Cheaper! Cheaper! More! More!
December 19, 2003 12:24 AM   Subscribe

Yes, Virginia, there is a sweatshop in China! [Friday flash, holiday humbug]
posted by homunculus (8 comments total)
Low prices drive development in Third World countries.
posted by shepd at 12:37 AM on December 19, 2003

That's "development" with quotation marks.
posted by ajpresto at 1:58 AM on December 19, 2003

Does anyone here find it silly that the keyboards, mice, monitors and most of the computers used to create and view this animation was made in sweatshops in china?

Turn over your keyboard right now. What does it say?
Actually - turn over your mouse, speakers, joystick and scanner. What does it say?

The only thing on my desk that isn't Made In China is the Sony Aibo recharging station - and even that is fed by a powersupply that is Made In China.

But the perpetrator of this flash is using a keyboard/mouse combo hand-crafted from recycled material by well-paid and highly educated non-chinese, I'm sure.

Still pretty funny, tho'...
posted by spazzm at 2:40 AM on December 19, 2003

Somehow Mark Fiore never manages to amuse me.
posted by Eloquence at 5:45 AM on December 19, 2003

i think it's cute--they're just editorial cartoons anyway.
cheaper! cheaper! more! more!
posted by amberglow at 5:50 AM on December 19, 2003

I had dinner with a Chinese professor the other night. China is able to make stuff so cheap because of the huge labor pool. The problem will eventually arise that the Chinese will become more affluent (ie. middle class will emerge) and they will start demanding better working conditions. It's the same process the US went through in the first half of the 20th C but it is happening at hyper-speed.
posted by stbalbach at 7:14 AM on December 19, 2003

stbalbach, the comparative price of labor (plentiful, thus cheap) is certainly a factor, but that's also expected to diminish as China's one-child policy creates a progressively smaller labor pool -- perhaps as soon as the coming decade. [graph] Another important factor is the artificially weak yuan, which has a peg allegedly deliberately undervalued; theoretically this creates an automatic 30% to 40% discount on all Chinese goods sold to the US.

Food for thought: at some point the Chinese boom is going to stall out, probably somewhere between 2010 and 2030. At that point, we may see a global depression -- as Chinese imports and investments crash -- that makes the 1990s global recession, often said due to the Japanese stagnation, look like a picnic. This post brought to you by Paul Erdman.
posted by dhartung at 10:55 PM on December 19, 2003

It's just sad that those Chinese sweatshop workers won't be able to witness this illuminating and heartfelt commentary on their labor conditions. It's just fucking sad.
posted by Zulujines at 2:20 AM on December 21, 2003

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