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Cellphones Businesses Apple

Chinese Employee Loses iPhone Prototype, Kills Self 514

Posted by kdawson
from the taking-the-job-way-too-seriously dept.
tlhIngan writes "Physical intimidation of a Foxconn employee, 25 year-old Sun Danyong, and a possibly-illegal search of his house may have led to suicide after an iPhone prototype in his possession was lost. Foxconn is Apple's long-time manufacturing partner for the iPhone. Entrusted with 16 iPhone prototypes, Danyong discovered that one was missing and searched the factory for it. When it didn't turn up, he reported the incident to his boss, who ordered his apartment searched. There are reports of physical intimidation by Foxconn security personnel. This ended tragically on Thursday at 3 AM, when Danyong jumped from his apartment building to his death." VentureBeat notes that "Apple exerts immense pressure on its business partners [to] help it maintain secrecy." An Apple spokesperson said this to CNet: "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."
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Chinese Employee Loses iPhone Prototype, Kills Self

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  • Yeah sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:48PM (#28773825)

    Illegal searches, intimidation, then "suicide"... Uh huh... yeah...

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:49PM (#28773837)

    Your bosses were mean to you: sue them, find another job, learn to live with it.

    Yes, because that works so well in China, right?

    Get some fucking compassion, idiot.

  • suppliers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bombula (670389) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:52PM (#28773879)

    "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect"

    Because nothing says dignity and respect like working in a sweatshop and being paid pennies an hour...

  • by Guppy (12314) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:53PM (#28773887)

    When it didn't turn up, he reported the incident to his boss, who ordered his apartment searched. There are reports of physical intimidation by Foxconn security personnel.

    The question is, will this lead to companies being less, or more likely to look upon Foxconn positively when considering an OEM who will keep their new prototype under wraps?

  • Re:Who cares (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:55PM (#28773905)

    So tell me, what color is the sky in your world?

  • coverups (Score:2, Insightful)

    by martas (1439879) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:55PM (#28773909)
    right, "suicide".
  • by El Torico (732160) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:56PM (#28773913)

    It depends on whether or not they get the prototype back, doesn't it?

  • Culture of Secrecy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:56PM (#28773919) Homepage

    This is the high pressure culture of secrecy taken to its logical conclusion in a country with little worker protection. I highly doubt Apple has any legal responsibility in this, but they do share a portion of the moral culpability along with the management of Foxconn. Did the senior management of Foxconn push the man out a window? No, but they created the corporate culture in which it happened. Likewise, Apple have worked with Foxconn for years now; they created the high pressure culture of secrecy and then turned a blind eye to how Foxconn enforces it.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:59PM (#28773937) Homepage

    I don't like playing cultural imperialist, but something about current Asian cultures seems to me to be broken: this isn't exactly the first suicide of its sort, or even an uncommon phenomenon, just one of the more high-profile cases (since it's Apple, and a senior guy). Western culture isn't immune to these effects either (cf. high-profile financial advisors committing suicide in 2008-2009), but I understand that it's significantly more of an issue in Asia. I'd hazard that it's something in the common implementation of 'honor' and self-value that predisposes people towards a massive breakdown in the face of 'public disgrace'.

    Not that Americans couldn't use a bit more of the right sort of Honor in their regimen, mind you.

  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:59PM (#28773939)

    It give me the creeps knowing how Apple does business. It is obvious that this busniess partner is evil and they continue to work with them.

  • Re:Did he jump? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:59PM (#28773943)

    You've obviously never been to /b/.

    And an iphone is much more valuable than a ipod.

  • by goffster (1104287) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:00PM (#28773949)

    Hah! Like Apple treats its iphone app developers ?

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:03PM (#28773991) Journal

    Why not? Believe it or not people are able to sue when they are harmed by somebody, even in China.

    You realize that families who lost their children as a direct result of incompetence and negligence haven't even been able to seek redress [timesonline.co.uk] under the Chinese system? You really think some poor bastard working for an industrial conglomerate stands a chance? I think you've wandered away from the reservation on this one....

    Parents devastated at the loss of sons and daughters, most born under China's strict "one couple, one child" family planning policy, have sought a government accounting and a proper explanation as to why so many schools fell down.

