JAN
28
2008

Nokia Acquiring Trolltech

Today, Nokia and Trolltech announced that Nokia will be purchasing Trolltech. Nokia will continue with Qt's dual license model, which was updated to GPL 3 only last week. In an open letter to KDE, the chief Trolls and Nokia VP asked for ideas and comments on improving their relationship with the open source community. Nokia will be applying to become a patron of KDE e.V. and the FreeQt foundation is being maintained to guarantee the continued freedom of the toolkit KDE depends upon. This change should help ensure both the continued longevity of Qt and KDE as well as give the platform a boost in industry, particularly in the consumer electronics industry.

Comments

That's exactly what gets me worried...

That and the big lie at the keynote!!!

They should have addressed the buyout.


By Richard Lionhard at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

> 3) Nokia shut down the Bochum factory because they don't like the idea of well-paid workers

(Un?)fortunately this is how it works in this globalized world. What is bad for workers in Germany is good for workers in Romania, where they open a new factory. But don't worry, they will close this factory as well if they find a place where they can produce with less costs (wages, transportation, logistics, whatever costs in total). And they aren't the only one, e.g IBM did the same with a hard disk factory some years ago in Hungary: they opened it, when Hungary become too expensive, just closed and moved further (east).
This is called capitalism, business and global market. There is the government who should make laws to either keep businesses in country and/or protect the workers in such cases when a company shuts down its facilities.


By Andras Mantia at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I'm not sure what to think of it - Nokia obviously doesn't have a totally clean track record, but they do have a decent track record when it comes down to contributing to OSS projects they're using/developing (e.g. Linux kernel patches, developing their GTK fork in the public, ...)

With companies the size of Nokia or IBM, it's hard to put out a general statement like XXX is "evil" or XXX is "good" -- there are too many departments that don't know what the others are doing, and some departments are leaning towards "good", some towards "evil".

The patents department of Nokia is leaning towards "evil" (and I'll count the ogg stuff in there, because this is quite obviously about making a profit from patented alternatives), while their engineering team is leaning towards "good" (contributing patches etc). Their management is in between, trying to play both sides, which, from a pure business standpoint (which is really all they care about) makes sense -- patents are a revenue stream, working with the open source community to make products better is another, completely separate, revenue stream. No, I don't like it either, but that's the way the system works.

Nokia has shown some pretty strong dissatisfaction with GTK/Hildon, and for now I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt - they realized Qt is better, they don't want to depend on TT, so they make it an inhouse development. Qt also allows them to consolidate their phone development and desktop application development (e.g. the phone and the desktop sync tools using the same code -- Qtopia and Qt/{X11,Windoze,Mac} are fully compatible), which just makes sense.

3. is evil, but it's the evil any sufficiently large company does - and chances are it won't affect TT, because R&D work is usually kept in expensive countries - manual labor is always the one that goes to low-pay countries first.

Re 5, I don't think this is about blocking the competition, they'd be stupid if they didn't take in the revenue of licensing their toolkit to their competitors (and they already license Symbian to competitors). It may actually be good news for Qtopia if only because they'll start using it in some products - Qtopia based devices are still quite rare, even one huge deployment would be good news there.

Re 6, Nokia is maybe not an ideal candidate, but is far from the worst (One of many worse alternatives: Microsoft - for them, buying TT would make sense to provide a better replacement for MFC in the next Windoze release, and while at it they could slow down development of the best Linux toolkit).


By bero at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

A very good analysis there Bero, beats some of teh more panicked reactions. I'm hoping this is the intent of the deal.

John.


By odysseus at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"1) Nokia is pushing for software patentability."

And other parts of Nokia are deeply involved in Free Software. Nokia is a big corporation with different activities.

"3) Nokia shut down the Bochum factory because they don't like the idea of well-paid workers"

Workers in Romania get good salaries by local standards. Yes, their salaries are lower than in Germany, but so are their living-expenses, so the resulting standard of living is propably more or less similar (maybe less BMW's, but still).

Since when are our (that in, rich westerners) salaries the universal yardstick upon which all salaries around the world should be compared to? Isn't it a bit arrogant to assume that WE are some kind of universal standard? If you think that "workers in Romania are underpaid since their salaries are lower than our salaries", couldn't we just as well say "we in the West are overpaid, since workers in Eastern-Europe and Asia are willing to do the same job for less money"?

And, a honest question: which is more ethical: Offering jobs to rich Germans, or offering jobs to poor Romanians?

"4) Nokia is a GTK/GNOME house and dont be naive, this is not changing"

Um, by and large, Nokia is a Symbian-house. N800 is an exception to the rule.


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I think about Bochum.


By Tagesthemengucker at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Closing a PRODUCTION site in Germany - well, welcome to globalism. Stop buying 98% of the products in the market if you're afraid of that.

