The article chronicles the recent unrest in China among low-paid laborers who are demanding pay raises. If this turns into a trend, I wonder what the effects will be for Western life. These are people whose poor working conditions and sub-human treatment allows us to live the cheap and comfortable lives we enjoy, as I’ve reflected on before. From what I can gather, the direct effect on us from such a move (if indeed it continues to grow) is higher prices for the things we enjoy every day.
Foxconn – a company responsible for the assembly of many technology products and the source of recent worker suicides – just announced a pay increase for their workers from $175 a month to over $250 a month. Their chief executive is worth $5.9 billion. That’s a wage discrepancy that makes the US gap laughable.
Of course the potential good from such a move is great: better wages and working conditions for 3rd world workers; increased accountability of business to government; raised awareness of cheap-labor, etc.
The negatives are only a potential diminished purchasing power of the dollar (or euro or pound) for those who benefit from such a system (which I note while typing this on my MacBook with my iPhone charging next to it and my Canon DSLR nearby).
Fortunately for us there are other 3rd world countries who would be glad for Western labor outsourcing if China were to get too expensive.*