iSlave: The Labor force of Apple


I am a modern day slave master. How, you may ask? You see, this slavery isn’t like that of the Hebrews, Africans, or Irish – no, this slavery is clean, efficient, hidden, and best of all, legal. Would you like to see my qualification for the position? I’m typing on it right now. My modern bull whip. My electronic bloodhound.

My Apple device.

A journalist named Mike Daisey investigated into a building in China owned by a company called Foxconn. Sounds harmless enough. This company is a manufacturer for Apple. Yeah, that Apple. Unfortunately, if Apple is the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden that gives us all knowledge, then Foxconn is the 7th level of Hell that awaits those who eat the fruit. Taking in the accounts that Daisey discovered, we hear of horrible working conditions, suicide nets to catch jumping workers, violent security guards, and 13 year old children having their bodies destroyed with chemicals and machines – all this to bring me a glorified Facebook checker that makes me feel warm inside. Because, as it turns out, words hurt Americans, omxicylan alcohol phone screen cleaner hurts Asians.

Being raised in the underdog state of West Virginia in the midst of this Neoliberalistic Globalized economy, I have seen and lived the firsthand effects of being a people that serves the captains of industry with coal dug out from mines by 13-80 year olds. This is the kind of slavery I had mentioned earlier, in a world where living outside of the capitalistic cycle is not an option and being under-developed makes you a slave to your trade. For my people, it is coal. For china, it is manufacturing. No change has come about this system of unequal development, and so far, no change is wanted due to the low price affordability of these commodities.

Mike Daisey continued his investigation of the people’s unbearable working conditions, grueling high hours at low ages, depressing atmospheres. He found that, when reporting this information, many people were already aware of their contribution to this modern slavery. After all, the suicide rate at the factory wasn’t extremely high compared to the national rate. But if we’re justifying these atrocities with “Not as many people kill themselves when they work here,” then we will always have inequalities to serve us Americans up on Elysium. There will always be Masters and slaves.

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4 thoughts on “iSlave: The Labor force of Apple

  1. Provocative. I agree with the abuse of West Virginian labor of course, but I think there is a different element in this in the sense that West Virginians were part of a country and had access to a government that believed in what they were doing and, in some ways, chose to be a part of that. I think that choice and identity, and lack thereof in the case of Chinese labor, is a distinction. It would be interesting to see if there was the same kind of fierce pride among Chinese labor. I doubt it.

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    1. Interesting point, but that requires the ideal that China ISN’T a country that believes becoming a superpower through unequal development is something to be commended. China, in fact, is a struggling middle-tier country that is trying many different options in order to compete with Europe and America. So in a sense, this example is very much like West Virginia in the sense that it is part of a larger country that provides for the whole.

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  2. Modern slavery is definitely a reality for many parts of the world. I think when we really get down to the reasons though, it might have less to do with being a slave to a particular trade, than all of us being slaves to human nature. People create trade and corporations. But that’s exactly why I agree, cynically, with your closing statement that there will always, in a sense, be masters and slaves.

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    1. Yes, Westshepherd, I agree – the analogy is more to shine a light on the root of the problem being Globalized Capitalism. In a sense, it makes slaves of us all in both ways of the supply chain: the work force are nearly restricted to one line of work for income and the consumers are almost dependent on the products for their everyday life to where they “disassemble” mac computers when they get home. Overall, it’s a sad truth that many of us are blind to.

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