Don't forget that Nokia has huge R&D sites in Ulm and Duesseldorf, plus dozens of local smaller offices. It's a pity for the unqualified workers, though.


By harryF at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

People here seem to love Nokia and globalization.
Rather strange for users of a free software project.


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Well, I see free software as a positive example of globalization. Developers around the world make a product to the end user at a cost that is as small as possible, ie. free.


By Pnt at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Well, globalization played a big role in the spreading of FOSS, the internet is the pinnacle of the global economy - it creates a fair playingfield. And Nokia, though not without its flaws, has contributed a lot to FOSS already, and they apparently have seen the light now. I welcome them to KDE/Qt development ;-)


By Jos Poortvliet at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

";-)" indeed. I hope you're kidding.
There is no fair playing field in global economy. It doesn't work. Globalization is merely a buzzword to justify the most insane actions most corporations take to increase profits.

> And Nokia, though not without its flaws, has contributed a lot to FOSS already, and they apparently have seen the light now.

"not without it flaws"? Haha. Not even the Finns like Nokia.
Also you can't be pro FLOSS AND pro software patents. It just doesn't work that way.

So I _don't_ welcome our new KDE/Qt owning, software patenting overlords.

...but I still HOPE that everything turns out fine. :-/


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"There is no fair playing field in global economy. It doesn't work. Globalization is merely a buzzword to justify the most insane actions most corporations take to increase profits."

Purpose of corporation is to make profit. Why should they manufacture products more expensively than is required? Do you voluntarily pay more than needed for goods and services? No you do not. So you are out to maximise your "profit" as well.


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I take the "Made in USA" over the "Made in China" ANY day. I gladly pay double.. screw that. I pay five times the price.

> Purpose of corporation is to make profit. Why should they manufacture products more expensively than is required?

Why not let little children put together your shoes. Why not take slaves.
It's depends on HOW they do their business. Most corporation just go too far with their greed.


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"I take the "Made in USA" over the "Made in China" ANY day."

So would I, assuming it's not outrageously more expensive. So what's your point?

"Why not let little children put together your shoes. Why not take slaves.
It's depends on HOW they do their business. Most corporation just go too far with their greed."

If a corporation mistreats their employees, they sure as hell should be bitch-slapped for it. But is Nokia (for example) doing that? They are paying competetive salaries in the countries their factories operate in. Is that wrong? Why? Because that salary is less than we in the west are getting paid? What makes you think that our salaries are the universal standard that should be used when determining salaries in some other countries? If you think that those workers are underpaid, couldn't it also be said that we in the west are overpaid?


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

> So would I, assuming it's not outrageously more expensive. So what's your point?

I answered your question.

> If a corporation mistreats their employees, they sure as hell should be bitch-slapped for it.[snippy]

So they mistreated over 2000 workers in Germany. Will they be "bitch-slapped" for it? No.

> What makes you think that our salaries are the universal standard that should be used when determining salaries in some other countries? If you think that those workers are underpaid, couldn't it also be said that we in the west are overpaid?

Yes. "There is no fair playing field in global economy. It doesn't work."
Certain people don't want it to work so it will never work. "Globalization" will never be fair or even things out. It's a business scheme to increase small term profits.


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"So they mistreated over 2000 workers in Germany. Will they be "bitch-slapped" for it? No."

How exactly are those employees in Germany being "mistreated"? They are being laid off, they are not being whipped or humiliated or tortured. No, they got jobs from Nokia for several years.

All this makes me feel that Nokia should have closes that factory down for good in the mid-nineties, then everything would be A-OK, since Nokia wouldn't have any factories in Germany to close down, and everyone would be happy, right? But no, Nokia kept that factory running for about 10 years, providing thousands of jobs and millions in income.

Or do you believe that if some company sets up a factory, they are REQUIRED to operate that factory until the end of time? If they close that factory, they are "mistreating" those employees?

"Certain people don't want it to work so it will never work. "Globalization" will never be fair or even things out. It's a business scheme to increase small term profits."

It's already evening things out. Living-standards in those poorer countries are increasing at a rapid pace. That is an undeniable FACT. And since salaries and expenses in China for example have been going up, China in return has been starting to outsource some thing to Egypt for example. So things HAVE been evening out.

I'm really sorry, but your arguments make exactly zero sense.


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

You're a pathetic word twisting internet troll who confuses wishful thinking with facts and misinterprets inane statistics for retarded arguments.

:-D


By Psst at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

And I can't figure out why you are so intent on ignoring reality. What was bad for a couple thousand German workers was good for a similar amount of Romanian workers. Why is it you don't seem to care for their improved lot at all? How can you possibly construe giving them jobs as a bad thing? They are not slaves or children. They are paid good wages for their area and living expenses. If you want to suggest that some entity should mandate that their wages are the same as wages in Germany, that would lead to them not having those jobs as they then might as well stay in Germany.

