Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What it takes

What it takes

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Underneath the eruptions of news from South Carolina to State College, the broader trends that really shape our day-to-day world grind on. The most important story in any paper today is arguably this one in the New York Times, which probes why Apple doesn't manufacture its products in the United States.

It's not a pretty picture:

Then a bid for the work arrived from a Chinese factory.

When an Apple team visited, the Chinese plant’s owners were already constructing a new wing. “This is in case you give us the contract,” the manager said, according to a former Apple executive. The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory. It had a warehouse filled with glass samples available to Apple, free of charge. The owners made engineers available at almost no cost. They had built on-site dormitories so employees would be available 24 hours a day.

The Chinese plant got the job.

“The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.”

The gist is that globalization demolished a century of progress here in America for workers' rights. The solution to the death of manufacturing in this country is not Rick Santorum's no-tax proposal. It would be workers crammed in dormatories and working 12-hour days in a hazardous plant for something well below the current minimum wage.

The 19th Century is victorious, after all.

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Will Bunch
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