Daisey’s Sour Apple


As I sit here, typing this blog post on my MacBook, I cannot help but feel incredibly conflicted about the company that has created all of the technology in my life. I am not an avid worshipper of technology, as is Mike Daisey, but I am certainly an avid user. I am constantly on my phone or computer, and up until yesterday, had absolutely no qualms about either of these machines. However, after listening intently to Daisey’s podcast, I have begun to look at each Apple product differently. Daisey’s captivating tale about Foxconn, the factory in Shenzen, China that produces Apple products along with many other devices, was incredibly disturbing. Hearing about the long hours, terrible working conditions, and despair surrounding Foxconn caused me to really re-examine my opinion of the famous corporation.
The alleged working conditions are clearly treacherous and unacceptable. It seems as though Foxconn is a prison because of its cramped dormitories, minuscule cafeterias, long working hours, and lack of basic rights. The fact that each iPhone, iPad, and Mac has caused so much pain to employees of Foxconn in China is unnerving. However, is it enough to spark change? I was disgusted by Daisey’s findings, yet I myself am still typing away on my Apple product.
Are we blinded by the awe and power of Apple? Are we so devoted to Steve Jobs’ sleek and technologically advanced products that, as a society, we can ignore the plight of its creators? I think, unfortunately, we are. While I am sure that we can all sympathize for the Foxconn workers and that almost every American would react in horror to the details of their daily lives, I am not sure how far we would go to shut down the plant. As a society, we are so incredibly dependent on our technology and almost worship our iPhones and iPads that leaving them behind in protest would be too hard to bear. This podcast has made me wonder what can we do to stop this without compromising our beloved Apple products?

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5 responses to “Daisey’s Sour Apple

  1. I too had conflicting emotions after hearing Daisey’s story, especially because I was listening to it through an Apple product. While it is too late for me to make a change since I already own this laptop, I began thinking about how I could help make a change towards stopping these terrible production conditions in my future purchases of technology. Part of the problem that I had is that while Apple has been specifically targeted in this story, they are not the only company that allows for poor and sometimes illegal working conditions. Foxconn specifically has 430,000 employees, and they are making products for many technology companies besides Apple as well. I cannot think of a technology company off the top of my head that publicizes where and how they make their products, which creates a large problem. I need this technology to be successful as a student and in life, but right now I do not think there is any source for me to get it besides from these overseas factories that often have poor working conditions.

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  2. Exactly, the actual manufacturing practices of Apple and many other tech companies are sufficiently shrouded that I know little, even as a decently well informed consumer. Since that information is uncertain I return to the traditional decision factors such as features and price. Maybe in the future retailers will list a “social responsibility score” right next to price tags. I commend Daisy for taking the first step of alerting the public to this problem.

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  3. I agree that something needs to be done about this without compromising how we use our much-needed Apple products. I, too am completely conflicted about my use of Apple products, however, I am going to play devil’s advocate for a thought. According to Daisey Foxconn employs 430,000 people. Yes, it is under horrible conditions, but I must ask the question- where would these 430,000 people work if they did not have this factory job. Clearly if they are working in such a place it must be near impossible to find another job. 430,000 people is not a lot when comparing to China’s population, however, this is a very large amount of people that if it weren’t for Apple may not have a job. While it is a terrible job and not well paid, a job is a job and I wonder where each employee would be if it weren’t for Foxconn.

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    • Reading your comments about how you’re writing this post on your Mac made me think about how the majority of this class probably blogged about this podcast on their Apple products. Realistcally, however, do we think that any of us will stop purchasing and using Apple products? Are we so ingrained in this technological culture that we cannot pull ourselves out of it? It is almost an addiction?

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  4. Julia raises a valid point when she asks where these workers would be without employment at Foxconn. I think it is truly the role of the Chinese government to enforce higher standards for factories. Think back to the industrial revolution in America in the late 1800’s. Americans were dependent on factory jobs for an income as the Chinese workers are now. Government intervention could improve the working conditions as they did in the U.S. However, this would not stop the corporations from moving their manufacturing to a different country with more relaxed standards. It’s a double-edged sword.

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