A Chinese Factory Slave Explains Why Manufacturing Jobs Are Never Coming Back To America

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

While we all loved President Trump’s campaign pledge to bring jobs back to America, there are powerful economic forces at work that suggest the shift to cheap labor is pretty much irreversible. Yes, Trump has spoken with the leaders of some of America’s biggest companies and he’s been successful at getting those chief executives to commit to creating or keeping a few thousands jobs here and there, but when you consider that the competing foreign labor force primarily responsible for manufacturing America’s consumer goods numbers in the hundreds of millions of people, the notion that we’re somehow going to see explosive manufacturing growth over the next four or eight years is nothing more than a pipe dream.

But don’t take it from us. A Chinese factory worker explains exactly why we have absolutely no way to compete with the near slave-like conditions found in foreign factories:

Zeng walked CNBC through his decision to spend six weeks in a factory working 12 hours shifts Monday through Saturday, mostly during the night, and what he discovered along the way.


“They just gave me the address of the factory and I just went. I just showed up. When I was there I saw people holding luggage waiting in a long line, so I just stood in the line,” Zeng told CNBC in an interview.


“When it was my turn they asked for my ID, asked to see my hand and asked me to recite the English alphabet. I got in after that. It took less than 30 seconds. You don’t have to apply or have any skills.



“The first thing I can think of from a labor perspective is that the wages are unacceptable for American workers. So, in the factories, I was getting paid about 3100 yuan, or $450, per month. I don’t think American workers can accept those kind of wages based on living conditions and prices here,” Zeng said.

“Even if they relocate factories to the U.S. they’d replace workers with robots,” Zeng said. He said Pegatron already uses robots to apply cameras to iPhones, and to drop batteries into the devices. Robots, Zeng said, are more precise than human workers, and precision is particularly important for those two components.


If President Trump wants iPhones manufactured in the U.S., Apple will need to front the cost to pay the much higher wages required in the U.S., which means that consumers will have to be willing to pay more. Either that, or it will have to rely a lot more on machines, which won’t create jobs, and might end up taking them.


Source: Yahoo News

For those who are having trouble visualizing the cumulative effect of what Zeng describes, this chart pretty much sums it up and shows how much manufacturing jobs as a percentage of America’s total workforce have declined since the 1960’s:


At first glance you may be thinking that we have no where else to go but up.

The problem, of course, is that if you do try to shift jobs back to America, and even if you triple the wages from what factory workers are making in China, those taking a monthly paycheck and benefits from the government already make more money for doing nothing than they would assembling mobile phone components for 12 hours a day.

One recipient of welfare summed it up succinctly in the following shocking interview:

While workers out there are preaching morality at people like me living on welfare, can you really blame us?


I get to sit home… I get to go visit my friends all day… I even get to smoke weed…


Me and people that I know that are illegal immigrants that don’t contribute to society, we still gonna get paid.


Our check’s gonna come in the mail every month… and it’s gonna be on time… and we get subsidized housing… we even get presents delivered for our kids on Christmas… Why should I work?


Ya’ll get the benefit of saying “oh, look at me, I’m a better person,” but when ya’ll sit at home behind ya’lls I’m a better person… we the ones gettin’ paid!


So can you really blame us?

There’s always hope, we suppose, that the millennial generation, currently demanding free college and living in their parents’ basements, will rocket America into its next great manufacturing boom.

But we’re not going to hold our breaths.

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stacking12321's picture


A Sierra Vista woman says a note from a ‘Chinese prisoner’ ended up inside a purse at her local Walmart.

Laura Wallace’s mother-in-law purchased a purse from the store using a gift card she’d given her. She later found a tiny folded up note inside a zipper compartment.

The note was written in Chinese. Wallace had it translated.

“It actually stated that the person who wrote that was a prisoner in China,” she said. “Basically what their situation was and how they work long hours, 14 hours a day. And they don't have a lot to eat.”

