Morning Links

Friday, March 30th, 2012
  • Police respond to man’s medical alert bracelet accidentally going off, and end up killing him.
  • . . . the total amount of uncompensated care provided in America currently adds up to only $40.7 billion annually or about 3 percent of our total health care spending.”
  • New doubts about yet another shaken baby conviction.
  • In 1951, the CIA spiked the bread in a small French town with LSD.
  • You learned something today: Larry Hagman once drunkenly swung an ax at a group of nuns.
  • Duke Sucks, the book.
  • Over at the Economist, Bruce Schneier debates former TSA director Kip Hawley.
  • The surprising thing is how little FLA found in its investigation of Foxconn. Workers sometimes worked more hours than are allowed under Chinese law, but wished they could work more. Interns don’t get health insurance. Migrant workers can’t get social security. This hardly seems like the vision of a sweatshop critics describe.
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50 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  David | 

    The White Plains story serves as yet another object lesson that if you’re not a cop, you’re the enemy and will be treated as such. Whether you (or anybody) have committed a crime is irrelevant.

  2. #2 |  Mike T | 

    ” . . . the total amount of uncompensated care provided in America currently adds up to only $40.7 billion annually or about 3 percent of our total health care spending.”

    That’s all well and good, but what about cost-shifting caused by the various federal mandates? Sure, emergency rooms may only get gipped 3% of the time, but how often are they ripping off their patients who can pay with exorbitant costs because those patients have to absorb the costs of others?

  3. #3 |  glasnost | 

    In December, 46% of the workforce clocked up to 70 hours per week, although Chinese labour laws say employees should work no more than an average of 49 hours a week, including overtime. The average maximum week was 61 hours, and between November and January more than a third of staff did not receive the statutory one day off in seven.

    I wonder if the desire for more hours has to do with this?

    Around two-thirds of workers said their take-home pay did not meet their basic needs.

    And this is after six years of heavy spotlight and pressure. At least there haven’t been a bunch of mass suicides for, like, hey, three years!

    This hardly seems like the vision of a sweatshop critics describe.

    Sure, if you’re heavily biased against believing that worker exploitation is a real concept and employer-employee relationships are inherently consensual. You sound like a tool.

  4. #4 |  A Critic | 

    “The surprising thing is how little FLA found in its investigation of Foxconn. ”

    The part that offends me is the Chinese government taxing Foxconn workers so that lazy Americans can collect SSI while smoking crack while texting on their Iphone made by the workers who pay for their life of sin.

  5. #5 |  M | 

    The biggest thing I thought FLA found (according to NPR last night) was that Apple suppliers don’t always pay full pay for overtime hours. Other than that, it sounds like a whole bunch of people on every level who want to hurry up and cash in quick.

  6. #6 |  ktc2 | 

    When you consider that FLA is funded and controlled by the companies it investigates the surprise is that they found anything at all.

  7. #7 |  rmv | 

    One of the central questions in economics is “what’s the opportunity cost?”

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2008/Powellsweatshops.html

    There seems to be a false notion among anti-globalization, anti-“sweatshop” types that the alternative to Foxconn(or apparel factories) is a first-world style office job with full dental and a 401k with matching contributions(Please, obviously, I’m being a bit hyperbolic).

    If the alternative is picking trash in a garbage dump, rock-breaking, or working on a farm for 14 hours a day all with lesser compensation(both monetary and non-monetary), then how is working at a Foxconn not a positive step up?wages for all workers in that country

  8. #8 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    •In 1951, the CIA spiked the bread in a small French town with LSD.

    Forsooth, is it the “Central” or “Intelligence” or “Agency” part of their name
    that lets them, or motivates them, to do all sorts of evil, diabolical shit?

  9. #9 |  Pablo | 

    This trend of police always following an ambulance is disturbing. I guess this is another example of trying to arrest as many people as possible. I also think that the legality of their entering a home without probable cause and without consent (if the caller is unconcious or otherwise unable to give consent), just because they are tailing behind an ambulance crew, is dubious.

