Apple and several other major consumer electronics companies get their gear manufactured for them under contract in China by FoxConn. FoxConn is a massive organization that employs hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers and has been at the centre of several controversies in the past including several scandalous and high-profile suicides.
While some news outlets and blogs have questioned the responsibility of FoxConn clients like Apple for these sad incidents, the general attitude seems to be that what happens in China is the responsibilty of the Chinese government, end of discussion. Or is it?
Enter Mike Daisey, a
gonzo journalist and self-professed Apple fanboy who finds relaxation in the act of dismantling his MacBook Pro to perform a deep clean of its innards. Recently Daisey was interviewed by TechCrunch in a series of video segments to find out why he is now in the process of rethinking and possibly recanting his previous love for Apple and its products.
As you’ll hear in the video, Daisey visited the city of Shenzen in China and spoke with FoxConn employees outside the factory. Their stories raise serious questions.
Now I don’t for a moment think that we should listen exclusively to one man’s tale of despair and tragedy, especially when he uses loaded terms like “thugs” to describe the Chinese government (if they are thugs then they aren’t alone) or slippery-slope arguments that end in slave-labour or worse. But despite the hyperbole, Daisey gives us food for thought and even if we all simply take a moment to consider the full price of that gadget we’re about to buy in terms greater than dollars and cents, his comments will have been worthwhile.
Take a look and judge for yourself.