Apple: In the factory of good and evil conditions.

What would happen if I refused to buy an Apple phone because I opposed the conditions of workers in China? Nothing would happen. What would happen if the Australian government refused to allow the sale of Apple products in Australia? There would be something big happening then of course. It could do more to end poverty than just about anything else.

People love their phones and are unlikely to give them up. They may care about workers but not as much as they do about their phones. A law improving pay and conditions in a country like China may be good for the Chinese workers. Apple and other countries can just move to the next country without those laws. Not so good for those new workers. Australia banning the importation of  products could occur, no matter where Apple and the others moved.

Banning products made in sweatshop conditions with one exception. If those companies improved pay and conditions then they could keep selling. It is not against capitalism to ask companies to pay their workers a liveable wage and provide good conditions. Even Pope Leo XIII supported liveable wages. Pro-private property and anti-communist Pope Leo XIII.

What would happen if someone came up to me outside that Apple shop and said low wages are better than no wages for these workers. They will be able to move up and China developed thanks to companies like Apple. I would assume good wages are better than low wages. A company with 100 billion plus in the bank for a rainy day has the money to pay better wages. China would still develop. They would have developed even faster because higher wages of employees means more spending in the economy. More investments by companies into China to achieve that. The choice is not between begging on the street or low wages. It can be between low pay and good pay.

Do we even know what gets made in sweatshops?. New Zealand had a similar debate relating to a proposed bill to stop slave-made goods entering the country. Some argued that one could not tell the difference between goods made by a poor person versus a slave. Suggesting that if the poor person can leave at the end of their shift while the slave might get shot may be a difference.

What if some parts of the phone were sweatshop made and others not? The company selling the complete product would have to ensure that their supply chain was free of sweatshop made goods. Mission Impossible I hear Tom Cruise say. How could we possibly know. It would be an impossible task. Not really. It can be done quite easily.

Apple's own internal reports have information on sweatshop conditions. The Brazilian government has a list of banned companies that use slave made goods. They seem to be able to compile a list. The International Labor Organisation seems to have found out information. Unions, universities, and even investigative journalists have found out information about slave-made and sweatshop goods.

What about the poor {non-slave} customs official? The ban on such goods could never really be enforced therefore forget it. The ban on drug importation does not seem to be too enforceable. When people ingest and do all kinds of things with drugs. This does not stop the Australian government and customs from trying to stop it. Australian unions should be very supportive of such a ban unless conditions approve. The major reason for outsourcing occurs because it is cheaper for businesses. What if it was not so cheap? By making wages and conditions better for workers overseas. That would be better for workers here.