Wow…am I lucky!
After watching the Nightline episode last night, one has to wonder, how much would it “really” cost for an iPhone if the workers were paid more than $2 an hour! Average wage earned is $427 a month or $14 a day. The Nightline report mentioned that for $17 a month you can live close by in a 8 person bunk-bed room. While not looking very nice, they apparently are much nicer than the homes those workers came from. Workers also have the opportunity to take education classes and have a soccer field nearby.
More than 1 million workers
MacRumors in a discussion reports that Foxconn employs over 1 million workers of which about 10,000 are on the production lines for Apple. Productivity is very high as the units produced each day are impressive to me, but if you were to increase wages to $8 an hour, a 75% increase, working 40 hours each week, that would be an increase in labor cost of 12.5 Billion US dollars. It probably would not drive “retail” prices up 75%, but I certainly would think it would cost us a few more pennies.
Should we be paying 50% more?
According to The Atlantic it would cost more than $1100 to buy an iPad 2. That is close to double the cost.
It does make you think more about poverty level globally. In the US, if you are living alone making less than $10,890 you are below poverty level. It is good we have assistance programs in place to provide food since a box of healthy cereal costs you $5 these days! Granted we are quite materialistic in this country, so maybe you can live on a very little amount in other countries, but for the wages paid, it would be impossible for any worker to actually own the product they are making!
Miss the report?
Watch the episode online here: ABC Nightline Video Archives
So most consumers would probably not like paying twice as much for our imports, but seriously, after seeing that report it makes me wonder any way if I really need everything I buy. Sure I single handedly cannot help those workers in other countries, but together I would think we could all make a difference.
There really is a dilemma here…should we push to have all manufacturing and assembly happen in the US and only buy American? Do we lobby for better wages in foreign nations? Either way, people will lose jobs. Sure more will be created elsewhere, but for those currently working for $2 an hour, a mandated wage increase for them could mean a factory relocation or layoffs if another supplier is able to produce products for even just a penny less.
This has probably been my most passionate and heartfelt post ever and I hope that it can help in some way.