Monday, September 13, 2010
The Selfless Psychopath.
What is China's famed growth and prosperity built on? For that matter, upon what foundation rests Dubai's once vigorous economy? They were both built on the same platform that the United States' storied nineteenth and early twentieth century economic growth rested upon, namely that of an army of mostly powerless, defacto indentured, and, quite often, just plain, old, slave labor. They say there is honor among thieves. I wouldn't know, but it's my view that there may be more honor, and certainly heaps more dignity, and freedom, at least until one is caught, being a petty thief in China than working for some charnel house like Foxconn.
It's interesting to note the similarities for the average Joe and Josephine Chin under capitalism compared to life under another oppositional ism spawned by Karl Marx. Both socioeconomic orders featured, and this may be a peculiarly Chinese trait, or not, big bosses-you know, the ones with immense authority, power, and, of course, big time perks-who seem to instinctively paint themselves as mere humble servants of the social order, working for the greater good, unconcerned with their own prosperity.
As Foxconn boss man, Terry Gou, put it:
"I am not interested in knowing how much I have. I don't care. I am working not for money at this moment, I am working for society, I am working for my employees."
One would very much like to ask Mr. Gou what salary he receives from his employees?
And lest we find ourselves taken in by the posture of selflessness, here is a more telling quote regarding the sensitivity of the aforesaid, Mr. Gou,
"The first one, (suicide) second one, and third one, I did not see this as a serious problem. We had around 800,000 employees, and here [in Longhua] we are about 2.1 square kilometers. At the moment, I'm feeling guilty. But at that moment, I didn't think I should be taking full responsibility." After the fifth suicide, in March, Gou says, "I decided to do something different."
Right. One wonders what amounts to taking full responsibility? Legally speaking that would seem to indicate, at the very least, some jail time.
On another, related, note, China's meteoric rise to economic prominence must be put down to more than just cheap, cheap, cheap virtual slave labor. It's also the result of a top down wild west mentality that decrees that environmental concerns aren't, well, something business needs to be overly concerned with. And so, concomitant with China's prosperity is pollution throughout the country that would've made a resident of 1930s Pittsburgh blanche, if not choke up and keel over.