"What's morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another": Why Apple Manufactures in China


Tue, Feb 7th, 2012 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Charles Duhigg and David Barboza of The New York Times, Apple is concerned solely with "increasing product quality and decreasing production cost", even if this means building their products in Chinese plants that have a complete disregard for workers' health. It's important to remember, however, that while it's easy to point a finger at Apple and call them "evil", the Western world -- the very one that criticises these practices -- is the one buying their shiny new products in droves.

Some former Apple executives say there is an unresolved tension within the company: executives want to improve conditions within factories, but that dedication falters when it conflicts with crucial supplier relationships or the fast delivery of new products. Tuesday, Apple reported one of the most lucrative quarters of any corporation in history, with $13.06 billion in profits on $46.3 billion in sales. Its sales would have been even higher, executives said, if overseas factories had been able to produce more.

Executives at other corporations report similar internal pressures. This system may not be pretty, they argue, but a radical overhaul would slow innovation. Customers want amazing new electronics delivered every year.

"[...] what's morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that," said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department.



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