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Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing 183

itwbennett (1594911) writes "The use of forced labor is so prevalent in the Malaysian electronics manufacturing industry that there is hardly a major brand name that isn't touched by the illegal practice, according to a report funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and undertaken by Verité, a nonprofit organization focused on labor issues. The two-year study surveyed more than 500 migrant workers at around 200 companies in Malaysia's IT manufacturing sector and found one in three were working under conditions of forced labor."
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Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing

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  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday September 17, 2014 @05:24PM (#47931697) Homepage Journal

    Which is what, a euphemism for "slavery" ?
    Isn't that the GOAL of Capitalism??

    • no, it's the gaol of capitalism
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't that the GOAL of Capitalism??

      No, maximizing profit is the goal of a capitalist. An immoral capitalist has no problem with it if it maximizes profit. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, remember that any other immoral idealogue will also tend to have no problem with it if it maximizes their objectives. Thus, while communism in theory doesn't espouse slavery; in practice those who profess communism will send you to a "re-education" camp or "assign you to a dangerous project that's vital for

      • No, maximizing profit is the goal of a capitalist. An immoral capitalist has no problem with it if it maximizes profit. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, remember that any other immoral idealogue will also tend to have no problem with it if it maximizes their objectives.

        The problem is, if you don't institutionalize morality, you get a situation which rewards the immoral psychopathic capitalist and punishes a moral and sane one, and if you do institutionalize it - for example in the form of welfar

    • No. "Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state." - Oxford Dictionary
    • by genner ( 694963 )

      Which is what, a euphemism for "slavery" ? Isn't that the GOAL of Capitalism??

      Doing anything for free is by definition not capitalism.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday September 17, 2014 @05:25PM (#47931701)
    ...then it's not really a job.

    Doesn't matter if it's 'clean' multilevel marketing, paying a 'headhunter' to market you to local companies in your area, or paying someone to get you to a job somewhere else, if you're paying, then it's not a job.

    At least around here, headhunters are paid by the companies that need workers with particular skills. That's a negotiation between the company and the headhunter. Good headhunters actually take the time to talk to prospective workers to determine their skill sets, so that they can develop a reputation of being good matchmakers between companies and workers. Bad ones just send anyone through with keywords that might sort of apply.
    • So true. If it's a real job, then you NEVER have to pay any amount of cash to get it. The employer should be paying the headhunter, not you.

      Why? Mainly because of the exact kind of crap that they are describing here. The employer has the money, which he demonstrates by paying the headhunter. If he can't afford to pay the headhunter, he can't afford to pay you.

      Also note they use the payment as a filter. That is, they don't want smart people working for these crap jobs.The smart people refuse to give

      • Not stupidity. Desperation.

        • I have been desperate before. I would still never fall for this kind of stupidity.

          In America, they use a similar technique to get desperate people, it's a variation on the "Multi Level Marketing Scheme".

          Here they make you buy 'samples' to sell to your customers. No. If the company is real, they provide all samples and tools you need.

          People that buy the samples are desperate. But paying a head hunter to send you to another country, that is not desperate, that is stupid.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        Also note they use the payment as a filter. That is, they don't want smart people working for these crap jobs.The smart people refuse to give up their passport and call the police after you bring them to your country. So they make sure to only 'hire' less smart people by giving you an intelligence test - if you are unwise enough to bribe the broker to get a job they promise is 'good', then you are unwise enough to give them your passport and not call the police.

        And the same thing applies to MLM here and ev

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Interesting note: That's a new approach, spawned from the boom in the 90's.
        Prior to that it was common for the person looking for a job to pay the headhunter.

        Pre-internet making contacts to find out who was hiring was very difficult.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          Okay, I can see that. My work history started in the nineties, so I didn't have any experience with a different system.

          I don't think that my parents ever paid a headhunter to find them a job either. Dad's computer skills were all he needed, in concert with looking at the want-ads. Funny enough, the demand for COBOL and RPG programmers now is probably at least as strong as it was in the early seventies when he started working in the field.
        • I'm a lot older than that, and never paid a headhunter. Way back when, I did see contracts where I'd be liable for some of the cost if I didn't work a whole year if I got hired through them.

    • if you're paying, then it's not a job.

      The only exception I know of in the USA is certain companies (like insurance companies, trucking companies, or life guards) that require passing
      a certain test or having a particular certification. In almost all legitimate cases you can take the test from multiple 3rd parties and the test or
      certification transfers to other similiar type job and even in those cases most of the better companies will pay you to take the test or provide the
      training free of charge. I would be very reluctant to work at any job t

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        I actually work in an industry where a subset of coworkers are required to pay for their own enhanced background checks on a regular if infrequent basis, but they pay the state, not the employer. The employer simply mandates that employees provide the results of these tests, as the state requires the employer to do so. If the state didn't require it, the employer probably wouldn't require it either.

        It's my experience that employer requirements for certifications are generally for third-party certificat
        • by jeek ( 37349 )

          "It might actually be illegal for the employer to charge the employee for something that only the employer provides and requires of the employee."

          When I used to work at Arby's forever ago, they charged me for the shirt I had to wear while working.

    • Really this isn't so dissimilar to the racket now being perpetrated by colleges and universities in the US in conjunction with employers looking for cheap skilled labor.