    Police and local officials have blocked parents of the dead children from staging protests to seek information. An Amnesty International report this week chronicles instances in which parents were detained by police while seeking answers from courts.

    Lawyers who took on such cases came under pressure to drop their involvement.

  • by loteck (533317) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:07PM (#28774033) Homepage
    And just to take this to its logical, and far more important end, the consumers who support this kind of business by voting in droves with their wallets are the singularly most important party turning "a blind eye". This is applicable across all retail. The conditions under which the goods we buy are prepared, be it Nike shoes or a Big Mac or an iPhone, is ultimately the responsibility of the individuals who are purchasing those goods. They hold all the power and therefore virtually all of the responsibility.
  • In all fairness I believe both HP and Dell get motherboards and laptops made from Foxconn as well. But certainly Apple's business practices are less than stellar. For every evil business practice we hate Microsoft for, usually Apple follows the same practice and somehow gets a pass.

  • Re:Did he jump? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:08PM (#28774055)

    You've obviously never been to /b/.

    And an iphone is much more valuable than a ipod.

    Rules 1 & 2 damnit.

  • Re:suppliers... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:10PM (#28774077) Journal

    Because nothing says dignity and respect like working in a sweatshop and being paid pennies an hour...

    Welcome to your "free trade" competition. This is the world that business lobbyists want, and they aren't going away, so get used to it. Democracy, my ass.
       

  • by SomeJoel (1061138) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:18PM (#28774171)
    You may be right, but if every company does it, how can a consumer "choose" not to turn a blind eye. If they don't buy Nike, they buy Adidas, but Adidas is doing the same stuff. If they don't buy a Big Mac, they're buying a Whopper, with the same baggage. So, unless they make the shoes themselves (out of home-farmed cows) and grow their own food they really have no choice. Without some sort of regulation (either governmental or self-imposed by the corporations), there's no way a consumer can realistically "opt-out" of the inhumanities of modern retail.
  • Re:suppliers... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clam666 (1178429) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:20PM (#28774199)

    Because nothing says dignity and respect like working in a sweatshop and being paid pennies an hour...

    Listen pal, I know you hippies live in fantasy world of employee unions and benefits, but how do you expect to get your brand new unlocked IPhone for only a few bucks, loaded with tons of free-to-download applications if they didn't have that kind of labor practice?

    Sheesh.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:27PM (#28774309)

    Two things:

    1) Those are per-capita. China's got a shitload more people than Lithuania...
    2) Do we trust the Chinese (especially) numbers?

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:29PM (#28774341)

    high-profile financial advisors committing suicide in 2008-2009

    Not enough...

  • by loteck (533317) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:31PM (#28774359) Homepage
    New Balance shoes are made in the US and UK, where labor laws are, at the very least, in existence. That's a good start. Your local farmer's market would be happy to sell you all the fixins' of a Big Mac, and you can get a good idea about how sustainable their operation is by actually talking to the people who farm it.

    Many people think the way you seem to, which is that "opting out" is impossible. This is an uninformed opinion, it would seem, since options abound. You just have to decide to A) look for them and then B) choose them. Moral backflipping also seems to allow people to continue to sleep at night while their conveniences are paid for in blood by their fellow man in other countries.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:34PM (#28774417)
    Yes. The grandparent has his or her work cut out for them because the wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] shows just how hard it is to avoid Foxconn:

    Among other things, Foxconn produces the Mac mini, the iPod and the iPhone for Apple Inc.; Intel-branded motherboards for Intel Corp.; various orders for American computer manufacturers Dell and Hewlett-Packard; the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 for Sony; the Wii for Nintendo;the Xbox 360 for Microsoft, cell phones for Motorola, and the Amazon Kindle.[2][3] [4]

    Bottom line.. if you like electronic devices, you have to go some way to avoid Foxconn. Apple is known for its secrecy, but we documented evidence that Apple was involved in this intimidation in anyway, you have to assume that Foxconn, and only Foxconn is responsible.

  • Re:coverups (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:40PM (#28774499)

    Yeah, he jumped off a balcony...on to some bullets.

