After the Foxconn Suicides in China: A Roundtable on Labor, the State and Civil Society in Global Electronics

Abstract

We seek to tackle myriad problems of a global production system in which China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of consumer electronics products. Dying for an iPhone simultaneously addresses the challenges facing Chinese workers while locating them within the global economy through an assessment of the relationship between Foxconn (the largest electronics manufacturer) and Apple (one of the richest corporations). Eight researchers from Asia, Europe and North America discuss two main questions: How do tech behemoths and the Chinese state shape labor relations in transnational manufacturing? What roles can workers, public sector buyers, non-governmental organizations and consumers play in holding multinational corporations and states accountable for human rights violations and assuring the protection of worker interests? We also reflect on the possibility that national governments, the electronics industry and civil society groups can collaborate to contribute to improved labor rights in China and the world.

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