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哪里还有廉价劳动力?

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小编摘要:各行各业都必须提高工人工资,承担更高的原材料、水资源和能源成本。这一切无可回避。

cheap labor

 

 

 

奥瑞特·范·希尔登曾是一名积极反对种族隔离制度的活动分子,受到南非政府折磨和关押,最终被流放。如今,他是美国公平劳动协会(Fair Labor Association, FLA)的首席执行长,该协会在华盛顿、日内瓦和上海都有办公室。
Auret van Heerden is a former anti-apartheid activist who was tortured, imprisoned and ultimately exiled by the South African government. He's now CEO of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), with offices in Washington, Geneva and Shanghai.
公平劳动协会汇集了耐克(Nike)、阿迪达斯(Adidas)和恒适(Hanes)等跨国公司,普林斯顿大学(Princeton)、圣母大学(Notre Dame)等高校以及全美消费者联盟(National Consumers League)、Human Rights First等非政府组织的力量,致力于消除全球各地的血汗工厂现象。上周,我采访了刚刚结束中国之行的希尔登先生。目前在中国,国内通胀率已达到近5%,食品通胀率超过10%,最低工资两位数的涨幅也屡见不鲜。
The FLA brings together multinational companies like Nike, Adidas and Hanes; universities like Princeton and Notre Dame; and NGOs like the National Consumers League and Human Rights First to end sweat-shop working conditions in factories around the world. I spoke to van Heerden last week, shortly after he returned from a trip to China, where the inflation rate has reached nearly 5%, food inflation is more than 10%, and double-digit increases in the minimum wage are suddenly the norm.
中国依然是全球制造商降低生产成本的可选地吗?
Is China still an option for global manufacturers seeking lower costs of production?
形势变化非常快。中国、印度这些我们过去认为可能用之不竭的劳工市场,事实上已显著收紧。雇主们找不到工人。工资已经上涨。此外,还有能源成本上涨,工厂和代工企业突然感到压力。因此,他们转向买家,即零售商或品牌公司,他们说:“嗨,我的价格要上调。”而品牌公司说,“哇,我们认为我们无法将价格上涨转嫁至消费者。”有点像火车就要撞上了。
It's an incredibly fast-moving situation. Labor markets which we previously thought were inexhaustible, like China and India, have actually tightened up quite dramatically. Employers can't get workers. Wages have gone up. Add to that the energy cost increases, and the factories, the contract manufacturers, are now suddenly squeezed. So they're turning around to their buyers -- to the retailers or the brands -- and they're saying, "Hey, my prices need to go up." And the brands are saying, "Whoa! We don't think we can pass those prices on to the consumer." There's something of a train smash looming.
他们不会寻找其他更廉价的劳动力市场吗?
Won't they just look for cheaper alternatives elsewhere?
他们是在考虑能否将更多制造业务转至孟加拉国、越南或印尼等国家,但可选地不多。最后一个进入供应链的国家是2000年的柬埔寨,目前只剩下一、两个地方了。人们正在重新审视非洲,看是否有遗漏之地。迄今为止,寻找另一个廉价平台、另一个廉价国家的努力一直在持续,但坦白来讲,已没有选择。没有其他地方可去。
They're wondering if they could push more stuff to Bangladesh or Vietnam or Indonesia and so on, but the options are limited. The last country added to the supply chain was Cambodia in 2000, and there are only one or two places left. People are looking at Africa again to see if there isn't something that they've overlooked there. Finding another cheap platform, another cheap country, was the default until now, but frankly that's no longer an option. There's nowhere else to go.
那么,美国消费者将不得不为Gap的毛衣和牛仔裤支付更高的价格?
So will US consumers have to pay more for sweaters and jeans at the Gap?
是的。我认为消费者将看到服装价格普遍上涨。涨价的可能还有电子和其他流行消费品,因为它们的成本结构也在变化。廉价劳动力的终结并非唯一原因。廉价的水资源和土地资源也在逐渐消失。中国国内的水资源不足以满足本国消费需求,但硅晶片工厂仍在消耗上百亿加仑水。中国的有关部门早已告诉北京,明年中国的水费价将增长四倍。各行各业都必须提高工人工资,承担更高的原材料、水资源和能源成本。这一切无可回避。
Yes. I think consumers will see across the board price increases for apparel. Probably for electronics and other popular consumer goods, as well, because their cost structures are shifting, too. The end of cheap labor is not the only factor. We're also running out of cheap water and cheap land. China doesn't have enough water for domestic consumption. Yet silicon-chip factories use billions of gallons. Chinese authorities have already told Beijing that the cost of water will increase fourfold next year. Industry will have to pay more for workers, more for raw materials, more for water, and more for energy. There's just no running away from all of that.
何时这些趋势变化将惠及美国和其他发达国家的工人?
At what point do these shifting trends begin to benefit workers in the United States and other developed countries?
在中国,我向几家重工业公司提了这个问题,事实上他们说很快。确实,我们早已到达这个转折点。我注意到几周前有一篇关于总部位于密尔沃基的标志性锁具公司Master Lock的文章。他们重新调整了生产布局,事实上公司生产业务已从中国移回至美国。Master Lock首席执行长指出,幸运的是他们从未忘记如何制锁。他们一直在美国保留了小规模生产。许多其他公司在将生产外包时,关闭了所有工厂,将制造业务全部交由代工企业。这些人可能现在有麻烦了。