  • by loteck (533317) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:42PM (#28774539) Homepage

    The "due diligence" you speak of for the multi-billion dollar company has more to do with an investigation into the finances of a potential partner, and has very little to do with any kind of analysis of a partner's ethical fortitude.

    One might say the consumer's "due diligence" is exactly the opposite and subsequently far, far more important.

  • Re:coverups (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Your.Master (1088569) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:46PM (#28774593)

    So, on the one hand, skepticisim is healthy.

    On the other hand, this isn't skepticism, this is just a different sort of gullibility. And if you allow yourself to believe so many things for which you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever, you draw yourself into a world that is not entirely like the real world, and approach insanity.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WaXHeLL (452463) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:50PM (#28774661)

    Now why are we talking about this when this event occurred in China? (not Japan)

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:51PM (#28774677)

    Also part of the reason it may have been a problem in this particular case is because of Apple's love for secrecy. Foxconn is a major electronics provider and works with all kinds of companies, in addition to selling under their own brand. Now of course like any contractor, they want to keep the people they work with happy. Well for many companies, this wouldn't have been such a big deal. After all frequently companies post pictures of prototype hardware on the web, or send prototype samples to reviewers. Motherboards would be a good example. You usually see a picture of and get a story on a board a month or two before you can buy it. Thus a leak might not be a big deal. They get informed of a leak and they say "Oh well, it's public info anyhow." However Apple has an irrational obsession with secrecy. Nothing can be known by anyone until it is unveiled with big fanfare at some event. They vigorously go after sites that post info on upcoming products and so on.

    Ok well Foxconn knows this, and thus wants to keep Apple happy and maybe responds in a stronger way than normal because of who their customer is. They know that a leak of a prototype, even just the pictures, could be reason for Apple to stop doing business with them since in Apple's world information must be tightly controlled.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:52PM (#28774687) Homepage Journal
    "Or is it the American/European taboo thinking suicide is "wrong" that is broken?"

    Not so much wrong, but stupid. I mean, you are only given ONE life, why the fsck would you waste it? NOTHING is worth giving your life over....

    I don't understand the Oriental thing with them killing themselves for 'losing face', I guess the only thing even close to that, is guys in the US that will get pissed off at their girlfriends leaving them, then go blow them away and turn the gun on themselves. I don't understand that either.

    I mean, there is NO pussy that is worth all that. Not your life, not all your money. I've had some pretty good stuff over the years, but, the thing is...there's always more of it out there.

    There really isn't anything out there worth giving your life for...it is short enough as it is, no need to 'rush' it.

  • by Knara (9377) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:57PM (#28774749)

    People kill themselves for much lesser reasons than losing a top-secret prototype that makes their company a lot of money, and by losing it will end said suicide-ee's career with said company.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:57PM (#28774761) Journal
    More to the point, being roughed up by goons, interrogated, and having your house illegally searched are pretty stressful across all cultures...
  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Macrat (638047) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:00PM (#28774793)

    There really isn't anything out there worth giving your life for...it is short enough as it is, no need to 'rush' it.

    Really? Even being "chained" to a hospital bed so you can be "brave" for 2 years as cancer eats up your body painfully?

    Everyone dies. What is so wrong with going out at your own choosing?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:01PM (#28774807)

    It's not any of Apple's concern on how a foreign company operates on foreign soil.

    And if any of us cares we wouldn't shop at target, walmart, etc. where 100% of the shoes sold there are made in China and east Asia under harsh conditions. Good luck buying a consumer electronic device that isn't made in China. Foxconn is actually considered a very good place to work, according to people I have met who work for Foxconn (my company manufactures through them).

    There are much worse factories than Foxconn in China, while this situation is extremely tragic I suspect we don't have all he information to make an informed judgement on what whet down.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:01PM (#28774817)

    Suicide rates are related to latitude (closer to the equator = less suicides). I think that should be the first thing to correct for.

  • Re:Greed is GOOD!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:05PM (#28774885)
    What kind of an idiot would mod this Flamebait? +5 Hilarious!
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:08PM (#28774921)

    "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."

