back to article Apple's DIRTY SECRET isn't that secret, or that dirty

We've had another instalment in the campaign to blame Apple for all that goes wrong in poor countries, and this time it was the BBC's Panorama that scolded the iFruit for buying tin in Indonesia. Not appreciably different from The Guardian's story of 25 months ago. Not really all that different from various Friends of the …

Nice article. Still don't think Apple will invite you to their parties though.

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Prepare to be hammered

The Apple-haters and the Bolshies will descend upon thee, and smite thee with their scorn for actually pointing out facts.

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Reality Distortion Field

If Apple didn't talk down to it's customers with that patronising "We're better than you" Jonny Ive bullshit mantra condensing claptrap then to be perfectly honest no one would bother their arse about where the tin came from or if the drones in the sweat shops needed to take a nap due to exhaustion and poor working conditions..

No one asks these questions of Sony , HTC or other manufacturers of the latest shiny tech.. why ?? because the Apple reality distortion field dictates that Apple are better , just better and that you should follow and aspire to be more 'Apple'

Well, as the world's most profitable and potentially influential corporations its just that the public expect Apple to lead by example.... which they clearly don't, no matter what the PR spin says otherwise.

There will be another program or article like this in 18-14 months and some Apple exec will spew out some random metrics to bamboozal the uninformed stating that in fact , everything is tickityfrikkinboo.

Nothing changes, but hey , productivity is up by 3.9% .. winner.

( Written on a MacBook Pro )

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

McClaptrap. Looks like Jony Ive doesn't have a monopoly on bullshit.

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

Mike , it's OK , you can be deprogrammed.

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

@Andy Roid

When did Apple say they they were better than me, or better than a competitor, or patronise me? I accept there's a lot of bullshit marketing, but they really say no more than "we try harder". And I don't think the fact that they don't like you jailbreaking your iPhone or installing malware is patronising. It's simply a differentiating feature; buy something else if you don't like it. You can still install malware on your Mac, or on your Android device.

Are you sure Apple don't lead by example? Where are the online supplier lists for Sony, HTC, HP or Dell, and where are the supplier audit reports? These are the very things that make it easy for lazy journalists to cobble together Apple centred programmes like Panorama's.

The Panorama programme could have been so much better if, having identified issues in Apple's supply chain, they looked at how those issues might best be resolved, instead of vaguely implying Apple could do better in some unspecified way.

Why didn't we see workers being punished or sacked for sleeping on the job? Because it's clearly part of the long hours culture to sleep on breaks, and they were being left in peace.

The only thing that I can see is a direct result of Apple's business model, is the stress created by keeping the products secret, then shipping ten million the day after the first public demo. Of course this creates huge stress on hiring, working hours etc.

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

@Sleepy you're kind of missing the whole point .

Apple is a lifestyle brand, always has been , they do a lot of things really well, I'm a Mac Book user myself, love the thing, but they present themselves as a purveyor of aspirational premium products. When the masses buy their new Apple product, they don't think that it's made in a sweatshop and utilises materials where people are literally dying during the extraction process.. No , they think of hipster types thinking different and everything being rosey.

The point is that with the Cash pile of $165 Billion Apple can and should do better.

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

If you go trumpeting your high ethical standards, rigorous supplier auditing, maximum working hours requirements, and so on and on and on, then you can hardly whine when someone holds that up against the reality and points out where you're falling short. It also doesn't help if you refuse to engage with anyone making such a programme before it goes out, and then start complaining about its supposed inaccuracies afterwards. I'm sure Apple are no worse than any other major tech company with regard to ethical sourcing, and maybe better than most, but the way they go about dealing with questioning or criticism makes them look arrogant and hypocritical.

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

If you read the report that is on the page you linked to, instead of sanctimoniously pointing out how imperfect they are, you'd see that they acknowledge that their supply chain isn't perfect.The transparency is there if you can be arsed to simply read. But, y'know, facts are of no use to anyone when you can pontificate on an internet comments thread...

