoring organization said it found that Foxconn workers are “largely” not required to work more than a 60-hour work week after the company “significantly” reduced working hours. However, Foxconn fell short in complying with limits on overtime.
        See more at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/conniegugli … -reviewed/

        ***While this is not a glowing report for labor conditions in China - it does show that some U.S. corporations are working to improve those conditions. It seems very likely that without Apple's push for reformed work conditions - the 170,000 workers at the Foxconn facilities Apple uses would be a lot worse.

        There are more specific corporate examples, but it all boils down to this; U.S. corporations have a liability if they knowingly condone the type of labor issues you spoke of.

        ..."The U.S. Trade Act of 1974 defines "internationally recognized worker rights" to include "acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health." The University of Michigan, for example, obliges producers of goods bearing its insignia to respect the core ILO standards and also requires them to pay minimum wages and to offer a "safe and healthy working environment."
        *Note - ILO is the International Labor Organization
        Read more at: http://www.brookings.edu/research/artic … s-burtless

        I know, I know, since when does a law stop a sleazy scumbag from doing what he wanted. But, I don't ascribe to the concept that every corporation is a sleazy scumbag. And, large U.S. corporations face two serious penalties for ignoring it - financial and PR - Apple, Nike, Old Navy, etc. etc. are large enough for their public image to be as important to their success as their bottom line.

        So no, while I agree that there may be many instances of the labor conditions you claim is the norm -  I do not agree that they are. I think, relative to U.S. corporation's overseas labor usages - your examples are the exception, not the norm.

        Any other validations for you acceptance of "slave" as an apt descriptor for the overseas laborers used by U.S. corporations?

        GA

        1. Quilligrapher profile image90
          Quilligrapherposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Howdy Gus. 

          Stacie’s point is a valid one and should not be ignored. The term “slave labor” is not based on a comparison of wages. It stems from the deplorable working conditions under which foreign workers are forced to toil in order to sate America’s gluttony for material goods and our corporate greed for profits far beyond our needs.

          There is no justification in your post for proclaiming your perception is the “norm” nor for brushing her valid point aside as an unimportant “extreme.”

          “Do you feel your response is the norm for these foreign workers,” you asked?

          Of course she does because the evidence overwhelming shows her response IS the “norm.”

          Let us examine the tidbit from the web site http://www.nikeresponsibility.com/repor … Tnzq.dpuf. You seem to be buying into the same pretentious, self-serving public relations gobbledygook that Nike has been hiding behind for years. One only needs to carefully read what they say to penetrate the jargon.

          In the first paragraph they say, “With a total footprint of more than 2.5 million people across our value chain and 1 million people in the contract factories we source from directly, blah, blah, blah.” [Ed.: Underscore added for emphasis.] Take notice that Nike is admitting that only 40% (1 million global contract workers of the total 2.5 million in their “value chain”) actually work “in the 785 factories that we source from directly?” Clearly, their own web site admits, Nike does not oversee, assess, monitor, influence, nor improve working conditions throughout 60% of their so-called “value chain”, only in their “contract factories.” This does contradict the notion they “made overseas labor conditions a deciding factor in their use.”

          Nike goes on to say, “We believe” (a subtle admission that they really do not know the real number) “another half million people work in the factories that make the materials used in our products, and more than 1 million people work in raw material production.” This means another 1.5 million people are laboring under the Nike yoke in facilities over which Nike has no direct influence.

          Now, Gus, please continue reading the remainder of the public statement from Nike. Notice the frequent use of the term “contract factory” (repeated 18 times) and also notice the total absence of any references to subcontractors working for their “contract factories.”  All of that grandiose verbiage applies to only 40% of their global operations. Finally, confirming this very point, Nike says they are unable to control their “contract factories”   because they “usually farm out the production work to a subcontractor.” {1}

          This company has a long and notorious history of tolerating sweatshops and child labor abuses. In the 90’s, their production practices and public image nearly put them out of business. A year ago, physical and verbal abuse at factories making Converse products again put the company in the headlines. Nike admitted finding “abusive treatment,” both physical and verbal, in many of their production facilities. The list of complaints ranged from workweeks that exceeded 60 hours to workers being forbidden to go to the bathroom.