The lower wages they are paid are the reason they are paid them in the first place. If enough companies move production there, the wages will increase and some of the jobs will go somewhere cheaper again, thus improving those places, which otherwise would not have those jobs. At the same time, if jobs leave Germany wages will go down, bringing it in line with Romania. We don't need to have fairness mandated, it happens by capitalistic processes. It just doesn't always happen immediately.

What you are advocating is communism (same wages for everyone) and it failed. You seem to be extremely bitter that capitalism is the engine that has driven improvement in areas like China and India. And it's not all about foreign companies reaping profits by gaming variable wages. See China's homegrown and owned industries.


By AS at Thu, 2008/01/31 - 6:00am

Hi AS,

the problem here is the very assumption that this special kind of global capitalism works.

That the intention of a few CEOs to maximize their profits actually leads to a long-term improvement for a society, or any society.

I doubt that.

What can be said generally is, for the CEOs to "earn" their exorbitant pay, they need other people to work for them, the cheaper the better.

The question here is, what makes the people that run a company actually and assuredly at the same time care about their employee's wellbeing.

The answer is a rather simple aspect of human psychology: You care about the people next to you.

Thus, on the big scale with altruistic perspectives, it simply doesn't work when some CEOs let random people anywhere in the world work for them, at the lowest wages.
It doesn't work, because they (are even forced by business law to) care about money, shareholder value, and not about people.
It doesn't work, because on can't rely on CEOs to act according to moral guidelines.

But it _does_ work, if there is a personal connection, again requiring a local connection, to the employees.

This kind of globalism that Nokia made the best example of essentially shows that the company considers their employees as exchangeable, expendable goods.

It shows, that this is really 100% capitalism in action.

The 2000 new jobs in Romania are just a coincidence, not a result of mutual human dependence, or human relations.

And now you come and prove to me that this actually benefits a society. (Not necessarily a country)


By Ulrich at Wed, 2008/02/06 - 6:00am

hippies are back


By Nick Shaforostoff at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Yes.. ex-soviet talking about hippies. Gotta love it.
But hey.. East-Europe.. you might be one of those "beneficiaries" of globalization. I guess I have to thank you for my cheap T-shirt. (this was much more evil before editing)


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Nope, sorry, you need to thank the Chinese for your cheap T-shirt, just like me ;) We, East-Europeans, are allready too expensive for that.


By Andrei at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

you'd better thank for the brains we export :)


By Nick Shaforostoff at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

Is it the fact that production-plants are moving to cheaper countries? Is that a bad thing? And before you say "YES!", consider few facts:

a) Fact is that due to globalization, the countries that have been targets of investments have made HUGE strides in eliminating poverty. Offering poor people jobs is the single best way to improve their lot in life.

b) Fact of the matter is that thanks to globalization, our purchasing-power in the west has been going up, since products have gotten cheaper.

Isn't it smart to manufacture good where it's the cheapest and most efficient?

It seems to me that all those people who complain when company moves production to Asia etc. forget the fact that the people in Asia are people too. Why do we deserve jobs, while they do not? Are we somehow "better"?


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

> Fact is that due to globalization, the countries that have been targets of investments have made HUGE strides in eliminating poverty.

Errrm. No.

> Offering poor people jobs is the single best way to improve their lot in life.

If you think that ANY corporation that moves to "cheaper countries" has those novel intentions to improve anyone's life you have to be extremely ignorant.

> Fact of the matter is that thanks to globalization, our purchasing-power in the west has been going up, since products have gotten cheaper.

Where are you from? Over the last 15 years (at least) every single thing has been increasingly less affordable each year where I'm from. Wages are dropping and everything is getting more expensive...

> Isn't it smart to manufacture good where it's the cheapest and most efficient?

For money most corporations would even work together with the nazis (IBM). It's not a matter of being smart or not. It's a matter of how to increase profits.

> It seems to me that all those people who complain when company moves production to Asia etc. forget the fact that the people in Asia are people too. Why do we deserve jobs, while they do not? Are we somehow "better"?

Are Asian people better? Just take a look at the Nokia Bochum "incident". Are people in Romania better than people in Germany? This argument is stupid. It's NOT about people. It's about money. NOKIA DOESN'T CARE ABOUT PEOPLE (OR FREEDOM OR FREE SOFTWARE OR KDE... just to keep on topic, hehe).


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"Errrm. No."

Errrrrrm. Yes. Don't believe me? Go read some statistics. Seriously. Here's one from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Percentage_living_on_less_than_%241_p...

There are lots more besides that.

"If you think that ANY corporation that moves to "cheaper countries" has those novel intentions to improve anyone's life you have to be extremely ignorant."

