TED Conversations

Jah Kable

Thinker ready to be unleashed upon the world,

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Why is it OK for corporations to outsource work to countries that violate the corporation's home country labor laws?

Prime Example: Nike and Apple. Paying about 15 bucks a day to KIDS in other countries making their products so they can sell them for a major mark up everywhere. Now If they can make these products for a total of like 5 bucks, why do we pay 100-500 bucks for these things? This just seems greedy to me And seems like it could be a legitimate reason for the recession. GRRRR this is frustrating. They are hoarding so much money they couldn't possibly spend it. Letting this happen is madness. Yet not doing or saying anything is the standard "accepted" action. Like a friend told me "We don't need a revolution because that implies returning to a broken point in the cycle, We need an evolution." Yeah he blew my mind too. :D Keep it clean and friendly everyone. Looking forward to your ideas. Lets get this some traction and change the world.

  • Aug 2 2013: You are right. But what can the customer do about it? It is a clever move of the manufacturers. The relatively high price of our clothes is based on the historic price of manufacturing them here, with high overheads. The manufacturers move overseas they escape all those high overheads which are the reason for the price, have the goods made dirt cheap by exploited labour, and make massive profits. There is a role for govt here, but govt tends to stay sweet with the monied interests. And there is nothing the customer can do to reduce the prices. Perhaps we need more ethical firms - that would introduce customer choice - but most business is run for profit, not for philanthropy. Good comment.
  • Jul 31 2013: Jah, I think it has a lot to do with the definition of the phrase "OK".From a capitalist point of view it is "OK". The manufacturer is maximising the net income. I think it goes against the principles of the World's great religions as well as general philosophical ideals..I feel those who profess belief in such religions, but take advantage of the poor are hypocrates. If we wish to stop such behavior, we must let the world know and stick our necks out. Boycot the stores and tell people why you nare doing so.
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    Jul 30 2013: Outsourcing for sometimes being considered one of the best way of profit maximization, so the corporations are after it.
  • Aug 1 2013: lets switch you question slightly, should american workers in the US be ruled by the Japanese labor laws if they worked in a Toyota Plant?

    I would say no, hence from a legal point of view no the American Labor laws do not apply in Asia.

    On the moral question, I agree something needs to be done but in some countries, if you fire the child or parent, the entire family would starve. If you gave them the minimum wage from the US, they would be robbed as soon as they left the plant. What is needed on the moral issue is bringing up the entire country.
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      Aug 4 2013: That may be appropriate in the long term but the short term indicates that many of these people have gone from no food on the table to enough to feed more than one family. So, in some respect, the increase in jobs over there has elevated the status quota. The disproportions that occur between the wealthy and those who labour appear similar to those in a modern country.
      Of course a major concern with labour in any country is "Child Labor Laws": Wikipedia cast some light on the evolution of these laws in a typical modern country like the United States:
      "...It took the Great Depression to end child labor nationwide; adults had become so desperate for jobs that they would work for the same wage as children.[citation needed] In 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which, among other things, placed limits on many forms of child labor. However, The 1938 labor law giving protections to working children excludes agriculture. As a result approximately 500,000 children pick almost a quarter of the food currently produced in the United States.[4]..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labor_laws_in_the_United_States

      Considering the historical dates I read in this article, still, many modern countries are not far removed from the conditions in developing countries, especially in some agricultural industries. The idea of equity in the markets of the world, between those who make the products and those who reap the profits, are still archaic and primitive, to this day, in both modern and developing countries. We are indeed bold to speak of conditions "over there" when our own back yard is in such dire need of landscaping.

      I would suggest that the evolutionary powers associated with labour in developing nations will follow a similar course as those in modern countries. I don't see a speedy solution.
      • Aug 4 2013: agreed the history of the labor movement in the US and other countries is very long and filled with many injustices. How many realize that the 1st recorded strike was in 1648 or the number of strikes at the coal mines and railroads and how many of these strikes were broken by government troops?

        The triangle fire in 1911 that led to some safety labor laws. 146 women died because the doors were locked and they could not get out. News report said some leaped to their death with their clothes and hair on fire. This is similar to the Bangladesh disaster that happened this year.
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    Jul 31 2013: I get it.

    The fat kitties felt a rumble in their tummies, and then watched the skinny little mice scamper about, hungry in a different way, a desperate way... until one day, one of fattest cats said, "Hey, why don't we use them to make our cheese? Why, they'll be so thankful to get a crumb they'll work for just about anything; it's a win-win!". Of course, the other felines agreed, and so they threw the rats at home in the alley and made shop in the big, wide, wonderful world outside. It was perfect- go to the trailer parks and sing a song so sweet, with the tiny bits of chedder so fine, that they'll beg for the oppertunitiy; meanwhile, the cheese was being decked out by the tons, and the kitties at home were laughing as the plumb little hampsters nibbled away, slowly but surely, to their eventual fate within the bowls of consumption.

    And you know what?

    It sucks.

