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Foxconn's Founder Opens Up About Making iPhones 384

Posted by Soulskill
from the piece-of-the-apple-pie dept.
eldavojohn writes "Bloomberg Businessweek has an article of interest resulting from a three-hour interview with Foxconn founder Terry Gou (single page), whose company manufactures 137,000 iPhones a day. The article profiles Gou's rise to Foxconn but also offers some interesting tidbits you might not know. On why he is not opening factories in the United States, Gou frankly states, 'If I can automate in the US and ship to China, cost-wise it can still be competitive. But I worry America has too many lawyers. I don't want to spend time having people sue me every day.' If you're interested in how a modern day Henry Ford thinks, you can read the rest about the man steering the ship of the world's largest producer of electronics components and China's largest exporter. This unprecedented transparency was part of an agreement Gou made with his customers during his delayed response to an increasing number of Foxconn suicides."
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Foxconn's Founder Opens Up About Making iPhones

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  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:38PM (#33538658) Homepage Journal

    If I can automate in the US and ship to China, cost-wise it can still be competitive. But I worry America has too many lawyers.

    He's basically worried that if he tried to pull the same shit he gets away with in China, he would be shut down. This is undoubtedly a valid concern, but it does cast a depressing light on outsourcing. Basically the US is losing manufacturing jobs because we don't let business completely stomp all over the rights of the workers anymore.

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:48PM (#33538754) Homepage

      Really? I read that line as a worry of a massive unexpected cost. If you can automate a whole factory, and then the UPS guy says he gets injured on your premises, you can lose 20 million easy.

      No one would run a factory that was, even with the supposed horrible conditions, in the US. The labor costs alone (even if you only paid minimum wage or less) would be staggering. You'd replace as many people as possible with robots to keep costs down.

      But then someone decides to sue you for something ridiculous, and your legal bills are huge. You settle or spend years spending tons of defend it. Or maybe it's a real issue, but instead of the $30k for medical bills and more for pain and suffering, they get some some like $10 million that is completely out of line relative to their injury.

      His view sounds rather sane to me. And the last pages of the article point out just how good Foxcon is compared to many other Chinese employers. Conditions there don't sound anywhere near as bad as some of the stuff that when on in the US during the industrial revolution.

      • by FriendlyPrimate (461389) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:00PM (#33538874)
        I think that this is what he's trying to imply. However, that sounds like a cop-out answer. Are companies REALLY moving jobs to China instead of automating because of lawsuits? That's the first I've heard this angle, and I'm suspicious. I somehow doubt automation compares in cost to a workforce willing to work for less than 10% of their American counterparts.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        >>>I read that line as a worry of a massive unexpected cost.

        That's because you probably don't know about Foxconn's labor violations. Even China has rules saying workers must get a break every 2 hours, and they are not allowed to work more than 50 hours per week, but Foxconn routinely ignores those rules by making workers skip the 2-hour downtime and working 70-80 hours. In the US lawyers would step-up and represent the workers in a lawsuit, but over in China the lawyers are so few that Foxconn do

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          I don't know what US you are living in, but the one I live in does not limit the number of hours a week you work, and denying workers their breaks every 2 hours is common practice. If the lawyers don't think they can make a lot of money off the situation, they are not interested. This means either the worker must be a very well paid worker, or there must be a very large number of lower wage workers that can be defended in a single action. Anybody else is out of luck.
      • by CODiNE (27417)

        Conditions there don't sound anywhere near as bad as some of the stuff that when on in the US during the industrial revolution.

        For those of you who haven't heard of it before...
        Phossy Jaw.

        Google it kids. Yup, in the USA too.

      • There is a simple solution. Make it more expensive to ship products from overseas, and penalize people severely for frivolous lawsuits.
      • by Herkum01 (592704)

        I was going to down-vote this, but I decide to post this instead.

