In Fallow’s article about China’s global economic influence, he explains and describes the working conditions of the large factories of Shenzhen. These factories employ millions of workers who work long days for little pay and are often in hazardous circumstances. Fallow describes that when there is a slight break in the assembly line, the workers seem to lay their heads down and fall asleep instantaneously. He goes on to compare this type of factory production to that of the United States. America uses expensive equipment and machinery to build and assemble many of its products. Unlike human labor, he describes, machinery is not adaptable and flexible to changing circumstances. In response to a design problem a new product may have, he states that “the Chinese factories can respond more quickly” because “people are the most adaptable machines” (159).
There is a kind of juxtaposition in this situation. In a world where we are constantly striving to reach for better technology, human hands are the most helpful and valuable in this circumstance. Fallow clearly states that robotic machines are unable to replace human labor. Furthermore, the people working hard long days in these Chinese factories live a tough life while fewer workers in the US suffer these working conditions. Where do ethics enter this globalized equation? Human labor is the fastest and most adaptable, but does it nullify or justify this working environment?