    But there is very little to be done unless the mindset of consumers change. It's not the corrporations, it's you. It's me. It's our mamas and our daddys, our brothers and our sisters. If you force laws on business, the buisness will find another way to make money, and it may or may not be for the better. The big boys move across the pond because those laws do not exisit, it saves money, and once agian, it saves money. Model it after America and you will find those jobs disappear, that the companies move elsewhere, and that those poor people you speak of now are without any income, and they starve.

    These countries are not america, and to demand assimilation to american standards is both naive and enthocentric. The people need, and more importantly, intensely desire these jobs. It isn't fair that the income is so low, and that the standard of living falls below ours, but I hate to break it to ya, Life Is Not Fair. Fight agianst child labor, agianst mindless capitalism, but fight a fight that will make positive, realistic change.

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    Jul 30 2013: Large corporations look for a way to avoid having to comply with federal standards. Federal standards are put in place for a couple of reasons, sometimes it's because of safety issues for the employees or consumers, sometimes it's to drive away the competition's ability to produce. Either way it costs money to comply and corporations justify off-shore production by claiming that they are financially unable to comply with the cost of production in America.
    However when you employ Americans and pay them a decent wage they have more buying power and can afford to purchase the merchandise at a marginally higher price. Corporations then claim that they need to be able to cut costs because Americans can't afford to pay the higher prices but they first caused that problem and then continually perpetuate it by moving more and more of our jobs overseas.
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    Jul 30 2013: "In Nike' s case, the actual production facilities are owned by South Korean and Taiwanese companies that manufacture the products under contract with Nike. The bulk of Nike products are manufactured in China, Thailand, and Indonesia, though some components or products involving more complex technology are manufactured in South Korea or Taiwan. In 1995, a Korean company opened up a major new facility in Vietnam, giving that country also a significant share of Nike' s production."

    China = 0.80 (US) Thailand = $1.20 (US) Indonesia = 0.62 (US)

    The above represents the average hourly wages in those countries ... at $15 per day that would be $1.87 per hour thus exceeding the average wage for non skilled workers.

    Call it greed, smart management, or what ever you want .... the fact remains that the workers are being paid above the national average and want these jobs.

    As for the price of the product .... I cannot explain why someone pays $500 for a pair of Nike's .... but no one is holding a gun on them to do it.

    Be well. Bob.
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      Jul 30 2013: "the fact remains that the workers are being paid above the national average and want these jobs."

      How could they turn the offer down? The power of the currency is not the same or the poor are being taken advantage of (inequality) within that country and now the businesses piggy back on it, "it is not me it's just the way the country is, look they are happy with what they get".

      "I cannot explain why someone pays $500 for a pair of Nike's .... but no one is holding a gun on them to do it."

      Marketing is the explanation. The lack of education in marketing is what controls marketing. It's like going to a magic show or politics and propaganda in comparison.
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        Jul 30 2013: Since these were national averages, I would suspect that unskilled factory workers average salary is well below the national average. A CEO makes more that a hamburger flipper .. inequality is everywhere. They make more doing this than they ever have before ... they have raised their earnings. So I guess that I do not understand your point.

        Marketing is all about supply and demand. When there stops being a demand they will market a different product that is "in demand". Peer pressure is the biggest marketer. Take your teenager shopping and they will tell you that they will die without ABC pants and XYZ shoes. That they will be the laughing stock of the school ... no dates ... no friends ... you hate me ... and I hate you .. and so on and so forth. Now that is marketing ... no lack of education there ....

        Go down to the welfare office or juvenile detention ... kids that have been on welfare with their parents or in custody are wearing $300 - $500 shoes, $100 dollar pants, and $100 dollar shirts, in addition to having a new car and a bankroll in their pocket ... it is not about lack of education it is about being somebody .... becoming the man .... being noticed .... buying respect within their group / circle.

        Thanks. Bob.
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          Jul 30 2013: Bob, the point I make is they can't get someone flipping hamburgers from the country you and I live in to do it for that price, it is illegal. We can't put a kid to work (illegal) on top of less than min. wage (illegal). So, it's not OK to do in another country. Pay the adults more, 3X at least, so the kids don't have to work at all. Then the competition really comes back plus there is less profit in unnecessary imports just to make a dishonest buck because of the suppression put on these people. A real company would actually still pay their own min. wage to the people overseas to help the citizens of the world. I see a better solution than this but this is where we are at right now in time.

          Again here too, kids do play a major roll in this, I agree. So if we teach the children better about becoming the man/woman (a good person), being noticed, respect within their peers and what that really means, would this not be good education many would agree with? Another thing... are we, as adults (I assume you are an adult), very far from practicing this or is the "American dream" something totally different?
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        Jul 31 2013: Victor, I do not have time to instruct you in economics or business management. I can LEGALLY do business in country X at 0.62 cents per hour. I do not have the issues brought to the table by unions nor the problems presented by MANY government regulations. Your cost is lower and my profit is higher .... and no one is exploited.

        Steve Jobs said it best to Obama ... I tried to do business in the USA ... government regs .. unions ... and a long waiting period to even begin ... big manpower issues, plus much more. I talked to China .. told them I need 1,400 engineers, two factory floors of approximately 7,000 feet each, 10,000 workers. The only question was ... is two weeks okay and do you want it by the sea or inland.