        UPS guy says he gets injured on your premises, you can lose 20 million easy

        I want you to think about this, a mine in West Virginia blows up and KILLS 20+ people. They got a slap on the wrist in that they have to deal with inspections! Basically they killed people AND NOTHING HAPPENED. Lawsuits are always the boogeyman that businessmen like to use about costs in the US and it is crap. The fact is in the US businesses are not treated roughl

    • by tacokill (531275) on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:49PM (#33538770)
      or....
      Perhaps the US does have too many laws and lawyers. Perhaps it is more competitive to produce products somewhere else. Perhaps US workers think they are more valuable than they really are (so they erect laws to "enforce" that value). Did you ever consider that maybe it's not exploitation he is after but a better sense of balance? The world is not black and white. This is not a "workers of the world unite" vs "the evil business owners". You do recognize there is a middle ground, don't you?

      This guy is telling you exactly what his risk/reward calculation is and you only look at one side of the equation.

      Instead of responding with cries of exploitation, as yourself this: could he be right?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Instead of responding with cries of exploitation, as yourself this: could he be right?

        If working people so hard they start killing themselves is right, sign me up for wrong.

        I'm not a fan of imperialism but I'd actually rather America try to conquer China than emulate it if push came to shove.

        • by sl149q (1537343)

          For the size of his work force you would expect about that number of suicides in the general population anyway. I live in Canada and a quick search said 25 males and 5 females per 100,000 of population per year in 1994.

          • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:55PM (#33539682)
            Statistics fail.

            For the size of his work force you would expect about that number of suicides in the general population anyway.

            Across the general population, yes. But the general population doesn't work in a factory. "General population" includes an awful lot of people who can't work in a factory, including children, babies, the elderly, the infirm, and even people who live too far away from any factory to work in one.

            Add in the fact that teens have a disproportionate number of suicides, and that old people also kill themselves, and it's not difficult to realize that a small subset of the population having a suicide rate equal to that of the general population is an anomaly worth investigating.

            • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:10PM (#33540590)

              A subpopulation having the same rate as the whole population is not an anomaly. It is the very definition of "not an anomaly". What I think you're suggesting is that the subpopulation that works in the factory is not representative of the whole population, and is in fact skewed in a way that would be expected to lower their suicide rate, but that this has not occurred.For example, that working-age individuals in cities have lower suicide rates than average. That would require some elaboration and justification on your part. (Equivalently, that the subpopulation that works in the factory needs to be compared to a matched control group, and not just the population average.)

        • Well you don't seem to mind using products that were made in factories where those workers worked.
        • by tacokill (531275)
          I don't know the man personally, but I would be shocked and surprised if he is advocating or actively working towards "working people so hard they start killing themselves". Way to take an abnormal event and try to make it seem as if that is the norm. As we know from TFA, it is not the norm.

          In sum, I guess I don't understand why you got modded up. Is it just because it feels good to say "If X is right, then I'd rather be wrong than right"? Yea, ok. Brownie points for you.

          ...and by the way, in c
        • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:51PM (#33539630)

          There were three suicides at my college in the four years I went there, and it was a small school with less than 2000 students. That means that we averaged 1 suicide per 2600 students per year. During the worst of Foxconn's suicide 'outbreak' there were 10 completed suicide attempts over a 5 month period out of 960,000 workers. That means 1 suicide for every 80,000 employees per year. So by that measurement, my college was apparently 30x more likely to drive someone to suicide.

    • by leromarinvit (1462031) on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:50PM (#33538772)

      Tidbits from TFA:

      "a harsh environment is a good thing"
      "hungry people have especially clear minds"

      This man is a sadist. The sad part is that (mostly) unregulated capitalism, as it exists now in China, essentially forces him to either be an asshole or go out of business.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)

        NO, it doesn't. It does give him an excuse to be that way.

      • Here, let me put those in context for you. - I keep my people hungry for more -- "hungry people have especially clear minds" - - "a harsh environment is a good thing" for people who torture kittens. - It's easy for an out-of-context sound bite to sound awful (or great); but partial second-hand quotes seldom tell the whole story and probably shouldn't be used as a basis for judgment. For reference, here's the full quote from TFA - which is itself excerpting from a book:

        Prominent on display are biographies of Gou, one of which collects his many aphorisms, including "work itself is a type of joy," "a harsh environment is a good thing," "hungry people have especially clear minds," and "an army of one thousand is easy to get, one general is tough to find."

        • Sigh. FOrmatting fail. Corrected:

          Here, let me put those in context for you.

