Tag Archives: foreign-affairs

Exporting Poor Work Environments

After a long time of suc­cess­fully man­aging to avoid the blog, I even­tu­ally clicked this past week when I was sent Fake Steve Jobs’ reac­tion to the news that an employ­ee of Fox­conn, one of Apple’s Chinese ‘man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ners’, com­mit­ted sui­cide shortly after report­ing a miss­ing iPhone v4 pro­to­type.

We can­’t make these products in the United States. Nobody could afford to buy them if we did. And, frankly, the qual­ity would be about half what we get out of China. […]

We all know that there’s no fuck­ing way in the world we should have microwave ovens and refri­ger­at­ors and TV sets and everything else at the prices we’re pay­ing for them. There’s no way we get all this stuff and everything is done fair and square and every­one gets treated right. No way. And don’t be confused—what we’re talk­ing about here is our way of life. Our stand­ard of liv­ing. You want to “fix things in China,” well, it’s gonna cost you. Because everything you own, it’s all done on the backs of mil­lions of poor people whose lives are so awful you can­’t even begin to ima­gine them, people who will do any­thing to get a life that is a tiny bit bet­ter than the shitty one they were born into, people who get exploited and treated like shit and, in the worst of all cases, pay with their lives.

You know that, and I know that. Okay? Let’s just be hon­est here.

It reminds me some­what of Jared Dia­mond’s Col­lapse, spe­cific­ally where he dis­cusses how “[China and Japan con­serve their] own forests by export­ing defor­est­a­tion to oth­er coun­tries, sev­er­al of which (includ­ing Malay­sia, Pap­ua New Guinea, and Aus­tralia) have already reached or are on the road to cata­stroph­ic defor­est­a­tion” (emphas­is mine).

Now, are first world coun­tries like the U.S. and those of West­ern Europe not just export­ing poor work envir­on­ment stand­ards to the second world coun­tries of Indone­sia, Malay­sia and China (as a con­sequence of large-scale, inex­pens­ive man­u­fac­tur­ing that we no longer can/want to under­take)?

Top Ten Foreign Affairs Articles

After com­pil­ing a few ‘top ten’ lists of clas­sic for­eign affairs books, Steph­en Walt—professor of inter­na­tion­al affairs at Har­vard University—compiles a more digest­ible ver­sion: the top ten art­icles in the field of inter­na­tion­al rela­tions.

The ten art­icles Walt recom­mends are below, but click through to the ori­gin­al to see his reas­on­ing behind each choice and to check out the com­ments.

  1. Albert Wohl­stet­ter­’s The Del­ic­ate Bal­ance of Ter­ror (pdf).
  2. Man­cur Olson and Richard Zeck­haus­er­’s An Eco­nom­ic The­ory of Alli­ances (pdf).
  3. Ken­neth Waltz’s Inter­na­tion­al Struc­ture, Nation­al Force, and the Bal­ance of World Power.
  4. Robert Jer­vis’ Hypo­theses on Mis­per­cep­tion (Sum­mary).
  5. Michael Doyle’s Kant, Lib­er­al Legacies, and For­eign Affairs (Sum­mary).
  6. John Rug­gie’s Inter­na­tion­al Regimes, Trans­ac­tions, and Change: Embed­ded Lib­er­al­ism in the Post­war Eco­nom­ic Order (pdf).
  7. Alex­an­der Wendt’s Anarchy is What States Make of It (pdf).
  8. Martha Fin­nemore and Kath­ryn Sikkink’s Inter­na­tion­al Norm Dynam­ics and Polit­ic­al Change (pdf).
  9. Wil­li­am C. Wohlforth’s The Sta­bil­ity of a Uni­polar World (pdf).
  10. Alex­an­der George’s Case Stud­ies and The­ory Devel­op­ment: The Meth­od of Struc­tured, Focused Com­par­is­on (pdf).

If any­one spots full-text ver­sions of art­icles 3, 4, 5 and 10, please do let me know and I’ll update the post.