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The Fascinating Story of Foxconn

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  I love this next story.  It's about Foxconn.  Foxconn is this massive manufacturing company.  They are headquartered in Taiwan, but they have factories throughout China.  They employ in one factory 120,000 people.  It's just overwhelming.  They make iPhones and iPads and iPods and Macintosh computers and they make electronic gadgets for a lot of other companies as well.  They're huge.  Well, it's also China.  And they employ all these people, but by our standards, they don't pay them very much, and by our standards, they work too much.  By our standards, Foxconn is a slave labor camp.  At least as far as human rights groups are concerned. 

Now, there was this guy -- I had never heard of this guy, and I don't know that you have, either.  His name is Mike Daisey.  He's a monologuist. He's an artist. He does a stage show where he sits down and basically lies about things he didn't see at these factories in China, about how cruel people are treated, and how they die in explosions and so forth, all the time building your iPhone and your iPad and so forth.  He fabricates things, he makes 'em up, and he's had to apologize and all that.

But in the middle of all this there's a group that audits the behavior of management at big factories like this.  It's called the Fair Labor Association and they audit places to determine how well or how poorly the employees there are treated.  And Apple is big target because, of course, Apple is too successful.  Apple is making too much money. Their stock price is too high. They don't give very much to charity. They're targets 'cause they're a highly, highly profitable and successful capitalist enterprise.  So the CEO of Apple decided that when all this attention started that they would let it play out and then counter with an audit, which found for the most part that many of the claims were untrue about how poorly these employees -- remember, we're talking about China.  We're not talking about the United States. 

These factories employ 120,000 people, and there are 20,000 in line hoping to go to work there.  People in China want to work at these places.  Well, the latest audit found that some of these employees are being forced to work 60 hours a week.  (gasping)  You talk to your average entrepreneur in America who's ever made anything of himself and that's chump change.  Your average entrepreneur works 24/7.  The job's never off of his mind.  "But, Mr. Limbaugh, we're not talking entrepreneurs here. We're talking about slave labor employees being forced to work all of these long arduous hours for peanuts, Mr. Limbaugh." 

Sir, Mr. New Castrati, they're young people.  It's China.  The president, Hu Jintao, loves this because these factories are not in his biggest cities.  Some of them are, but most of these factories are out in the country where he wants to keep the people.  Hu Jintao knows that if the population of his country floods Beijing, Shanghai, all these other places, he's got major problems because the jobs aren't there for 'em so he loves Foxconn, he loves Apple, providing jobs for ChiCom people out in the hinterlands.  It's wonderful.  They've got hospitals inside the factories, restaurants. Some of the employees live there.  Look, there's nothing comparable to it here.  But the attempt to apply our standards has resulted in Foxconn saying, "Okay, we're gonna reduce their hours. Nobody's gonna work any longer than 49 hours."  And guess who's unhappy?  Who do you think is unhappy?  The Foxconn employees. 

"Foxconn workers question why hours are being cut after FLA review -- Workers at Apple supplier Foxconn are reportedly worried after it has been announced that their hours will be cut following an audit of its facilities.  Twenty-three-year-old Wu Jun is used to working long overtime hours to earn the bulk of her income. But after Foxconn announced it will cut hours for its employees, she and other employees expressed concern to Reuters that they won't make enough money to support their families.  Foxconn announced on Thursday that it would reduce employee working hours to 49 per week, including overtime," in response to these demands being made by people that don't live in China. 

Responding to demands made by good old mind-everybody's-business-but-their-own liberals.  Gotta put their noses under every tent in the world.  There wasn't really an overwhelming problem here.  It was just we gotta get Apple, we gotta get Foxconn, everybody's making too much money there. And we got this guy out there doing this stage show that's filled with lies about all the atrocities taking place, which are not taking place at nearly the scale that everybody was led to believe.  I mean the place is not a panacea, don't misunderstand.  These are jobs the American people wouldn't do anymore, but to these people, this is their ticket out.  It's the equivalent to your starter job.  It's the equivalent to a hamburger flipper job when you're a teenager to get yourself in the market, to learn how it all works, get paid for doing something. It's all good. 

Now, granted, not every boss is an angel.  The real world is the real world.  Employees get mistreated sometimes.  But now, because all these do-gooders know how to do it better than anybody else, no more than 49 hours.  And the Foxconn employees are the ones who are unhappy.  Management doesn't care.  They'll just hire more people.  Now, some of you may ask, "Well, why doesn't Foxconn just pay them more so they don't have to?"  Well, they have done that.  Apple secured raises.  There was an ongoing process to improve conditions.  And they're not ideal.  I don't want to be misunderstood here.  It's not a panacea, it's not nirvana, but nothing is.  Hard work happens all over the world.  Hard work still happens here.  I know we're trying to shield our children from hard work.  But it still happens in other parts of the world and it's beneficial. 

Sometimes I think back -- I'm 61, and I think back to when I was a teenager and my first job in radio. You couldn't kick me out of that station.  I would have lived there.  I was making 75 cents an hour, didn't matter.  I lived at home, gave the money to my father. He put it in a savings account for me unbeknownst to me, presented it to me two years later when I was 18 years old. I was able to buy a car.  But the point is, I look back on it, I remember one day the transmitter at the station, tube blew.  And so we're off the air.  That's unacceptable.  And the owner, "We'll take care of it tomorrow." Tomorrow?  We're off the air!  I drove to St. Louis to get the tube, to put in the transmitter.  And we went back on the air.  It took two hours. So we're on the air five hours after I left.  But I think back on it all the time and I don't have the energy now that I had then.  I mean I've got it, but in different ways. 

I think back to some of the things that happened and some of the garbage that I had to put up with, and you're the same, we're all the same, and I read stories like this, and what do people expect happens when you're working?  It's not utopia out there.  We're talking about a communist country. I don't care whatever else advancements are being made, we're still talking about a communist country.  This is a place that provides an opportunity for people to work, and they can take care of their families by working there, which is the objective, and now the opportunity to do that's being taken away from 'em by reducing their hours because some outsiders think it's unfair that's what going on there.  So all these people who think they're doing wonderful things in the area of human rights end up causing more harm than they intended.  It's always these unintended consequences. 

And again, I am not -- don't anybody misunderstand me here.  I am not suggesting that slave labor's fine, that atrocities are fine or poor working conditions are fine, but it's different in China.  These are human beings.  They live and have to deal with their own set of circumstances, and not every country's the United States.  And, frankly, we're heading in a direction to be more like the rest of the world than the rest of the world is heading to be more like us.  Which is a shame.  But I find it amusing that all these do-gooders go out there and they raise hell and they point fingers of blame, and they blame Apple, and they demand action, and then they ultimately get it, and the people are trying to help are the ones that get hurt, and if that isn't liberalism, I don't know what is.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  By the way, I should point out, Foxconn in China is golden compared to some of the genuine sweatshops that exist there where people work.  Everything's relative, folks, and the reason there are 20,000 people lined up outside the place every day trying to get a job there is because it's the king of the hill.  In fact, there's a quote from a worker in this Reuters story.  "This is a good company to work for because the working conditions are better than a lot of other factories."  They want to work at Foxconn.  May not be up to our standards but it's better than anything over there, and therefore better than anything they know.  And the outsiders come in, "Hey, we're here to help you," just like liberalism is gonna help everybody and they end up making it worse for everybody they claim they're trying to help.

END TRANSCRIPT

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