        As to the other issue. I work in law enforcement, at a prison, in government work. Those kids sell drugs, pimp, steal, take cars, etc .... and live on welfare also. They say we are the stupid ones. They make a thousand dollars on a deal in a few minutes ... with little or no education. They can get caught but in a month they make as much as a small business owner (or more) and no overhead.

        The American dream is dependent upon the dreamer.

        See ya. Bob.
      • Aug 2 2013: We had this problem in Britain 19thcentury, didn't we? If child labour is allowed it undercuts adult labour. children are never paid an adult rate, and adults can't get a job, but it is in their interests to have lots of children to send out to work. Our Western solution was to ban child labour, and it worked. Unless the rulers of 3rd world countries also abolish child labour the situation will continue. But again, the politicians and monied interests are hand in glove. They are the ones making money from this and keeping the general populace subdued. And our Western businesses probably don't want the situation changed for the same reason.
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    Jul 29 2013: In the long run, it is better than being protectionist.

    The wages in those countries will eventually go up. This implies that in the end, the world will be more equall and the jobs will go back because of transportation costs going up.

    Of course, this doesn't solve current abuse of global production and trade. And it is not the best nor the fastest route to more equality.
    But then again: if a kid can go to a factory instead of slavery or prostitution, the life situation is already improved.
    If labour unions would encourage fair pay across the globe,... would be a good thing.

    As for how multinationals work: it sees goverments as obstacles, and we would need a stronger united nations that can deal with them.

    If you don't want to support Apple or Nike: there are fair phones comming on the market. There is fair footware.
    Don't buy a brand if you don't buy their policies.
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      Jul 30 2013: What controls the transportation cost? How is this fact? If it would go up, how would this help or hurt the people over seas? And the oil field needs more greed? lol
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        Jul 30 2013: The energy indeed. Oil is still used most (for shipping, flight and trucks).
        There is also the unpaid cost of oil: the CO2 emmission... and that needs a huge amount of money to get it under control. And there is the cost of the driver/people who handle the shipping.
        The price of the end product will go up when transport cost goes up. When the total product cost is lower in your country, you will produce it in your country (or region).

        It really depends how that helps/hurts. but in the end, a reduction in dirty transportation is beneficial to all.
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      Jul 30 2013: Totally agree Christophe.

      I'd like to add that the current abuses depend on the consumer to fix. When a big stink is raised about safe buildings or child labor or sweat shop wages for one company, many others follow suit and a new higher standard is then set. This consumer pressure can directly affect minimum wage standards for an entire country and it was done without involving the bureaucracy of that country. Change can be effected from the outside. It becomes a unifying and equalising force.

      It depends heavily on ethical consumerism.
  • Jul 29 2013: It is not OK, it is just legal.

    I would suggest spreading this idea with pictures and starting a boycott. Of course, it is not just Nike and Apple, it is now almost everything we buy in the USA. Still, a successful boycott of one large company could make the threat of a boycott very powerful.

    A complete solution of this injustice will require some way to replace the lost income for the families of those children workers.
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      Jul 30 2013: To be successful in this boycott we would have to flash the message just as often as the product is marketed I believe. I could be somewhat off because the word of mouth spreads as well. People know these things already but it stays in the back of their minds and unimportant.
      • Aug 5 2013: Very good point - we could contact our friends & family, let them know we're going to be boycotting so-and-so, 'why,' & 'how'.
        And let them know that every time we see one of their commercials, just send them a quick message about the commercial or product-placemnt.
        Hmm, maybe not a polished idea, but a beginning.

        And to Barry: That reminds me of a recent quote I recently found: "All that is good
        is not embodied in the law;
        and all that is evil
        is not proscribed by the law.
        A well-disciplined society
        needs few laws;
        but it needs strong mores." ~William F. Buckley, Jr.
        (I think that's how it goes.)
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    Aug 12 2013: The emergent openness of the crowd will make awareness the primary driver of change, The capacity of the crowd within the cloud to redefine current governmental regulation is nothing short of revolutionary. The commerce of the internet is truly global which suggest labor is global as well. Perhaps there should be a more transparent international labor and trade protocol to allow all people the access and opportunity of global standards of living.
  • Aug 12 2013: The thing is that there will never be law to prevent this (until we all call our selves united states of the world) , the problem is that at the end when you outsource all your jobs abroad to make the profit you will lose your market at home as result of transferring capital to other country.
    And the problem is also in constant demand of profit growth in opposite to constant drop of human values and free time.
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    Aug 10 2013: Because it lowers the bottom line and makes the product cheaper for us the consumers to consume. (Can you tell I'm wearing my homemade mask made of jade when I say that?)
    • Aug 12 2013: no it doesn't, it just increases their profit margin. also if there was no labor outsourcing, more people in this country would have jobs, thus there'd be more salaries paid. and people would be able to afford the higher prices.
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        Aug 12 2013: Do you not know what a homemade mask of jade is?
  • Aug 10 2013: Jah, it's not that I disagree w/ you, but what you are essentially trying to do is take trillions of dollars out of the pockets of big corporations, who essentially have bought the governments of the world. The only way to improve the situation is to do two basic things: a) buy less of the products / services that these industries sell, which means changing the way we educate young people to think about things like Nike shoes, texting, and Big Macs; and b) fight fire w/ fire by creating industries that sell better products that are meant to last longer, like Apple vs. PC laptops. Apple products are more expensive, but they last longer and are mostly not the target of viruses. I've asked techies why hackers don't attack Apple w/ viruses, who say 'people LIKE Apple....'