Where exactly did I claim that they move to poorer countries out of the goodness of their hearts? What did say is that the fact that they do so, reduces poverty in those countries, due to the fact of having more jobs, and due to the fact that those jobs pay better than jobs offered b local companies do.

"Where are you from? Over the last 15 years (at least) every single thing has been increasingly less affordable each year where I'm from. "

There are two things to consider here. One of them is called "inflation". Yes, prices do go up over time. But that does not mean that they necessarily get more expensive. Take a look at computers. Or television, or any piece of consumer-electronics that is made in Asia. Prices have come crashing down.

"Are Asian people better? Just take a look at the Nokia Bochum "incident""

What about it?

"Are people in Romania better than people in Germany? This argument is stupid. It's NOT about people. It's about money."

So, what about money? Should Nokia keep pumping more and more money in to rich Germany, while not pumping one cent to poor Romania? Where exactly are the ethics of giving millions of euros to people who are already richer than about 90% of the people on this planet, as opposed to giving that money to poorer people? Please explain the rationale and ethics of THAT!

"This argument is stupid."

You only say that because you realize that you have no way out of this discussion. In one hand we have the option of pumping millions of Euros in to one of the richest countries on the planet, and on the other hand we have the option of pumping millions of euros in to one of the poorest cointries in Europe. And here you are basically making the claim that this money should be given to the rich, as opposed to giving to the poor.


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Hehe. You gotta be kidding.
Not gonna bother anymore. Think of that what you will. :-D

Is Nokia already paying astroturfers? If so, where are they from? India? Haha...


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Ironic, considering who you are.


By KDE User at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

I ripped your "arguments" to shreds with pure facts. And when you notice that you have been utterly defeated, what do you do? "I'm not gonna play anymore, I'm taking my ball and going home!". I take that as an admission of defeat. Thanks for playing!

Seriously: I gave you facts. I gave you statistics. I gave you numbers. Your reply: "You gotta be kidding". Why is it that some people refuse to believe even when they are being spoon-fed facts and statistics?


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

I suggest you take a peek at some of J. Stiglitz's books, like "Globalization and Its Discontents". Globalization is like the Force : a light and a dark side. :-)


By Guillaume Laurent at Wed, 2008/01/30 - 6:00am

Utterly OWNED and Psst is too stubborn to see it. Psst, if you are wondering why someone doesn't take you seriously, look at your behaviour here. Your petulant assertions got demolished and you have no reply other than more disbelief. You're not worth discussing things with.


By AS at Thu, 2008/01/31 - 6:00am

Well, globalization is also about freedom: freedom to produce where you want, sell where you want, do what you want. :) Independent of the fact that I like or dislike Nokia. Yes, I'm somewhat worried, but I don't think the end of the world has arrived. This whole thing can mean good as well. The problem will be if Nokia won't make profit in the following years and they will have to cut costs, close R&D sites and so. And, unfortunately, nobody could guarantee the existence of Trolltech in 5 years, with or without Nokia.


By Andras Mantia at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I am not afraid. KDE, Gnome, Linux itself would not exist if there were no globalization.

I just wanted to say that what Nokia does in Bochum was just not "noble".
And I think that most people in Germany don't care about Nokias behaviour because people want affordable cellphones and stuff with a lot of eyecandy. That's it.


By tagesthemengucker at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"I just wanted to say that what Nokia does in Bochum was just not "noble". "

Why is employing bunch of rich people in a rich western country "noble", whereas offering jobs to poor people in Romania is not "noble"? Should those Romanians simply remain poor? What's so "noble" in that?


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Nokia closed that factory though it made profit. On the other hand employing people in Romania is a good thing. Because when become rich, they buy "german" technology...
For the fired worker in Bochum the sitaution is bad, the same situation is a good one for the people in Romania.


By tagesthemengucker at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"Nokia closed that factory though it made profit. "

Um, so? It does not matter that did the factory make profit or not. What matters is that could they do the same production somewhere else more effectively and profitable. Why should Nokia manufacture their phones in a more expensive way than is required?

We all do the exact same thing. We shop around to find the best deal on goods and services. When I buy something I look around to find where I could buy the items the cheapest. Even though I might think that paying 100e (for example) for some gizmo is a reasonable price, I would still buy it for 90e if I had the option, instead of 100e. And so would you. Also, if I found the gizmo's value for me to be around 100e, and it was sold for 60e, I would not pay 100e for it even though I wasn't asked to. And neither would you. What we would do is to maximise our profit, and look for the most economical source.

Nokia is doing the same thing. They noticed that instead of paying 20e (a made-up number, but still) in labor-cost for every phone built in Bochum, they could manufacture the exact same product in Romania, while paying only 3e.


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"Nokia is doing the same thing. They noticed that instead of paying 20e (a made-up number, but still) in labor-cost for every phone built in Bochum, they could manufacture the exact same product in Romania, while paying only 3e."