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

Apple don't claim to be the ethical choice. They claim that their products are better quality and easier to use than the competition, which you may or may not agree with, but has nothing to do with whether they are ethically sourced.

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Re: Reality Distortion Field

I have seen a lot of comments like this and I find the attitude rather strange. You say Apple deserves to be singled out because they have publicly published supplier responsibility reports and made claims of improvements to working conditions within the supply chain.

By taking this attitude you seem give the other companies a pass because they sweep things under the rug and fly under the radar. It really is quite illogical.

I am under no illusion that some, possibly most of Apple’s supply chain does not use ethically sourced minerals.

However, I think the BBC report needs to be put in context, because Panorama at times got completely ridiculous about how it heaped blame on Apple.

I love how the Panorama reporter said over and over again that tin from the smelters is sold to Apple, completely absolving intermediate suppliers such as the manufacturers of solder, Samsung and the Chinese assembly plants that supply Apple.

They even absolve the smelter owners such as Johan Murod ("Mr. Tin"), because they buy from middlemen and can’t tell what Tin is illegally mined. Other smelter owners say they abide by all government regulations. Panorama then easily find a corrupt middleman, who only sources illegally mined Tin and then sells to smelters very low down in the Apple supply chain. They then make the allegation that these corrupt middlemen are easy to find and Apple is just ignoring them for the sake of profits.

But isn't it also incontrovertible proof that the smelter owners know which middlemen are supplying illegal tin? Johan Murod lied on camera, it is obvious there is widespread breaking of Apple’s supplier policies and a cover-up when Apple inspectors come visiting. Why didn’t the BBC re-interview Johan Murod?

By the way Johan Murod is a Bangka native who as a young political activist, helped Bangka and Belitung fight for, and win, self-rule in 2000. It was also his idea to bring in the Tin dredges that are destroying the coral. “Like a money printer,” he says. (See article below). The man is corrupt.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-08-23/the-deadly-tin-inside-your-ipad

Here is another article that uses the sensationalist headline: Apple buys tin as producers can’t keep up with demand.

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/04/02/apple-inc-buys-tin-as-producers-cant-keep-up-with-demand/#__federated=1

Yet, the story only mentions Apple suppliers buying tin. This is the sensationist media that Apple is up against.

Curiously, the article also had this to say.

“Suppliers to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have been forced to look elsewhere for tin since Indonesia, the top producing nation, restricted sales from illegal mining on the island of Bangka in September. Indonesian exports will plummet by about one-third to as little as 60,000 tons this year, Sukrisno, president of PT Timah, that nation’s largest producer, said March 24 in Jakarta.”

So the Panorama documentary doesn't seem up to date at all.

I would also like to try and put into perspective Apple’s consumption of tin.

In 2013 Apple sold, 150 M iPhones, 71M iPads, 16M Macs and 26M iPods

iPad is estimated to contain 1 – 3g of tin.

Laptop estimated to contain 2.4 – 3.4g of tin.

Allowing for 5g per apple device which is very conservative since a vehicle uses 15g

5g = 0.000005 tonne

263,000,000 x 0.000005 = 1315 tonnes in all Apple products for 2013 (over estimate)

About 340,000 tonnes of Tin is mined per year

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/04/02/apple-inc-buys-tin-as-producers-cant-keep-up-with-demand/#__federated=1

So in 2013 Apple suppliers consumed 0.39% of the worlds tin. (over estimate)

I would like to ask, who is more able to put on pressure for ethical mining of Tin? A consumer of 1/3 of a percent, 4 levels up the supply chain, or the local governments and tin smelters who buy directly from the mines? It is obvious Apple won't be able to much of a difference.

The one thing I took away from the documentary is there is coruption at all levels of the supply chain, right up to suppliers like Pegatron. Pegatron were faking training sessions, Pegatron managers were abusing workers, Pegatron were illegally taking workers IDs and warning the workers they had to keep it secret, Pegatron were falsifying documents (pay slips etc.), Pegatron have been intimidating workers to keep silent, fearing reprisals.