          Is Nike doing a good job managing its own vendors?

          No, not exactly. Nike released an internal report to the Associated Press indicating almost two-thirds of the 168 factories making Converse products worldwide fail to meet Nike's own standards for contract manufacturers. (There is that term again.) Furthermore, another 97 operations are categorized as making no progress in improving problems ranging from verbal harassment to paying less than minimum wage.

          Then there is Apple.

          In 2010, Apple admitted child labor was used in three of its factories. The same year, 18 employees making iPhones and iPads for Apple at the Foxconn factory in China attempted suicide by jumping out of their dormitory windows, 14 died. As part of a totally insensitive reaction, Foxconn made all new employees sign an anti-suicide pledge in which they waived the rights of their families to pursue compensation or to hold the company liable if the employees kill themselves. Only after a public outcry did the company retract the document and put up safety nets below dorm windows instead. {2}

          I wonder how it is possible for anyone to believe Apple wants to interfere with Foxconn’s management. “It seems very likely that without Apple's push for reformed work conditions - the 170,000 workers at the Foxconn facilities Apple uses would be a lot worse.” Ha! Apple’s efforts to improve working conditions in China range from little to less. The rash of suicides, according to The Guardian, “prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to call on Foxconn to improve working conditions. But there is no record of him providing any money to do so, or even relaxing the draconian contractual conditions imposed on Foxconn.” {3}

          I do not see anything in your post explaining “Apple's push for reformed work conditions” nor do I see any indication they made working conditions better. As best I can tell, Apple’s Tom Cook only asked the FLA to explore the working conditions at Foxconn. The report from the FLA indicated Foxconn continues to violate Chinese law and to make employees work excessive hours.

          Then you ask, “Any other validations for you acceptance of "slave" as an apt descriptor for the overseas laborers used by U.S. corporations?”

          You bet there are Gus, hundred of them!

          The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Hanes, Hershey's Chocolate, Phillip Morris, and Victoria's Secret have all been exposed for their use of child labor. {4}

          You can add to that list a Microsoft vendor in China KYE, Forever 21, Aeropostale, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Urban Outfitters. {5}

          Finally, do not overlook the Swiss conglomerate Nestle’s use of child slave labor for harvesting chocolate. {6}

          I suppose it is obvious. I totally disagree with your whitewash of corporate exploitation in the quest to pocket billions in profits from the sweat, and at times, the blood of foreign laborers who literally work like slaves. To characterize abusive labor practices as insignificant and “extreme examples;” to argue in favor of greater and more excessive corporate profits; and to ignore decades of blatant and documented unethical corporate behavior is to portray, nay is to excuse, capitalism functioning at its worst.
          http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg
          {1} http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article … nesia.html
          {2} http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-happen … -suicides/
          {3} http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre … aking-ipad
          {4} http://www.medicaldaily.com/child-labor … bor-246760
          {5} http://www.businesspundit.com/5-giant-c … ?img=42007
          {6}
          http://listverse.com/2013/11/09/10-famo … s-problem/

          1. GA Anderson profile image86
            GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Greetings  Quill, your response was not unexpected.
            I knew I was courting trouble with those specific corporate examples. (particularly the Nike one) And even worse, to refute your points, (which, for the most part are valid), puts me in the precarious position of appearing to defend the tossing of a few crumbs to the peasants. 

            My only hope is that some clarification might be helpful

            To Stacie’s point, I still contend that regarding labor used by U.S. corporations, her characterization is not the norm. At least compared to the conditions of overseas labor  in other non-U.S. involved industries. But you may be right in that my response "brushed aside" her points as "an extreme." I should have been more clear that I viewed her points as an exception rather than the rule in the U.S. brands labor usage.

