The most striking element of Mike Daisey’s speech was when he described the workers’ reactions to the question, “What would you like to change about Foxconn?” He said that each and every worker reacted the same way; confused as if a bee had just flown into her face. Daisey believes that the workers had never been asked or even considered this question. With conditions as deplorable as those described in the factory, I assumed that each employee would have a formulated laundry list of answers at the ready.
I kept thinking about why this question came as such a surprise to the workers. I’m certainly not a psychology major but I would speculate that the working and living conditions at Foxconn would take an immense toll on the individuality and self-worth of a person. Living in a cement room with thirteen other people, working 16-hour shift, and abiding by a regimented schedule would not cultivate independence in thought or action.
The Apple 1984 commercial promised to break the conformity surrounding computers of the time. It is ironic that this disciplined society of workers in China creates those products meant to “free” the rest of society. The workers of Foxconn need someone to crack its metaphorical screen.