    Yeah right. Thats why Apple employs chinese workers who fear for their lives. Chinese labor is employed because its virtually slave labor. Its cheap, easily controlled, and cut throat business practices allow them to dispose of workers at will.

    Either this guy was a spy, or he made an honest mistake. Whatever the case may be, its said that he took his life.

    I still find it sick that Apple can say they require their suppliers to treat workers with dignity and respect in one breathe, but in practice they really do not care because look at who they employ!

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sbeckstead (555647) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:08PM (#28774931) Homepage Journal
    I don't really understand most of those reasons either and you never will understand an emotional state until your are there, but there is something worth giving your life for and many of us have put our lives on the line for that. Your diatribe seems to invalidate the sacrifice of those that gave their lives for their countries, I think that needs to be corrected. So thanks from me for all of you who served or are serving now in any military in any country.
  • Free trade? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:09PM (#28774951)

    Why isn't the difference in workers' rights and environmental abuse priced into free trade agreements?

    I have no problem with work going to China, as long as the employers there also have to pay for health care, disability, U.S. minimum wages, and safe workplace enforcement; cannot dump their waste into rivers, etc.

    Without those restrictions, U.S. workers cannot hope to compete based on price.

    So work done in those countries, and items manufactured in those countries, should probably incur tariffs big enough to compensate for all those other disparities.

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:10PM (#28774963)

    Perhaps PR. Or lip service, let's call it. Here in the US, we don't even bother to pay lip service. Shit hits the fan, we railroad a schmuck from the mail room, and then pretend that all's sorted out. It's like the politicos saying "I take full responsibility" with absolutely no consequence. The term "responsibility" must have changed their meaning some time while I wasn't looking.

    What the hell am I rambling on about? Gotta take my senility pills.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:14PM (#28775023) Homepage Journal

    "current Asian cultures seems to me to be broken"

    Good going, dude. Please, point us at your published works on philosophy. Seems to me that OUR WAY is as broken as Asia's way, maybe worse.

    Remember the financial meltdown on Wall Street, recently? There should have been hundreds of bodies hitting the sidewalk. Not for their own lost fortunes, but for the billions and billions of dollars lost that WEREN'T THEIR'S to lose.

    Buncha low lifes.....

  • Re:suppliers... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:17PM (#28775075)

    >Would you rather they have no jobs than the sweatshop?

    I think I might. If people weren't deprived of their time and energy, they might be able to subsist *and* overthrow their government.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:22PM (#28775133) Journal

    Not enough...

    It is rather disappointing that Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, and Bernie Madoff haven't sought to atone.

    -jcr

  • by DrMrLordX (559371) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:23PM (#28775163)

    It is curious that nobody here has stopped to mention what influence China's notorious lack of respect for IP law might have to do with this incident. I'm not a huge fan of patents and the like, and there are plenty of ways for large, well-funded corporations to end-run patents in "the West", but if one were to lose an iPhone prototype in the United States, one would reasonably assume that it would be difficult for anyone to do anything meaningful with it without some serious reverse-engineering (unless someone from China stole it and took it overseas). Sure, it would be a problem, but there would be a lot of hoops for the tech thieves to jump through before they could make bank on their crime. If you could prove that they stole the thing and used it for their own commercial success, you could probably sue them anyway, and you might even win years down the line (bring your warchest).

    Now imagine losing a valuable prototype of an unreleased product in China. How it got lost and to whom (in the event of a theft) would have everything to do with whether or not the prototype could be recovered. In the event of a theft, the thief's backers and influence with the government would have everything to do with whether or not the stolen unit could be used for the purpose of manufacturing cheap knock-offs with release dates comparable to the real product. Foxconn has to know this and had to have been operating under the assumption that the prototype might have fallen into the hands of a well-connected rival that could have (and would have) mass-produced units based off the prototype, which is something neither Apple nor Foxconn would have liked very much. Naturally they would go to every effort to keep a prototype out of "enemy" hands since they know their production models will be copied as soon as they hit store shelves anyway; much of their profit will come from the lead time they get on their cloner competition (it would take a few months to ramp up production of a rip-off). That lead time is all you really get before the cloners flood the market (at least domestically if not internationally). Losing a prototype cuts down on your lead time. In the case of the iPhone prototype, by how much, we do not know. A hasty cloner willing to make a sloppy release might be able to roll out knock-offs before the actual iPhone product itself hits the market, giving people the option to buy a potentially-buggy pre-release version of the product before the actual product hits shelves. Apple wouldn't like that very much, especially not if the knock-offs found their way onto eBay and beyond. Foxconn wouldn't like that much either.