  10. #10 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    •Yizmo Gizmo; during WWII the OSS absorbed scads of nuts and cowboys and did its best to turn them into useful covert ops people. At the end of the war the OSS was disbanded, briefly, due to bureaucratic infighting. When the CIA was formed, the people available from the OSS were the nuts and cowboys who for one reason or another hadn’t been able to get jobs elsewhere. So far as I can see, that set the tone for the CIA from then on.

    • When evaluating stories about “sweat shops” now or in the past, it is ALWAYS critical to remember that, with rare exceptions, those jobs were filled by volunteers. While a lot of “sweat shop” critics simply don’t realize this, there are a few that do and attack anyway because (I think) they fear that if the industrial revolution spreads into the second and third worlds, they result will be cast hoards of middle class workers that feel about Progressive Visions the way that the middle class workers in the U.S. feel.

    As Tom Wolfe has pointed out frequently, the United States could reasonable be described as a Worker’s Paradise; a country where a manual laborer like a Plumber enjoys Aristocratic prerogatives like Trophy Wives and exotic tropical vacations. I frankly suspect that there is a small but noisy group of elitist intellectuals who HATE this and desperately want to keep it from spreading.

  11. #11 |  FridayNext | 

    Wow! Foxconn interns treated better than interns in my profession, the vast majority of which aren’t even paid, let alone part of the SS system or have health insurance.

    Also re #3glasnost. I am always suspicious of conclusions on anyone’s wages based solely on self-report. Maybe buried in this report is an actual study of wages versus standard of living in the area, but even in this country most people will say their wages don’t cover their basic needs even when their take-home is six figures.

  12. #12 |  Mattocracy | 

    Bottom line, if this was McCainCare, liberals would hate the individual mandate.

  13. #13 |  Deoxy | 

    His son recalls hearing his father say on tape: “This is my sworn testimony. White Plains officers are coming in here to kill me.” A few minutes later, a bullet tore through his rib and heart.

    If the facts in this case come out looking ANYTHING like what’s being described (an important “if”), this may be a good test case for what it takes to be prosecuted for murder when you’re an officer.

    Seriously, how does this work out any other way?

  14. #14 |  FridayNext | 

    @#12

    And if it was McCainCare most conservatives would love it. And once did. That people on either side of the partisan divide decide their policy positions AFTER deciding which side their team is on and which side the other team is NOT on should only come as a surprise to those who have been asleep for the last 20 years.

    On the other hand a lot of liberals I know dislike the mandate under Obamacare. But given the political realities, it is the closest thing to single-payer as they can reasonably expect. It’s a bold faced compromise with their principals. However, as long as insurance is more-or-less tied to employers, all solutions will be only shades of bad.

  15. #15 |  John Spragge | 

    Take emotive but meaningless noise out of the piece in Reason by Shikha Dalmia (expressions like “hissy fit” and “acid reflux” have no actual intellectual or ethical content), and you have a collection of cliches, the musings of Robert Samuelson cited as “scientific evidence”, and links that reference articles that don’t mention the point the link text suggest the linked article makes. All in all, a very poor showing by Reason, which usually puts on a better case than this, and can certainly do so on the issues of the Affordable Care Act.

  16. #16 |  Dante | 

    The big thing about the “mandate” is where does it end?

    If the govt. can force all the citizens to do what the govt. wants in order to benefit the partisan interests of that same govt., is this really a free country? Will they order us to purchase death insurance, since we all die and it costs money? Will they order us to purchase US bonds, since that also benefits the govt.? Will they order us to contribute to their campaigns? Will they order us to buy stock in failing banks and car companies, which may help the economy but most certainly helps the govt’s re-election chances? Will they order us to buy stock in weapons manufacturers, since keeping those companies alive is a matter of “national security”? Will we simply become slaves to the wishes of partisan government, being forced to spend our money on things which only benefit the partisans in our government (or a limited group of corporations which support them)?

    Where will it end, once it begins?

  17. #17 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Love this comment,

    Dear Mr. Schneier,

    “Exactly two things have made airplane travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door, and convincing passengers they need to fight back. Everything else has been a waste of money.”

  18. #18 |  Deoxy | 

    However, as long as insurance is more-or-less tied to employers, all solutions will be only shades of bad.

