Another telling sign that our media is too soft on massive electronics companies can be found when you look at financial forecasters discussing the future of manufacturing in China. For example, according to Wired, companies are having trepidations about producing goods in China because of growing unrest amongst laborers. That might sound like a reasonable thing to be worried about, until you find out what’s making the workers restless.
Chinese laborers are demanding more from their government, seeking safer work environments and better pay. Forecasters believe that China will increase the minimum wage of its workers in certain regions by as much as 13.3% by 2013. Companies like Apple, HP, and Samsung have asserted that this rise in wages and the associated cost of bringing facilities to new safety standards could increase the price of their goods.
What strikes me about these companies’ assertions is that labor costs in China are roughly 1/10 of those here in the US. With the average minimum wage in our country around $7 per hour, that means a Chinese worker is being paid in the neighborhood of 70 cents per hour. Yet, companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars a year will raise the price of their goods because to pay a worker more than 70 cents will somehow cause them financial distress. That to make their factories fall in line with safety standards that became commonplace in the US fifty years ago would be a burden to them.
Do we hear CNN or MSNBC phrasing their reports like that? Hardly. Instead, it’s the same stale financial predictions that neglect to point out these glaring truths for what they are. Would an American be more inclined to shy away from a company’s products if the media called them out when they‘re acting blatantly immoral? I’d like to think so. If the news can make the judgment call to condemn murders and rapists without restraint, why should Amazon turning the cheek on child labor be any different?