            That is not to say that these working conditions are not or might not be deplorable – because by America’s labor standards they are. And this quote, ”… in order to sate America’s gluttony for material goods and our corporate greed for profits far beyond our needs.” certainly illustrates the height of the mountain of bias I will be climbing.

            Now, regarding Nike, (I can hear it now, Gus the Breadcrumb man) ;

            "...You seem to be buying into the same pretentious, self-serving public relations gobbledygook that Nike has been hiding behind for years."

            I did not think I was buying into Nike's PR efforts - I just thought I was pointing out that many, (some?) US brands do have an impact improving labor standards compared to non-U.S. brand factories. I was not trying to defend Nike. Hmm... am I fooling myself?

            .... and then came the big <snip> - my response was running to 1000 words when I realized that all I was doing was digging myself a deeper hole - appearing to defend something which it was never my intent to defend. So I <snipped it> and moved on.

            In too many cases working conditions in overseas labor marks are deplorable, especially by U.S. standards.

            But, in searching for data to address your response I did find a common point - most U.S. brands labor sources, (your "contracted factories"), were better, (as in a little less deplorable), than factories used and maintained by in-country brands.

            I am hesitant to use this source, Chinese Labor Watch,  because there is so much in their evaluation criteria I disagree with, ie. anything less than a “living wage” is a deplorable condition. But… they did an investigative report on 10 manufacturers in the electronics sector, (which would apply to Apple and not Nike of course).

            Their results indicated the Foxconn factories used by American brands rated the highest,( avg. 3.8 on a 1 to 5 scale), and the two factories supplying Chinese brands rated the worst -  (avg. 2.4 – 2.5). Which appears to indicate that factories with American brand oversight have better working conditions.

            A caveat to that statement is that even though 3.8 sounds like a decent rating,  in the context of conditions rated - it just means they stink a little less than the worse guys.

            Trying to further refute your specific points – because they are valid in the context presented -  would just be digging that deep hole a little deeper – only compounding the impression that I am trying to defend the crummy labor conditions in most overseas manufacturers. I am not.

            Specifically;
            ” To characterize abusive labor practices as insignificant and “extreme examples;” to argue in favor of greater and more excessive corporate profits; and to ignore decades of blatant and documented unethical corporate behavior is to portray, nay is to excuse, capitalism functioning at its worst.”

            Although I understand the appearance is otherwise – none of the above quote were my intentions.

            My only point is that comparing the foreign standards with U.S. standards is not a valid comparison to use to condemn corporate use of overseas labor. And that I think American brands have caused labor standards to be better than they are in non-U.S. contracted factories.

            If my intention was to deny the labor conditions as discussed, then your response would be  a thorough drubbing – but my contention was that terrible labor conditions aren’t the same as “slave” labor conditions.

            As bad as we might view those conditions to be – “slave labor,” in my opinion,  is not a connotation that fits.

            GA

            1. rhamson profile image76
              rhamsonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              I find it fascinating that this "slave" adjective applied to labor gives you such pause. This has been an eye opener for myself in that while I knew the conditions and especially the Nike references were appalling, I had not thought of all the companies that were mentioned in Quille's post.

              The rationale that American sub contracted companies are not as bad as the domestic Chinese companies with relation to their treatment of employees sounds too subjective to have any legs. What is too bad is the first question and as compared to what is the second.

              I saw a news piece on HBO's "Real Sports" that had a story on labor conditions for Nepalese who are contractually working for Qatar on their World Cup preparations. They have terrible conditions including eight men to a room, two bathrooms for an entire dormitory with no showers, rampant bed bugs and have no say in what they wear, eat and drink. An alarming number of them go home in caskets at a rate of several a week because of the strenuous work in record heat conditions with little or no hydration. I can't remember many of the points but sufficed to say that what I saw was deplorable. I know this is not an American story but I can say perhaps the Nike factories and such in China are not that bad. Maybe that is a rationale.

