Cheap Hardware, but at What Cost?


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Everyone and their mother is out there searching for the best deal. First it was coupons in the newspaper, then came Black Friday, FatWallet, SlickDeals, even daily deals on twitter. (Did I mention to follow @overclockerscom?) Hell, someone got trampled to death at a Walmart last Black Friday, so is it worth sacrificing human life for a good deal?

Now do not misunderstand, I am by no means a human rights activist despite my love for U2, not to mention Jack Bauer is my hero. However once in a while a truly disturbing situation catches my attention. It is my duty to report such glaring human rights violations — well, only when it is related to overclocking (and it doesn’t threaten national security – I still love you Jack Bauer).

The New York Times reports that on Tuesday, a 19-year old employee at Foxconn apparently jumped to his death at a factory operated by Foxconn, a manufacturer of motherboards, power supplies, and electronics. This is the ninth suicide this year at this complex of China factories in Shenzhen, where 420,000 people are employed. This story has gained international attention over the past week as China’s media outlets have been publishing “sensational accounts” of abuse and mis-treament of workers (according to Foxconn executive Terry Ghou).

Nine suicides in the course of five months may not be cause for alarm, “the suicide rate at Foxconn is still below estimates of the national rate of about 14  per 100,000 people in China” [NY Times] (as compared to 11 per 100,000 in the USA). Makes me wonder what goes on in China? Casting aside that disturbing statistic, clearly something is awry at Foxconn. Different labor rights organizations have demonstrated outside the Foxconn factory as well as accused the conglomerate of abusing and under-paying its workers.

An investigation is underway, but this awful situation begs the question, is greed the universal motivator? Mr. Ghou is one of the richest men in China, but does this come at the expense of his workforce of over 420,000?

Consumers are more aware than ever about where their purchases come from, whether they are organic, free-trade or the like. The only conclusion that can be drawn is caveat emptor. It is unlikely free-trade electronics are the next wave of the future, but it is certainly worth mulling this over (it’s better than working, right?).

mdcomp

About Matt Ring 142 Articles
Matt Ring has been part of the Overclockers.com community for 20+ years. He built his first computer at age 12 and has been hooked on computer hardware and overclocking ever since. For the past 10 years, Matt has worked in technology for internet and software companies. These days, Matt focuses on editing and behind the scenes work to keep Overclockers.com humming.

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I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader

25,037 messages 3 likes

Pretty crazy numbers 9 suicides... Interesting in perspective with the national average I guess when there are that many employees there. Still makes my skin crawl from the comments I've seen from Foxconn's CEO - his empathy did not ring very true to me.

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wingman99

Member

15,026 messages 0 likes

That's a terrible thing, I did not know the employs were protesting at Foxconn

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Black_Paladin

Member

1,301 messages 0 likes

Quite sadly, that's actually old news. The suicides have reached 15 yesterday and a 16th person was spotted on the roof after the report (it is unknown yet if this person also jumped to his death or not).

You can read the whole report here:

http://gizmodo.com/5549222/foxconn-jumps-reach-15potential-16-spotted-on-the-roof

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wingman99

Member

15,026 messages 0 likes

I wounder with 15 possibly 16 employs jumping will Foxconn raise there prices.

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4GHZ_or_bust

Now 6GHz or Bust!

2,441 messages 0 likes

They will raise the price since they need to pay for corpse cleanup since these employees aren't getting paid enough to set up funeral expenses or anything else.

Ok a little crappy statement but Foxconn will need to improve a lot of things, and raising price on goods and put extra profit to worker's paycheck would help a lot.

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||Console||

Member

6,879 messages 0 likes

We are talking about china here 4ghz even If they raise the prices not like the workers will see any of it

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briansun1

Member

1,587 messages 0 likes

I know this is old, so don't go screamming necroposting please just read what I have to say(going:bang head right now because of western ignorence)

I just want to say that all you western nation dwellers have no idea what it is like to work in china Foxconn is consindered a really good company by the standerds of china. I just request that you really understand the situation before you criticize the company. thank you

and no I don't work for Foxconn, but I know this stuff becasue my dad was and still is the head maneger for that factory.

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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner

74,608 messages 1,549 likes

Ok.....you left us hanging...please, since your dad is the head manager there, explain what was misunderstood.

I also dont think anyone criticized the company, did they?

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madhatter256

Special Member

2,256 messages 0 likes

It's called American Media Sensationalism... Every factual detail in every news story is misconstrued, exaggerated or completely left out to build a story that attracts attention.

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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner

74,608 messages 1,549 likes

It's called American Media Sensationalism... Every factual detail in every news story is misconstrued, exaggerated or completely left out to build a story that attracts attention.

+1

...as well as every media outlet... not just the USA. Hell googling around a bit shows that the Chinese media did the same thing to Foxconn. Its not just the 'ignorant westerners'... :-/

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