To be sure, the note was translated by two more Chinese-speaking people. All came up with a similar translation.

“I'm very sure that that's exactly what the note says,” said Wallace.

Similar letters have been traced back to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and K-Mart over the years. In one case, the writer was tracked down in China.

Wallace said she’s sharing to see if something similar can happen here.

“I don't have the means or the access to help in any way. So I think this was my way of putting in my two cents,” she said. “I don’t want this to be an attack on any store... That's not the answer. This is happening at all kinds of places and people just probably don't know.”

A Walmart spokesperson issued the following response to News 4 Tucson:

“We can’t comment specifically on this note, because we have no way to verify the origin of the letter, but one of our requirements for the suppliers who supply products for sale at Walmart is all work should be voluntary as indicated in our Standards for Suppliers.”

A full translation of the letter, as provided to Wallace, reads:

“Inmates in the Yingshan Prison in Guangxi, China are working 14 hours daily with no break/rest at noon, continue working overtime until 12 midnight, and whoever doesn't finish his work will be beaten. Their meals are without oil and salt. Every month, the boss pays the inmate 2000 yuan, any additional dishes will be finished by the police. If the inmates are sick and need medicine, the cost will be deducted from the salary. Prison in China is unlike prison in America, horse cow goat pig dog (literally, means inhumane treatment)."


Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Translation of note:

Yuan bai fa in pa su fo chi pu do la? Sam bo di ma su mei king pa su, no?

brianshell's picture

You got me there Boris.

Thorium is the answer. New technology and new systems on a vast scale require many new innovative skills. Robotics only are preferred for routine repetitive tasks.

Of course removing the vampire central banks cartel is the first priority.

Another new area to tackle is modern agriculture with no till cover crop systems. Those farmers can now almost eliminate artificial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and soil loss while regenerating healthy soils.

The nationwide adoption of these improvements will bring jobs and a better standard of living.

sinbad2's picture

Thorium reactors are not new, the guy who designed the current reactor design designed a failsafe Thorium reactor. He tried to get it adopted, but the  Uranium lobby got Nixon to fire him from Oak Ridge.

DaveA's picture

I have nothing against thorium, I hope we do develop thorium reactors. But other than a few engineers designing, building, and plugging them into the power grid, where are the new jobs coming from?

And this no-till agriculture -- does it require people to pull weeds by hand? Because if it doesn't, it also won't create any new jobs.

brianshell's picture

Thorium will be cheaper than coal. That will afford desalinization plants. The electric transportation industry will replace fossil fuel vehicles. From ships with TMSR power to individual electric cars and perhaps electric small planes, TMSR will be the power that anchors many new developments. TMSR can also make methane. Innovative entrepreneurs will find many opportunites with the new more efficient transportation and infrastructure .

No till, cover crop agriculture will also offer new opportunites for expanding the usable lands because this method will open vast area to production that are only marginally usable now. It also will replenish our organic soil stock and will reduce erosion and runoff.

As to the competition with robotics, man must explore new technologies. New tech will always require more human input. Only later will the robotics be put in place.

AnimalSpirits's picture

Yuan buy fine pair shoe for cheap dollar?  Somebody my? shoe make pair shoe, no?

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Ah, you are also speak Chinese, yes? Translation is close!

"You are want to buy fine purse for cheap dollar? Somebody must make fine purse, no?"

AnimalSpirits's picture

Ohhh!! She She very much!

I thought the Yuan part was the currency to purchase the shoes : P

Pretty cool, Boris.

cheka's picture

tariff or continue to get bled out by nyc.dc

Ms No's picture

"....indicated in our Standards for Suppliers"

We all know these psychos are losing serious sleep over those alleged standards.  Now we know why they have nets everywhere to prevent jumpers.  We really need to stop buying this crap.  Being executed would be better than a beaten and trapped slave. 

Stinkytofu's picture

nets everywhere to prevent jumpers?  i call bullshit.


if one would bother to look past the headlines, one would find that the suicide rate for

employees at these factories is less than half that of the general population.



sinbad2's picture

So basically, the Chinese prison system, is a lot like the American prison system.