    That’s not entirely true – work-force pools (for large companies) is a decent way to randomly pool risk. From an actuarial perspective, that’s tempting.

    The problem is that “insurance” has come to mean something much different than “covering rare, catastrophic occurrences”. Essentially, it has become an extra set of middle men who touch the money (several times and ways) before the medical people get it.

    THAT is the root problem here; whether it’s tied to employers or not is a significant but highly-secondary (or perhaps even tertiary) concern.

    Exactly two things have made airplane travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door, and convincing passengers they need to fight back. Everything else has been a waste of money.

    The best term I’ve heard what that money paid for is “security theater” – doing stuff that LOOKS like security to people who don’t know better and are willing to avoid thinking about it to hard (“suspension of disbelief” is involved).

  19. #19 |  Deoxy | 

    Will we simply become slaves to the wishes of partisan government, being forced to spend our money on things which only benefit the partisans in our government (or a limited group of corporations which support them)?

    At which point, it isn’t “our” money at all. That is, essentially, full-on socialism – government ownership of EVERYTHING.

  20. #20 |  Aaron | 

    Bruce Schneier debates destroys former TSA director Kip Hawley.

    There, I fixed it.

  21. #21 |  NL_ | 

    I don’t even understand the government’s side in the White Plains Kenneth Chamberlain case. They don’t provide any justification for the standoff or the invasion in the NYT article. If the guy says he’s all right, then it seems like the only concern would be that he’s lying because of a hostage taker. Or that they were going to arrest him for pranking a life alert system.

    It’s weird that the New York Times didn’t bother to include any justification for a police invasion that ended up in the death of a man who was not a suspect in any crime until police showed up.

  22. #22 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    •”However, as long as insurance is more-or-less tied to employers, all solutions will be only shades of bad.”

    as opposed to single payer, which (based on the examples available from the real world) would be shades of worse.

    • I heartily agree with Yizmo Gizmo regardiong the quote “Exactly two things have made airplane travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door, and convincing passengers they need to fight back. Everything else has been a waste of money.”

    Yes! Exactly! And I think this is the core reason why the TSA is so ostentatiously annoying and useless. Nobody who gave a fat damn about actual airport security thought it was necessary or even helpful. They knew that the next bunch of scruffy malcontents who tried to hijack an airliner would get stuffed into the overhead luggage compartment in somewhat used condition, and they had other matters to concern them. So TSA was created by empire builders, nitwits, and political panderers, with the inattention of anybody who might have contributed any common sense.

  23. #23 |  Mike | 

    Where does that $40 billion number come from. The article to which it was linked provided no number.

  24. #24 |  RobZ | 

    The link behind the $40.7B value in the Reason article doesn’t appear to point to a page with any content to support the value. (My guess is that the link was meant to point to a different page.)

    Here’s a link to a page that gives a somewhat larger value:

    http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/report-uncompensated-care-costs-passed-insured/2009-05-29

    “According to the group, the uninsured received $116 billion in care from doctors, hospitals and other providers in 2008, $42.7 billion of which was never paid for. Providers then raised prices to insurers to cover these costs, and insurers, in turn, charged higher premiums, the group says.”

    The site given above also says that in 2008, the cost shifting to the insured amounted to around $368 per insured person.

    All estimated figures, of course.

    The Iraq war, on the other hand, is projected to have a cost on the order of $10,000 per US citizen.

  25. #25 |  Mark | 

    It’s little wonder Apple relied on the FLA as opposed to other labor watch organizations. Those familiar with labor relations will accurately tell you the FLA is a more employer-influenced and arguably biased in comparison to say, the WRC.

    For all those free marketers out there: A fundamental difference between the neoliberal view and others (critical view (marxists), or industrial pluralists (IR schools)) is that economists tend to accept the notion of a free market, while the later group rejects the underlying assumptions necessary for a free market (or, they claim that the assumptions are not found in the real world). Further, even accepting the existence of a free market, there is also a legitimate debate as to what the purpose of government regulation should be; should the government be solely concerned about efficiency or about some abstract notion of fairness (etc. etc).