              The point being "that bad" is a cop out if you look at the grand scheme of things because if there are not bad situations then there are how many worse situations that exist and if little concern then what measures are going to be taken to improve it? Maybe the "slave labor" term when applied to massive corporate profits is what is so distasteful. I know it is as I had watched a boss who refused a raise to a long time (5 years) good hard worker with a family of four watch the boss go out and buy a $120,000 sports car. Mind you the boss was not a corporate executive but a direct owner supervisor. He was also incredulous when the worker quit several weeks later as he found a better job with better wages. That is the advantage we have in America but those whose whole families rely on a slave labor jobs do not have the same choices in job mobility.

              1. GA Anderson profile image86
                GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                You make good points, as did Quill. And I responded poorly, allowing myself to appear to be defending the, as popularly described - deplorable working conditions, and the corporate right to wring out the last drop of profits regardless of the human, (or national economy), costs.

                My original point had nothing to do with corporate profits, the morality of corporate labor strategies, or any of the many criticisms of labor conditions in other nations.

                I think "slave labor" is an exaggerated description. That was my point in the beginning, and it remains so now.

                To decry the sub-standard conditions in other nations, or to take corporations to task for taking advantage of them - are different topics. As you noted in your own response.

                GA

                1. rhamson profile image76
                  rhamsonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  I guess my take on the situation is that through legislation the corporations have been able to engineer an end run around American labor. This cycle that they have gamed preserves our standard and way of life. In the process of getting around domestic labor they have also been able to prosper exponentially using another cultures and capitalizing on their short comings either with an oppressive government or one that at the very least has a poor track record with human rights. Is this who we have become? Gaming other peoples way of life so that we can lose our jobs and get cheap things? It is a moral issue that just casts a sordid light on us as a nation and as a people.

                  1. Old Poolman profile image82
                    Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    Some were also able to buy huge tax loopholes where they can write off expenses and losses in other countries against their US taxes.  I believe GE originally set this up and other companies followed.

                    So now they get very cheap labor and pay almost no taxes.

                  2. GA Anderson profile image86
                    GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    "... Is this who we have become? Gaming other peoples way of life so that we can lose our jobs and get cheap things? It is a moral issue that just casts a sordid light on us as a nation and as a people."

                    Holy cow! You need a pick-me-up. Come on buddy, let's go have a martini or two. It's not that bad. We will get through it, and come out better for doing so. Your lament is the same one most generations have - and we are still here, and a lot better, in a lot of ways, then the old days.

                    Raise your glass, I'm raising mine... Here's to the good, the bad, and the ugly. of yesterday, today, and tomorrow - may our tomorrows continue to be better than our yesterdays. *clink-clink*

                    GA

    2. Old Poolman profile image82
      Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Many things contributed to large Corporations moving their manufacturing to foreign soil.

      Labor Unions in the US just couldn't seem to understand that buyers are only willing to pay up to a certain amount for any product or service.  Beyond that price, they will either not make the purchase or will buy from a cheaper source.  Their constant demands for higher wages and more benefits forced many manufacturing companies to either move their operations or close and lock the doors.

      This country also has the highest Corporate Tax rates of anywhere in the world.  This was another huge part of the decision making process.

      Unrealistic demands by the EPA also factored into these decisions.  (No, I am not a fan of polluted lakes and rivers.)

      Just as with wage variations from city to city and state to state, other countries have a minimum they are willing to work for as you pointed out in your hub.

      Every wage increase is passed on to the consumer if the company wants to stay in business.  Just check the prices at any fast-food joint when the minimum wage is increased to $15 per hour.  You better have at least a $20 bill in your purse or wallet for that beloved burger and fries.

      Of course many will say it is just greed on the part of the manufacturing companies.  In some cases this may be true, but it most it was for pure survival.

      1. gmwilliams profile image85
        gmwilliamsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        +`1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in AGREEMENT, dear sir.

