If you did read the comments to the article from readers in China, were you surprised at all?
I would expect any Chinese reader even a reader of the NYT to support, even celebrate, the achievements of manufacturing in China. The following reaction is illustrative of this perspective and its an argument often used in this country to defend so-called Right to Work legislation. If one drives up the cost of labor by protecting workers, fewer workers (rural migrants) will be employed. The poor will lose out whenever labor laws regulate working conditions. (To review, a prominent part of the NYT story was the availability of thousands of workers on short notice in the middle of night.)
If more rigorous labor protection standards and 8-5 working time protocol are being strictly executed, we can expect a plunge of the workers’ wages. If labor organizations with monopoly rights are established, those rural migrant workers who cannot find a position in the organization will be forced back to their hopeless villages. Manufacturing costs in China will increase in other ways and therefore harm its competitive advantage. Under such conditions, huge companies and advocates get to harvest their reputation and sense of achievement, but who else will get the real profit? — YeyeGem
If people saw what kind of life workers lived before they found a job at Foxconn, they would come to an opposite conclusion of this story: that Apple is such a philanthropist. — Zhengchu1982
Without Apple, Chinese workers will be worse off. I hope China can some day soon have dozens of its own companies like Apple, who (only) work on high-end research and development and send manufacturing lines to Africa. — Anonymous
From the other side –that there is an other side surprised me — come critical comments and moral judgments that will eventually lead to laws that protect workers, assuming that such laws are not already in place and unenforced. The trade-offs (some migrant workers return to their villages) implicit in labor market regulations will likely require more democracy in China. The germination of the critique of unfettered capitalism within today’s most successful capitalist country is added proof that free market capitalism is intolerable over the long term.
Even though Apple should be ethically condemned, the key point is: whether the working conditions inside the factories are supervised by law. This (supervision) is the duty of judicial officers and labor unions. Now everything is driven only by G.D.P., so which government official would dare supervise those companies? They (the governments) have long reduced themselves to the servant of the giant enterprises. — Occasional Think
There are two stories about Apple: one is about its brilliant business performance, and the other is about the blood and sweat behind Apple miracles. I strongly recommend that all Apple fans read this. Corporations should bear social responsibilities, and customers should also understand and be responsible to the society. —
I’m very upset after reading this. This is a universal problem, not only Apple’s. Apple cannot manage its suppliers to fulfill their suppliers’ social responsibilities. This is out of Apple’s business control. There’s no difference between those workers and the ones suffering serious mental stress. They have to work overtime until midnight as well, though they are sitting in the office. But seriously, it’s very uncomfortable to sit in front of a computer all day. — 艾咪莉王建秀