    Even if a worker freely chooses to work in a sweatshop, it’s my personal opinion that this is not the product of a free market. First, full employment doesn’t exist, so firms are not price takers in the realm of wages. Second, there are high transaction costs involved in mobilizing even a small workforce, this distorts the free market. Third, while not undisputed, there is a substantial economic literature showing that firms, on average, have monopoly power (that is, they are price setters, not takers) in addition to extremely large firms in relatively remote areas (re: Foxxconn) having substantial monopsony power. Lastly, and this makes people uncomfortable (not wrongfully so) because of its paternalistic undertones, but individual workers are not rational — they are too risk averse, they are incredibly ignorant of their rights and have very limited information, and are subject to endowment effects. I’m not attempting to write the definitive piece on this subject, but there is a thriving debate on many of these issues that shouldn’t be ignored.

    So the FLA report may not comport with your perception of a sweatshop, but it can also in good faith be interpreted as showing the institutional pressures that systematically disfavor employees relative to employers

  26. #26 |  Noumenon | 

    RobZ, thank you so much for the due diligence and saving me from having to complain about the unsourced quote! Your source seems more accurate, too, since you can see where they got their number from and it’s not the whole picture.

  27. #27 |  Bernard | 

    While many critics of ‘sweatshops’ are sincere (though usually misguided) in their belief that their protests are for the good of the workers whose conditions they oppose it’s important to recognise that a good amount of it is also smoke for unionised labour in the west that is petrified of the cushy status of workers in the west being eroded.

    I do think that there are genuine worries for westerners about the consequences of vast numbers of skilled and hungry workers being plugged into an increasingly connected world when standards of living are so closely tied to certain resources which we’ve been used to sharing out among a relatively small number, but I don’t think that whipping up hysteria about sweatshops is a useful response.

  28. #28 |  rmv | 

    @24 Mark

    Paraphrasing your first half of your second paragraph:
    Since most economists’ models contain assumptions that are not strictly met by the real world they are wrong. In their place, I proffer two competing models that are predicated on assumptions that are wholly unmet by the real world.

    “…so firms are not price takers in the realm of wages.”
    If these firms set the price above market value, then does it matter that they set the price? If the same skill level of labor would earn a fraction of those paid by “sweatshop” firms, then…

    “Second, there are high transaction costs involved in mobilizing even a small workforce, this distorts the free market.”
    Misundestanding of what free market means. No economist believe in a frictionless economy with perfect knowledge. Every model is an abstraction. The question is whether those necessary abstractions diminish the explanatory power of said models. Again, the models you offered up as possible answers to the mainstream economics models rest on assumptions with much shakier foundations.

    “Third, while not undisputed, there is a substantial economic literature showing that firms, on average, have monopoly power (that is, they are price setters, not takers) in addition to extremely large firms in relatively remote areas (re: Foxxconn) having substantial monopsony power. ”
    The choice isn’t between working at Foxconn or non-entrance into the labor market. The choice is between working at Foxconn or working in the fields for longer hours at lower compensation. That is not a monopsony.
    Also, :citation needed:

    “Lastly, and this makes people uncomfortable (not wrongfully so) because of its paternalistic undertones, but individual workers are not rational …”
    Obviously paternalistic, definitely elitist.
    Your effective solution is to relegate them back to the farms, just so you can assuage your first-world guilt.

  29. #29 |  Cyto | 

    This is why Dook Sucks

  30. #30 |  Cyto | 

    #21 | NL_ |

    I’ll add to this… why is there no back-down in the police playbook? They knock on a door in response to life alert, end up kicking the door in I suppose… so when the guy who called for help – their description – brandishes a knife and yells at them to get out, why not, you know… get out? Is there some immutable law of the universe that says if you are a police officer and you perceive that someone might be angry that you are therefore required to press forward until this person is subjugated? Talking to this guy from outside the apartment would have done what? Jeopardized the officer’s lives?

    We’ve seen it over and over… We see it in the cell phone recordings… police leaving an active investigation to harass and intimidate citizens who are simply recording public events. No backing down, no de-escalation. Police who had every opportunity to defuse a situation pulling guns and killing people. The old man who saw 5 drug dealers on his lawn (undercover cops) and took his shotgun to shoo them off: dead. Jose Guerena reacting to men at front door with his gun: dead. etc., etc…. How about taking cover and negotiating?

