Independent Thought


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.

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3 responses to “Independent Thought

  1. Do you think that the workers at these factories such as Foxconn know what to desire from there workplace? It is possible that they came from such poor conditions straight to the harsh atmosphere of the factory that they have never experienced just conditions? Workers need to be educated on the rights that they are entitled to and what standards they should expect from their jobs.

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  2. I agree with your point that the living and working conditions inside of these factories must take a toll on each worker’s individuality; however, the alternative for many of these workers provides an ever bleaker future. Many factory workers in China are migrants who come from remote, predominantly agriculture-based villages. They travel to cities like Shenzhen to find work so that they can send money back to their families. The working environment in Foxconn certainly prohibits any independent thought. What is to become of one of these workers when he/she leaves, for he/she has worked as a mindless drone for years at Foxconn?

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  3. I agree with the other comments that I think a reason for this is that the workers probably do not know what a better working environment might look like. At the end of the podcast, they were discussing how even though the labor conditions are not ideal in any way, they have actually improved the living conditions over all, and people are able to make some sort of living. I feel as though many of the workers could feel lucky to even have these jobs, that thinking about what would be better does not cross there mind as much.

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