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 ☀
Last Train Home - Official U.S. trailer (by ZeitgeistFilms)
This looks really, really good, and I had never heard of it, until 5 minutes ago. Keeping up with every blog post, article, twitter account, movie, etc. about China is hard work!
But seriously, this looks wonderful, and I would like to get ahold of the DVD, somehow.
Also available on NetFlix Streaming.
We watched this last weekend and while it is an excellent flick, was a bit of a downer.
Thirteen nations in Europe and Asia operate more than 8,000 miles of true high-speed rail lines. Another 18,000 miles are under construction or are being planned. Fiscal crisis or no, Spain is moving ahead to build more HSR. China has built 2,800 miles, handling more than 300 million passengers a year, and it plans to add thousands of more miles to a nationwide network by 2020. It opened a line from Beijing to Tainjin in time for the Olympics, dropping travel time from 70 minutes to 27 minutes. The line between Guangzhou and Wuhan covers 600 miles in a little more than three hours (imagine, an hour-and-a-half from downtown Phoenix to downtown LA, no airport hassles, no being crammed into an airplane like sardines or prisoners). A milestone will come later this year with the 819-mile line between Shanghai and Beijing. Most operate on their own dedicated trackage. And China is aggressively building freight rail lines, too, keeping more freight on trains instead of moving it to roads. This is the 21st century. Across Europe, HSR has outperformed air travel between many city pairs, in some cases essentially shutting out the airlines. Do these systems take government subsidies? You bet. But, contrary to GOP myth, no common transportation system exists without them. Freeways and roads don’t pay for themselves. The airline industry has benefited from decades of overt and hidden government support. Only trains and transit are supposed to “pay for themselves” in the American mind. Nations that subsidize balanced, forward-looking transportation systems get much in return. We just get rising external costs, however much they are not counted. Rogue Columnist ☀
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