Panorama provided absolutely no evidence that Apple knew about these violations, but throughout the program they accused Apple many times of actively covering up wide spread abuse of Pegatron employees.

While it is Apple's responsibility to dig below the surface, it seems that the only way to do it would be in a covert manor. This would be dangerous & if caught could have legal and political repercussions.

Panorama said themselves, that putting a reporter in there with a camera was dangerous.

Obviously, the workload of Pegatron employees is a result of demands that Apple puts on the supplier, but that is no excuse for the deceit and flagrant disregard of Apple policies by Pegatron.

Suppliers at all levels have been covering up wide spread violations. it is no surprise that all the millions spent by Apple on supplier responsibility hasn’t really changed much at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reality Distortion Field

Sadly, Andy, you'll always be a bit of a dick...

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If Apple really really cared about workers conditions...

...then wouldn't they have their own western inspectors visiting or monitoring working and factory conditions as part of their 'caring' attitude? Making sure the contractors and workers are not being abused or exposed to risk.

Well it's what I would do if I really cared. After all I sure Apple could afford a team of people to do that.

However, it appears they do not, so really it all boils down to bulls*it PR stunts.

As mentioned by the previous poster, sure other companies use these same factories but they are not the ones going on record over and over again every time this comes up saying "oh we really really care!"

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Re: If Apple really really cared about workers conditions...

Different manufacturers impose less stringent targets on the assembly line also. One of the key areas that Apple have been criticised on in the past has been the productivity rates they demand of their workers which is what was linked to the raft of Foxconn suicides a few years ago.

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Re: If Apple really really cared about workers conditions...

Wikipedia (and elsewhere) re Foxconn suicides:

Although the number of workplace suicides at the company in 2010 was large in absolute terms, the rate is low when compared to the rest of China.[18] (However, the country has a high suicide rate with over 20 deaths per 100,000 persons.[21]) In 2010, the worst year for workplace suicides at Foxconn with a total of 14 deaths, the total employee count was a reported 930,000 people.[22]

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Re: If Apple really really cared about workers conditions...

That's what Apple actually is doing. Things like monitoring working hours of about a million employees, several hundred audits every year, and so on. Sending underage employees back to school, at the expense of the employer. In China, Apple has forced employment agencies to repay over 20 million dollars in excessive fees to employees.

But people seem to have the strange idea that if you have audits, and you find problems, then there is something wrong. It's the opposite. The more audits you have, the more problems you find. That shows you are actually doing proper audits. And then you can start improving things. And have tougher audits the next year. Which will again be failed, because they got tougher, and then the press complains, and all the time conditions are improving.

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"25 months to recycle the story"

So what you're saying is that in 25 months they've made no progress in cleaning up their act while pretending they have.

Right...

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I've said it once on the Reg forums before but it bears repeating; The transition from abject poverty to middle class appears horrific to those already past it and who never had to live through it.

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Amen brother!

As I've also pointed out in these pages before, China's GDP per capita (a guide to living standards, but only a guide) was in 1978, the same as England in 1600. Today it's more like England in 1948. They're getting there. Indonesia appears to be England circa 1870 or so today.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Amen brother!

Amen to that.... but this might miss the brontosaurus in the room....

All this fantastic growth has been made possible because of the huge gaps in earnings/living standards..... In other words by using cheap labor "somewhere else" to feed consumerism in richer societies.

In the 60's and 70's it was "made in Hong-Kong" or "Made in Japan"... but as living standards and wages increased, production shifted to korea, then to china and india... and as these start to become richer factories start to move to VietNam and Indonesia....

Now at this rate we'll get to a point where there won't be a cheap/qualified labor base to support this growth... and when that bubble bursts things might get very uncomfortable no?

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Re: Amen brother!

Not really, no. The uncomfortable bit is that we've currently got people starving in paddy fields when they could mechanise agriculture and start making things. Making both us and they richer.