    It seems that their training (or disposition) focuses too much on the “instant recognize and respond” shooting of a gun and not enough on the real weapon of first resort, human psychology. Of course, if you are only going to hire “less intelligent” officers… well, I suppose you get what you asked for.

  31. #31 |  Dal | 

    As public service to my fellow ‘little people’ – after extensive research of nationwide incidents of police contact gone wrong – I present the following Citizen’s Guide to Police Contact.

    Preface: It is recommended these guidelines be followed for ALL contact with law enforcement personnel – including traffic stops, airport screenings, police PR visits to your or your child’s school, and even those circumstances where you have (foolishly) initiated police contact to report a crime, provide eyewitness testimony, etc…

    1. Immediately assume a posture of supplication – place your hands (very slowly) behind your head and (very slowly) descend to a kneel. Do NOT drop to a prone position before ordered to do so, as this may be interpreted as “lunging” and result in the use of deadly force.

    2. Continuously repeat phrases such as “I am not resisting” and “I defer to your authority” (though tempting, do not use the Cartman-inspired inflection “authorita”, as this may be interpreted as sarcastic disrespect and result in the use of deadly force). Depending of the level of officer agitation, additional statements may be warranted, such as “I would like to donate all contents of my wallet to the Fallen Officers’ Fund.” or “While I’m down here, may I offer you fellatio, sir?” (note that this should be directed ONLY towards MALE officers; females may interpret this as attempted sexual assault, resulting in the use of deadly force).

    3. Under no circumstances should you use the words “constitution”, “civil liberties”, “rights” or “camera” in the presence of law enforcement (or near anyone who may report you to law enforcement…or ever, really).

    4. Never possess or express a desire to possess a firearm, knife, tool, sporting implement, glass bottle, spray can, lighter, candlestick, rope, or any other item that conceivably used in any fashion to harm, alarm, or insult a law enforcement or other government official.

    5. Never wear hooded sweatshirts, stocking caps, sideways baseball caps, baggy pants and/or pants that ride more than 4” below the bellybutton (or baggy clothing of any kind, actually), tie dye clothing, camouflage clothing, body piercings, tattoos, or clothing that depicts or implies drug use or advocacy of drug legalization or gun ownership or advocacy of gun ownership (same applies to bumper stickers…and while we’re on that subject, a recommend preemptive measure is to plaster one’s vehicle with “Thank a cop” and/or “D.A.R.E.” bumperstickers).

    6. Never listen to rap, psychedelic, punk, or techno music, or appear that you might listen to such music (see #5).

    7. Never argue with anyone ever, and if you must express yourself, do so only in a pleasant and deferential manner.

    8. Never consume or possess alcohol, recreational drugs, pain medication, antidepressants, or any other sort of “controlled substance”. Never possess any object that may be interpreted as “paraphernalia” (rolling papers, pipes, syringes, prescription bottles, sandwich baggies, cups, apples, empty aluminum cans, etc. etc.). If you have medical condition that necessitates such possession, it is recommended that you never leave your domicile or make use of emergency services of any kind.

    9. If possible, do not be Black, Latino, Native American, poor, mentally ill or diminished, or a teenager. If this is unavoidable, it is also recommended that you never leave your domicile or make use of emergency services. If you absolutely must venture out, be sure that you are accompanied by an affluent, conservatively-dressed, Caucasian adult at all times.
    10. Regardless of these precautions, operate under the assumption that you WILL be tazed, clubbed, flash-grenaded, bean-bagged and/or pepper-sprayed at some point during the police contact, and it is imperative that you respond appropriately. If you are an unfortunate who happens to be naturally resistant to such measures, you must nevertheless immediately feign total subdual. Also, avoid excessive twitching, screaming, cursing, crying, or begging for mercy, as any these actions may result in escalation to (more) deadly force.

    Though there are no guarantees, adhering to the above guidelines should reduce the possibility of a deadly encounter with law enforcement by 10 to 20% (depending of course on the mood, blood sugar, height, level of alcohol consumption, and locale of the officers in question – if, for example, you encounter a short, hungry, intoxicated (or recent sober), south Chicago police officer in the midst a contentious divorce/custody dispute, you might as well just save some time and shoot yourself…).

