Ignorant Americans


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I sometimes feel alone at the library when I am using my Lenovo laptop. I am deep in a sea of Apple iMac laptops and Airbooks that sometimes I feel like I don’t meet the qualifications for being a student here at Bucknell. Yet at the same time I find myself looking down upon those that don’t have an iPhone as I do. This is something that Apple has engrained in today’s society, the “in” factor. When people have any apple product there is a certain status that they automatically acquire. Apple has made society believe that their sleek, shiny, sexy look is the only kind of technology that a person could ever want or need. One could say that Apple has done no wrong, that they are the perfect company. Mike Daisy takes a closer look at this company’s manufacturer and what he finds is not for the faint of heart. The dilemma between ethics and economy is a fine line for Apple.

Mike Daisy’s trip to Shenzhen, China puts Apple in a spotlight that no business ever wants to be in. It’s very hard to respond to a story like this. To a point I almost do not want to believe it. A company that is so beloved by so many people in the United States promotes and pays the factories that do this to people. The part that really disturbed me was the dormitory sleeping situation. It makes me feel very guilty about the way that I thought about my past living situations. When rooming with someone for the first time my freshman year I felt that the room was tiny and I had no space to myself. After hearing about the 10 ft. x 12 ft. rooms that sleep 14 to 15 people I was absolutely shocked. I had no idea that these people even slept in these factories either let alone slept in rooms like that. The more that Mr. Daisy talked about it, the more that this Foxconn plant sounded like a prison.

The conditions that these people work in made me question just about everything that I use in my day to day life. I am one of the “ignorant Americans” that doesn’t quite understand where the everyday items come from. Even such things as shirts and pants that are all made in china, which I can only assume means that they are made by people who are under tremendous pressure and terrible working conditions. Towards the end of the podcast there is a statement made that the workshops in Bangladesh are significantly worse than those even of Shenzhen. Which makes me wonder, how many of these “sweatshops” are there? And is there any way to stop them from operating without major economic drawback? There is a very large ethics dilemma taking place here. Apple has two choices, to do their social responsibility and protect their manufacturing workers and risk raising prices or just try to keep costs as low as possible. It is a problem that many companies face on a day to day basis. One that I am happy I am not making.

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One thought on “Ignorant Americans

  1. Ben, I really liked your post. You have an interesting viewpoint being someone who doesn’t use an Apple computer. I think the idea that Apple products have become “cool” is completely true. This was the goal of their revolutionary ad campaigns started by Steve Jobs. I think Apple is a success story, not successful because they make a lot of money but successful because they actually convinced the majority of Americans that they needed Apple products, that they could be cool just by owning a specific phone or computer. This success is directly responsible for the vast demand of the products and, therefore, lead Apple to search for drastic ways to increase their supplies. The need for Apple was not organic. They gained popularity by making people think they needed or wanted Apple. If you look back, you can see that at one point Apple was going bankrupt. There was no natural demand for their products, the demand was created and forced upon us. Do you think that the same thing can be said about the supply? One day they were making thousands of computers and now they’re making millions of phones. It seems that the demand for Apple products has grown in a similar fashion as the rate of population since the Industrial Revolution, or the amount of pollution as a result of the same period. Each of these inorganic phenomenon have shown to indicate a hugely problematic time in history. Is Apple just another example of this?

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