When all that labour is as productive as our own labour is then everyone's going to get paid the same as we do (it levels up, very definitely, not down).

And when there's no more people standing around starving in paddy fields....anyone want to try and say that's going to be a worse one than this one?

Sure, maybe growth won't be quite so fast when there's no more cheap labour to exploit. But on balance that's a deal I think I'd settle for.

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Re: Amen brother!

If there are no more people in paddy fields, we might be a little bit hungry....

I don't doubt this process of reverse-dominos will work for some time, but there has to be a last domino fallen; once it stands, then what? Start another round?

The intensity of effort (and risk) people will invest seems proportional to the relative gain. Once your and your family are secure, beads and baubles represent a very small relative gain. Rare is the person who goes balls out just for the hell of it.

So, what does round two look like?

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Re: Amen brother!

Slightly long answer here. But there's two types of economic growth.

1) When we use more resources. And the definition of "resource" here is pretty wide. More education leads to a resource of higher educated labour for example. Moving people from paddy fields into factories creates the resource of industrial labour etc.

2) Working out how to combine these resources in more efficient manner. This is also known as technological advance.

So, imagine that we've got no more pockets of peasant destitution around the world. We're all getting our food from the 2% of people (US and UK numbers for farmers) who get to ride tractors etc. Everyone else is in services or manufacturing. We can't just go add "more low paid labour" to the economy to boost output. For there is no more low paid labour to add.

So, the economy is limited to growing at the pace of technological advance.

*Shrug*. Doesn't sound like all that bad a time of it really.

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Re: Amen brother!

If there are tractors or some other form of machinery on the paddy fields rather than (mostly) women, and those women are instead making something else, then we will still have the same amount of rice, or possibly more, and we have the other things they make as well.

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Re: Amen brother!

By the time we run out of cheap labor, we will have cheaper labor. Machines will be making machines. And machines don't need to be paid, housed, woken up, et cetera. Of course then we will have RoTM and Judgement Day!

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Responsibility

To hold Apple, or any other tech giant that happens to use tin-based solder (all of them) responsible for what's happening at the bottom here seems rather harsh. Why not critique the government itself?

You say that as if it's an either/or proposition. That's not how responsibility works. Let's walk up the chain again:

1. Some (relatively) poor people mine some tin without a license or whatever they need from the government. They are fully responsible for the legal, environmental, and ethical consequences of their actions.

2. The miners then sell the ore to a smelter. By accepting the ore in trade, the smelter is accepting responsibility for where it came from. This does not negate the miners' responsibility; it is a separate but equal responsibility.

3. The smelter then sells their tin via the state-owned exporter. At this point the state accepts responsibility.

4. Solder manufacturers buy the tin to make solder, adding themselves to the list of responsible parties. But their are many solder manufacturers, and they don't all use all of the tin, so their responsibility is proportional to the amount of tainted tin they take on.

5. Electronics manufacturers buy the solder; now they're sharing the responsibilty as well, again, proportional to their use.

6. Now we buy the electronics and must accept our share of the responsibility. But of the 55,000 metric tons of tin produced in Indonesia annually, each of us individually may be responsible for a few to a few hundred kilograms, depending on what we buy and what we make.

In short, responsibility is not like a hot potato to be passed around; it's a virus. Passing it on doesn't mean you're rid of it.

Looking down the chain, we each individually bear a small burden of responsibility. Apple, the solder manufacterers, and the Indonesian state can all be considered aggregators of responsibility, because they hold responsibility equal to that of all of their customers. From the state to the smelters and then to the miners, responsibility is spread back out a bit.

So from that point of view, the Indonesian state seems the most logical point of attack, because as you say its monopolistic position means it aggregates the sum total of responsibility for illicit tin mining in Indonesia. From a purely ethical standpoint, it is the largest holder of responsibility.

But from a strategic change management position, Indonesia is a very poor target, because it is a sovereign nation, giving it the explicit right to control both the definition and the enforcement of laws within its borders. If it decides to define laws such that these people are mining illegally, but not to enforce those laws, then it has that right. Certainly there are international treaties and human rights laws which can trump these national laws, but enforcing those is difficult and has unpredictable levels of success.

