In the podcast Retraction, we are exposed to the truth about Daisey’s story about visiting Foxconn and the conditions he found. As we may be able to hear, Daisey had exaggerated some of the events and statistics that he talked about as facts in his last podcast. For this reason, we now encounter a different story about Apple than the one we had after his first news. We also are faced with the ethical question of whether it is correct for a person to lie in order to improve the basic human conditions of some people and to allow others to see the truth about a company that they admire. In other words, does a harmless untruth have to be considered wrong even though it had the best intentions?
This is not the only ethical question that we make ourselves after listening to Retraction. Another question must be asked. Are these conditions as negatively viewed from the Chinese perspective as it is from the Western perspective? We know that cultural norms that are true in the Western society should not be applied to evaluate the behavior of other societies. We should thrive to understand other societies within their own norms. Many of the workers of Foxconn are young people who come from towns looking for a well paying job. Since Foxconn pays better than the other manufacturers, they are willing to work the long hours. Sometimes, they are obligated to work overtime and, even though they know that they don’t have to and they could leave the company if they wanted, they prefer staying at Foxconn since the difference in wages is worth it.
I think we realize that from the perspective of the workers most things are worth the pay, but should we not draw the line to when it comes to physical harm, especially when somebody did not know that it was a possibility that came with the job? We can rule out factory accidents that may happen for malfunctioning of working equipment but what about the two explosions that resulted in the death of people and the injury of 100 individuals, should we overlook that as well? I am pretty sure that both of our cultural norms and viewpoints agree in that the value of those wages is not worth death or grave physical injuries.