Much was commented this week about Apple’s China factories where American’s favorite phone and tablet computers are made.
Being from a developing country myself, I was surprised to see such a big deal made about this “differing” labor practice in such countries when compared to Developed Countries’ practices.
First, because when you compare absolute numbers instead of relative (%), statistics can scare or impress anyone. Take the $1.78 hourly wage and the board figure of $17 a month for example:
$1.78/hr x 40hrs a week x 4 weeks comes to about = $284.8/mo income.
$17 for room for what pretty much looked like my dorm room at University of Tampa, a private university.
$0.70/meal x 90 meals a month = $63/mo for board.
This leaves $204 = 72% of disposable income. My wife has about 50% disposable income (after room and board) and she is the Marketing Director for a private company in Honduras!
When you add to this the fact that this kind of job is a temp job where these Chinese teens will remain for about 3 years to save up as well as gain experience and then move on to bigger and better things, the picture clears up considerably. It’s the equivalent of a job at McDonalds or Burger King! Who in America working at McD’s can tout 72% disposable income!?
Second, because thats how many of American’s consumer products get made: Walmart clothing from the Caribbean & Central America, Dunkin Donuts sugar from Asia, Starbucks Coffee from South America etc. the list goes on and on.
I’m not suggesting there is no room for improvement, but it’s no reason for alarm. If you want to be alarmed, check out factories in countries like Malaysia or Honduras where big companies with solid Social Responsibility Programs like Apple don’t go near!