Outsourcing at any cost ?…..

In July 2009 Sun Danyong comitted suicide by throwing himself from his 12th flloor apartment. Sun’s apartment had been ransacked and he claimed in a text, immediately before his death, that he had been badly beaten.

Sun worked for the massive Taiwanese CEM Foxconn (Turnover |$10 billion) which manufactures Apples iconic iphone. He was rumoured to have been suspected in the theft of an iphone prototype. The incident sparked an Audit by Apple but to date no visible action has been taken.

iphoneThis incident highlights the ethical dilemmas posed in Subcontracting. How do we deal with massive corporations which often dwarf our own ?  How do we balance the need to reduce manufacturing cost with the need to deal with undemocratic regimes with questionable human rights records ?

Do we do business at any price ?

Like most dilemmas the answer lies with the consumer. Western consumers are increasingly conscious of the ethical and environmental impact of their actions, where does that food come from, what is involved in it’s manufacture ? Who benefits and who gets hurt ?

This conciousness will extend to all areas of consumption including electronic products and it is those companies which pursue an active, ethical and evironmental policy which will ultimately benefit.


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3 thoughts on “Outsourcing at any cost ?…..

  1. When you’re talking about little kids making blue jeans, you’ll get people’s attention. When you’re talking about an alleged thief killing himself, not as likely. Good questions – but I don’t see this as being a catalyst for change. When richer countries are willing to outsource their jobs (and therefore, eventually, their wealth) in pursuit of cheaper gadgets, there is a lot that is out of balance.

  2. You may be confusing Taiwan with China. Freedom House rates Taiwan as among the most “Free” nations in Asia, with a 2 in Political Rights and a 1 in Civil Liberties (scale of 1-7, with 1 being the highest). The underlying point about ethical awareness in the Western consumer is valid, but this contrived connection does not help to make it.

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