      2. GA Anderson profile image86
        GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        You are right that many things contribute to corporations out-sourcing their manufacturing needs - and I expected this topic to expand to include the more general response of the reasons for it - like yours, but you did not address the correctness of the "slave" designation for the overseas laborers U.S., (and other multinational corporations), use. What say you on that topic?

        But... just a point or two, (just to be picky), the U.S. does not have the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Bangladesh has a 45% rate, and there are a couple three others with a 40% rate. (I told you it was picky) - but you are talking about corporate expatriation there, not just their labor uses. A different animal entirely.

        Thanks for popping in. Get back to me on how you feel about the OP question.

        ps. It was hard for me not to hijack my own thread and engage in a Unions conversation with you - I have similar opinions of the effects of modern day unions. smile

        GA

        1. Old Poolman profile image82
          Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          GA - I apologize for wandering off topic.  I have heard and read things about the poor working conditions and forced overtime in other countries, but have no proof it is true.

          I have held a few jobs myself that were far less than perfect but I was free to leave anytime I wanted to.

          I do know that in Mexico people come from all over Central America to work at some of the US manufacturing plants.  They also live in shacks surrounding the plants.

          I seriously doubt that many of them are being held prisoner and they continue to work for their employers.  That tells me that the pay is most likely better than they can get at other jobs in the same country.

          Bottom line is I don't have enough facts to answer your question.

          1. maxoxam41 profile image79
            maxoxam41posted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Did you read about the living and working conditions of the Chinese working for Apple or were you playing the ostrich?
            Yes, it is easy to give a job when the country experienced full employment, isn't it? And how much was the gallon of milk in your "era"? Why are you comparing what is not comparable?
            What about homelessness in America do you believe it or is it another fiction? Where are all the Unions that fought for the workers? Now it is the voice of the corporations that is heard not the people's.
            No one will find facts if they don't want to!

            1. Old Poolman profile image82
              Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              I guess you have spent a few years working in a factory in China and that makes you an expert on the subject?  I never said they had it easy, I said I didn't know exactly what it was like.  Sorry if I touched a nerve.

              1. maxoxam41 profile image79
                maxoxam41posted 2 years ago in reply to this

                I travelled enough to acknowledge that misery exists. I met a 9 year-old that offered me sex at the entrance of my hotel. Do you call that reality or am fabulating? Many journalists are independent, why not giving them the benefice of the doubt?

                1. Old Poolman profile image82
                  Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  I don't doubt that misery exists nearly everywhere in the world.  I know misery exists right here in our own country for many unfortunate souls.

                  I would guess that many of these workers have the choice of starving to death or putting up with miserable working conditions and low pay, and that is not much to choose from.

                  So what is the answer?  We could stop buying all products manufactured in these modern day sweat shops if we could identify which products these were.  If we did that, what would happen to the workers who chose to work rather than starve?

                  1. rhamson profile image76
                    rhamsonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    You forget a key element in all of this, the outrageous wages that are paid to the executives and the tax dodges the corporations use to circumvent these conditions.

                    http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/c … ortune-100

                    These guys are raping the kitty instead of improving their companies treatment of employees in favor of profits. They skim what they want from the top and dodge the rest of the responsibility other than what the stockholders get. There is so much money that is squirreled away overseas and many corporations who are not in a tax dodging haven are making movement that way as we speak.

                    The answer is not how do we effect the change it is how do we get control of a government that is in their pockets to allow this wholesale rape of the country. If nothing is done and the sleeping worker bees of the country get pi$$ed off enough there may be pitchforks coming for them soon.

            2. GA Anderson profile image86
              GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Have you read about the living and working conditions of the Chinese that were not working in an Apple-influenced work environment?

              Which manufacturing facility do you think those Chinese workers would prefer, one run by another Chinese firm with no oversight of, or motivation to improve, working conditions? Or one that is influenced to improve conditions for the workers - like the Apple contracted facilities?

