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When Suicide Pays

A number of readers have written in about the headline-making suicides by employees at Foxconn, a huge Chinese company that manufactures electronics and computer components. (The fact that the Foxconn suicide rate seems to be below the national average seems to have escaped most scrutiny.) That said, workers at Foxconn’s plants reportedly face stressful working conditions in locations that, for some workers, are far from their homes (as is the case with much labor in China). But there may be a monetary incentive for the act as well: according to the Telegraph, Foxconn pays the families of the deceased ?11,000, or the equivalent of 6 to 10 years’ of salary. The company has announced a 30-percent pay hike, but its plan to stop the suicide payouts altogether has apparently been derailed by media attention. [%comments]