Mike Daisey visits Shenzhen

My initial reaction to the podcast was surprise. Going into the assignment, I was not expecting the podcast to be funny. Pleasantly surprised, I was immediately grasped by Mike Daisey’s humor. Daisey did a phenomenal job of engaging and holding the attention of his audience with his witty analogies regarding his love of all things Apple. As Daisey continued on with his monologue, moving into the article about the iPhone with the four pictures, the tone of the monologue became more serious. The longer I listened, the guiltier I felt.

            I too had never put much thought into where my everyday goods were manufactured. Like the majority of people that Daisey spoke about, I was aware of the fact many of my possessions, specifically electronics, were made in China. Before listening to the podcast, I had never heard of Shenzhen. In the monologue, I admired Daisey’s courage to further investigate his curiosity regarding Apple production. Similar to Daisey, I too liked to think that my electronic goods were made via machine, not human labor.

When Daisey spoke about his plan to stand by the gates and converse with anyone willing to do so, I did not think he would be successful. I was surprised that so many people were willing to talk to him, especially with the close presence of armed guards. Hearing the various workers’ stories made my stomach drop. I was disgusted when Daisey spoke about the switch to hexane for cleaning purposes. Despite the fact that hexane is a neurotoxin, Foxconn continues to use hexane because it saves them a little bit of time. The desire to produce more efficiently outweighs the long-term, life changing, physical damages incurred by workers from hexane exposure. 

            After the podcast I felt like a terrible human being. I was feeding into the system, and I continue to feed into this system. It made me think of the cleats I just purchased through Nike. I decided to customize my cleats, and when I looked at the tracking information, I saw that they were shipping from China. Other than hoping I would receive my cleats quickly, I did not put deeper thought into the city they came from, or who put them together. In my mind, it was just a machine.

4 thoughts on “Mike Daisey visits Shenzhen

  1. Hi Brigit. I really like your blog post, and your last paragraph made me think a little deeper as well. Does it worry you now that knowing what is happening in Foxconn and Apple, that these things are also happening all over Shenzhen and with other company’s like Nike who does a lot of their manufacturing overseas and especially in China? Do you think that its just a way company’s now do business just to increase their profits and please their stockholders? Also, does it make you think more of where you actually buy your products and if you should change the company’s you lets say buy your cleats from to another company that is more ethical in their manufacturing of goods?

    • Hi Ev,
      Thank you for your thoughtful questions regarding my post. After learning about Foxconn’s production practices, it does make me think twice about the items I own. I find myself wondering where they came from and what kind of production occurred. I get stuck on the idea I am feeding into a vicious system. I do believe current inhumane production practices of corporations are to cut costs and increase profits. Regarding my cleats, I have thought about changing companies, especially after I reading an article about Nike’s use of child labor. The top two soccer cleat brands are Nike and Adidas. I am interested to research more about Adidas production practices to see if they are more ethical than Nike.

  2. Pingback: Reactions to Blog Post 2 | BGS 8- Thursday Section

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