              Did you know that back in the horse and buggy days horses sometimes wore blinders to keep them from being distracted by anything other that what was directly in front of them? It was a way to force tunnel vision - precluding the awareness of any other aspects around them.

              GA

              1. John Holden profile image60
                John Holdenposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                Bit like workers these days!

                Not so much physical blinkers but the twisting of information and a subliminal caste system exercised in all countries.

          2. GA Anderson profile image86
            GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            No need to apologize. You were close to the topic, and as mentioned I did expect it to expand.  Which is not a bad thing regarding this particular issue.

            You were heading in the right direction in your response - sometimes the reasons are more than just the low direct hourly wages paid. Many times associated service costs are ten times lower too. I recall one poster here that posted an example of an injection mold for a plastics item that cost $5000 as part of a manufacturing agreement, and the same mold would have cost $50,000 from a U.S.manufacturer.

            GA

      3. rhamson profile image76
        rhamsonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        ....Labor Unions in the US just couldn't seem to understand that buyers are only willing to pay up to a certain amount for any product or service. Beyond that price, they will either not make the purchase or will buy from a cheaper source. Their constant demands for higher wages and more benefits forced many manufacturing companies to either move their operations or close and lock the doors.

        I think the labor unions only understood too well that the costs to buy something were astronomical hence a wage to live in these conditions was necessary. Manufacturers in an end run effort wanted to subvert the unions (also consumers) and give the jobs to labor pools that worked for pennies on the dollar. The demands for higher wages and benefits was keep up with inflation and our standard of living. I will grant you that there were conditions that created friction such as job security no matter what the behavior of the union member and time away from work such as exorbitant vacation time and Cadillac health plans not to mention the mob being involved in the equation. 

        ....This country also has the highest Corporate Tax rates of anywhere in the world.  This was another huge part of the decision making process.

        With one of the highest standards of living in the world what would you expect. Since globalization the US has dropped a few notches to number 4.

        ....Unrealistic demands by the EPA also factored into these decisions.  (No, I am not a fan of polluted lakes and rivers.)

        The EPA has a fuzzy way of doing things but any environmental laws would be more than none as in the foreign countries we are to compete with.

        ....Just as with wage variations from city to city and state to state, other countries have a minimum they are willing to work for as you pointed out in your hub.

        Globalization has not worked its whole magic on us. It will not be complete until we have leveled off our standard of living to the countries our labor pool is competing with. Is this where you want it to go bankrupting municipalities and business?

        ....Every wage increase is passed on to the consumer if the company wants to stay in business.  Just check the prices at any fast-food joint when the minimum wage is increased to $15 per hour.  You better have at least a $20 bill in your purse or wallet for that beloved burger and fries.

        Been debunked as the states and communities that have raised the minimum wage has seen significant raise in prices and as a matter of fact an increase in employment as people now can spend more.

        ....Of course many will say it is just greed on the part of the manufacturing companies.  In some cases this may be true, but it most it was for pure survival.

        Survival orchestrated by themselves. In an effort to gain an advantage and game the system by eliminating the US labor expense they are in effect eliminating their customer base as well. It really is a matter of greedy moves for short term profit gains. Eventually it will ruin them.

        1. Old Poolman profile image82
          Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Raising wages to keep up with rising prices seems to be a never ending process.  When wages go up so do prices.  Those who don't get a wage increase suffer the most from this vicious cycle.  Most retirees on fixed incomes don't get cost of living increases, or if they do it is just a token amount.

          So where does it stop?

          1. John Holden profile image60
            John Holdenposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            "When wages go up so do prices."
            It is nothing like as simple as that, increasing wages can increase demand and drive prices down.

            An example. spark plugs in the UK were consistently priced at 5 shillings for almost a hundred years. The relative cost was obviously brought about by increased demand leading to more efficient production but there is no way that the labour price didn't change over that period.
            By your simplistic view the price of spark plugs should have increased to match the increase in wages and not dropped.

