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Five Foxconn workers attempt suicide in last month, are we the cause?

Thomas Ricker, @trixxy
April 8, 2010
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Whether you know it or not, the people employed by Foxconn, aka, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., have more than likely built something in your home. In fact, the computer or smartphone that you're using -- be it from Apple (yes, the iPad too), Nokia, HP or Dell -- to read these words was probably assembled by the hands of Foxconn workers; remote villagers that dedicate a few years of their lives (and typically 12 hours per day) to Foxconn's manufacturing cities. In return, Foxconn pays a relatively competitive wage that enables its workers to support distant relatives or eventually return to their interior province to purchase land or open up a local shop. So it's a bit startling to hear that five (5!) Foxconn workers at its Longhua plant have attempted suicide since March 11th; a facility that employs, feeds, and houses an estimated 300,000 workers. This is especially disturbing after the much publicized suicide of a Foxconn employee supposedly entrusted with an iPhone prototype. Is our obsession with cheap gadgets from a consumer electronics industry preoccupied with secrecy, profit, and speed, creating the conditions where -- for some -- suicide is the only escape?

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