    Another thing you are fighting is a world-wide campaign against access to good education for ALL. If governments were to invest in addressing any / all learning barriers K to 6, along w/ rigorous & engaging education then everyone would be able think for, take care of, & respect themselves.

    I work in the Mid. East, where many citizens are not educated enough to know that constantly eating Fast Food is not healthy, & where 70% of citizens are overweight (many of whom suffer from medical problems). We could produce healthier foods for everyone, but the profit margin would be lower....not going to happen...

    Acquiring knowledge & critical thinking skills, and valuing hard work & citizenship are the keys to our future but BIG MONEY & POWER are fighting against this--they want young people to learn to become dependent on mostly unnecessary products and 'services', and simply be too dull to question this system.

    We must learn to fight this by being smarter than those who think we are too stupid to understand what is going on--not that hard, but it means a life style change.

    I teach my college students HOW to think not WHAT..

    Keep thinking, questioning, learning, and getting smart. Prof. Schneider
    • Aug 12 2013: i personally try to buy less from the companies that pull this, but they've done pretty well to make sure there really are no other alternatives. buy from somewhere you think is honest and find they're a subsidiary of a big multi-national, or they don't have the goods you need or don't service your area, and then even if you do find a place the only way you can pay them is thru using the services of a big multi-national who take their cut. also they collectively pay very poor salaries to the majority of their workers, so most people just can't afford to shop somewhere that doesn't exploit, and people can't create industries because first they need funding and no-one's going to give it to them because they'll be working against one of their partners, and even if they do get started they'll be manufacturing at a disadvantage because the big manufacturers have already lobbied for tax breaks that the start up won't get.
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    Aug 9 2013: Hey there Jah Kable
    Short answer: It is NOT OK. If you want to know HOW it happens, I think it might be instructive to revisit Bucky Fuller's "Grunch of Giants," or even his "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth." In those books he does suggest ways to evolve or get traction by re-conceptualizing wealth and big picture orientation.

    Since a solution will be situated within the problem, maybe the self-reliant form of the question is: do I want a happy life or a meaningful one? Revenge does not produce either.

    Perhaps compassionately working in the service of humanity is evolutionary enough.
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    Aug 8 2013: "Outsource" as used in this question is essentially the same as "ordering," which is essentially the same as "importing," "buying" and "trading." The question really suggests that we should not order, import or buy from, or trade with countries that do not have our labor laws. The result of that policy would be havoc in both worlds.

    Labor laws in some countries include a mandatory paid 5-week vacation for all workers, or a 38-hour work week. There are lots of OSHA safety laws specific to handling, storing, and transporting various materials. In the US, labor laws may vary from state to state. Must a client country copy all these? You probably have in mind certain labor laws, though you don't specify which. You refer to pay, but as for your example ($15 a day), that's more than most people make in many countries. If you offer to hire someone for $15 a day they'd be overjoyed. You also mention KIDS, and that's a serious issue. But the problem isn't that kids work, but the conditions they work under. My father grew up on a small family farm, and all the kids did work as soon as they could carry a shovel. That's how it still is in most places in the world. Kids can help to contribute economically to the family, but only under proper conditions.

    Conditions under which we are willing to trade with another country are specified to a degree in trade agreements. The problem is often that many countries fail to supervise or enforce the agreements. Our commerce department needs to do a better job insisting on enforcement, and I think they're a proper target for protest.

    If you buy food, you're buying from countries with all sorts of lacks in their labor laws. Think about giving it up.