  32. #32 |  SHOES THROWER | 

    * Police respond to man’s medical alert bracelet accidentally going off, and end up killing him.

    Will anyone tweet the addresses of those responsible for this?

  33. #33 |  Linda | 

    Medical alert bracelet- as written in the article “It wasn’t a crime scene until they made it one.” Can not believe it. Just horrible.

  34. #34 |  Steve Verdon | 

    First, full employment doesn’t exist, so firms are not price takers in the realm of wages.

    There is actually quite a bit of evidence that contrary to your beliefs this is indeed the case.

    Note to be a price taker the market does not have to be perfectly competitive, but merely competitive.

    Third, while not undisputed, there is a substantial economic literature showing that firms, on average, have monopoly power (that is, they are price setters, not takers) in addition to extremely large firms in relatively remote areas (re: Foxxconn) having substantial monopsony power.

    Really? I’d like to see three citations that show “most firms have monopoly power”.

    Lastly, and this makes people uncomfortable (not wrongfully so) because of its paternalistic undertones, but individual workers are not rational — they are too risk averse, they are incredibly ignorant of their rights and have very limited information, and are subject to endowment effects.

    Right so the solution is more government power like in…mmm North Korea or China…oh…wait. Never mind.

  35. #35 |  Burgers Allday | 

    This trend of police always following an ambulance is disturbing. I guess this is another example of trying to arrest as many people as possible. I also think that the legality of their entering a home without probable cause and without consent (if the caller is unconcious or otherwise unable to give consent), just because they are tailing behind an ambulance crew, is dubious.

    http://volokh.com/2010/08/18/mckenna-v-edgell-and-civil-liability-for-fourth-amendment-violations/

  36. #36 |  SamK | 

    Anecdotal, but I’ve been in Germany, the UK, Hungary, and the US army, all of which use some form of socialized health care. I’ve had zero problems with anything other then the army version, and it still did what it needed to do and was just disorganized. I’ve heard good and bad stories about many things, but personal experience has always trumped stories for me. I’ve had personally far worse experiences in the US with health care (longer wait times and medical ‘professionals’ who didn’t know their ass from a foramen magnum) than even in London where the shitty health care there is supposed to keep me from wanting a single payer system.

  37. #37 |  croaker | 

    There’s a police medical story worse than item 1.

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/woman-unhappy-with-care-at-st-mary-s-hospital-is/article_ed640f3d-64a0-516c-88ff-fb770b5e9677.html

    Cops arrest woman in ER for trespassing. She’s there because of severe pain in her legs (to the point of unable to stand). After they drag her away and throw her in a cell, the blood clots in her legs that were causing the pain cut loose, she dies from what is effectively a stroke.

    Lots of fail to go around in this one.

  38. #38 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    That 3% ignores the millions of people are financially ruined by paying for emergency care. Without insurance, you’re always one health event away from that.

    That’s the tiny fraction of sick people who need repeated emergency care and those who miss the qualifications – for whatever reason – for medicaid.

    Never mind that in many cases a fraction of the cash for a prescription would stop them having to use the emergency services….

    @12 – No, sorry, basic hatred of people getting helped without someone’s shares soaring isn’t a liberal characteristic.

  39. #39 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Legally speaking, what the CIA did to those people in France was a violent crime, and it’s also an act of war. If any of the perps in the entire chain of command from the agents who did the dirty work right up to truman is still alive, they should be facing a French firing squad.

    -jcr

  40. #40 |  Delta | 

    International survey of health care expense and satisfaction levels (2007) — http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2009/05/are_patients_in_universal_heal.php

  41. #41 |  John C. Randolph | 

    individual workers are not rational

    Oh, get bent.

    -jcr

  42. #42 |  Blaze Miskulin | 

    Regarding Foxconn

    I’m currently living in China as an EFL teacher. We have a Foxconn factory in our city (Kunshan) and several of my students work there. I’ve talked to them about the factory, and can put some of this into perspective.