And then you discover that it retails for 500e. Oh, and forget Romania, you can manufacture it in Turkey for 2e. No, wait! How about China for 1e? And let's not think about the working conditions, pollution, social factors - it's all so distant, so vague. Besides, the Chinese economy is booming - they can't get enough BMWs!

Sometimes you have to stop, look up, and see where the hunt for bargains has taken you: it's probably not a very nice neighbourhood.


By The Badger at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"And then you discover that it retails for 500e."

Um, so? It also might retail for 100e.

"Oh, and forget Romania, you can manufacture it in Turkey for 2e. No, wait! How about China for 1e?"

What exactly is your point? That they should manufacture it in the location where it's most efficient? And do you also feel that those people do not deserve jobs, only we in the rich west deserve jobs, rest of the world can just stay poor?

"And let's not think about the working conditions, pollution, social factors - it's all so distant, so vague."

What makes you think that those are worse in Romania (for example) than in Germany?

"Sometimes you have to stop, look up, and see where the hunt for bargains has taken you: it's probably not a very nice neighbourhood"

Sometimes you have to stop, look up, and see where your greed and selfishness has taken you. It has taken you to a world where HUGE amounts of people live in poverty. It has resulted in a world where a minority lives in luxury and extravaganza, while majority lives in poverty. And when we have a MASSIVE transfer of wealth from uber-rich west to the poor countries in form of jobs, you whine.

Seriously: when you boil away all the useless rhetoric from arguments made by Attac and other activists, what you have is this: "We feel that people in the rich western countries should have jobs, instead of the poorer people in Asia and other countries". That's it.


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

Janne, you're now being a freetrade troll.

Doesn't bother you a bit that this "massive transfer of wealth" only touches the middle and lower classes, while the top 5% gets richer and richer? That communities are being ruthlessly destroyed, both in Europe/US and in developing countries? That the environment simply cannot substain a worldwide expansion of the current production model?

I live in England, I saw what Thatcherism produced. When you put economic interest above everything else, the result is not a nice sight. Globalization has lots of problems that need to be addressed, and pushing hard for 100% free trade doesn't do anything to solve them.


By YourAverageJoe at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"Janne, you're now being a freetrade troll."

So, let me get this straight: I don't buy in to this "only people in the rich countries deserve jobs, screw the poor!" BS, and that makes me a "freetrade troll"?

"Doesn't bother you a bit that this "massive transfer of wealth" only touches the middle and lower classes, while the top 5% gets richer and richer?"

Um, last time I checked, the people working in those factories could be considered "middle-class". Or are you saying that the Romanian elite ends up working in the Nokia-factory?

Fact remains that countries that have received these investments have made MASSIVE progress in reducing poverty. That is a FACT. And that reduction in poverty has NOT been done by making the top 1% of those poor countries earn more money, it has been achieved by employing lots and lots on low- and middle-class people, and giving them good salaries (IIRC, studies have shown that the western companies pay salaries that are triple of what local companies pay).

"That the environment simply cannot substain a worldwide expansion of the current production model?"

you are right that environment couldn't really sustain 6 billion people with lifestyles similar to that in North-America and Western Europe. But do you think that that means that 5 billion people should live in poverty, while Americans and Europeans live in luxury?

But this isn't really about "production-model". It's due to the fact that we in the west are living beyond our means. Only reason we can live our lives filled with luxury is because billions are living in poverty. So this boils down to two things:

a) either we in the west have too high living-standard, since not everyone on this planet can reach our living-standard, since the ecosphere can't support it

or

b) There are simply too many people on this planet. The planet can't sustain 6 billion people with western lifestyle. That is a fact.

So the options are threefold:

a) We maintain status quo. People in the "west" remain rich, elsewhere people remain poor

b) We try to reach an equilibrium in living-standards. And that means that people in the west need to make sacrifices, while poorer people improve their living-standards

or

c) We try to reduce the number of people on the planet, so we can have more people with high standards of living

Obviously, C is a long-term task. Which would you choose?

"Globalization has lots of problems that need to be addressed, and pushing hard for 100% free trade doesn't do anything to solve them."

Of course globalization has it's issues. But so does socialist protectionism.


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"So, let me get this straight: I don't buy in to this "only people in the rich countries deserve jobs, screw the poor!" BS, and that makes me a "freetrade troll"?"

Yes, because you've just distorted the position of the person you responded to.

"Um, last time I checked, the people working in those factories could be considered "middle-class"."

Maybe in Romania, although I have my doubts, but in your advocacy for the lowest cost of production maybe you should read up on factory conditions further down the globalisation chain.

"But do you think that that means that 5 billion people should live in poverty, while Americans and Europeans live in luxury?"

I doubt that this was the suggestion, but again you're happy to project that viewpoint onto anyone who disagrees, aren't you?