Apple, on the other hand, is an excellent target, for reasons which appear to be deliberately engineered by Apple. Apple has positioned itself in the high-end aspirational range of the electronics goods market, partly by setting very clear social responsibility goals for itself and its suppliers, and by enforcing them.

So if you actually want to effect such change in an arena where Apple is a serious player, you highlight Apple's responsibility, because Apple's position is sensitive to such criticism.

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Re: Responsibility

"So from that point of view, the Indonesian state seems the most logical point of attack, because as you say its monopolistic position means it aggregates the sum total of responsibility for illicit tin mining in Indonesia. From a purely ethical standpoint, it is the largest holder of responsibility.

But from a strategic change management position, Indonesia is a very poor target, because it is a sovereign nation, giving it the explicit right to control both the definition and the enforcement of laws within its borders. If it decides to define laws such that these people are mining illegally, but not to enforce those laws, then it has that right. Certainly there are international treaties and human rights laws which can trump these national laws, but enforcing those is difficult and has unpredictable levels of success.

Apple, on the other hand, is an excellent target, for reasons which appear to be deliberately engineered by Apple. Apple has positioned itself in the high-end aspirational range of the electronics goods market, partly by setting very clear social responsibility goals for itself and its suppliers, and by enforcing them.

So if you actually want to effect such change in an arena where Apple is a serious player, you highlight Apple's responsibility, because Apple's position is sensitive to such criticism."

So the aim of all this is to impose on some near starving tin miner in Indonesia the moral precepts of an iPad user in Islington?

OK, I mean we used to do that, sure, but didn't we rather go off this colonialism thing? And at least when we did it we went out there directly and did it, allowing them to kill us if they objected too vehemently.

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Pint

Re: Responsibility

Steve Knox "each of us individually may be responsible for a few to a few hundred kilograms [of tin]..."

Geezus H. How many new gadgets do you buy in a year? I buy a lot, but it only adds up to a few kg **of gadgets** in a year, and tin makes up a very small fraction of the mass. If I've bought even one kg of tin in the year, then I'd like to know where it is.

Basic math: you realize that 55,000 tonnes divided by 7.2B people is single digit grams per person? Right?

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desperately poor people

So are the "desperately poor people" getting the money from this, or is there some not so poor bastard in the middle skimming off all the money? Like some fence buying stolen goods for pennies on the dollar.

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Re: desperately poor people

There's absolutely people in the middle here. Smelters might buy a tonne minimum lot. No hand miner is going to collect a tonne: that's $16,000 at current rates. So there will be a chain. Small dealers you can sell a kg at a time to. Others who buy up that in 50kg or 100 kg lots and so on. And every level will get its slice. (Please note, I don't know the actual numbers, just the system)

But not quite like fences, in that the middlemen get near all of the value. There's enough competition in those chains that margins aren't all that wide. there's also a number of smelters, both legal and illegal. So no one has a squeeze on the prices.

One estimate I've seen (from Friends of the Earth actually) is that a miner can make £12 a day. Hard work for shit money, undoubtedly, but that's about $18 more than the water buffalo option provides. For that they might be collecting 4, 5 kg of cassiterite a day.

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will a tin hat save the BBC ?

Bend or drop your iPhone and you get hoards of wrath so god help the BBC on this one.

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Hmmm... a conumdrum

So, do those raising hell about this actually think of the consequences of their actions? Take all those miners who are just trying to feed their families and remove that option. By removing that option, they starve and the do-gooders will scream that the welfare state isn't taking care of them. What's happening is what's happened since time began. They want to feed themselves and their families. Working is the way to do it, not waiting for a handout.

My point is this, the BBC offers no solution for the miners except take away their income and put them on the dole, if there is such a thing in Indonesia. If you're going to bitch about a problem, at least offer a solution. Anyone can bitch, but few have the will to solve the problem in a way that doesn't result in more hardship.

