Apple and Foxconn

Although I have watched a documentary on Foxconn and Apple before, the news and stories still come as a shock to me. I did know a lot of the things Mike Daisey talked about in the podcast, but this time around I thought more deeply about the situations and ideas he mentioned. One thing that really stuck to me was his idea of not knowing where the stuff we buy actually comes from. Sure all of our labels say “Made in China”, but until now I never actually knew, nor did I care to think about, where in China they came from, and that they are all from the same town. It’s disheartening to know that people, including myself, are really that ignorant and never really think about where our products come from. We Americans just spend money left and right but never really stop to think where all of our stuff comes from, or who makes it and how hard their lives really are just to make us happy. Another point that really did intrigue me was when Daisey mentioned people wanting more handmade products and the irony of it. Truthfully I had always thought the same way until now, and my opinion has changed slightly on the matter after listening to the podcast.  I always loved when I knew things were handmade, but never thought to think that they were made in a factory by people who were forced into doing the same tedious task over and over again for virtually no pay. After listening to the podcast I realized that this is the way things are made and that maybe we are better off leaving all the work to machines instead of people.

Another question Mike Daisey had that left me thinking after the podcast was the question of “Do you think Apple Knows?”. Immediately it struck me as crazy to think that Apple has no idea of what’s going on. How can they just let Foxconn produce millions of Apple products and not know of anything that goes on in the factories? How did Apple never hear of the suicides and nets and terrible working conditions, but reporters and other people not even involved in the making of their products have? Personally I agree with Daisey and believe that Apple simply sees what they want to see. Unfortunately they are choosing to look the other way and hurt people just to increase their profits and keep their reputation up. Ethically though it kills me to think that a company can do that. I mean how can a company just let people die and commit suicide because they decided to work for their company to try and make their lives better? To me it’s atrocious to hear about people dying and working for realistically zero dollars to make a product they can’t even afford to own for themselves. We don’t even think twice about buying Apple products, but the people who literally assemble and are around these products all the time see it as a luxury they one day hope to own. It’s also sickening me to think that Foxconn knows when inspections are coming so they take all the underage workers away and put the oldest workers in the line to make sure they pass, and to make matters worse workers can’t even do anything because unions are illegal and if they join it can threaten their lives. I personally found this podcast very disheartening to hear about, especially with such a popular and successful company like Apple. It only leaves me thinking if Apple does it, who else does it too?


3 thoughts on “Apple and Foxconn

  1. I love that you brought up the issue of products being handmade. I also had never thought about what handmade actually means. These people in factories such as Foxconn work long, hard days to provide us with what we take for granted. I always thought that buying something that is handmade was helping someone who is disadvantaged because if they weren’t making and selling the product, they would not have means to live by. I never thought about them making these products in awful working conditions.
    I agree that Apple most likely knows that the working conditions in the Foxconn factory are atrocious, yet choose to ignore it. I agree that ethically, this is a terrible thing to do. I also think that it could threaten them economically. If enough powerful people decided to look into the issue and try to make changes, it would turn the spotlight on Apple. They would be forced to react quickly in order to improve conditions at the plant, which would have a large financial impact on them.

  2. Ev,
    I completely agree with you when you said, “It’s disheartening to know that people, including myself, are really that ignorant and never really think about where our products come from.” I too have been ignorant about the specific location of where my products were made, simply settling with the idea they were made in China. Until Daisey’s podcast, I never considered the idea that my iPhone or laptop were assembled by hand. I have always heard about sweatshops and child labor within the clothing industry, but never put much thought into the electronic industry.
    I also find it hard to believe that Apple could be unaware of the conditions within the Foxconn factory. The idea that Apple is putting up blinders to see what they want to see is upsetting. I would like to think that corporations would not stand for these conditions once they became aware of them. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case.

  3. But Apple will say it is Foxconn or other suppliers and manufacturers who may be mistreating their workers. Or that the suicide rate is LOWER among its population of workers than the general population. Does that carry any weight with you?

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