          • I keep my people hungry for more -- "hungry people have especially clear minds" - -
          • "a harsh environment is a good thing" for people who torture kittens. -
          • It's easy for an out-of-context sound bite to sound awful (or great); but partial second-hand quotes seldom tell the whole story and probably shouldn't be used as a basis for judgment. For reference, here's the full quote from TFA - which is itself excerpting from a book:

    • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:08PM (#33538984) Homepage Journal

      precisely.

      This is why there should be a huge tariff on all goods imported from companies that don't meet min. US federal standards.

      If that's too much for them to do, then someone will pen a shop in the US to cater to the US.

      Having a minimum level playing field is the only way a global economy can work without dragging people into the lowest tiers of poverty.

  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:39PM (#33538660)

    More likely tat he wants to exploit the worker

    • More likely tat he wants to exploit the worker

      What workers? He said "'If I can *automate* in the US and ship to China, cost-wise it can still be competitive." He seems to be talking about replacing a manual assembly line in China with an automated/robotic assembly line in the US. You might be able to suggest that he wants to avoid environmental issues but labor issues do not seem to be relevant. As far as the US being an overly litigious environment, you will find few US citizens who would disagree.

      • by TheSync (5291)

        He seems to be talking about replacing a manual assembly line in China with an automated/robotic assembly line in the US.

        And this is exactly what we've been seeing. US manufacturing production (in terms of dollars of product produced) was at an all-time high in 2008. However the number of manufacturing workers was at its 80-year low point. US manufacturing workers, armed with machines and robots, are becoming more and productive per worker.

        This mirrors what we saw in agriculture, from most of the country

        • US manufacturing production (in terms of dollars of product produced) was at an all-time high in 2008. However the number of manufacturing workers was at its 80-year low point. US manufacturing workers, armed with machines and robots, are becoming more and productive per worker.

          Not just in the US. My understanding is that Germany has remained competitive in manufacturing by investing heavily in robotics. Manufacturing may return to the west but jobs won't be.

  • More reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moeluv (1785142) on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:40PM (#33538670)
    not to do business in the U.S. we have all those pesky organizations like OSHA, and those weird fair labor standards laws and anti child labor laws that get in the way of a really stellar profit margin. (Yes there was some sarcasm in there)
    • Do you have any reason believing that Foxconn operate in an unsafe manner, or hires child labor?
      Or do you believe that laws in the US should apply everywhere? Such as the Patriot Act?
    • not to do business in the U.S. we have all those pesky organizations like OSHA, and those weird fair labor standards laws and anti child labor laws that get in the way of a really stellar profit margin.

      'If I can *automate* in the US ..."

      Minimum wage, child labor and other regulations now apply to automated/robotic assembly lines? I think the "Futurama" society may be arriving before the year 3000. ;-)

  • by Lothar+0 (444996) on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:43PM (#33538706) Homepage

    I'm still waiting for an iPhone manufacturer that pays its workers a decent wage and respects meaningful safety standards. I'm willing to pay an extra $100+ for my iPhone to not have a guilty conscience. C'mon invisible hand, supply my demand already.

    • I'm still waiting for an iPhone manufacturer that pays its workers a decent wage and respects meaningful safety standards. I'm willing to pay an extra $100+ for my iPhone to not have a guilty conscience. C'mon invisible hand, supply my demand already.

      Because you and the other twenty people willing to do this do not a market make.

      • by Lothar+0 (444996)

        Then the thousands of iPhone buyers complaining about bad working conditions need to put up or shut up. Human rights ain't cheap, people.

    • I'm still waiting for an iPhone manufacturer that pays its workers a decent wage and respects meaningful safety standards. I'm willing to pay an extra $100+ for my iPhone to not have a guilty conscience. C'mon invisible hand, supply my demand already.

      The invisible hand has already spoken, such companies were driven out of business in the 1970s and 80s as *consumers* chose to purchase the less expensive imports from regions with questionable practices rather than US, Canadian and other regions with more developed legal, labor and environmental practices.

      Technology may partially help remedy the situation. Automation and robotics could level the field, well at least for companies involved in manufacturing, not the factory / assembly line workers.

      You

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:43PM (#33538710)

    Ford wanted his workers to have a living wage, to be able to afford the products they made.