"It's due to the fact that we in the west are living beyond our means. Only reason we can live our lives filled with luxury is because billions are living in poverty."

An interesting perspective: the developed world is living beyond its means (no argument there), so we'll get the developing world to make all our gadgets. Oh, and because they're all getting rich, they'll be a huge new market for our products too, or rather the products that big companies of western origin will actually be making under licence in those countries, because people in western countries obviously won't be making them. Yes, we'll spend our way out of this! Or rather, they'll spend their way out of it; we'll tax their hard work (patents anyone?) and then help them out with all that spending!

"Of course globalization has it's issues."

So far you've preferred to make up imaginary positions for anyone who has had anything bad to say about globalisation, so I'd obviously like to hear what you think the issues are. Instruction booklets with Finnish relegated to page 87, perhaps?


By The Badger at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"Yes, because you've just distorted the position of the person you responded to."

Nope, I did not distort anything. I just boiled away all the BS, and exposed the true hidden meaning.

"Maybe in Romania, although I have my doubts, but in your advocacy for the lowest cost of production maybe you should read up on factory conditions further down the globalisation chain."

Sure, there are factories out there where conditions are not that good when compared to our standards. But even then we need to ask ourselves: what is their (the employees that is) alternative? Prostitution? Working for even crappier local companies for 1/3 the pay?

Note: I don't buy any products from Nike.d

"I doubt that this was the suggestion, but again you're happy to project that viewpoint onto anyone who disagrees, aren't you?"

No, that was not the suggestion, but that would be the end-result if we heeded the suggestion.

"An interesting perspective: the developed world is living beyond its means (no argument there), so we'll get the developing world to make all our gadgets."

Not only us, but for them as well.

"So far you've preferred to make up imaginary positions for anyone who has had anything bad to say about globalisation"

let's just say I'm fed up with BS surrounding this issue. I'm fed up when people who are in no shape or form affected by Nokias actions in Bochum start to whine about Nokia. Because when they do, they are in effect saying "these jobs should be in Germany, and not in Romania". And when I call them out on their opinion, they get their panties in a bunch.

I can understand if Germans who lose their jobs get annoyed over Nokia. But when unrelated third-parties start whining, then the argument changes entirely.


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"Nope, I did not distort anything. I just boiled away all the BS, and exposed the true hidden meaning."

So, let's look at what they wrote...

"Doesn't bother you a bit that this "massive transfer of wealth" only touches the middle and lower classes, while the top 5% gets richer and richer?"

In other words, that the people just made redundant are, well, the middle and lower classes. Meanwhile, the owners and shareholders (the top 5%) reap the rewards. Sure, as I've said already, the middle classes might also be employed in the newly opened plants, although they're more likely to be working class who admittedly do need the work. However, your boiling process managed to cause some kind of chemical change:

"Or are you saying that the Romanian elite ends up working in the Nokia-factory?"

I guess they were referring to the people in the rich nation getting richer, but then I suppose everyone in the rich nation is moving swiftly on to becoming a "knowledge economy" with patents on fresh air and running water, right?

Meanwhile...

"Sure, there are factories out there where conditions are not that good when compared to our standards. But even then we need to ask ourselves: what is their (the employees that is) alternative? Prostitution? Working for even crappier local companies for 1/3 the pay?"

The alternative as I've said all along is that multinationals should not just take the cheapest deal with the exploitative working conditions and then justify it by saying, "Well they'd all be much worse off it weren't for us, so they should take what they get offered!" Read up about some of the working practices in some of these "favoured nations" and then wonder what the average corporation is doing about it when people aren't kicking up a stink.

"let's just say I'm fed up with BS surrounding this issue. I'm fed up when people who are in no shape or form affected by Nokias actions in Bochum start to whine about Nokia."

I personally have no opinion about Nokia's situation in Germany. As the person whose opinions you managed to distort said, this kind of thing is familiar to anyone who lived in Britain during the Thatcher era, and anyone familiar with manufacturing industry knows that the work moves around, politicians make sweetener deals, and it never really works out. It's a bad thing when people lose their jobs, but it isn't just the fault of the company involved - the government should be doing their best to make opportunities in other sectors without paying businesses off.

"Because when they do, they are in effect saying "these jobs should be in Germany, and not in Romania". And when I call them out on their opinion, they get their panties in a bunch."

I could whine about Nokia on a number of levels. However, on the topic of globalisation, what I do have an opinion about is this blissful notion that shopping around for the lowest cost of manufacturing - no matter what - is a good thing, which is pretty much your position if I've understood correctly. You can frame this as a Germany vs. Romania thing if you want, but you're on record as saying this...

"Why should Nokia manufacture their phones in a more expensive way than is required?"

"What we would do is to maximise our profit, and look for the most economical source."