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Re: Hmmm... a conundrum (sic)

Or just sit back, twiddle our thumbs and make no comment, accepting that big companies can do what the hell they like...?

"In order that evil thrive, it is necessary only that the good do nothing." (Various attributions)

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Re: Hmmm... a conundrum (sic)

What you say is true. But to tell someone they can't work anymore, you have to provide them with someway to make a living. You can't just do like some and say: "You can't do that anymore. And there's nothing we have for you to do."

Subsistence farming, mining, etc. has been going on since long before the industrial age. Todd is right...they have to be shown the way up. Not pushed back down.

So other than whining about the big companies, what's your solution? Let the workers/miners starve? Revolt and form a People's Republic? Put them in an IT Call Center?

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Re: Hmmm... a conundrum (sic)

My solution is to make a noise about what they're failing to do. Is that not what this is all about? Why have comments at all if they fall on deaf ears?

Doing and saying nothing, and therefore implicitly aquiescing, is not right and is therefore not a decent person's option.

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Re: Hmmm... a conundrum (sic)

Ok... so the solution is to scream loudly until the mines are shut down. Then what?

I would rather the miners get a decent wage or way to improve their lot. Screaming gets attention and usually unintended consequences. There also has to be a solution proposed and it has to be viable.

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Re: Hmmm... a conundrum (sic)

Partly right. No, the solution is to scream loudly until the companies treat their employees properly.

In this particular case (Apple) does anyone think that fanbois, faced with an iPhone 7 that costs an enormous $870 instead of an affordable $850 will think "Nah, too much, not paying that"? Of course not. The additional cost doesn't come into their equation. The price is the price.

With such an enormous cashbag already in the bank the only thing preventing Apple from taking this action is greed. Pure greed. Just because they can.

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Re: Hmmm... a conundrum (sic)

"the solution is to scream loudly until the companies treat their employees properly"
The topic of this article, and Mark's position, is not based on employees. I believe that is where your disconnect is. If Apple were employing these miners, even indirectly via contracting, you would have a very valid point. The position of the article is that these are not employees, these are poor people literally scrabbling through the dirt for something to help feed their families. There are no quotas, no KPIs, and no TPS reports. If one of these minors could feed their family off an hours work a day, they would have the choice to work 7 hours a week, and be at home the rest, or work more and get ahead in life - their choice. It seems like the 'feed the family' point is about 3 person-days per day, so they bring the children in to help out where they can.

Screaming for Apple or Indonesia to simply stop buying the ore mined by these people would not improve their lives, which is the whole point of screaming about this in the first place, no?

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Re: Hmmm... a conumdrum

"the BBC offers no solution for the miners except take away their income..."

Your comment is like the section in the original article that said:

"And if we decide that we're just not going to buy our tin from there any more then this option won't exist and they'll have to fall back onto those worse ones. It's hard to see how this would make the world a better place."

Both of these suggestions are remarkably stupid. This is not a binary BUY/DON'T BUY situation; there is a third option, which is to keep buying but improve transparency, introduce monitoring, raise labour standards, raise environmental standards, remove the corruption, keep people employed. This is exactly the same process that is happening with textiles over the last two decades after the sweatshop campaigns, with diamonds after the Kimberley Process, with forestry and so on. There is nothing new or radical about this proposition.

You and Tim Worstall would, in 19th Century Lancashire, presumably be suggesting that if little Timmy is stopped from working at t'mill with a pretty good chance of losing a finger a week, linens won't get made and everyone will be out of a job. History shows otherwise.

To turn the question around - are you seriously suggesting that a supply chain with systemic labour abuse, environmental damage, theft and corruption is the best and only arrangement?

.

(By the way, I don't think it's the BBC's job to offer solutions for fixing Apple's supply chain any more than it is their job to propose a solution to the war in Syria. Panorama is a news reporting programme - they report the news.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmm... a conumdrum

"Panorama is a news reporting programme - they report the news."

