A while back, when Chinese workers were striking for higher wages, CNBC had an expert on to discuss the event. Where could the multinationals move their sweatshops to maintain maximum profitability? During the course of the conversation, Indonesia came up, and the expert said that the nation didn’t have enough people.
I thought: “That’s weird. As I recall, Indonesia has a rather large number of people, nowhere near as many as China, of course, but still up there.”
So, I concluded that the supply of workers must be very, very huge to meet the demand of China’s massive industrial base while keeping wages down.
But now I think that it is more than just simple supply and demand. It also has to do with working conditions. A Foxconn executive said that their monthly turnover rate is 5%. So, with one million workers, they are burning through 50,000 workers a month.
With the punitive working conditions required to make profits under the harsh demands from Silicon Valley to keep costs down, a vast pool of downtrodden peasants is required.
How many cities in the world could accommodate Foxconn? How many cities have 600,000 people to churn-and-burn through each year? Not many, I suspect.
So maybe Indonesia really doesn’t have enough people to keep the sweatshops churning out obscene profits – even if it is the fourth most-populous nation in the world. (China, India, and the USA, are the top three.)
And I think this also can explain why immigration into the USA was run at a record rate straight through the Great Recession, unlike during the Great Depression when immigration was shut down.
They are building up our population in preparation for bringing the Foxconn sweatshop model here.