    Not that any of the above justifies roughing the guy up or pushing him towards suicide, but seriously, this whole issue has to be viewed in the proper light. Foxconn and Apple can't just sue whoever turns up with the prototype. In all likelihood, they will never see it again until millions of units just like it show up in Chinese warehouses.

    If Foxconn had any reasonable expectation of being able to file suit against a well-heeled competitor who magically turned up with the prototype and began furiously cranking out knock-off products, maybe they wouldn't have tormented the poor soul allegedly responsible for losing the prototype. Oh sure, being able to rip off anyone's tech is all fun and games when you're poaching the tech from foreign competitors, but when cloners start cannibalizing the creations of their domestic neighbors, things aren't so fun anymore. At least, not for the Chinese, and especially not for that one poor schmuck to whom Foxconn entrusted iPhone prototypes.

  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:35PM (#28775317)

    "Honor" for "Asians"? Which, of the many Asian cultures, are you talking about? If Japan, then sure, to some extent this is the case. It was more so in years past, but hey, things change.

    In China, I'm not so sure. I'm not as familiar with Chinese cultural mores, not having lived there, but everything I've read suggests that "seppuku" (which, incidentally, is a Japanese word) is much less of a popular out than it is/was in Japan. I bring up the significant possibility that Sun Danyong's death might not have been suicide at all, but even if it were, I strongly suspect that it was motivated less by ideas of honor than it was by ideas of being completely and royally screwed -- i.e., desperation, not clearing one's name so much as escaping a terrible situation.

    As the South Korean character Captain Sam Pak says in a M*A*S*H episode, "Suicide? That's the Japanese. We don't do that schtick." (Ironically, the part was played by the late Japanese-American actor Pat Morita.)

    Cheers,

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:43PM (#28775397) Homepage

    Just an FYI, in Asia most suicides are classified as something else in true crime rates. In order to affect a lower suicide rate in the overall data trending. European data trending can be higher because they sometimes include 'other' crimes into their suicide figures during data reporting.

    Never trust data, unless you see the raw data sets yourself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:56PM (#28775545)

    I think it incredibly funny that you have, in essence, replaced one "deeply insulting" cultural stereotype with another. Namely that of corruption in china. I have no facts to say there is NOT such a culture in china, but if your post is any indication, then you do not have any facts to say there is such a culture either. Look before you leap.

  • by tmosley (996283) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:11PM (#28775725)
    Free markets provide a way. If there is a market for such a brand, someone will open a farm, raise the cows (cruelty free), get the leather, pay the workers good wages (maybe even make it here in America), etc. If people want that enough to boycott other brands, then the new startup will do quite well, and will be able to lower its prices as it grows, and economies of scale kick in. Eventually, you wind up with a much better quality product at a perhaps slightly higher price.

    That is, unless they have to spend 75% of their income on paying taxes and hiring people to handle regulatory compliance, which is what drove all those companies you mentioned over to China in the first place.

    Yeah...maybe more regulations AREN'T such a great idea...
  • Re:Greed is GOOD!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grumpyman (849537) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:18PM (#28775821)
    Whatever you described sounds like America to me.
  • by grumpyman (849537) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:24PM (#28775897)
    or was pushed over the balcony ledge by a bunch of company goons who were told to make an example of him to employees, with a public story that "our employees are so dedicated to your security, they'll..."? And really, how impartial do you think the investigation is going to be? In China, these companies own and run entire cities that make Mall of America look like a strip-mall. They don't even need to pay off the police- they already employ them.
    .

    Just answer me one question: where you get all those information from? Seriously, where? Slashdotter loves China bashing, and you take it to the next lower level. Shame on modders for "Interesting".