That's pretty funny.

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Cornish Tin?

I'm not sure Apple can be responsible for the working conditions of tin mines in Indonesia. Its not their domain. Indonesia is a sovereign nation and has its own laws.

I guess Apple and other tech companies could develop a mine in Cornwall if they really wanted to have tin produced by relatively well paid workers. Developing a tin mine does take a few years though.

One for the future Apple, Samsung, Microsoft etc.....

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Re: Cornish Tin?

The problem with this is that it doesn't help the people in Indonesia. There's no doubt that it's a shitty job to collect tin ore in Indonesia, but it's still a job and puts pressure on the people offering shittier or worse paid jobs to improve their working conditions and/or pay more. If Apple stops buying the tin from Indonesia, people will lose their shitty job and will have no job or have to start at an even worse job.

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Pint

Re: Cornish Tin?

Cornwall = new tungsten mine.

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Anonymous Coward

I did watch Panorama

And and since this article is about tin production, in Indonisia, I'll stay on topic. My main concern is environmental, rather than with working conditions. The damage to the sea environment is not good. With respect to working conditions, I see they they are the bottom end of neoliberalism so I expect these will improve. This is the benefit of neoliberalism in its early stages; it lifts a lot of people out of poverty. It did so in Brititain, India and China. Here in Britain (and the US also), we're in the latter stages of neoliberalism, and this isn't looking pretty. In its later stages, the kind of neoliberalism, espoused by this article, seems to suck wealth up towards various entrenched interests. I don't see this ending well.

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Re: I did watch Panorama

Quite right. All this 'monitoring' of communications for terrorism is all cobblers. It's the 1% being able to find/remove the future 'trouble makers' and dissenters that will stir up the masses to take back what's really theirs.

The 1% are terrified of a similar situation that happened in the old Soviet Union in the early 90's happening elsewhere. Mainly in the west.

You'll see in a few years we'll have laws that outlaw making fun of politicians and other such figures. Then soon after having differing political views will be classed as illegal or extremist.

If folks are willing to get upset and vote over smoke screen stuff like immigration that actually have zero effect on their lives, they'll vote for whatever they are told.

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Re: I did watch Panorama

"The 1% are terrified of a similar situation that happened in the old Soviet Union in the early 90's happening elsewhere."

What, you mean a situation where practically the whole wealth of a state is transferred into the hands of a tiny number of people for nothing? Yeah, I bet they're petrified...

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.@.

Brilliant musical choice though

Good documentary, but what makes it even better is the music choice ... Portishead, Massive Attack, Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim ... I'm sure I even heard Voyager by Transglobal Underground.

Shame about the bit of U2 :(

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A point of view

A valuable and distinctive point of view, the empirical one. Yes, this is the way it has worked for the past few centuries, and it is a lot better than it has worked for the pre-industrial era. Knowing what we know, is it not time to move on to a more optimal approach? Of course you might argue it is arrogant to think we know better, that we can shorten the social-evolutionary path. Well, at least we should debate the issue and acknowledge that we can try to find a better path.

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For me, I completely see the point this author is making regarding the illegal tin mining; the issues of poverty in the region are bad and desperate people do desperate thing.

What I don't like are two things: a) Apple making promises it can't keep and b) Declining to discuss their failings. Tim Cook doesn't need to get involved, just a media rep to say "OK, things're bad, we're working on it" (which they've subsequently said).

I am also, a little narked about the profits they make on things but I'm no place to judge: that's what market economics are all about, right?

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Load of Hype

I can't really get that worked up about the abuses they found. I'd rather do what they're doing than work in a coal mine. They had a worker who was told they had to work a couple of 7 day weeks, someone said he was tired after his 16 day shift and someone else fell asleep on a break in his shift. I've heard worse stories about the video game industry.

In my experience, young men (especially young men living away from home) will take every bit of paid work you throw at them. And really, if you hate it, leave. This is pretty far from the worst job in China and there's plenty of people breaking their backs in paddy fields that will take the job.

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