All this depends on what Nokia deems to be "required". If looking for "the most economical source" means not even bothering about how the work gets done, then it's a reprehensible stance to take in the name of "free trade" and "globalisation", and totally understandable why these terms, particularly the latter, have become dirty words for many people.

"I can understand if Germans who lose their jobs get annoyed over Nokia. But when unrelated third-parties start whining, then the argument changes entirely."

I'm only pointing out the details that take the shine off this globalisation adventure you seem to be so eager to tell everyone about, but yes, I'm an unrelated third party. If you're really from Finland, on the other hand, I'd expect some kind of partiality in this matter given the "elephant in the corner" position of certain corporations in that country.


By The Badger at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"What exactly is your point? That they should manufacture it in the location where it's most efficient? And do you also feel that those people do not deserve jobs, only we in the rich west deserve jobs, rest of the world can just stay poor?"

That's not what I said: stop projecting your own prejudices onto what I wrote! I noted that companies can enjoy huge margins on products, and perhaps that gives them some potential for doing good socially, whether it is in Germany, Romania, Turkey, China or anywhere else, and not shaving the last few cents from costs.

If chasing down the lowest cost leads you into places where people have to work 16 hour days in appalling conditions, where their children don't get an education because they've been pulled in from the countryside and aren't "entitled" to it, and where - most importantly - the people commissioning the work can't be bothered to insist on decent social standards for the workers, then while there's money entering that particular country and the workers even see some of it, I think you'll find that a very small number of people are seeing most of that cash.

"What makes you think that those are worse in Romania (for example) than in Germany?"

Oh sure, giving Romania revenue will hoist up living standards - I never denied that. And at least Romania is subject to a certain amount of oversight with respect to social protection and corruption, but that doesn't make a compelling argument for just finding the cheapest bidder and sending them the work.

"Sometimes you have to stop, look up, and see where your greed and selfishness has taken you."

Don't patronise me! I know how lucky I am, but that doesn't mean that I have to buy into the argument that "hey, when I can buy a $10 iPod that will be so cool because I'm really helping people in the developing world". It's like all those people who claim that by playing the lottery they're being big charity donors.

"It has taken you to a world where HUGE amounts of people live in poverty. It has resulted in a world where a minority lives in luxury and extravaganza, while majority lives in poverty. And when we have a MASSIVE transfer of wealth from uber-rich west to the poor countries in form of jobs, you whine."

Again, you just take what I wrote and turn it into something that wasn't said. There's no problem in giving work to poorer countries, but there is a problem when this takes place in the form of working conditions that you or I certainly wouldn't put up with. I suppose you'll claim now that workplace regulation is an unnecessary obstacle to free trade and that the people now doing all the unpleasant jobs actually want to work insane hours.

"Seriously: when you boil away all the useless rhetoric from arguments made by Attac and other activists, what you have is this: "We feel that people in the rich western countries should have jobs, instead of the poorer people in Asia and other countries". That's it."

Yeah, people like Amnesty International, too - that must be it. I mean: what do they care about human rights?


By The Badger at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"That's not what I said:"

yes it is. You might not know it, but it is. Everyone who gets their panties in a bunch when some factory moves from Germany, France etc. to poorer country is saying EXACTLY that. Of course they are masquerading their argument in to something more digestible. But when the BS ends, that is the core of their argument. That people in the west deserve these jobs, people in the poor countries do not.

"If chasing down the lowest cost leads you into places where people have to work 16 hour days in appalling conditions...."

Are there any indications that Nokia is doing any of that?

"I know how lucky I am, but that doesn't mean that I have to buy into the argument that "hey, when I can buy a $10 iPod that will be so cool because I'm really helping people in the developing world"."

Well, in a way, you ARE.

"Again, you just take what I wrote and turn it into something that wasn't said."

But that is what you are saying. All those anti-globalization-folks are saying exactly that. Sure, they are not saying it out loud, since it wouldn't sound nice if they told the press that "we think that these people should not have any jobs". But when you look at the true meaning of their arguments, that IS what they are saying.

"There's no problem in giving work to poorer countries, but there is a problem when this takes place in the form of working conditions that you or I certainly wouldn't put up with."

In many ways I would consider working-conditions in Japan to be something I would not put up with. Where do we draw the line? And what makes you think that by default working-conditions outside "west" are inferior? I HAVE seen Nokia's factories in China. They are not that different from their factories in Finland.


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"Everyone who gets their panties in a bunch when some factory moves from Germany, France etc. to poorer country is saying EXACTLY that."

I am *not* saying that. This is just your ridiculous way of framing what I have written in order to go over the same scapegoating exercise.

"Of course they are masquerading their argument in to something more digestible. But when the BS ends, that is the core of their argument. That people in the west deserve these jobs, people in the poor countries do not."

