Industrialization in China

Foxconn under the Microscope

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Descriptive Words

All of the adjectives used here serve to convey a sense of what living in the industrial revolution, either in China, or back in the age of the British Industrial Revolution. The adjective 'Toxic' represents the negligence present in the factories handling of their employees, particularly the Foxconn factories, who were revealed to have injured 137 workers at a factory here ... [with] a toxic chemical used in making the signature slick glass screens of the iPhone."(NYT). The word 'Subjugation' describes the relationship between the factory owners and their workers, similar to that of a slave and the owner of a cotton plantation, with the owners forcing their employees to work unholy hours, and sometimes not be paid for months on end. Polluted is an adjective which describes the conditions of the Chinese environment, and also that of the British environment during their Industrial Revolution. With a smog often pressing so thick around in the air that people have to wear masks in order to breathe cleanly, the living conditions in China are similar to that of living inside a chimney. Abusive definitely describes the condition in which many young children are forced to work. Children who are younger than I am are forced to work under conditions in which some full grown adults are literally worked to death. Lastly, overpopulation describes the state of the country as a whole. China contains over a seventh of the world's population, and most of that is centered in cities due to urbanization, which is a similar scene to that of Britain in the 19th century. All in all, these descriptors paint an accurate picture of the living conditions in areas in the throes of an Industrial revolution.

POLLUTED

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Photographs

The pictures that are used in this project are meant to paint a picture of the current labor and living conditions in China, and to compare them to conditions of industrial age Britain. The images of the child staring at the camera were both used in order to compare child labor as it occurred in the British Industrial Revolution and the current Chinese one. The look on the children's faces are eerily similar, even though they are separated by over a century. Factory inspectors are supposed to find and report use of child labor but "even when inspectors are tough, factory managers find ways to trick them and hide serious violations, such as child labor or locked exit doors. Dangerous conditions cited in the audits frequently take months to correct, often with little enforcement or follow-through to guarantee compliance."(NYT). Because of this, child labor in modern Chinese factories often goes unchecked, just as it did in the textile mills of old. The political cartoon under the adjective subjugation shows a foot in dress shoes, wearing pants made of dollar bills, stepping on a skull labelled "Labor". I used this image because I believe that it is an accurate depiction of the hierarchy in Chinese factories, with owners often cutting down to 'bare bones' as it were, in order to afford themselves more luxuries, with the same thing being done by the American companies ordering all of the product. The images shown under the adjective Toxic are used to represent the literally toxic working conditions endured by workers in Chinese factories. All of these people are shown being given medical care because they were placed in horrific conditions by their factories, with two of the pictures showing victims of food poisoning from a Foxconn factory, and the other showing a victim of Carbon Monoxide poisoning from another factory. These pictures give the viewer a little glimpse into the horrific conditions in both industrial Revolutions, and it was for this reason that I chose them to represent those ages in my collage.
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Effect of Improving Work Conditions on the World and the Future

Low-cost labor has always been a surefire way for a company's profit margin to increase, and within the past half century, people have been turning to China to provide that low cost labor. The greed driven exploitation of these workers only increases with "The success of the iPhone and similar products [and] means competition among companies like Apple and Samsung, both of which rely heavily on Chinese factory supply chains, ... [and] This increase in competition, in turn, will crank up pressures in factories whose workers are already struggling under harsh conditions.(WSJ)" The international community, however, has started to take notice of these increasingly harsh conditions, and has begun to take action against them, with working conditions slowly but steadily improving as of late. As the international pressure continues to build and working conditions continue to improve in China and other centers for industry, I believe that major companies will begin to turn elsewhere to find cheap labor, perhaps moving into other impoverished areas in Africa, or Brazil. The price of the products made in China will increase quite a bit during the initial transition, and maybe some of the market will shift permanently to the United States, but after the initial shift, I believe that the problem will end up perpetuating, just in a different area. To remain competitive internationally China may end up trying to be more environmentally conscious in order to earn the favor of the international community. A shift of employment into Africa would be a good thing for the world, however. Industrialization in Africa has the ability to skyrocket a very large population of people into the new age, and also potentially solve some of the more persistent problems, such as widespread starvation and corruption, on that continent. Overall the improving working conditions in China have the potential to be extremely beneficial to the planet and its inhabitants, and I believe that eventually, it will benefit the world.

Bibliography

Works Cited

"Abuse." 123rf. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/abuse_vector.html>.

Barboza, David. "Workers Poisoned by Chemical at Apple Supplier in China." New York Times 22 Feb. 2011: n. pag. Print.

Bradsher, Keith. "Fast and Flawed: Inspections of Factories Abroad." New York Times 2 Sept. 2013: n. pag. Print.

"Child Labor in China." New-Standards. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://new-standards.net/resources-re-child-labor-china>.

"Fast and Flawed Inspections of Factories Abroad." NY Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/business/global/superficial-visits-and-trickery-undermine-foreign-factory-inspections.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>.

Foxconn: Working Conditions Haven't Improved Over the Years. Popsugar.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Foxconn-Working-Conditions-Havent-Improved-Over-Years-3604846>.

Lubman, Stanley. "Working Conditions: The Persistence of Problems in China's Factories." Wall Street Journal 25 Sept. 2012: n. pag. Print.

"Made in China: Pollution as Well as Exports." Storify. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://storify.com/ucirvine/made-in-china-air-pollution-as-well-as-exports>.

"Organic from China Exposed." Natural News. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://naturalnews.com>.

"Overpopulation." Shutterchock. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.shutterstock.com/s/overpopulation/search.html>.

"Overpopulation." Tumblr. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://wotfigo.tumblr.com/post/35501222984/overpopulation>.

"Subjugation." Chain Metal Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://chainmailmetalreviews.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/subjugation-ep/>.

"Toxic." Blogspot. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://sweetlyscrappedart.blogspot.com/2011_07_03_archive.html>.

"World Population Graph." Dssresearch. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://blog.dssresearch.com/?p=229>.