“A series of articles from The New York Times this week on Apple’s tricky relationship with the company that builds the iPhone and iPad makes it clear that while society may occasionally recoil at the human cost required to build our flashy mobile toys, when it comes to consumer electronics there is no Plan B,” Tom Krazit writes for paidContent.
“China is the world’s workshop, having invested heavily in manufacturing and infrastructure over the last 20 years, and its advantages in consumer electronics are maybe even more pronounced. A complex network of electronics producers and suppliers has sprung up in cities like Shenzhen and Chengdu, much the same way that London and New York are centers of finance and Los Angeles dominates entertainment production,” Krazit writes. “Apple is only being singled out by the Times because it is at the top of the tech heap, and while that may be fair game given Apple’s unbelievable profit, it overstates the ability of the company to act as a macroeconomic force.”
Krazit writes, “The truth is pretty simple: the modern consumer electronics industry couldn’t exist without companies like Foxconn. And Apple can’t just take its ball and go home: there’s nowhere else in the world one can find an industrial system that could replace what China has built, and attempts at building an alternative might take decades. Apple is right to keep pressure on its suppliers to improve conditions, and critics are right to ask the company to do even more. But even Apple doesn’t have the clout to reverse two decades of economic history that has led to the status quo, in which low-cost Chinese manufacturing props up the consumer-driven U.S. economy.”