From “Meet Dr. Freud,” New Yorker, January 10, 2011:
“In recent months, there have been signs that the pressure [in China] is greater than anyone imagined. Last January, a nineteen-year-old named Ma Xiangqian jumped from the roof of his factory dorm at Foxconn Technology, where he had worked seven nights a week, eleven hours at a stretch, making electronic parts, before being demoted to cleaning toilets. In the months after Ma’s death, ten other workers committed suicide at Foxconn factories, which make iPhones and other products.”
Seven nights a week?
Eleven hours in a row?
Apparently this isn’t that unusual in Chinese manufacturing.
A paragraph later:
“Foxconn wasn’t ‘any different from any of the other big companies who are doing the same thing’. . .Beyond the drudgery of the assembly line, workers in their teens, or barely out of them, were struggling to live far from home, save money, meet spouses, and educate themselves in their time off, all under the eye of a state with no organized outlet for complaint.”
Meanwhile, our (American) children underperform in high schools and colleges, delay getting married and having families, and take on student loans they not only have no idea how they are going to pay off, but don’t really care.
This, my friends, is why they’re “eating our lunch.”
p.s. I still want an iPhone, but now would feel guilty about buying one. As if I need another reason to feel guilty. But look how pretty it is.