Short of a robust regulatory regime, expecting moral behavior from a corporation is naive. A corporation is an amoral tool designed for one purpose: to extract value for the shareholders. Which is not to say that corporations don't have a purpose in the broader context of society; they simply need to be regulated to fit that purpose.
Those espousing "deregulation" or "ethical business practices" are either fools or liars: there can be no such thing.
The jobs which require human inputs which can be reasonably faithfully reproduced after the first time will always find its way to the cheapest part of the world where it can be done. It's all about realizing cost cutting by volume. It works whatever others might feel with most of the rest of the world living of about a dollar a day it works mightily and will for many more years to come. A strategic shift is the only answer and companies which utilize that means will not need to offshore but are there any so far..
And what Foxconn may do for Apple in the U.S. as well? :)
I enjoyed this article. It gives food for thought on why things are done the way they are, how and why trends develop, and how long they last. It only takes one company to realize there might be a better way or place to build a mousetrap, and the whole thing comes to a screeching halt and changes direction.
Maybe that would be a good EETimes contest: design an improved digital mousetrap. What components will you use? What country will you build it in (hopefully a country with a large mouse population)?
True.I can`t imagine a US site that would allow a plant full of aluminum dust that explodes.Didn`t I read that the owners of that plant in China when confrounted by the local government,packed up the factory on trucks and moved it a couple hundred miles to another jurisdiction.
Thing about robots seems to be that the companys that are getting the jump on this are those that are flush with cash and orders. We sent our fabs overseas to shave costs.This next round we might just plain be behind the curve.
"Companies HAVE to operate that way, in order to stay afloat"
I agree. The very structure of corporations requires that they be both traitors and sociopaths. That is why we need to watch them like a hawk and regulate them every which way to Sunday.
The differences between management and front-line workers is that for managers, there are lots more opportunities to loot the company at investor's expense. What can I do as a grunt worker? Steal a few pens? I certainly can't pump my bonus by a few million by fudging some numbers and hiding the risks I am taking.
I am sure that when you read Wealth of Nations, you noted how dead-set Adam Smith was against the very idea of joint-stock corporations, precisely because of the large amount of moral hazard that corporate executives embody. Indeed, that is why Britain banned corporations for many decades.
You are right. Macro is the government's job. And that usually means holding corporations and their bad behaviors in check.
"Macro is government's job."
I agree with that, yet I'm guessing the OP's intent was to highlight that free markets don't optimize for societal well being as many on the right proclaim. Free markets optimize profit, anything else they do is purely collateral.
Companies HAVE to operate that way, in order to stay afloat. So the trick is for governments to carefully fine-tune their tax policies and regulations, including regs on pullution.
Managers have exactly the same motivations as anyone else in the work force (even though many are clueless about what they manage). They need to show results to their bosses, no different from what any other employee has to do.
"Society-wide optimization," aka macroeconomic considerations, cannot possibly be something your corporate managers can address, if they care to remain employed. At best, the top execs might utter nice-sounding platitudes along those lines, for the politicans' benefit.
Macro is government's job.