People in poor countries *do* deserve jobs and they *do* deserve *genuine* free trade. But they also deserve decent standards in their workplace. I mean, you could argue that it's just great that electronic and industrial waste gets shipped out to India, for example, because people can make a living recycling it, but would you have a clean conscience knowing that they're extracting toxic materials without elementary safety equipment?

[16 hour days in appalling conditions...]

"Are there any indications that Nokia is doing any of that?"

Has anyone bothered to check? I'm not accusing Nokia specifically of anything, but then I was addressing your general "shop for the lowest cost producer" argument which inevitably ends up with conditions like those I've described. I mean, I've read about this kind of stuff in the finance press of all places, so I hardly think we are in imaginary territory. Besides, I believe there was a fuss about a certain well-known, fashionable brand of computer and consumer electronics equipment and their production facilities in China - you should know who I mean, and a search for their name plus "China" and "factory" will yield the details. Did the famous CEO know or care?

"All those anti-globalization-folks are saying exactly that."

Right: so when Amnesty International says that working conditions in China are inhumane they're just part of some anti-globalisation brigade of protectionists?

"And what makes you think that by default working-conditions outside "west" are inferior?"

Perhaps working conditions are really great in China by default and only the really bad places get dredged up in the press, but then you have to ask who is doing business with these really bad places. Hint: there's usually a western interest in this kind of story because, sadly, it wouldn't be newsworthy otherwise.

"I HAVE seen Nokia's factories in China. They are not that different from their factories in Finland."

Well, if we can take your word for it, then it's reassuring to know that Nokia maintains some ethical discipline in this regard. But my general point about the "lowest cost" doctrine still stands, because some corporations and their shareholders have no incentive to consider the wider costs. It was exactly that I objected to, regardless of how you endeavour to rewrite my position.


By The Badger at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

Do I have a clear conscience when my electronic waste is shipped to India for recycling purposes? Yes, I do. Because the alternative of having an unhealthy job for the casteless Indian is living on subsistence farming. And time and time again, subsistence farmers find their live so miserable that any escape from it, they take, even if that means moving to the most hazardous slums...


By Bart at Wed, 2008/01/30 - 6:00am

"Do I have a clear conscience when my electronic waste is shipped to India for recycling purposes? Yes, I do."

Is that the "globalisation is so *generously* sharing the wealth" argument sinking below the surface? Hint: are the subsistence farmers arranging the shipping themselves or do the pixies magic the waste over to India?

"Because the alternative of having an unhealthy job for the casteless Indian is living on subsistence farming. And time and time again, subsistence farmers find their live so miserable that any escape from it, they take, even if that means moving to the most hazardous slums..."

I don't deny it. But the argument is, as always, that the scraps from the developed world's table are more than good enough for the developing world. Perhaps they're better than nothing, although to look at it as "waste vs. subsistence farming" ignores plenty of other factors, but it's so convenient to spin the whole issue as "they're getting steadily richer thanks to us" (and poisoning themselves and others, incidentally) and for those making the sales pitch to avoid thinking about what little they've actually had to give up themselves.


By The Badger at Wed, 2008/01/30 - 6:00am

And you think poor people in Romania will get rich from salaries from Nokia ? They go there because they can pay almost nothing for the same work. Moron.


By Sebhelyesfarku at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"And you think poor people in Romania will get rich from salaries from Nokia ? They go there because they can pay almost nothing for the same work."

Here's a news-flash for you: living-expenses are different in different parts of the world. I have an average salary by Finnish standards. In Estonia I would probably be in top 10%. While my salary gives me a nice home 40 kilometers from Helsinki and average car (Year 1994 VW Passat Wagon if you must know) in Finland, in Estonia that exact same salary would probably give me a penthouse in Tallinns old town and a brand-new BMW.

See the difference?

Yes, by OUR standards, the salaries in Romania are poor. By THEIR standards, the salaries Nokia will pay are pretty good. And while that salary wouldn't get them far in Germany or Finland, it will get them VERY far in Romania!

What exactly makes you think that OUR salaries are the global standard? What exactly makes you think that if salaries in some other country are lower, it means that those salaries are bad? What you need to do is to compare those salaries to the living-expenses in that particular country, instead of comparing them to some completely unrelated country!

Hell, we had similar situation in Finland few years ago. There are bunch of passenger-ferries that go between Helsinki and Finland. Quite a few of those are under Estonian flag and they have Estonian crews. Then the Finnish labour-union representing Finnish seamen said that those Estonians should receive similar salaries as Finnish seamen do. Estonians politely pointed out that if they did that, then those seamen would have higher salaries than Estonias prime-minister has....

"Moron."

Well, I haven't resorted to personal attacks here. But considering that you don't understand even the most basic things about global economy and living-expenses, it begs the question: who exactly is the "moron" here?


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

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