      The end result is generation saddled with crushing debt and wages that are failing to keep up with inflation. Assuming they are employed.

  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Wednesday September 17, 2014 @05:32PM (#47931777) Homepage

    Lack of regulation and oversight breeds rampant victimization of the labor force?!

  • The Horror! Isn't the use of that bloatware banned by some UN Charter? Have they no sympathy for the plight of computers under the burden of that cpu hogging virus allowing software!

  • I'm disappointed by the many people (all Americans, as far as I can tell) who post here to say, "fuck no! I'd never be so stupid!!!". This, I think, shows an extremely narrow understanding of the world. Because:

    a) America is not the world. There are *many* places where you're expected to pay for your job, in one way or another. Sometimes it's above-board, sometimes not. I don't know about Malaysia, but wouldn't be surprised at all if that was the custom there.

    b) Oh, wait, we have this in America, too! I pai
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      "...workers forced to pay for their uniforms and so forth."
      Where in the us is the legal?

      Also, where you self employed as an agent?
      OTOH, you were a real estate agent, so nothing you say is worth squat.

      • OK, let's put it this way - if you don't show up in uniform, you're sent home and don't get invited back to the party. The employer gives you a list of place(s) to buy your uniforms. How you pay for those is up to you. This happened at the first low wage job I had (as an orderly in a nursing home), as a construction worker (you couldn't show up in tennis shoes), and I'm pretty sure that's the case in almost any place in this country where low-wage employees are hired. And it's completely legal. So legal tha

    • Don't forget authors and actors, who have to pay agents to intermediate, or they don't get contracts.

  • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Wednesday September 17, 2014 @06:14PM (#47932147)
    Are these the people I'm told we must compete against in a world economy?
  • by Kylon99 ( 2430624 ) on Wednesday September 17, 2014 @08:02PM (#47932787)

    Let's play devil's advocate here. Let's think about this assuming we don't care about the mass suffering, slavery and murder of humans, which is kinda bad enough already for us to try to end this practice any way we can. Say we are just bare naked capitalists, only interested in profit, past the point even Adam Smith would find horrific.

    This is still bad enough for us to care.

    We can't use slavery to produce our products because of laws and non-corruption in our countries, nor can we change our system to allow slavery. It would cost too much. So there is no way we can compete with Malaysia who is allow things, official or not. They are gaining an 'unfair' advantage by resorting to this practice that only they can use.

    Therefore, even if you are an inhuman psychopathic capitalist (or at least a long-term high functioning one), you should care about abolishing slavery, since it grants those who do an unfair advantage.

    • by skine ( 1524819 )

      You say that we can't use forced labor, but we can if someone is being punished for a crime, as is stated in the 13th Amendment.

      Thus many prisons in the US run for-profit manufacturing businesses, using forced labor.

      • Well, I don't really know about the US, but the prisoners up here in Canada are paid for their work. Not very well and the system of having them buy daily necessities isn't great now, but apparently they've gone on strike to protest that last year. If the US is forcing their prisoners to work for no pay then that might be something they need to change.

        Although, I was thinking outright slavery since it reminded me of news reports in June talking about slaves being used in Thailand for the shrimp trade. In

        • by skine ( 1524819 )

          Looking into it more, prisoners in US prisons get paid between $0.23 and $1.05 per hour.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday September 17, 2014 @11:41PM (#47933945)
      the real capitalists are global. They benefit from us competing with cheaper labor. Marx predicted this but all anyone can remember about him is that a few dictators used his books for rhetoric.

      As for Adam Smith, he actually as against this sort of naked capitalism. He wrote at a time of small merchant artisans. He didn't see the industrial revolution coming and if he had probably wouldn't have written the books he did. These days he's like Marx: all anybody remembers about him is what fits in with what they want.
      • Yeah, I realized that a bit as soon as I hit submit. I tried. 8)

        The article sparked my thoughts of what I heard about the shrimp slave trade from Thailand, for example, and not just necessarily factory workers in Malaysia. Possibly what is going on is this race to the bottom via slave labor, 'forced' labor as the article says, prison labor, dissident labor, etc. In order to compete countries are taking this tack. But I was thinking with the outrage of slavery, maybe it's enough justification going in t

      • Same thing with Orwell. I had a conservative friend try to tell me Orwell was a capitalist because he wrote Animal Farm. No, he was a socialist. He wrote Animal Farm as a criticism of Stalinism (totalitarianism with the drapings of communism). Also, as a comment on the self-censorship of English socialists who looked the other way with regards to Stalin's purges and other atrocities because they just really wanted this experiment in communism to work so badly.

    • From a "inhuman psychopathic capitalist" perspective, you shouldn't even think about competing with Malaysian slaveowners. Rather, you should *become* a Malaysian slaveowner. Purchase a company in Malaysia whose workforce is slaves.

      Of course, it's not practical for everyone to do that. But if you're one of the inhuman psychopathic capitalists in the US, then why not? It's not in the interests of the US workforce or the US population as a whole. But it's in YOUR interest. So you'll do it.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday September 17, 2014 @11:09PM (#47933825) Journal
    So does anyone here believe Malaysian IT needs a union to help them?

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.