I want to make a point here, but I need to make it carefully, gently, so as not to rile people up. I’m not here to start a fight, folks, but it seems to me not nearly as many workers are throwing themselves off the roof of that Foxconn factory in China as I would expect.
Foxconn is the largest contract manufacturer in China and the world, making products notably for Apple and for other American companies, too. The company has been in the news lately because of very public worker suicides by jumping from the factory roof.
Were these people worked to death? Were they worked insane? In one case was the suicide the result of a suspected leak of Apple intellectual property? What kind of sweat shop is Foxconn, anyway?
I don’t know and nether do you. What we do know is the annual suicide rate per 100,000 people in China is about 13.5, with slightly more women than men taking their own lives (the only major country where that is the case, by the way). That means the Foxconn factory, with 300,000 workers, ought to be experiencing almost 40 suicides per year, while the reported numbers are a lot less than that.
This story says more about the press than it does about Foxconn, because I’ve read about it for months and nobody else seems to have done the math, which isn’t hard to do. But doing the math makes the story weaker, so of course it isn’t mentioned.
Foxconn may be Hell for all I know, but it doesn’t appear to be killing people.