I put this question to a bunch of heavy industrial companies in China, and they said quite soon, actually. In fact, we're reaching that point already. I noticed an article a couple of weeks ago about Master Lock, the iconic lock company, headquartered in Milwaukee. They re-ran the numbers, and they've actually moved production back to the US from China. The CEO pointed out that fortunately they've never forgotten how to make locks. They've always kept a small production footprint in the US. A lot of other companies, when they outsourced, they closed their last factories and gave all the work to contract manufacturers. Those guys may find themselves stuck now.
对于那些依赖出口产业提供就业和经济增长的发展中国家来说,这将是一场灾难吗?
Will this be a disaster for developing countries that have come to rely on exports for jobs and economic growth?
我从不认为就业是一场零和游戏。但很多现在提供的职位是不可持续的。如果就是简单地将这些职位移至下一个廉价劳动力市场,是悲哀的——而那个廉价劳动力市场也许就是美国。我宁愿看到这些公司留下来,投资培训,投资新技术,提高效率。仅以两个国家为例,目前在中国和孟加拉国,由于这样或那样的原因,供电不足。因此,工厂在使用柴油发电机解决电荒问题——如此用电不仅成本高、效率低,也不利于减排。
I've never thought that jobs were a zero-sum game. But a lot of the jobs are in places right now that are not really sustainable. It would be tragic if those jobs simply left again and went to the next cheapest place -- and that cheapest place might be the US. I would rather see the companies stay and invest in training, invest in new technology, and become more efficient. Right now in China and in Bangladesh, just to cite two countries, the electricity supply is inadequate for one reason or another. And so factories are using diesel generators to make up the deficit -- which is expensive, inefficient, and very bad for their carbon footprints.
你持有这样的观点已有多年。我不知道你是变得乐观、还是悲观,现在心境怎样?
You've been at this for years. I don't know if you let yourself get optimistic or pessimistic, but what's your state of mind right now?
我看到情况变得更糟糕了。政府对劳动力市场重点领域或环境的监管能力普遍下降。原因很多,不仅仅是腐败。这是许多国家政治进程的失败。给相关各方——买家、雇主、工人以及环境——带来了大量风险。
I see things getting worse. The ability of governments to regulate key areas of labor markets or the environment is generally declining. There are a lot of reasons for that, not only corruption. It's a bankruptcy of the political processes in many countries. That creates a lot of risk for everybody concerned -- for the buyers, for the employer, for the workers, and for the environment.
以人口贩卖为例。现在,我们已经有了真正的全球化劳动力市场,随着地方经济瓦解,越来越多的年轻人必须离开家乡,到其他地方找工作。但他们往往落入黑心的劳工中介手中。人口贩卖如今已是仅次于武器贩卖的第二大犯罪活动,规模超越毒品。企业现在对此没有好的应对举措。我认为这是接下来要解决的一大问题,具有社会责任感的公司必须解决好供应链中被贩卖的工人问题。
Take human trafficking, for example. We have this really globalized labor market now, and as the local economies disintegrate, more and more young people are having to go and look for work elsewhere. But they're often falling into the hands of unscrupulous labor brokers. Human trafficking is now the second-biggest criminal activity after arms dealing. It's more valuable than drugs. Companies don't have a good handle on this right now. I see it as the next big issue that socially responsible companies are going to have to deal with -- the amount of trafficked workers in their supply chains.
如何实现转变?
How does that change?
基本上,我们将不得不靠自己来完成转变。民权社会和具有社会责任感的公司必须承担起责任。你问我的心境?现实令我沮丧。但我是乐观的,因为我们向来能动员民权社会,而且具有社会责任感的公司已经做出了反应。如果我们能聚集相当的民众力量,实现民权社会和跨国公司的合作,我相信我们能做出很大改进。
Basically we'll have to get it done ourselves. Civil society and socially responsible business has to pick up the baton. You asked about my state of mind? I'm depressed by the actual conditions on the ground. But I'm optimistic because we have been able to mobilize civil society, and socially responsible companies have responded. If we can get a critical mass, and the right partnerships of civil society and multinationals, I think we can fill a lot of these gaps.
这不复杂,但并非没有争议。很多人会说:“这是政府的职责。没人选举这些跨国公司,没人赋予它们责任。”但坦白来讲,如果你等待政府前来清理水源或保护你的工资和工作权利,我得说可别屏息以待。
It's not uncomplicated and it's not un-controversial. A lot of people would say, "This is the role of government. Nobody elected these multinationals. Nobody gave them a mandate." But frankly if you're waiting for government to come along and clean up your water supply or to protect your wages and your rights at work, I'd say don't hold your breath.
5
2011-04-02 14:54 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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