Mike Daisey’s monologue on This American Life publicized the gruesome working conditions and unexposed story about manufacturing in Shenzhen, China. His listener can easily relate to his love of technology, for our society admires the newest shiny Apple electronic. Although we can clearly read that our beloved products are made in China, few realize what goes into assembling these devices. Mike Daisey narrates his journalism through Shenzhen, speaking with employees of Foxconn and unearthing the mental, physical, and economic repercussions of factory work. While we know information about sweatshops and unfair labor practices, many of us are unwilling to give up the newest innovations.
Individuals can influence change through with their wallets, supporting socially responsible companies, however, with Shenzhen producing 1/3 of our electronics in its special economic zone we have limited choices if we want to engage and live in the 21st century. The end of the podcast touches upon ways in which Apple is considering long-term profitability and shareholder wealth, creating stricter auditing regulations and labor law enforcements. I concur with Daisey regarding our individual and collective social obligation to treat humans with decency. This involves treating humans as humans, not machines. Daisey’s monologue exposes some of the persisting issues of the shareholder and stockholder debate suggesting how one of our most idolized companies struggles to grapple with social responsibility and profitability.