Exchanging Morals for Mass Production


The general public seems to have adopted a “religion” of Apple, a blind faithfulness in the corporation and the innovative products it distributes to the world. Individuals rarely question the contents or the manufacturing of such Apple products, and use a variety of devices on any given day. At the start of any class at Bucknell, several laptops flip open with the signature, illuminating apple on the cover, ready to take notes during a lecture. Similarly, students all around campus carry their iPhones, waiting for the inevitable Facebook or Instagram notifications and text messages to distract them from their rigorous daily schedule. More than communication tools for personal or work-related purposes, Apple provides an aesthetic appeal unrivaled by competitors; there is a noticeable sense of prestige and style to any individual owning Apple products. After listening to the podcast, “Mr. Daisey and Apple,” I was appalled and disgusted by the working conditions voiced by Mike Daisey during his visit to the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen.

As Daisey walked to the Foxconn gate under the “silver poisoned sky,” he was graced by the presence of workers less than 14 years of age, some being 11 and 12. It is truly distasteful for a corporation of such magnitude to repeatedly ignore and falsify information regarding their employees; Foxconn disguises the younger employees by placing older, more mature employees at the front manufacturing line. Several cameras are used to monitor and record the activities of workers, along with management and other promoted individuals watching the efficiency of all employees in the factory. One must perform under the pressure of being constantly monitored while having to navigate the factory perfectly to ensure maximum productivity. Does Apple really not know about these crude working conditions? Workers committing suicide should never go unnoticed by any corporation, mainly Foxconn and Apple. With such conditions being silenced by the media, the gruesome stories are rarely voiced, leaving the work environment unchanged. With this in mind, my perspective now changes as I grip my iPhone in hand: should I be held accountable for these conditions since myself and others continually purchase Apple products? Maximum efficiency and productivity should not rely or depend on military-style management.

With the ghastly and dangerous working conditions in mind, I acknowledge Apple and Foxconn’s responsibility to improve and change the workplace to create a more cohesive and satisfactory environment for all employees. With Apple’s persistence on attention-to-detail, I have a hard time believing or rationalizing the lack of interest in workers creating their products. There also exists a difficult dilemma in integrating morality into any business. While I identify the working conditions as being unwarranted and astounding, I will continue to buy Apple products for personal use. Not stating that I “support” the conditions in Shenzhen, but that I don’t find myself accountable for creating the conditions in the first place. We should pressure corporations like as Apple and Foxconn to improve conditions and face the reality of what often goes unnoticed. Even the tone Daisey uses in his podcast suggests that we should forego using our Apple devices to spite corporations that have wrongly outsourced manufacturing, but I disagree. I think Apple must find a balance between increasing profits while providing a secure and respectable place for individuals to work.

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2 thoughts on “Exchanging Morals for Mass Production

  1. I definitely agree that expecting people to forego purchasing Apple devices is not a feasible or realistic solution to the problem associated with outsourcing labor. However as you also mentioned, I do believe that if more Apple users are aware and question where these Apple products come from as Daisey suggests, that general societal concern could foster a change by speaking out. I think that the main problem is that Apple knows that its target customers will blindly purchase their products year after year despite the product is made, and something that I too am guilty of. So how do we find that happy medium between dropping Apple products all together and just blindly purchasing these products loyally every year? If dropping Apple products is too extreme, how can society help to make an impact?

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  2. I liked your point about continuing to buy Apple products because you don’t feel personally responsible for creating those conditions in the first place. It is tough to decide what we can really do to make these conditions change, as a boycott of Apple does not seem feasible considering their popularity all over the world. Even say a campaign on social media would have to garner such attention to be effective that it seems almost impossible.

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