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:36PM (#28775993)

    It is rather disappointing that Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, and Bernie Madoff haven't sought to atone.

    Well to put this into perspective:

    Hank Paulson served a little under 3 years as Secretary of Treasury for George W. Bush. He helped to initiate the bailouts under Bush.
    Ben Bernanke served a little over 3 years as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. He also helped to initiate the bailouts under Bush.
    Alan Greenspan served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve for almost 20 years before Bernanke.
    Timothy Geithner served as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for 6 years before his current position as Secretary of the Treasury.
    and you lump these men together with:

    Bernie Madoff who conducted a $65 billion world-wide Ponzi scheme lasting several decades.

    You might disagree with the course of action these men have chosen for the country in the current crisis. You may question their intelligence and vision for not foreseeing the problems before they became crises, but I don't know if anyone should equate their actions or lack of actions to outright fraud. What is it that you think they should atone for?

    The problems that have lead to the current situation were probably a decade in the making. The only one that might have had any real opportunity to change the course of history was Greenspan. Everyone else was relatively new to their job. And for the record, Greenspan admitted he placed too much faith in the rational behavior of financial institutions.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sinbios (852437) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:07PM (#28776309) Homepage

    Wait, how do weird fetishes disqualify someone from government appointments?

    Hell, in the good ol' Roman days...

  • Re:suppliers... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:16PM (#28776385) Homepage

    Actually, quite a few products are made by well paid people in western countries, precisely because they have unions. Not all unions are good, but many are.

    Corporations don't lower their prices when they reduce their costs. They just pocket the money. That's why Apple has tens of billions of dollars in the bank - they moved their manufacturing to China and didn't lower their prices in line with the reduction in manufacturing costs. That's why the middle class in America has been making less money for nearly thirty years, and corporate profits continue to rise, and union membership has declined. America is the only modern western nation where the middle class is worse off than in 1980, and the only nation that has a broken union movement. This is not a coincidence.

    You live in a fantasy land where somehow giving all the power in a corporation to a board that's nothing more than a modern royal court is good for anyone but the royal court. Do you think for one minute that one of these guys thinks twice about pocketing extra cash for a second vacation home over offering a good paying job to someone they don't know?

    Give me a fucking break.

  • Apple says: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:58PM (#28776731) Homepage Journal

    Apple says: "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."

    Then why build your product in China?

    What's next, Apple, making MacBooks in rural Iran?

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@ema . i l> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:59PM (#28776741) Journal

    It's not that Asian work culture is broken; it's just very, very different from what we in Western cultures are accustomed to. Let's take Japan as a (very overused, but perfect) example. Japanese students begin training for an entrance exam from the 5th grade. The grade on that entrance exam is, for all intents and purposes, the difference between a Japanese student landing a decent job and living a very difficult life.

    On top of that, the Japanese hold very high regards to their workmanship, and many employees will sacrifice everything for their job. Death from overwork has been a major problem in Japan that's slowing down somewhat, but is still prevalent today. There is an insurmountable amount of pressure placed on Japanese individuals from family and loved ones to suceed in career and education, and this mentality just continues down the chain.

    I believe that this is, pretty much, the reason why a good number of old-school Asian families will literally cut their children off if they don't make it into a big-time Ivy league school and/or take up law, medicine or any other respectable, high-paying career path.

    Does this seem broken? Yes, considering that education and employment is significantly more lax here. Hell, I've met some people in companies I've worked for that got certifications and still landed good jobs.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @07:02PM (#28776765) Homepage
    The profile of who is committing suicide tells the full story. In Western countries, it is overwhelmingly young (teenage to early twenties) males, followed by young females. This coincides with the most emotionally unstable period of most peoples lives. In Japan (and possibly other Asian cultures), the figures are overwhelmingly dominated by middle aged men - middle to senior management and politicians who are under a lot of pressure not to let their company or country down.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @07:50PM (#28777079) Journal

    That's the thing about people who want big government, they aren't willing to even give freedom a chance

    We gave effectively unrestricted market freedom a chance in 19th century. The outcome was such that government regulation was uniformly instituted all around the globe at the beginning of 20th century to mitigate the negative effects on both workers and consumers.