    Foxconn doesn't even employ workers long-term, they hire on a week-by-week basis.

    I actually don't even dislike Foxconn, but it's not the same as the middle-class building that Ford did.

    • by dreadlord76 (562584) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:01PM (#33538886)
      What data do you have to support this? My understanding is that there is a waiting list to work at Foxconn. You sign a contract to work there, with termination penalties, and there is multi-week training before you actually start working. While in training, you are paid, housed, and fed. Not saying you are wrong, but would like to learn more about where you are getting your data.
      • by blair1q (305137)

        In America, in 2010, there's a waiting list to work at McDonald's.

        Is that what makes McDonald's a great employer?

      • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:34PM (#33539352)

        In fact, you almost have to bribe someone to get a job interview!

        There isn't really multi-week training, you are put on easier lines first and work up to your aptitude.

        But just because there's a line to get in doesn't mean there's any job security. When things slow down, you simply aren't brought back next week.

        When you get too old for the dextrous work or your fingers grow to be too large to do some work (because their lines are virtually all 16-20 year old women) or merely when someone else will do the job cheaper because they are younger, you are out on your ear.

        Like I said, I don't hate Foxconn. But it's not the same as Ford where he employed workers long term and invested in their development.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drainbramage (588291)

        Please, Please. Please read about Henry Ford.
        He did not invent the assembly line.
        He did figure out that by paying a bit more and helping with education and health he ended up with a lower turnover which helped his bottom line.
        Of course that made more profit for him too so no doubt that makes him evil in your eyes.
        TANSTAAFL

        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday September 10, 2010 @10:11PM (#33541752)

          He did figure out that by paying a bit more and helping with education and health he ended up with a lower turnover which helped his bottom line.
          Of course that made more profit for him too so no doubt that makes him evil in your eyes.

          What's weird is that modern-day capitalists haven't figured this out yet (that turnover kills profit). You think it'd be self-evident, or that they could at least look at what Ford did, but no, they mistreat their workers, create crappy working environments, suffer from high turnover, and then sit around and bitch about it but do nothing to fix it.

    • by homer_s (799572) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:17PM (#33539092)
      Ford wanted his workers to have a living wage, to be able to afford the products they made.

      From http://cafehayek.com/2010/08/fording-the-gorge-between-fiction-and-fact.html [cafehayek.com]:

      Ford raised workers’ wages for two reasons, neither of which had anything to do with raising consumer demand for his automobiles. The first reason was to reduce worker turnover. In 1913, the year before the $5 wage was announced in January 1914, the average Ford employee quit after less than four months on the job. A workforce so unstable and inexperienced prevented Ford’s factories from achieving peak efficiency.

      Second, because the $5 wage was conditioned upon Ford’s workers learning English, as well as their steering clear of alcohol and gambling – conditions monitored by Ford executives visiting workers’ homes! – the higher wage was an incentive for workers to be more reliable and productive while on the job.

      In short, Ford was something of an early supply-sider. He understood (at least in 1914) that the key to economic growth is not in giving people stronger incentives to spend but, rather, in giving people stronger incentives to produce.

    • by TheSync (5291) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:17PM (#33539106) Journal

      Ford wanted his workers to have a living wage, to be able to afford the products they made.

      That may be the public messaging/myth, but closer analysis shows that Ford simply wanted to reduce turnover [adamsmith.org], and also to increase productivity by linking the wage increase to learning English, as well as their steering clear of alcohol and gambling (monitored in workers homes, no less...)

      Moreover, Ford did not employ enough workers for their wage hike to have a significant impact on his own sales.

      That said, wages in China are rising, cutting Flextronics' [bloomberg.com] profits and forcing Foxconn to move more factories away from the high-cost coastal areas of China.

      Foxconn doubled base-wages for employees in Shenzhen in June, where it has around half its 900,000 workers, but said it would cut the headcount there by about 170,000 over five years.

