Why iPhones aren’t made in the US, or, was Marx right?

This week we’ll be looking at Marx’s critique of capitalism.  In Sunday’s New York Times, there is a piece about why iPhones are not made in the United States.  I think it’s worth considering in light of Marx’s analysis of capitalism–does Apple’s strategy confirm or contradict Marx’s analysis of capitalism’s effects.  The New York Times article is here.  If you have time and interest, read it over and post your thoughts in the comments, particularly after you’ve read the first part of The Communist Manifesto.

(For those particularly interested in economic issues, this recent article from the Atlantic makes an interesting companion to the New York Times article.  However, I think it’s less relevant to our discussion of Marx.)

Dr. K

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3 Responses to Why iPhones aren’t made in the US, or, was Marx right?

  1. skapoor2014 says:

    I think the author of this article brings up a good point. By have most apple products created in overseas just proves Marx’s point. The reason Steve Jobs gives is that the workers are more exploitable overseas, and by this he means that they can be payed less and forced to work more. Here we see the bourgeoisie’s needs causing the proletarians to be further exploited. Their rights are not even going to be considered. This is exactly what Karl Marx states his outrage in his manifesto.

    • Aaron Stagoff-Belfort says:

      Perhaps Jared Bernstein, former economic advisor for the Obama Administration, says it best,“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.” I believe this Apple situation is a perfect example that we have reached capitalism in its highest degree. Once, “Made in America” was a proud title that was valued above the obvious increases in production that come from foreign manufacturing. Apple decided that their business would creating the most scrupulous products possible regardless of money. This proved to be a excellent idea considering the rise of Apple products in the last 30 years. However, we have now reached a period where Apple is only concerned about making money and exploiting the lower class or proletarians as much as possible. By giving jobs to workers overseas Apple can become a more profitable company which is the most important thing in a capitalist society, making money. These are exactly the kind of money-driven acts that Marx describes in the first part of his Manifesto.

      • nlokker2014 says:

        I agree with both of you. While I still believe that capitalism has been an unquestionable benefit to society, this is an example of the disadvantages that it brings as well. Outsourcing clearly shows that Apple is more concerned about their profits than the quality of their products. While this outsourcing may make goods available at a cheaper price to consumers, it is representative of the financial focus of our society. Everything is centered around money, just as Marx criticized in the communist manifesto. I think that it is time to take a step back and to try to put less emphasis on money. Despite the message that society may be conveying, money is not the most important thing in life. Instead, it is often the one biggest roadblock to true happiness.

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