Response to “Retraction”

I want to give my opinion on whether Mike Daisy was ethical or not in his lie. There are two prongs; first, he was unethical in spreading what is, and should be considered, a rumor, using a large and powerful company as a victim of his desire to gain media attention. Secondly, and in contrast to the first, his lie raised a greater awareness of the reality of the products that Americans take for granted and, by using apple as the victim, his rumor spread like a virus because of peoples close association with apple products.

His lie was unethical, his purposes for doing so were selfish, and he even stated that he felt legitimately bad for spreading such a large lie. This lie got him a very large amount of media attention, made him famous, and, I am sure, got him a quantifiable amount of money. He wrote this story and considered it one of his “best works”, but he knew the entire time that he was going to release a rumor to the general public, and many people would hear it, many would believe it. Everyone wants a free pass to money, power, or popularity; this was his free pass. He went to China with good intentions; expose a wrong. When he found that the wrongdoing there was not as bad as he had [hoped actually], he felt like he needed to lie to make the splash he wanted. This is, in of itself, unethical, mainly because he turned a once ethical goal into a false reality to serve his own purposes. This broke the responsibility he had put on himself to share the truth about chinese products.

That said,

The larger truth that should have been the focus of his writing, though it probably would not have gained so much attention, was that people in these chinese factories do not live the lives many of Americans as well as others enjoy. True, there are worse tragedies in the world, (hunger, health, civil war etc.), but it is in very limited instances that the individual citizens of America have caused these problems. Our government has done horrible things to other countries in the name of Americans, but it is not individual citizens that cause this. In the case of Apple, as well as almost every industry that has exported work to developing countries for cheap labor, the consumer in the US is the CAUSE of their hardship. The products [we] (myself included) want to buy need to be competitively cheaper, it is the fundamental of capitalism, mainly because we cannot place value on anything but a price-tag. This has become an epidemic; very few consumer products are made in countries with strong labor laws, this is because a company who does not need to add this cost can sell the product that much cheaper. When consumers in the US focus so heavily on the price-tag, we do not consider that the company who made that product has to reduce the ethics and morality of their business to drop that price. In the case of Apple, sadly and far worse, they still treat their products as if they are something “special” by still charging a premium. In many other instances though, clothes for example, the price is so important to the customer that the company that produces the item cheapest usually wins. Therefore, it is the fault of us, the price-driven consumer, for forcing companies to exploit their manufacturers.


7 responses to “Response to “Retraction”

  1. It is a sad reality that we, the consumers, share blame for what is being done in Shenzhen’s manufacturing factories. What generation of individuals will stand up and say “We won’t tolerate this anymore, Apple [or any other major company exploiting workers’ rights]”? From time to time, individuals and organizations will bring attention to these wrongdoings, but then the news changes and people move on. I do not think that any significant changes will be made to drastically improve working conditions in my lifetime, and it saddens me to admit that.


  2. Do you realistically think that consumers will stop buying Apple’s products because of the working conditions? Successful companies have horrible working conditions for their workers overseas and while they do get publicized, do you think it would completely shut them down?


  3. I disagree that Daisey was entirely unethical. I think that his intentions were more to expose the horrible working conditions of companies overseas and less to gain fame for himself. If his monologue was intended to be a theatrical performance, he created an important emotional link to details regarding these conditions. Maybe he realized that people are better at empathizing when there is a story to get the facts out.


  4. It is interesting to think about what matters, but cannot be clearly priced, like humane worker conditions.

    At the same time, you (and most students’) reactions gloss over the fact that specific treaties and policies of the USA and China make it possible for the import of cheap products made with mistreated labor. Consumer choices are not in a historical or political vaccuum.


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