    • by jbn-o (555068)
      Some workers, perhaps (although it would be better if you cited a source to show what Ford actually paid rather than relying on readers' familiarity of Fordism). But the workers of Fordlandia, Ford's 2.5M acre Brazilian Amazon rubber plantation, were treated quite differently. In Fordlandia, Ford "[came] to rely on quite a brutal program of anti-unionism" according to Greg Grandin author of "Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City [isbn.nu]". Grandin discussed his book on Democracy Now!
  • Too many lawyers?!? I find that to be slanderous, preposterous, and downright hippopotamus. I'll sue him for all the ipods in china! I'll sue china back into the stone age!
  • by geekoid (135745)

    the US isn't a corrupt 3rd world country that you can bribe epople to get your way.

    Yes, yes sometime it happens. But in the US if a public employee gets got with a few thousand dollars in his refrigerator, it's a big deal. I his country it's SOP.

    He's just using the over blown everyone sues republican media crap as an excuse.

    And Ford he is NOT.

  • Gou has a very good point about why manufacturing in the US is not feasible.

    The moment a company becomes successful, there are lawyers lined up to look for any way they can sue to get a piece of the pie without working for it. If the lawyers fail, the government is next in line to punish the success of the company in the name of "economic justice."

    America used to be the land of opportunity, but now there are so many barriers to success, one almost has to go to another country to have any chance.

    • I feel like I end up saying this a lot on Slashdot, but you do know Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction, right?

    • And yet, amazingly, none of the other first world countries seem to be attracting new business like the US does. Oh, sure, Ireland was a nice place, but then the tax-free-ride started to slip and everybody shifted. Eastern Europe was great, until jobs were being created, and then the price of labor started to go up and the quality - it turned out - really wasn't all that great.

      America has a fairly well educated labor force (not great, but passible), moderate tax structure - and corporations can hide much of

    • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday September 10, 2010 @06:14PM (#33539944)

      USA still has _great_ climate for business. There's no VAT, _very_ low taxes for a first-world country, fairly simple financial accounting rules, etc.

      Contrary to the believes that Obama somehow makes USA unfit for business, it's still quite attractive to do business there.

      However, the piece about lawyers is true. I'm a co-owner of a fairly small US company, and we've already spent more on lawyers then on rent for our offices. I also live in Ukraine and I own a company here, and so far I've spent less than $1000 on lawyers' fees.

  • Pot meet kettle. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by codegen (103601) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:05PM (#33538940) Journal
    In one part of the article it talks about him involved in a libel suit over the suicide reports and then he talks about being scared of lawsuits. Hmmm.
    • In one part of the article it talks about him involved in a libel suit over the suicide reports

      Good point.

      It wasn't actually over the suicide reports, but over an earlier article on "working conditions." A personal libel suit against the journalists and a court order freezing their assets.

  • PR (Score:5, Informative)

    by rakslice (90330) <rakslice AT gmx DOT net> on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:05PM (#33538948) Homepage Journal

    "Finally, Gou's company hired the New York firm Burson-Marsteller to help devise a formal public-relations strategy, its first in more than 35 years of existence."

    The concept of a company with almost 1M people without a PR strategy is refreshing, but reflecting a little bit more, what that also means is: now anything that we say about the employee suicides, even this, is being carefully managed.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:12PM (#33539040) Journal

    I worry America has too many lawyers. I don't want to spend time having people sue me every day.

    99% of what goes on in those lawsuits is righteous protection of workers and customers from the bad or evil decisions of managers.

    The other 1% is still covered by your insurance, Terry.

    Your problem isn't too many lawyers (you just get your own lawyers and then it doesn't take up your time), your problem is there are laws that will keep you from doing things in ways that you deserve to be sued for.

    But I'm sure your deployment of nets to catch suicidal employees is a tacit expression of your understanding that your company is somehow culpable for its own behavior and the culture it engenders in the people it aggregates to perform work that makes you an impressively rich man, hyper-impressively considering China's supposed to be a communist country... So you know that you're either doing something very right, or many things very wrong.

  • Paying lawyers or paying government officials off? Is there some kind of a formula for this? How do quantify gov't graft and whim?

    -rt

  • by acid06 (917409) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:37PM (#33539430)

    You'll notice that even though by western standards Foxconn has a terrible work environment, they're actually the best option for Chinese workers, who queue to work there.

    Even though the salaries seem low by western standards, Foxconn pays the higher salaries in China. The article mentions several people who are there only to earn some money for a while and then go to work on a lower-paying less-stressful business.

