"Lately, working conditions in Chinese factories that produce consumer electronics that we all use and love have gotten a lot of press. Mike Daisey has been touring and presenting a one man show, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, on this subject. Portions of it were recently aired on This American Life. Perhaps not coincidentally, the New York TImes published an exposé on Foxconn last month that looked into the poor pay, unlawfully long hours, and dangerous work conditions at the company’s factories.
I’ve been following the subsequent debate. Tech pundit and Apple fan David Pogue responds with what is largely a straw-man filled argument about the price of electronics doubling and the fact that all companies use these factories, not just Apple. Mike Daisey responds ably.
I want to talk about two aspects of it, though. One is the scope of the problem, and the other is the fairness of singling Apple out. As the article points out, Apple is not the only electronics company that manufactures its products in China. Almost everyone does. And of course, we’re only talking about electronics manufacturers. What are working conditions like at Chinese tire factories? Or toy factories? Or the factories where they make buttons for shirts? The story is the same across industry in China, if not worse."
Does globalisation make it harder for us to avoid confronting the moral consequences of our lifestyles?
rc3.org - Our moral complicity in China’s working conditions: