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Are Taiwanese Bikes Made By Slaves?

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Are Taiwanese Bikes Made By Slaves?

Old 01-11-07, 02:13 PM
  #76  
mike
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Originally Posted by chromedome
I will raise my hand also. I've been to Chinese (private) owned, state owned, and foreign owned factories. Fortunately, the state owned enterprises are so poorly operated that they are slowly going out of business because they are no longer competitive in business.
Me too. I have been to factories and private homes throughout Asia including China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines - all over.

You know, the Japanese are reputed for having a high standard of living and good working conditions, but if you put it on paper, the Japanese aren't really that much better off than anybody else in Asia.

The Japanese live in teeny tiny apartments that would make even the poor Chinese feel cramped. I lived in a Japanese "dorm" where I could literally spread my arms and touch opposite walls at the same time. I also stayed in a Chinese dorm that had much more space.

The Japanese pay a lot for their food, but in terms of quality, it is not really better than the Chinese and for the price - oh my GOD, the typical Chinese is much better off.

Despite the labor unions and labor laws and sophistications of westernized Japan, they still have guys dying at the company from overwork.

It is easy to sit down and write a newspaper story about how bad it is in China or some other developing country, but once you live it and get a broader perspective, you realize that the "lucky people" in developed countries do not really have it THAT much better off. The biggest difference is mostly lipstick and paint. Sure, if you talk about extreme poverty it is alway ugly and sad, but the only way you can make an argument about how bad the poor have it in other countries is to ignore examples of extreme poverty in western countries including the USA.
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Old 01-11-07, 02:39 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by mike
but once you live it and get a broader perspective, you realize that the "lucky people" in developed countries do not really have it THAT much better off. The biggest difference is mostly lipstick and paint. Sure, if you talk about extreme poverty it is alway ugly and sad, but the only way you can make an argument about how bad the poor have it in other countries is to ignore examples of extreme poverty in western countries including the USA.
You don't even have to live it in another country... your own will do fine when you can find a balance between needs, wants, supply, demand and finally, comfort.

Agreed on all your remaining sentiments there, too.
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Old 01-11-07, 03:34 PM
  #78  
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Written like an educated professional...
I wasn't born with a master's degree and a job. Though it would have been easier that way.

And just what US-made products are you talking about that a larger market has been created for?
From the World Fact Book.
https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications.../print/us.html
The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $42,000.

Labor force - by occupation: farming, forestry, and fishing 0.7%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.9%, managerial, professional, and technical 34.7%, sales and office 25.4%, other services 16.3%

Natural gas - exports: 24.19 billion cu m (2004)

Exports: $927.5 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities: agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2003)


The way the US is going, it's going to run out of money long, long before the sun burns out.
See above.
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Old 01-11-07, 03:37 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by sdime
The slave like condition in other Asian countries is no joke. It has been well documented, especially in the garment industry. There are inadequate wages. They make so little that they have to live in cramped dormitories. There are unreasonably high productive targets. They are worked compulsory overtime until they're exhausted. There are verbal abuse. They get yelled at if they don't work fast enough. There are lack of medical care for on the job accidents. They are completely screwed if they hurt their backs or get their hand chopped off by a machine. There are violations of labor laws by the employers. They get fired if they complain to the authorities. There are discrimination and physical violence against employees who try to establish labor union. Expect to have a few thugs waiting for you at the dormitory tonight, if you are thinking about labor union.
With exception to the following: inability to afford decent living quarters, on-job medical care, and violence for trying to form a union....the rest of that is EXACTLY like the place I currently work in, which has a A-OK as far as US labor laws go. We have had people die of heart attacks on the floor here.....and even had a very heathly 35 year old have one recently. This is legal, here in the US of A.

Don't start worrying about other nations until we fix our own, please.
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Old 01-11-07, 04:36 PM
  #80  
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Taiwan has high speed rail, anyone who rides American railroads has no business calling Taiwanese wage slaves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_High_Speed_Rail
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Old 01-11-07, 05:10 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by chromedome
Except that the first labor union (other than the Party) in China is for Walmart employees.

Anybody read about the teachers strike in Huadu (near Guangzhou)? They went on strike to demand unions.
According to a Reuters report the Walmart union in China is a branch of the "state-controlled All China Federation of Trade-Unions."

When Walmart workers in Quebec voted to unionize, Walmart withdrew from that market and closed up shop. They gave some reason that had nothing to do with the union.

I suppose Walmart can trust the Chinese union to do right by them.
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Old 01-11-07, 05:15 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by sdime
You ready to live in a small dormitory room with six other people and without A/C? You ready to see thugs waiting for you at night when you tried to join a union? You ready for life without social safety nets, like medicade and workers comp? In those places, you gotta pay the hospital before the doctors would treat you. I must say this is not what Marx had in mind, or Mao for that matter.
I have to laught at some of this... while I have not been in a bike factory, I have been in a cell phone factory. The first thing I will mention is that the workers voluntarily move to the city from the "province" out in the country to find higher paying work. The working conditions there were quite similar to working conditions in US cell phone factories, with the exception that, in spite of having all the same fully automated equipment, there was more hand labor being used in China.

In the US, a circuit board would be visually inspected before soldering by a machine that was programmed to look for failures. The same machine was in place in China, but instead of using it, they chose to use humans to inspect the boards. Go figure... the machine is many times more accurate, but requires the ability to program it to look for the flaws.

Now regarding the comment about hospitals, and payment... ever tried to get treated at a US hospital without providing payment first? The second question asked when entering an emergency room is "do you have insurance?" (asked after "what's wrong."

BTW I became quite ill with a sinus infection while in China... the hospital was quite nice and very competitive (if not nicer) than any I have been to in the US.

We sure tend to hold our misconceptions and half truths close to our chest, eh?
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Old 01-11-07, 05:30 PM
  #83  
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Lived in Taiwan twice in the 1980's. Answer to OP, "NO! Not even 20 years ago." Yes, I've been in several industrial facilities there as well as a crap load of cottage industries. Exploited by USA standards, yes, but it's not the USA. Making NT$64 (US$2) an hour is a joke, and the workers in the Giant factory are making considerably more than that. Even an uneducated American can work illegally in Taiwan and earn NT$500 an hour, if you don't get caught, and live comfortably. It's just a lot cheaper to live there than in the USA. So go buy a Giant. The Republic of China (Taiwan) will love you for it.

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Old 01-11-07, 06:16 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by geo8rge
Taiwan has high speed rail, anyone who rides American railroads has no business calling Taiwanese wage slaves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_High_Speed_Rail
China has the world's first Magnetic Levitation train. They are also building a humongous dam. Of course, theis hi-tech train is not for the workers to use, but for the elites. As China get richer, the working class will get poorer because the cost of living will go up while their wage is kept low by an endless supply of cheap labor.
 
Old 01-11-07, 06:53 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by geo8rge
Taiwan has high speed rail, anyone who rides American railroads has no business calling Taiwanese wage slaves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_High_Speed_Rail
That thing HAULS. I didn't have time to check it out when I was there about a month ago, but they were aggressively shaking it down.
As many others have pointed out, there's not a heck of a lot to differentiate a Taiwanese manufacturing facility from one that would be found in the good ole U.S. of A. Hardly slave labor, but I guess trolling and/or ignorance is fun either way.
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Old 01-11-07, 09:54 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by genec
I have to laught at some of this... while I have not been in a bike factory, I have been in a cell phone factory. The first thing I will mention is that the workers voluntarily move to the city from the "province" out in the country to find higher paying work. The working conditions there were quite similar to working conditions in US cell phone factories, with the exception that, in spite of having all the same fully automated equipment, there was more hand labor being used in China.

In the US, a circuit board would be visually inspected before soldering by a machine that was programmed to look for failures. The same machine was in place in China, but instead of using it, they chose to use humans to inspect the boards. Go figure... the machine is many times more accurate, but requires the ability to program it to look for the flaws.

Now regarding the comment about hospitals, and payment... ever tried to get treated at a US hospital without providing payment first? The second question asked when entering an emergency room is "do you have insurance?" (asked after "what's wrong."

BTW I became quite ill with a sinus infection while in China... the hospital was quite nice and very competitive (if not nicer) than any I have been to in the US.

We sure tend to hold our misconceptions and half truths close to our chest, eh?
I found all of these points to be true. Despite China's great human power and potential, Mao really screwed China's future with the Cultural Revolution in the 1960's and early 70's. Many brilliant young people were sent to the fields to work manual labor rather than receive education. The educated intellectuals were jailed, tortured, and sometimes murdered.

The net result is that today's 40+ year-old leaders of industry, government, and educations are terribly under-educated. Anything above very basic technology is way over their heads. For the most part, even basic servo drive technology is risky to place in China because so few people can operate, maintain, or service it. I would be responsible for technology transfer and trying to explain things to the middle-aged engineers was like teaching third graders about advanced engineering. Pointing, they would ask, "what's that gizmo there for? That box like unit?". "Well", I would explain, "That is the control panel. It is the brains of the machine. That tells the motors on the machine when to go and how fast". "Oh goodness!" the ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS would exclaim, "how in the world does it do that?" And at that point, I knew we were ALL in waaaaay over our heads.

This is clearly one of China's shortcomings - the lost generation of the Cultural Revolution.

There is also a basic lack of personal responsibility at the manufacturing level in China. If the boss-man isn't right on it every second of every hour, things can unravel fast. I saw a machine spitting out junk because a glue gun in the machine had clogged up. The products were just going into packages as big gobs of unassembled useless materials. Sure, the workers saw it, but they didn't take any action. The products continued to go into bags and boxes, and pallets, and finally into a container-truck for at least 20 minutes until I, as a simple factory visitor thought somebody should do something and went looking for the foreman.

The foreman was in a separate room having a cigarette, tea, and conversation with some dude. I tried to tell him what was going on and he finally got up all grumpy because I was pestering him. He sauntered out to the plant, yelled at the workers who, disgruntled, stopped the machine and started cleaning the glue gun. The foreman shuffled back to his smoking and tea room. Nobody did anything about the nearly full container truck of junk they had been producing for the past half hour. I feel sorry for the poor importer who had probably paid for those goods in advance or with a letter of credit and then received 40,000 lbs of pure junk.

China has come a long long way in a short amount of time. Whatever shortcomings they have today, will certainly be corrected faster than anybody ever would predict. That is one thing that not only impresses me about China, but also frightens me as an American. Chinese manufacturing, politics, and culture seems to be able to adjust, morph, and improve much faster than anything I have ever seen - and I whitnessed the Japanese economic phenominon first hand.

All I can say is spend your savings wisely and fasten your seatbelts for the wave of the future. It is clearly coming from the Pacific, slave labor or no slave labor.

Last edited by mike; 01-11-07 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 01-11-07, 10:22 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
It has nothing to do with our rights and everything to do with power. They are not one in the same.
The US doesn't have the right or the power to make demands on other countries .... what are they going to do ... declare war on Taiwan for not complying with US labor laws???
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Old 01-11-07, 10:24 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
managerial, professional, and technical 34.7%,[/B]

Natural gas - exports: 24.19 billion cu m (2004)

Exports: $927.5 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities: agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2003)
Yes... too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Whose jobs are the first to go these days when a company downsizes? Middle management.

You can be smug about it, but the tide is definitely turning. For example, Australia has just signed a billion-dollar gas supply to China from the North-West shelf off Western Australia. There are negotiations going on to supply uranium -- something that Australia abounds in compared with the US. China is consuming energy at a huge rate of knots as its industries and affluence develop. Why do *you* think oil prices are so high -- it's not just America's insatiability for energy that is affecting the prices.

I would almost guarantee that Boeing's huge success in achieving over 1000 recent new orders for commercial planes is contributing more to that 49% you quoted than any other sector around it. And much of that has to do with the disastrous roll-out of the new Airbus jumbo-jumbo passenger plane in Europe. The IT industry seems to be slowing as Microsoft and its cohorts have trouble coming up with new whizz-bang software to keep the market buying updates or new packages.

In fact, if you look at your figures, it could be argued that the USA is in a very fragile position if it is banking almost half of its export income on transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers (or should that be IT technology?), and telecommunications equipment.

It won't be long before your job is exported to places like India because research is cheaper over there. It's happening already in IT and the aircraft maintenance industry let alone call centres. Other hi-tech industries such as your own will follow suit. My advice -- don't become middle-management... they are the first to go in the downsizing.
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Old 01-12-07, 09:22 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Machka
The US doesn't have the right or the power to make demands on other countries .... what are they going to do ... declare war on Taiwan for not complying with US labor laws???
Spoken like a true Canuk, eh?
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Old 01-12-07, 09:25 AM
  #90  
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So, still off the slaves in Taiwan thread, I asked 8 Chinese friends, aged from their 20s to their 40s, each univ educated and seemingly well-read, if there is slavery in China. I got responses from seven, four of which pointed out the Apple Ipod subcontractor in China has been.....um....."neglectful" of employee rights recently, blaming underproductivity on assembly and withholding portions of wages (down to only 300Y a month) and having low-management and engineer level staff discourage assemblers from looking for jobs elsewhere. That would be Apple Ipod.

Something closer to true slavery, in as far as people being bought and sold and moved from one place to another, seemingly without the person having anything to say about it, would be the numerous little "hair salons" in China. These young women and teens are "bought" from village leaders and orphanages and taken to cities, with the promise of job training and a career. They live, eat, sleep, and do their job all on one site, a small hair salon, providing evening services to men, under the guise of "massage."
And many of the women in this same situation in western China are Viet Namese, bought and sold and taken across the border into more affluent cites.
Some women are amused, and most women are humiliated by this in China, knowing that more often than not, the management of this trade is by women. Women trafficking women. That's nice.

But I'm not sure how that is related to slavery in bike factories in Taiwan.
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Old 01-13-07, 09:17 PM
  #91  
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Some of the posts in this thread suggest many people refer to "Taiwan" when they are actually describing communist-occupied portions of the mainland. This is like using the word "America" to refer to Canada, the USA, or Bolivia. And, communist China is as different from Taiwan as Canada is from Bolivia.

Taiwan is a free, democratic country, with a spirited (maybe TOO spirited) multi-party system, free elections, and legal protections for workers. The overall standard of living for blue collar workers in Taiwan is good, and rapidly getting better.

In contrast, the communist-occupied portion of China lives under a brutal dictatorship that imprisons and murders its citizens for such "crimes" as openly practicing their religion, or advocating free labor unions, or asking for free elections. Millions of Chinese citizens have been slaughtered by this government over the past five decades, and millions more languish in slave labor camps.

So, please, do not insult the people of Taiwan by confusing them with the Chinese communists. When you walk into a bike shop, some of the bikes will have decals saying "Made in the USA". Some will say "Made in Taiwan". Others will say "Made in China". Your choice.
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Old 01-14-07, 09:52 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
Some of the posts in this thread suggest many people refer to "Taiwan" when they are actually describing communist-occupied portions of the mainland.

Taiwan is a free, democratic country, with a spirited (maybe TOO spirited) multi-party system, free elections, and legal protections for workers. The overall standard of living for blue collar workers in Taiwan is good, and rapidly getting better.

In contrast, the communist-occupied portion of China lives under a brutal dictatorship that imprisons and murders its citizens for such "crimes" as openly practicing their religion, or advocating free labor unions, or asking for free elections. Millions of Chinese citizens have been slaughtered by this government over the past five decades, and millions more languish in slave labor camps.

So, please, do not insult the people of Taiwan by confusing them with the Chinese communists. When you walk into a bike shop, some of the bikes will have decals saying "Made in the USA". Some will say "Made in Taiwan". Others will say "Made in China". Your choice.
15% of the population of the PRC is communist. The rest are socialist. And it seems all are trying to be as capitalist as possible.

Why are there so many Taiwanese companies and business men in east China?

What religions are they being brutalized for practicing? Tao? Bhuddism? Roman Catholicism? What labor union are they not allowed to be in? The Wal-mart union? If the state and the UN didn't muddle with it so much, it would prove it's legitimacy, and more unions would come. And they will come. And the people can participate in local elections, if they choose. They can vote--or not vote--for people they have actually met, whereas in America we often don't have the oppurtunity to meet people we are voting for. And, yes, millions of Chinese have died in the last five decades, and millions more died in imperial China times. And when times turned to crap from 1959 through the early 60's, with the drought and famine, exponentiated by mismanagement of resources, logistics, transportation, regional and local isolation, and communication, the government didn't go pandering to the rest of the world. It took the responsibility of feeding, housing and clothing 800,000,000 people. It had the utopian dream, just like all young countries do, and wanted to prove it could succeed. I suppose the reason why so many people have been imprisoned is through impatience with dissent, and often dissent can do more harm than good. Often dissent is just impatience in disguise. I'm certainly not condoning imprisonment of dissenters, but in some weird way I can see why the central government would not want widespread dissent breeding anti-governmentalism. I would think the government, any government, doesn't want anarchy. Anarchy doesn't do anybody any good, and is not a legitimate way to affect change.

Deng said change would not be easy, nor fast, but if they all work together and remain patient, good things will come. I frequently ask friends if Deng were walking down the street with us today, would he like the China that he would see? I get all kinds of answers. And I am frequently reminded about America's history of slavery, and how that change did not come easily, and not until ninety years after the Declaration of Independance was signed. And how it was still another hundred years after that and blood was still being shed over basic human rights in America. Rights like where o sit on a bus, or what restaurants people may or may not eat in. Or what jobs a person can apply for. Or.....shall I go on? or is this a little too messy and conflictual?

So please don't insult the people of Bike Forums by confusing them with narrow-minded propaganda adherants. When you walk into a bookstore you can read left-wing propaganda, you can read right-wing propaganda, or you can read both. It's your choice to sift through each, ask intelligent questions (like the OP did) and make some sort of informed decision about all issues.
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Old 01-14-07, 10:04 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by BroMax
According to a Reuters report the Walmart union in China is a branch of the "state-controlled All China Federation of Trade-Unions."

When Walmart workers in Quebec voted to unionize, Walmart withdrew from that market and closed up shop. They gave some reason that had nothing to do with the union.

I suppose Walmart can trust the Chinese union to do right by them.
Do you trust unions in America?
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Old 01-14-07, 11:15 AM
  #94  
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At least, everybody in China rides a bike, so they don't have to enslave oil-rich countries.
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Old 01-14-07, 11:41 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by genec
Now regarding the comment about hospitals, and payment... ever tried to get treated at a US hospital without providing payment first? The second question asked when entering an emergency room is "do you have insurance?" (asked after "what's wrong.")
The second question? All too often, it's the first.

Years back, during a brief period of time when I was uninsured, I had the bad luck to have an accident that completely shattered my knee. It was a mess. In the ambulance en route to the nearest hospital (New York Hospital), the EMT asked me if I had insurance. I said no. The ambulance changed course and took me to a god-awful city hospital (Elmhurst Hospital, in Queens), where I spent two weeks in a large room with five other men. Four of those other men were handcuffed to their beds -- they were from Riker's Island (the local jail) and were sick enough so that they had to be transferred to the hospital from the Riker's infirmary.

That's how you get treated without insurance.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:45 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by chromedome
Do you trust unions in America?
The adversarial relationship of labor to owner/management isn't the ideal model in my opinion but I much prefer it to the Oriental style of getting all the employees together to sing some version or another of "All Hail Our Glorious Employer."

In my own country, as recently as the twentieth century armed Federal troops and Pinkerton guards have been employed to put down labor movements in the mines. People have lost their lives because they insisted on safe working environments, living wages and their own human dignity. The exploitation of cheap, disposable labor by American companies in foreign countries demonstrates that their dedication to return on equity takes precedent over such an antiquated concept as good corporate citizenship. I have no reason to believe they wouldn't do the same in this country if they could get away with it. If our Congress, at the behest of corporate lobbyists, doesn't continue to make labor more impotent, I trust American labor unions to advocate for workers to maintain the standards for which so many have paid dearly.
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Old 01-14-07, 01:47 PM
  #97  
alanbikehouston
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Chromedome, try this. Visit communist occupied China. Stand on a street corner with a sign that says "End Communist oppression of China". Or a sign that says "Free Elections for NON-communist candidates". Or a sign that says "Free Tibet".

You love communism so much that you will surely enjoy the brutal beating you get on the way to jail. But, to be safe, write a will before you go. Most of the Chinese college students who held similar signs during the student protests were never seen alive again.

Last week, 18 people who were advocates for freedom for Muslims living in communist-occupied western China were executed...the communist party terms all who oppose communism as being "terrorists".

Yeah, living in a communist occupied nation is wonderful...sure thing...

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 01-18-07 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 01-14-07, 06:45 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
Chromedome, try this. Visit communist occupied China. Stand on a street corner with a sign that says "End Communist oppression of China". Or a sign that says "Free Elections for NON-communist candidates". Or a sign that says "Free Tibet".

You love communism so much that you will surely enjoy the brutal beating you get on the way to jail. But, to be safe, write a will before you go. Most of the Chinese college students who held similar signs during the student protests were never seen alive again.

Yeah, living in a communist occupied nation is wonderful...sure thing...
Alan, nobody, including me, said I love communism. Point that out to me in any of my posts where I said I do. Just more of your brand of crap. Maybe you can skew what other people have to say, but it doesn't work with me.
Second, stay informed. There was a demonstration of several hundred teachers in Huadu, Guangzhou about two weeks ago. They demonstrated for the creation of a union. Nobody was killed, nobody was arrested, nobody was injured, including the several thousand that witnessed the demonstration. The PLA wasn't involved. And the best thing: voices were heard.
Maybe you could explain "communist occupied" and "communist oppression." Communist oppression in 21st century China? The Party is just trying to keep up.

Alan, maybe you should get out of the 60's and into the 21st century.
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Old 01-14-07, 06:51 PM
  #99  
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I come away from this thread thinking some people don't care how the workers are treated as long as they can buy the products cheaper than it can sold for if made here.
GREED RULES!
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Old 01-17-07, 09:54 AM
  #100  
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They are not slaves. but workers earned for a living.
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