Apple, Cored


I was pleasantly, rather unpleasantly, surprised by the points made in this podcast. Particularly, I found the beginning of the podcast when the host asks siri, “where are you manufactured?” to be hilariously ironic. I mean hilarious in its exaggerative meaning, where we know that under the surface this device is hiding something from us and all we can do is brush it off with an awkward laugh. As Daisey begins to take us on his journey into Apple’s manufacturing conditions we can hear about the grim nature of the working conditions in the photos. Immediately, I began to think about all of the Apple products that play a part in my life. I have 3 iPhones, counting the previous models that I own, an IPad and a Macbook computer; I know that each member of my family has at least 3 apple products if not more. It is hard to comprehend that such an influential and central organization is responsible for the struggles of so many mistreated workers. I would like to think that the products that provide me with satisfaction can create satisfaction for their manufacturers by giving them jobs. However, Daisey explains that this is far from the case.

It is shocking to hear about the poor working conditions, from the vehement of other journalists to the 14 year olds seen working at the Foxconn factory. It is even more amazing that many of these workers committed suicide as a result of the poor working conditions, as a matter of fact, these workers organized a mass suicide to protest the working conditions at the factory. This alarming discovery makes me wonder how many other corporations use these kinds of manufacturers who can bypass regulations by merely having a large share of the market. The problem is no longer creating rules to avoid poor working conditions but that these corporations who employ poor conditions are too big to collapse or stop production. The majority of Americans would be outraged to learn that no new IPhone is being released, or that the new computer model is being delayed by a year.

This podcast made me angry; not necessarily because Foxconn is mistreating workers, or because the workers are committing suicide, or even because Apple has lied to us. I am angry because Apple, just like any organization, claims that it exists to serve the consumer, us. By giving this reasoning, the Foxconn workers can’t blame Apple for their huge demands and the resulting poor conditions, they blame spoiled Americans and families who would work just as hard as the Chinese had they not been told any different. Apple isn’t just an evil corporation for lying but they are evil for making anyone who buys their products a bad person too. If these mishaps don’t send a message, then I have no idea what will. Shenzhen truly sounds like a dystopian city that made a deal with the devil, however, in this case the devil is Apple and other US corporations. Daisey raises an interesting point when he asks the question, “does Apple know about these child workers or do they see the same thing we do, what we want to see.” At the end of the podcast I was in disbelief so I asked siri on my IPhone, “are you the product of child labor?” Of all the witty answers that siri has stored it simply replied, “No comment.”

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3 thoughts on “Apple, Cored

  1. Hey! First of all I thought you had a very engaging post. You raise the concern that Apple may be turning a blind eye when looking at the way that manufacturers treat their workers. This is a very valid point, but I was wondering whether you think it is only Apple that is following this behavior or if it might be the Chinese government as well that acts this way for similar reasons. We can see why it is beneficial for Apple to not pay attention to this human right violations: consumers don’t seem to care and it would be a loss of profit for them to do something about this increasingly noticeable problem. The same way, I can sadly see why the Chinese government, looking out for the greater good of their population, might turn a blind eye to these violations for the good of the economy.

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    1. Dan, you make a great point. I do believe that it is likely that the Chinese government allows for these working conditions, however, it is still the responsibility of Apple, a US based organisation, to ensure the safety of all who contribute to their success. Unfortunately, we won’t know if Apple chose this manufacturer because they knew it would be cheap and didn’t care for the workers or if they are really against these practices but have been forbidden to speak about it by the Chinese government. For all we know, the Chinese could be holding their line of production hostage as a means of keeping them quiet about the mistreatment of the workers.

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  2. I had similar angry reactions to the podcast as well. I was not so much as in disbelief and utter astonishment that Apple uses manufacturing plants that have such horrific working conditions, but I was more ashamed of myself for not thinking about these tragedies more often. I think as an American with so much opportunity and not nearly as much hardship as the rest of the world faces on a daily basis, I am obligated to remind myself that not everyone is as lucky as I am. I am appreciative of hearing Mike Daisy’s take and experiences in Shenzhen, China, and hope that I continue to remind myself and continue to learn more about what others face around the world.

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