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.

12 comments:

Debra said...

Excellent link.
I read ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT, FOR ONCE..
DID YOU ??
You wanna put this man "on trial", you put the entire idea of entrepreneurial capitalism on trial WITH HIM, just to be fair.
Henry Ford was made of the same stuff.
I don't understand what you're griping about.
More than 13 people working for OUR telecom/Internet service provider company, a privatized once public service telephone monopoly, have committed suicide recently. Believe me, I COULD GET RABID about the telephone companies/Internet providers HERE, THE EMPLOYEES... are worse off than the people working in Gou's factories.
The article says some important things : like the SCALE problem. The size of the places, and the (another one of my big gripes... UNIFORMIZATION of living arrangements.
Too many people living together. BUT AT LEAST THEY HAVE HOUSING !!! Show me a nice, kind, AMERICAN entrepreneur who throws in housing for HIS SLAVES, and THEN we can point fingers, eh ? (But I concede that you MAY NOT want to point fingers..)
We have had globalization before, Edwardo, but this time... globalization is so TOTALITARIAN.
And the West's raised finger, ALWAYS POINTING makes me increasingly impatient, Edwardo.
What you have heard about China and pollution is not what I have heard. Since the government is SO AUTHORITARIAN and not held up by endless partisan bickering, China has been taking DRASTIC steps to reduce pollution.
Unlike another superpower that doesn't seem to manage to get off the pot.
JAIL FOR GOO ? (I hope you were just spouting off there...)
I think he deserves a medal. SOME of those people could have been... living a hand to mouth existence with NO FOOD or housing at all, maybe. Not all, but some.
One of the interviewees made an excellent point too : the young generation is so much more... DELICATE than the oldsters. True in Europe. True in the U.S. too. The results of all those machines ?? AND of the constant global brainwashing that EVERYBODY gets these days about all those RIGHTS ?
All in all, a man who represents... the BEST and the WORST of what capitalism is all about.
Of course... if you don't like capitalism then...

Edwardo said...

I did. But after reading your response, I wonder, as I often do, whose post you read.

Yes, Henry "Protocols of Zion" Ford was, indeed, made of the same stuff, but, as I wasn't around in the early days of the 20th century, I couldn't write about his perfidy.

Debra said...

Ironically enough, I think that Gou almost certainly BELIEVES the stuff he is saying about his factories.
That does not shock me.
And Henry Ford probably believed the stuff HE was saying about his factories.
What occasionally flummoxes me is that... WE CAN'T BELIEVE that these people are being sincere about what they're saying.
What flummoxes me is US...
WE are the ones harping on and on about capitalism and filthy lucre, Edwardo...

DED said...

You may recall, that China shut down all factories upwind of Beijing about a week or two before the Olympics in an effort to "clear the air." I blogged about it in November 2007. Nothing's really changed, and won't.

Edwardo said...

I do recall that. I especially likes the following turn of phrase from your blog post.

"photochemical bouillabaisse of coal smog, steel-mill spume, and tailpipe crud, mingled with concrete dust..."

And it's not even the most polluted city in China.

Debra said...

Hell is back. HOORAY !!

attempter said...

I agree about the petty thief.

I've often considered that while there's no dignity and freedom in dealing drugs, relatively there's still far more than in working at McDonald's. (Nor is the crap they sell much less healthful.)

Debra said...

God, Edwardo... I fear that there are WAY TOO MANY earnest young and old men in pressed polyester suits on the economic blogs for my tastes...
Thank God that Hell is back.

Edwardo said...

I'm only worried about folks, of either gender, who wear polyester, since it's been out of style for close to forty years. And it was awful in the day.

Debra said...

Yeah, I used to get allergic reactions in polyester pants. Like.. St Vitus's dance... Awful.
;-)

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