No Recovery, No Jobs, Part Three
Posted by politicalpartypooper on April 29, 2010
Continuing my series about what caused our economic collapse, when it actually began, and why the “Recovery” will remain a jobless recovery until we reverse the effects of Free Trade and the outsourcing of jobs by America companies, allow me to present Exhibit A: Apple, Inc.
You read that correctly. Most of American sweetheart Apple’s manufacturing takes place overseas, especially in China, where labor is dirt cheap, young and workers don’t talk back, or complain about sixty-hour-work-weeks. And why does Apple manufacture overseas? Because the US gives them tax breaks to do so, and the World Trade Organization gives them subsidies for employing third-world labor.
That iPhone you just had to have? Made in China. That brand new too-cool-not-to-own iPad? Not Made in America, like Apple claims. Nope, it, too, is made in China. Why? Because even though Apple is a premium company which charges and gets premium DOLLARS for its products, apparently they are also a company that believes in paying its employees almost nothing.
A study completed by the Personal Computing Industry Center at UC-Irvine showed that wages paid to non-US workers for production of the iPod in 2009 was $90 Million. Those wages were paid to 19,190 employees, for an average annual wage of $4,689.
I didn’t forget a zero at the end of that average wage. It really is $4,689.
Yet another source, Harvard Business Publishing, calculated that iPod prices would not differ greatly were Apple, Inc. to manufacture the iPod in the US. Two examples display this perfectly, at the high-end and low-end of the price differential between manufacturing overseas (China) and here in the US. The Apple iPod Shuffle 1GB sells for $79 currently, and as manufactured in the US, would sell for $108, a 37% differential. If all Apple products had that kind of differential, you might understand why they manufacture overseas. However, the Apple iPod Touch 32GB sells for $399 as manufactured in China, whereas it would sell for $428 if it were manufactured here, only a 7% differential. The estimated costs of labor in the U.S. and China are $24.59 and $1.47 per hour, respectively. At those rate differences, this isn’t about Capitalism, it’s about slavery. It turns out that the higher the price of a good manufactured by Apple, the less of an effect the cost of labor has on it. Which begs two questions; why is Apple selling America out, and why isn’t the media saying anything about it?
I am going to give you some homework, now. Don’t worry, it’s nothing difficult. Your assignment is to Google “Apple factories”, and see what you find. It’s guaranteed to change everything you thought you knew about Apple, Inc.
Tax breaks for Apple to create jobs overseas. Subsidies from the WTO for creating jobs overseas. Child labor. Near-slave labor. Sixty-hour work weeks. Toxic working conditions.
How badly did you want that iPad? Badly enough to be willing to kill for it or endorse child labor or slavery? That’s what you’re doing when you buy an Apple product made overseas.
Could moving those jobs back to America keep Apple competitive? If their product is as good as they claim, they’ve proven an ability to charge almost any price for it, and get it. The faithful will continue to buy Apple’s products presumably no matter what. There is no doubt that if Apple moved its factories back to the US, prices would increase. But the percentages shown aren’t anything at all like what I expected. I have no doubt that Apple could continue sales growth at its current pace even charging ten to fifteen percent more than it does now. They make cool stuff. It works. People will pay premium dollars for it.
After reading this article, will you?