    Outrage over profit margins is misplaced. If I can pick up river rocks for free and sell them as "pet rocks" to fools for $5 apiece, that's great. It circulates unused money. If Nike can sell a sneaker for $500, I can only repeat, "A fool and his money are soon parted." Solution? Fewer fools.
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    Aug 8 2013: It's terrible and it never should have been allowed to happen in the first place.
  • Aug 6 2013: I am an insider to outsourcing. I am working in service sector. I’ll try to correlate the scenario from my Industry’s point of view. Consider a scenario where all the Jobs/industries/services are present locally. Means we are not exporting or importing anything from outside. Now consider following outcomes derived from this condition.
    • The cost of same job done in developed world (US/ Western Europe) is approximately 6-7 times (if not more) than the same job done in third world country.
    • Raw material/ resources taken out of these third world countries are at very very low prices (may be 10-15 times cheaper. Don’t get shocked, it is reality).
    • Now If product and services are done locally, cost will increase with same ratio as the cost of labor and raw material. Say cost will increase around 8 times of current cost of importing things/services from third world countries.
    • Sellers cannot increase price by 8 times so they have to sell things at competitive prices. So lets assume they’ll increase the cost of goods by 4 times and reduce their profit margins by 4 times.
    • Now things are costlier by 4 times and profit margin of corporations is decreased by 4 times and salary of workers are as it is currently. (if corporation are not reducing salaries to increase their profit).
    • As cost are increased and profit margin of corporations is decreased, the tax paid to govt will be decreased by 4-6 percent. Say 5 percent.
    • Now assume that currently cost of living is divided into two halves 1.Services/goods currenty produced locally (house/medical/someproducts) and 2. Services/goods imported (most of stuff we buy from super market, services which include software / back office jobs including customer care or tech support :) ).
    • Say these two portions are 50-50%. Local stuff remains at same price but cost of other half will increase by 4 times. Therefore total cost of living will be increased by 2.5 times.

    • Aug 9 2013: Let me get this straight, you are saying that manufacturing abroad can increase the corporations profit by 400% and/or reduce the cost of the item. This will significantly increase corporate tax revenue in this country.

      Yet many others are complaining that these corporations are using overseas shell companies to hide profits so that they pay 0% in taxes. How is it that companies that sell billions of dollars of goods imported from overseas to the US pay 0% tax revenue. And, if that is the case then isn't the logical thing to do to put a stop to this practice?

      According to your logic we should support this practice because we will get more tax revenue. If the premise is false the conclusion is false.
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    Aug 5 2013: It is unfortunate that there aren't laws in place that prevent American companies from being accountable for the work conditions in the factories that make their products in other countries. This is aggravating as there are many other laws that do apply to American companies and how they conduct business in other nations. Since it is unlikely that our government will be able to swiftly create laws that appeal to this problem as consumers we can make ethical choices and insist that companies ensure the ethical and humane treatment of factory workers. The consumer shares equal blame if they choose to continue buying such products. If you are not part of the solution, you are probably part of the problem. COmpanies like Apple and Nike can improve these working conditions and still earn a strong profit. In the process this is also likely t help with the quality of the products as well. Although I must disagree that this contributed to the recession as these products actually maintain consumer spending. The financial crises is attributable to the banks and that is a separate issue that needs to be addressed as well.
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    Aug 4 2013: For our friend John. It seems you are the eternal optimist, fantastic! I like optimists. As a rule,I too am an optimist. I can be a hard nose when it comes to competition, and getting off ones derrière to make a buck when the chips are down. I have to tell you John we've had Nafta, and Cafta for a while now. The only people that have benefited from it, are the multinational conglomerates who have done their best to destroy the sanctity, and security of the American work place. They used it under previous administrations, and todays congresses to destroy unions, pensions, and workers rights across the board. Who would think they would do such a thing huh? They're exercising a deliberate campaign to literally outsource the middle class to death. They have been, and continue to be engaged, in an all out, neofascist effort to destroy unions, and thereby decapitate the remainder of middle class political power. They have used the deliberately orchestrated financial crisis to steal trillions of dollars from Americans citizens, and investors around the globe. I'm not here to push for closed markets. I'm not here to call for protectionism in general. What I am here to say is this. Baby Huey is the (American worker), not the corporate syndicate, the industrial complex that serves only Wall Street. Those guys are doing just fine thank you very much. Corporate profits in the last three years are up by 30+%. Yet we have a supposed progressive president saying he's willing to "make a deal" to cut corporate taxes, when companies like GE get away without paying any income tax with a $30 billion profit? Meanwhile "certain types" want to throw millions of working single mothers off food stamps. (Baby Huey),the (American worker) i'm sorry to say is like a prize fighter who's punch drunk. Eventually, that Baby Huey, is going to realize he's not a chicken, but a big golden goose, and start kicking some corporate butt. I love business. I love competition, but on a level playing field.
  • Aug 4 2013: There are many factors involved in outsourcing. Some times, it is on a borderline of business ethics. In general, outsourcing is about cost arbitrage. It presumes that that this arbitrage is at same living standards and is due to comparative easier availability of necessary resources incl. manpower, material or money. However it is not a reality. Arbitrage is due to poverty, population, governance and such interlinked aspects.

    Choice is difficult. If companies limit the outsourcing, potential improvement in the developing countries will also be affected. At the same time, increasing some price of their products & services will make their boards unhappy. May be taking a combinational stand by the companies - mix of business and really good change - may improve the situation a bit. Not outsourcing all of the business means existing factories continue to work and do not destabilize any economy.
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    Aug 4 2013: It's interesting to note, that when a corporation's PR division states they are supportive of elevating the general population in a modern developed country, expanding jobs, education, etc, we see their examples for our future in the developing nations as a different sort of animal.

    PR is just another label for deception and deceit.

    Then again, we must look at the economics of other countries and the cost of living there. If these corporations can pay less and the labourers can still maintain a base level life style, then how bad is it? Why can't we live a similar level of lifestyle in a modern country?