Both force prisoners to work, both feed prisoners badly, and both try and get back the paltry amounts they are paid for their labour.

Is-Be's picture

Vee, the left Wing Rumanian has a solution for companies that refuse to use British ( or American) labour.

Go bankrupt.

There is no company that is soo vital to the economy that it needs taxpayer money.

If there is a need, Capitalism will fill it.

Stop your ears to their caterwauling.


Oldrepublic's picture

American prisons have not yet starting selling body parts!

Oldrepublic's picture

This is a Daily Mail report of actual conditions in that Iphone factory in



AnimalSpirits's picture

Unreal!!!! Workers look miserable...like they're defeated, stripped of their humanity...existing only as "labour"


Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Ever read "the Jungle" by Upton Sinclair?

AnimalSpirits's picture

No, I haven't. But I just looked it up and it looks very interesting.

I am familiar with worker conditions at the time - horrific. In the textile industry, conditions were so bad people died in factory fires. I admire the courage of early 20th century workers for challenging the status quo.

Current condition in China or India are worse I believe - entire buildings collapse... full of people.

Thanks for the info :-)

cheech_wizard's picture

No longer required reading when you went through high school?

Standard Disclaimer: What do they have you reading these days? Heather Has Two Mommies?


AnimalSpirits's picture

No, "How Daddy became Mommy" ;-)))))

I was in Canada during my high school years -- long time ago.

To my knowledge, current high school reading would be: The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm, Macbeth, Ann Frank's Diary.

Stinkytofu's picture

"the boss pays the inmate 2000 yuan,"


huh?  this is obviously a scam.  chineser inmates don't get a salary.

prisoner paid 2000 rmb per month?  yeah, right!


consider the factory worker in the article (actually a western reporter undercover)

was paid 3100 per month.  not bad, really, considering many of the workers come

from rural areas of china with an average monthly income of only 200-300 rmb.

stacking12321's picture

Lost in translation.

Boss pays 2000 yuan/mo in dishes, meaning food, most of it is eaten by guards.

Anteater's picture

Already happens: Mil.Gov.Edu drone-ocracy runs another -$1.1 TRILLION budget gap bailout thanks to 100% Republican Congress:Corporate Socialism, and goes to the -$30 TRILLION debt ceiling 'scheme' by September.

I interviewed for a $72,000 Gov job in February, full bene's and pension, as 'Coordinator' for an exciting new initiative: "Pick Up Your Dog Poop!" That was the entire job, going around to schools and businesses to spread the Gospel of Mil.Gov.Edu to For God's Sake Pick Up Your Dog Poop! And my property taxes just jumped 8% to pay for whoever got that job for life.

It's out of control, folks. Mil.Gov.Edu is a Stage V metastasis on the ass of so-called civilization. You can't negotiate with it, you can't stop it, it will rob capital spending to inflate operating funds, or run a ballooning deficit to get that guaranteed COLA.

Meanwhile, I'm working construction for the same wage I got in 1984.


PiratePiggy's picture

"I get to sit home… I get to go visit my friends all day… I even get to smoke weed…"


Everybody stand up and sing together:




quasi_verbatim's picture

Why be a schmuck and work in a factory when you can sit at home and day-trade?

Silver Savior's picture

It wouldn't be so bad if there was not a chance of losing your ass in the markets.

Nexus789's picture

I'm sure in a new utopian world it can be fixed so that everyone wins. Currently its only the 1% but lets share the fun.

Peterk_kk's picture

Yeah Auntie Janet certainly does have our back.

Historically interest rates average at around 5.18%.  If Auntie kicked them up I reckon the maverick risk takers would be wiped off the map and a good portion of the world economy.  China would end up like the Greek economy and return to subsistance.  Globalisaiton is a facade builty on cheap money decreed by the fed.