    Salary:

    The average salary is about 2200RMB/month on the floor. This includes housing and meals. As a comparison, a native teacher will make about 2000RMB and a receptionist 1500RMB–and have to pay rent and food out of that. 2000RMB is plenty of money to live quite comfortably if you’re not paying rent. I’ve spent less than that in a month while buying imported food, buying a new wardrobe, eating out frequently, paying for utilities and internet, and keeping my liquor cabinet well-stocked.

    Just a note on housing: If workers don’t want to live in company dormitories (which are basically like college dorms in the US) Foxconn will give them a housing subsidy.

    Working Hours:

    Yes, the hours are long. But that’s typical here. But you also have to take into consideration the large number of legal holidays.

    Western New Year: 2 days
    Spring Festival: 7-10 days*
    Tomb-Sweeping Festival: 3 days
    Labor Day: 3 days
    Dragon Boat Festival: 3 days
    Mid-Autumn Festival: 7 days

    * Some place will close for up to 3 weeks for Spring Festival.

    So, you’re looking at a minimum of 4 weeks of mandatory vacation time.

    Also, you need to remember that these aren’t life-long jobs. These aren’t UAW workers who plan on working in the factory until retirement. Foxconn is a gateway job. Most work for a few months, maybe a year or two, to save up money and get skills to work at other, better-paying jobs.

    Is Foxconn a cushy union job? No.
    Is it the slave-labor camp that the western liberals make it out to be? No. It’s a stepping-stone job in a developing industrial nation.

    As someone who’s actually worked manual labor in the US (including factory work and jobs that involved 20-hour days and random swing shifts), I find the criticisms to be misplaced and ignorant.

  43. #43 |  Xenocles | 

    “individual workers are not rational”

    Rational is nothing more than a term economists use as shorthand for “acts the way I think they should” or “according to the values I hold.”

  44. #44 |  rmv | 

    @43 Xenocles

    If you assume

    1)that humans have goals
    2)that humans act so as to accomplish those goals
    3)that those actions are informed and shaped by the available information and surrounding cultural and institutional structures

    Then you assume the same rationality that economists do.

    Rational != optimal
    Rational != perfect
    Humans != lightning-fast calculators of utility

  45. #45 |  picachu | 

    John C. Randolph #39, You don’t understand; it’s terrorism when OTHER people do it. When WE do it it’s different. You know, because we’re different, and exceptional.

  46. #46 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @43 – Actually, it’s also frequently used in game theory, often used to inform statistical models.

    Humans are not *rational actors*.

    (Of course, rational actors are often non-optimal in themselves, but that’s another story…)

  47. #47 |  Mattocracy | 

    “No, sorry, basic hatred of people getting helped without someone’s shares soaring isn’t a liberal characteristic.”

    That complete mischaracterizes what the individual mandate is. Forcing people to buy insurance isn’t the same as offering healthcare. That, and it’s a bailout for insurance companies. Those CEO’s just had their stocks go way up with this legislation.

  48. #48 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @47 – That’s a completely different point, as you well know.

    As I said, Bob Dole ran on the basis of an individual mandate, and the majority of the mildly right (Democrats) in America could have gone for that because it’s still better than the current situation.

    Of course a sensible left-wing solution like say that in .nl, which actually delivers a higher percentage of care than America through private rather than state providers couldn’t be considered in any case.

  49. #49 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    piachu,

    I agree with you, FAR too many people (Right AND Left) think that way. My position is pretty hard core, though; If some person or group is making war on me (and I think it’s beyond argument that that has been the position of various Islamic groups at least from time to time) then I get to make war back. And if I, or my group/country/clan happen to be better at it than our enemies, well, it sucks to be them.

    Pity we haven’t sold a war on that basis since the Civil War (the War of Southern Idiocy).

  50. #50 |  Deoxy | 

    That 3% ignores the millions of people are financially ruined by paying for emergency care. Without insurance, you’re always one health event away from that.

    Ah, but real INSURANCE could take care of that easily and cheaply. Our problem is that “insurance” as we currently have it is something else entirely, and that something else is VERY VERY EXPENSIVE.

    Now, those with ongoing, chronic conditions are in a bad spot, yes… but this legislation is about the worst way to deal with that I can think of.

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