    To truly explore this question, we need much more information.
  • Aug 4 2013: Corporations (at least of the US kind that seem to be spreading everywhere like a wildfire) are culture- and nation-neutral superficial creations. Just dial some history of Byzantium (where war bonds issued by guilds/aka corporations were invented) to see for yourself. Or West Dutch India Company. Or British Indies.

    Shareholders seem to be the major evil, but not only them. It is a complex combination of greed, irresponsibility and ignorance that makes them dangerous not to all, but to themselves as well. Many a corporations folded exactly because they failed to reflect on their past and took steps to align their actions with their surroundings/environment. Essentially, corporations are the modern equivalent of castles, complete with phony overlords, their goons and parasites that live off them. Names and titles are unimportant, actions speak for themselves.

    Is there a better way? Many ways, in fact. First, corporations that lost their self-control should be reined in and shown their proper spot in the society at large - they are part of the foundation of the society and nothing more. Second, ungodly alliance government/corporations should be properly split into profit (corporations) and non-profit (government), just like church has been divorced from the government during the early stages of the US history. Third, society should start working on its asabya, solidarity, which should encompass all the classes regardless of the power they wield. Common goals will mean solid society. Both people and organizations, not only organizations and then maybe some people if organizations allow so.

    But of course, nothing of this will happen any time soon. Given the circumstances, we should consider ourselves lucky if corporations don't force a major world war between classes. Classes, not merely countries. Class war is what they create and like to see going on forever. Shades are unimportant, it could be oil war, could be gold war, could be slavery war, etc.
  • Aug 3 2013: In Australia too many jobs going off shore and now we are rising unemployment. If you lose your job over 50 impossible to get another. A lot of pensioners/students could have done these jobs part time to help meagre pensions.

    That said I speak with my Telco guys in India and they tell me the call centre jobs we have given them have supplied thousands of jobs to the poor classes of Indians making their lives much better. $15 bucks a day is like $80 in their currency so does provide a 'decent' income and they are employing some women.

    Companies must pander to shareholders, who want returns for their superannuation funds to live on when retired is why we pay so much for these things probably ? A vicious circle.

    The collapse of the clothing building in Pakistan was a disgrace and blight on the human race. It is Pakistan who must get tough on outside companies and up the pay and conditions for their people.

    Next ....why is it that people in these countries go to work in such places ? Answer better than starving to death on the streets or being sold as domestic/sexual slaves to the west.

    My view is the world is not infinite and our population is 7 Billion today by 2050 12 billion people. Solution less children being born to suffer poverty, desperation, child gangs, slavery and abuse.
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    Jul 31 2013: I appreciate what everyone is posting and love all the ideas but now i realize i have another question. Why are profits more important than a persons rights or the welfare of your country?
    If we didn't outsource so much in the USA we probably wouldn't be in the huge deficit we are in today. Now with that being said please continue the conversation. :D
  • Jul 31 2013: Yes, OK. It is legal, in accord with corporate aims (low costs, bigger business, profit) and customers accept it, apparently. Including profit margin described in question. Corporations are here to satisfy demand and make profit. That´s what they do in this case and that´s why it is OK.

    It does not seem to be OK that some kids must work (for 15 bucks). I don´t believe they wish to. It seems to me that they really need those money. But without Nike and others they would have 15 bucks per hour less...
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      Jul 31 2013: " But without Nike and others they would have 15 bucks per hour less..."

      What is this a laughing stock? This is per day...$15/DAY = $1.87 per hour if ...IF this is 8 hours of work per day.

      Please, someone help me find the humanity in people. Maybe it's just the people within my country? I don't know.
      • Jul 31 2013: Sorry, you are right, my fault. I am not from your country and dont know how to help you.

        Our minimum wage is about 2,66USD per hour, average 6,6, just to compare.

        Btw, I found humanity in many including myself. In this case, cannot see anything better than to give people work. Any work for any money they are willing to work for. At te same time, we can feel sorry for working children and talk about it but it will help them less than $1.87 per hour .
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        Aug 4 2013: Victor, I can live my everyday life on $15.00 a day. It's not that hard. In fact, as a hippy, I did it on less many years ago. A four day supply of healthy dry beans only cost $1.30. a bag of flour $1.60. Salt and pepper can be found at any restaurant. People are very charitable in the the US, especially religious people. Fish and frogs can be found in many places, along with clams, oysters, crabs, etc along the coastal regions.