If we want the world to get back to some stability ditch the fed.  Bring back the gold standard.

sinbad2's picture

So when you trade, you are trading the value of a company, or commodity, BUT, if nobody has a job, nobody can afford to by the products of the company, or the commodities.

It's the fatal flaw of capitalism, which is trickle up economics, a pyramid scheme where wealth comes in at the bottom, and works its way up to the top one percent.

Eventually the peasants run out of money and so the trickle dries up. Actually the peasants ran out of money years ago, but the rich loan you money to buy stuff. Now we are at the stage where the peasants can't borrow any more money, or pay back the money they have borrowed. It's also moving up the pyramid and the middle class are also running out of money. As the poverty grows, the companies close, so there isn't anything to trade.

In the past this has happened many times, but it was limited to one country. Today it's a global economy, and any nation with debt is going to get royally fucked.


Karl Marx would laugh his arse off, and say I told you so, if he was still alive.

Debugas's picture

Q: if nobody has a job, nobody can afford to by the products of the company, or the commodities

A: Wrong - the owners of the companies still can afford to buy products of their own or other companies 


And that is the thing - you either become an owner a stock holder or you die off

Nexus789's picture

In a way right but it would be a totally different ecomomy with no need for consumers (or what passes for humans).

sinbad2's picture

It would be Hunger Games.

Vilfredo Pareto's picture



We have too many humans already who are of no benefit to a machine economy.

Bobbyrib's picture

Of course with the constantly manipulated stock market the proper thing to do is to put what's left of my money into the casino. What was i thinking? /sarcasm.

AnimalSpirits's picture

Technically, yes...but if the owners are the sole consumers, it would make for a very tiny market. 

So, eventually, there would be too much supply vs demand and prices would plummet - then what?

It would work, if demand were infinite - well, until resources were depleted.

Benjamin123's picture

Nothing would happen. The market would be tiny, and that would be it. Indeed, demand would crater and supply would decrease to match, restoring equilibrium.

A small market for a small population of economic actors, and a large mass of unemployed watching from the sides. Theres nothing weird or impossible or unstable about that.

AnimalSpirits's picture

Indeed, eventually equiibrium will be restored. Thus, perched upon his tower, the King shall admire his wealth and sickly subjects.


I must, however, point out one small, but very significant fallacy in your happy Kingdom model.

Fallacy being - essentially, human nature : Kings are usually despotic megalomeniacs with insatiable greed for wealth and power. Eventually, the King will seek to broaden his domain. Yes, of course, equilibrium will once again be restored, but only until a certain point. Eventually, the King's demise shall arrive - similar to say, the Romans :-)

Benjamin123's picture

Look, universal happiness is imposible, i dont know what kind of "happy kingdom model" you are hinting at. You have a way of not truly saying what you want to say.

The root of the problem is that humans are only happy when other humans are miserable. Being surrounded by (relative) misery makes people feel like winners. Even the rich feel like losers whenever they dont get as much power as those in their social circle. This problem cannot be solved at all, its as absurd as trying to draw a straight circle.

LibertarianMenace's picture

Apparently, he would also pay me for the ten foot deep hole I dug by myself in own my back yard.

Benjamin123's picture

Its not everybody, only the bottom 90%. The elite (1%) and the elite's lackeys (10%) will have all the money and trade among themselves.

You can have an economy where only the elites prosper and most people live in slums with a few dollars a day. Thats the reality in Latin America.

Anteater's picture

Why be a schmuck and work in a factory when you can sit in your free military base housing and run free touch'n goes all day towards your second career as a veteran (sic) preference airline pilot, every time Trump rattles the sabre to brand his hotel and casino chain?

Defense.gov/news/contracts  One BILLION a *day* of your life savings winging away at Mach 1.

Silver Savior's picture

I wish it was that simple to get a job here. It's months of the run around and vagueness in getting a job. You should be able to just start working and cut the bullshit. Those days are long gone.

JamesBond's picture

According to Trump, the military is still hiring.