blue bits. red rocks.


Chinese and Western scholars have written extensively about the causes, directions and details of some of the brutalities of the Cultural Revolution, and now estimate that at least 100 million people were persecuted in some way: arbitrary arrests, brutal confrontations, beatings, torture, outright murder, serious injuries, forced suicides, denied medical treatment after beatings, houses looted, forced banishment to remote rural provinces. Top officials were not spared. A half dozen of them committed suicide in the opening overtures of the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiao Ping’s son, Pufang, was thrown out of a window during a “struggle” session and left paralyzed for life. Facing the Truth in China

Weibo users’ conduct will be enforced with a points system (yep, they just gamified censorship) wherein you lose points for posting rumors or criticisms and earn points for, say, verifying your own identity. If you get down to zero points, your Weibo account gets terminated. You think terms of service are tricky? Check out this Chinese ‘code of conduct’

Apple’s enormous, complex global supply chain for iPod production is aimed at obtaining the lowest unit labor costs (taking into consideration labor costs, technology, etc.), appropriate for each component, with the final assembly taking place in China, where production occurs on a massive scale, under enormous intensity, and with ultra-low wages. In Foxconn’s Longhu, Shenzhen factory 300,000 to 400,000 workers eat, work, and sleep under horrendous conditions, with workers, who are compelled to do rapid hand movements for long hours for months on end, finding themselves twitching constantly at night. Foxconn workers in 2009 were paid the minimum monthly wage in Shenzhen, or about 83 cents an hour. (Overall in China in 2008 manufacturing workers were paid $1.36 an hour, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.) Despite the massive labor input of Chinese workers in assembling the final product, their low pay means that their work only amounts to 3.6 percent of the total manufacturing cost (shipping price) of the iPhone. The overall profit margin on iPhones in 2009 was 64 percent. If iPhones were assembled in the United States—assuming labor costs ten times that in China, equal productivity, and constant component costs—Apple would still have an ample profit margin, but it would drop from 64 percent to 50 percent. In effect, Apple makes 22 percent of its profit margin on iPhone production from the much higher rate of exploitation of Chinese labor. The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism

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If goods and capital can move freely from country to country, and people cannot, then people are and always will be slaves to goods and capital. We as a global society will not solve our Apple problem until people are free to live and work where they choose. How Apple Can Solve Its China Problem

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