        If you don't see that many people dying of hunger and exposure along side the roads you travel, why be concerned?, Why claim there is a problem? How many did you you see yesterday in your travels?
  • Jul 30 2013: Wonderful question. The old time barons started to make money, and finally figured out that if your employees couldn't afford your product, it was a problem. Ford, Hershey, and Kraft are three I will use. My family worked for Kraft for over the entire period that it has existed, and they took care of their employees because it made sense. The product, and the name, meant family, and the business was a baby to the CEO. I remember when my father used to tell me he,[ Mr. Kraft] would say, "the cost doesn't matter, if it tatse's good, they will buy it." That all went out the door sometime in the middle 70's when the bottom line became King. No more real sugar, lets use corn sryup, no more real cream, lets use whey product, and it continued to degrade. The bottom line is all that counts today, the name, or product is no longer thought of as a "Baby" by the CEO's, their profit comes before all else. It totally makes sense if you realise that humans are basically asses, and that they are totally self centered. It Takes true genius to create a product, factory, and look into the future for it's safety and continuation. There are a few still standing, but decline is going to happen, because, money has become king.
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    Jul 30 2013: Because we live in a corporate neofascist state. There is no longer a functioning democracy. It is a giant staged performance, to placate the peasants, a facade to deceive the world community. The lives, and needs of average citizens, who aren't really citizens anymore, but (disposable corporate resources), have no meaning, little power, and no say, in anything, any more. Capital knows no boundaries, no law, and no longer faces the pains of (moral hazard), a simplistic outdated concept in a world where they control the legislatures, the laws, the courts, the prisons, the military, the intelligence apparatus, and the media. They do it (because they can)! Sadly their plan of defunding public education,ripping off college students on loans, sterilizing the evening news,filling the airways with hateful divisive propaganda, has done it's job. They have successfully buried the American middle class in a desperate survival struggle, and corporate confusion to the point where they're incapable of serious resistance. I hope the young people will think of the men that stormed the beaches of Normandy, and Iwo Jima. That is the depth ,and scope of the battle they have ahead of them, against the forces of neofascism, ignorance, and international cartels. Criminal thugs who will stop at nothing to control, and enslave are in charge now. I believe the analogy popular today is (WhacK A Mole) I hope i'm proven wrong. It isn't pessimism, for I have always been an optimist. It's reality.Napoleon use to tell his men; "don't come to my tent with good news until the battle is won". "If I don't know our weaknesses, and the enemies strengths, I cannot defeat them."
    • Jul 31 2013: While corporations can be made subject to laws, the punishment for violation is usually a negotiated fine. Corporations recognize only one true law. They must make a maximum profit. Fines for dumping poison in streams are merely a cost of business. If more money is saved by dumping than the cost of the fine, plus the cost of approved disposal, then dump they will. To do otherwise will actually lay management open to shareholder lawsuits for failure to maximize profits. They cannot help it, they are just designed that way. You might as well pass a law demanding leopards no attack underage deer. The same application goes to treatment of employees. If the cost of lobying Congress is less than raising minimum wages, then Congress will be lobbied. If there is some other way arround raising wages, they will take it. In the early '70's Cngress took a blind eye to illegal cheep workers from Mexico. Ronald Reagen proposed more "lega; guest workers" who could work for less than min. wage. This was supported by the lobies for the manufacturers. Those same lobbies work for pharmecuticle companies, for-profit Hosp. and Insurance co. It is a simple risk-cost-profit analysis.
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        Jul 31 2013: Sadly my friend this is our current reality. It is an abomination of the highest order. The fines levied against massive multi billion dollar companies that destroy our most precious resources amount to a slap on the wrist,and a slap in the face of the people, and the generations unborn who will deal with the poison legacy of their crimes. There should be an international tribunal to deal with special crimes across borders. Bring justice for environmental crimes specifically, with the power to seize bank accounts, and other assets. You must go after he money or they will continue to destroy, pillage, stall, and divert attention. Another abomination is to paint people like me as anti business, anti free market, leftists. That is an insult beyond description. Most people that I know who share my view are absolutely in favor of free markets, competition, hard work, all the things essential to a healthy economy. Unfortunately the powers that be in today's world, no nothing whatsoever about free markets, but a great deal about monopoly, de' facto monopoly, and bribery.
    • Aug 2 2013: I agree with you, though I think you've got off the thread a bit. If you haven't already read "The Global Class War" by Faux, I think you will enjoy it. Keep your chin up.
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        Aug 2 2013: I certainly will read The Global Class War. I'm not sure we're off thread though Clair. The old saying goes (when your a hammer everything looks like a nail) It refers, of course, to the concept of people not seeing the bigger picture when trying to fix a problem on a smaller scale. It's a problem of perception, and relative understanding. Radical misguided economists have turned theories of laissez faire into fanatical religious devotion. It's like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Free markets are a wonderful concept both on paper, and in reality when and if they actually exist. Most of us have never seen one. What the models in the halls of academia, and think tanks of fools fail to equate is the massive upheavals, and human suffering caused in pursuit of profit by giant multinational entities. They do not suffer the slings, and arrows of (moral Hazard) We are awash in a system of structured systematic (non accountability) That's a fact. Until giant multi billion dollar corporations feel the heat, and are brought to their knees to bend to the will of the democratic societies they operate in, we will continue to face economic, and environmental disaster.
        These entities, and in fact all human beings do not exist in a vacuum. What they do, what they extract, what they leave for waste, all has consequences for the planet, and society. Until we force these giants to share a substantial part of the wealth they generate, we will continue to suffer, and destroy. When an entity becomes so large, so powerful, and so destructive that they become a (de facto corporate nation state) then they must be dealt with far more harshly ,and made to pay handsomely for extraction of resources, pollution, and human capital. There must be a measurement
        system to quantify environmental damage more accurately, and human suffering must be compensated fairly. Today it's a joke. They are raping us blind.
  • Jul 30 2013: I think some of the posters here are missing the point.
    Regardless of what they say, it is all empty rhetoric
    and perhaps trying to sound intelligent.
    The answer to your question is simple.
    It is NOT okay for corporations to do what your topic question asked.
    It is not okay.
    If people (and their comments) cannot begin there, then they have truly lost their sense of moral direction,
    belief, conviction and trust in any kind of truth whatsoever and have given up on all they once believed in.