    The man himself started his huge empire with a $7500 loan. Hell, I live in Brazil and you can't even begin an auto repairshop with this money here, let alone a small manufacturing plant.

    By Chinese standards, Foxconn is great and they actually seem to care about their employees more than the other Chinese companies do. None of the workers are afraid to complain and lose their jobs or anything like that and even strikes happen (and people continue employed).

    Honestly, you should just enjoy your cheap electronics while you can because this isn't going to last forever as a newer generation of Chinese people is growing up (also mentioned in the article) and they will want better standards of living - no one needs to take care of them, there's more than a billion of them and they can take care of themselves.

  • by EEPROMS (889169) on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:46PM (#33539558)
    Actually Terry Gou must have read Made in Japan" [slashdot.org] written by the founder of Sony Akio Morita [wikipedia.org]. There is a section were Akio Morita talks about Sony setting up manufacturing facilities in the USA and how Sony was sued by competing (and in some cases companies Sony had a close business relationship with ie suing their own customer) for the most insane reasons. The view that Akio left me was when dealing with the USA have a large legal dept because everyone will try to sue you to stop you competing in the market. Akio also compares the the US legal system with Japans and explains how most of the cases being bought forward in the US would never have got of the ground as the lawyers would lose to much money if they lost. So I can see were Terry Gou from Foxcon gets the view that the USA is not a good place to manufacture, not good news for the US manufacturing industry now that unemployment is heading past the 10% mark. On another note, for those who think this is all about wages and conditions, explain to me why South Korea has a huge ship building industry that leaves the US in their dust but the workers actually have higher wages!! Simple, South Korean workers are dedicated to their job and the bosses dont get multi million dollar kick backs and unlike US CEO's dont just see the stock price but also the products they are making today and in the future. This is why the USA is failing, to many directors looking at the stock ticker and ignoring the "product" that is being made now and what they will be producing in 10 years. Go to Toyota and they will happily show you products they have slated to be made in the next 2, 5 ,10 and 20 years.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday September 10, 2010 @06:08PM (#33539846)

    over seas the work place does not need to pay for worker health-care. That what the USA needs no more Health care tied to the work place.

  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:40PM (#33540898) Homepage Journal

    Oracle sues Google.

    Netapp sues Sun,

    Apple sues Nokia.

    Nokia sues Apple.

    SCO sues IBM, Novell, my aunt and your granny.

    And lets not forget Amazon's "one click"....

    and that is only IT for starters.

    Almost daily we have news about frivolous lawsuits related to patents (software patents!) and copyright.

    You may want to say whatever you want about this guy, but please don't tell me he does not have a point to make .....

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:34AM (#33542352)

    His comment about the uselessness of business degrees is spot on. I'm convinced that American corporate over-reliance on business degrees, and marketing, are amongst the biggest problems facing American corporations.

    American corporations are saddled with a bunch of business majors who, for whatever reason, have been deemed to be the best suited to manage despite the fact that they barely understand the details of what their company actually does. They haven't worked in the trenches, they haven't actually been directly involved in the product or service but they're first in line to run things. This is a far cry from Asia where engineers and designers routinely are the ones who get promoted to management positions. It ensures they can make informed decisions and employees can't get away with BS. Managers in Asia can be just as self-centered, just as concerned about the next Mercedes they're going to buy. But they're also more likely to make the best choices for the company.

    The second disaster is marketing. American companies seem to have adopted the attitude that you don't actually need a good product, you simply need to convince consumers you offer one. By the time the consumer realizes they've been had you have their money. And they've risen to have such power because of stupid suits who don't have enough confidence in the strength of their product. And marketing is entirely self-serving. It doesn't matter how wasteful a marketing campaign is a marketing department/agency will find a way to skew the data to claim it was actually a success. It's rather shocking how much money companies dump into marketing especially considering how low the response rate actually is.

    This is not to say there aren't other issues. The cost of labor in the US is exceedingly high, and work ethic is crap. Couple that with entitlement culture and you've got real problems. And topping it all off we've got a government that mismanages and misdirects regulation. Instead of making decisions that are best for the well-being of the nation their policies almost always seem intended to pander to special interests or push certain agendas.

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