          2. rhamson profile image76
            rhamsonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Unfortunately the correction was circumvented by the bail out. You can see that Wall Street has soared in paper transactions but have not resulted in job growth because the banks got huge and can just sit on the trillions made available by the bail out and foreclose on the rest of the sub prime mortgages in foreclosure. They made bad loans, got caught in the middle with derivatives selling, given money by the government, took possession of the houses and nobody went to jail.

            As GA say's I am terribly close to hijacking the topic, yeah I did. I digress and I apologize. The reality of the situation is the unspoken inflation that has always been happening throughout the recession. The result of trying to maintain your standard of living is just to pay for it. Unfortunately with ready access to foreign labor pools the corporations haven't lost a step.

    3. GA Anderson profile image86
      GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I am so embarrassed about the misspelling in the title - Laobor - really? I must have broken the martini breast rule when I posted that one.

      GA

    4. maxoxam41 profile image79
      maxoxam41posted 2 years ago in reply to this

      To that effect I will advise you "Project Censored 2014", it is a book that summarizes all the stories that were gagged by mainstream media and among them Apple's overexploitation of the Chinese people and land. Very interesting.

    5. Sed-me profile image83
      Sed-meposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      We adopted my daughter from China at the age of 10 mos. It was common knowledge that if she had not been adopted by the time she was 10 yrs old, she would be made to work in a factory. Im not sure what other kind of labor I would call it. In any event, being humane must be the priority above making a profit... at all times... in every part of the world.

  2. gmwilliams profile image85
    gmwilliamsposted 2 years ago

    From a business point of view, corporations view seeing overseas labor as extremely cost effective albeit highly profitable.  In their view, paying American workers is highly expensive and thus is not cost effective.  The goal of corporations is to maximize profit pure and simple.  Many corporations outsource to foreign countries just to save costs and their businesses.  They saw the high cost of paying American workers as many businesses went under as a result.   In essence, seeking cheaper labor overseas is a way that corporations can stay in operation.

  3. John Holden profile image60
    John Holdenposted 2 years ago

    Slave owners had an investment in their slaves and therefore clothed, feed and housed them at all times and not just when they had work for them.
    In the event of the employer ceasing to be in position to continue to house and feed the slave, the slave would not be thrown on the scrap heap but sold on to another owner who would continue to feed and house him.
    Might not have been to a very high standard, but it was more than the modern employer sees as his responsibility.. No work and there is no obligation on the employer to feed or house and not enough pay to enable the worker to save to cover periods of unemployment

    I contend that the modern worker is not treated like a slave but worse than the majority of slaves would have been.
    To compare modern workers with slaves is to inflate the position of modern day workers.

    1. CHRIS57 profile image60
      CHRIS57posted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Good point, however somehow sarkastic.
      Workers, slaves and "bad old times" did not have any competition. Todays modern workers do have competition. They compete against mechanization, automation. That leads to an increase in productivity and in most cases modern day workers are invited to participate in productivity gains.
      But then there is labour on a global scale where neither skill nor quality really drive for productivity gains. And these are the T-shirt manufacturing sweatshop jobs in question.

      1. John Holden profile image60
        John Holdenposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Not at all sarcastic.

        Many modern day workers participate in increased productivity by becoming unemployed.

        1. Old Poolman profile image82
          Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          John - You will have to explain that last statement in greater detail for this old man.  How does an unemployed person contribute to increased productivity?

          1. John Holden profile image60
            John Holdenposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Wrong way round, increased productivity contributes to increased unemployment.

            1. Old Poolman profile image82
              Old Poolmanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Got it, thanks.

        2. CHRIS57 profile image60
          CHRIS57posted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Certainly productivity gains per se do not create jobs.
          Sarkasm: That was more about your words on old day slave treatment. Sounds like a machine shop owners dedication to keep his equipment clean and operational. And that compares slaves, human to machines.

          1. John Holden profile image60
            John Holdenposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            I like the analogy between slaves and machines but wonder where that leaves the machine operator?

 
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