    Being legal is also not a reason. It is a cop out from morality on the part of those who are involved
    with such things. They change the laws to support whatever it is they wish or decide to do.
    If it isn't clear by now, that the People need to "take away their power", then I guess it never will be.
    There will only be discussions such as those here on Ted, getting nothing done.

    An example in the news today is the U.S. judge who ruled that "proof of harm done" by someone
    suspected or charged with supposed espionage, is not required to enact the Espionage Act!

    Well, one should certainly be able to see where this is leading and that is to not even have to prove someone is guilty
    of a crime in order to then completely destroy their life.
    And that has been happening for sometime now. One no longer needs to be actually guilty of something, but in order
    for their world to be turned upside down and ruined, they only need to become a suspect in a system that spies on
    everyone and makes everyone a suspect by default.

    Good luck with that system.
    Intellectually discussing it is morally approving it.
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      Jul 30 2013: "Regardless of what they say, it is all empty rhetoric"

      • Jul 31 2013: What does that mean?
        That thing at the bottom?
        Are they your glasses?
        True, I am nowhere near as smart as you or as most posters here.
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          Jul 31 2013: actually you tell me what the heck the quote is supposed to mean. in a debate, it is generally advisable to consider what the other party says. dismissing it before the words are even uttered renders the entire discussion useless. i mean, why would i present any thoughts if you already boxed them as "empty rhetoric"?

          this is nothing new though. i see that reverse logic everywhere. some people start with the assumption that they are right. then conclude that any opposition obviously must be false. the only thing in question is how they are false. this attitude is as arrogant as fruitless.
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    Jul 29 2013: okay, why don't you buy cheap shoes, and donate the difference to some charity organizations?
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      Jul 30 2013: Because he can see the major flaw in capitalism. Nike's are cheap shoes! Just like every shoe is or can be. You just don't get it, do you? Pull the market back together for everyone. Bring in the boundaries if that can even be accomplished anymore.
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        Jul 30 2013: in this case, buy nike shoes, and send the difference over to the workers. be a little bit creative, you don't need guidance for everything.
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          Jul 30 2013: That is a very creative idea, lol. Maybe Nike could run that in their marketing ads! "Buy our shoes and please send an additional $200 minimum to the suppressed workers we have overseas making your shoes for the best shoe made just for you". NIKE "just do it"
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        Jul 30 2013: have an actual point, or just goofing around? in what sense those workers are suppressed?
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          Jul 30 2013: Totally goofing around here as you are, so...you wouldn't mind being in or trading your shoes for theirs then wouldn't you? Maybe your 6 year old child can help as well and I run the show and you watch how I live. Hey, at least I'm giving you and your child an "opportunity", eh?
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        Jul 30 2013: i'm not goofing around, and also don't have time for those that are
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          Jul 30 2013: Dumb Q=Dumb A with explanation added and question. Why would anyone goof around about this? Obviously, I can not get you to understand even if I put you in their shoes! Do you have any kids my friend? If so, would you want them and yourself slaving over $5 shoes to make and $150 (I don't know, what in this hell does a pair of Nike shoes go for?) to be sold in your so called global "free market"? I'll answer this dumb question for you: No, you simply WOULD NOT. These corporations (lol, not people) don't know tenderness from a can of beans.
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        Jul 31 2013: just to make it clear, maybe it will change your mindset, probably not. it is not you that want to make me understand something. i understand how it works, i studied it. it is my attempt to make you understand something. the conversation reopens as soon as you realize that.
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          Jul 31 2013: So, you studied humanity? WOW! Apparently it didn't get you anywhere. Maybe an overdose of TV? I'm done here Kris. You take the last word.
  • Jul 29 2013: The corporations do what ever gives more profit and no one blames them for it, I mean we have a free market. Thats okay, the corporations are not the root of the evil, they are just the symptoms.
    To ensure that children and/or adults are not exploited in the process of making that product, we have to forbid importing goods from other countries, which is impossible.
    Or we have to ensure world wide enforcement of western labour laws, which lies in the distant future.
    Or we accept that this is a problem made by the western consumers. Because there are fairtrade seals out there, but now one cares as much about that as about the newest trend. We have to reeducate ourselves and start caring about the effects of our consumer behavior. On a broad scale this will change the society and the world. BUT it is really hard and i feel like a hypocrite for saying that, because I don´t live like that myself.