    In particular, the outcome was formation of huge monopolies that dominated the market, strangled any existing competition by engaging in price-fixing, dumping, and other anti-competitive behavior, and raised barriers of entry for any new would-be competitors; and then proceeded to maximize benefits from their monopolistic advantage by raising prices and lowering wages to the extreme, screwing society in the process.

    Then again, if you believe that regulations such as those that limited the work hours and established minimum wage should have never been enacted (and, consequently, you're fine with near-universal 14-hour 7-day work week, exploitative child labor, and other associated pleasantries), then I'm afraid that we don't have any common ground for reasonable discussion here...

  • Re:suppliers... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @08:38PM (#28777419) Homepage

    Actually, quite a few products are made by well paid people in western countries, precisely because they have unions.

    Citation needed.

    Not all unions are good, but many are.

    I suppose, not all trusts [wikipedia.org] were bad either, but the US has long-standing laws against them. What many fail to realize, is that trade unions are the sametrusts seeking to become monopolistic sources of their members' services. That they sometimes fight for that through highly illegal means, including violence [nrtw.org] ought to subject them to anti-racketeering laws [wikipedia.org] as well...

    Now, I am all for "freedom of association" — even if Senators McCain & Feingold [reason.com] aren't — and have no problems with collective bargaining per se. What I see as evil, however, are the legal advantages and protections, that unions enjoy even in our mostly free country...

    Corporations don't lower their prices when they reduce their costs. They just pocket the money.

    Fortunately, that is none of our business, is it?

    The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

    Fortunately, nobody is forced to associate with corporations... I hear, the North Korea's and Cuba's borders are open to people wanting to move in... Quick, rush back to Chomsky's drivel to find a decent-sounding reason you are still here...

  • by lennier (44736) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @10:56PM (#28778171) Homepage

    "Bottom line.. if you like electronic devices, you have to go some way to avoid Foxconn. Apple is known for its secrecy, but we documented evidence that Apple was involved in this intimidation in anyway, you have to assume that Foxconn, and only Foxconn is responsible."

    But Apple must be a contributory party if they keep their Foxconn involvement secret.

    It seems to me that if we really want to eliminate economic exploitation, we have to outlaw commercial secrecy. Outsource if you must, but insist that ALL outsourcing partners and deals and trade treaties are public knowledge down to the last initimate detail.

    Yes, that gives your competitors knowledge. Sorry. Price of doing business in an open society with informed consumers. Until the consumers are fully informed, you don't have an efficient (ie, actually free) market.

    Can we make this a political platform?

  • Re:suppliers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superdave80 (1226592) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @11:07PM (#28778235)

    America is the only modern western nation where the middle class is worse off than in 1980, and the only nation that has a broken union movement. This is not a coincidence.

    Yeah, if only we had more unions to fix our economy like they fixed the auto, airline, and public education industries, we'd be much better off.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by codeButcher (223668) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:04AM (#28779169)

    On the other hand, there is a potentially slippery slope here for the acceptability of: suicide --> assisted suicide --> encouraged suicide --> eugenics.

    Oh, I think I should have included "Profit!!!" somewhere on that list....

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:49AM (#28781789) Homepage Journal

    If we have more protection of employees, higher salaries, less working hours, it will definitely make massive unemployment.

    I think this a fallacy promoted by those who want to maintain profit margins. If this were true, then we should expect to see mass unemployment in most western countries where these protections apply. But we don't. And while it's true that many jobs have gone to China, one could make the case that the average Chinese worker is actually worse off in terms of quality of life compared to the western worker, who is only marginally so, if at all.

    The great paradox of the Chinese economic boom is how it has so failed to significantly raise the living standards of the population as a whole. The reason it has failed is because of lack of protection and fair compensation for employees. There is little domestic demand for goods as people have little money and less time to buy them. Western economies were similar for decades, with successive booms doing little to improve the lot of the average man until labour laws came into force, primarily after the second world war.

    Industrial relations are an extremely important part of any economy, and it is vital that a balance be achieved there. China has so far failed to achieve this balance. The consequences for failing to do so may be dire indeed.

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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