Ignorance is Bliss

While listening to this podcast I could not help but think of the phrase, Ignorance is Bliss.  The reason I continually thought of this particular phrase is because it perfectly describes the situation presented by Mike Daisey .  The American public is continually looking for the next best thing and the latest and greatest technology, while ignoring every aspect of how it is made.  It is no longer what goes into making it, but instead what can it do for me.  I can honestly say that I have been a part of this society as well.  I made jokes about everything being “made in China” without giving it a second thought.  I was always in a state of ignorance just assuming that China is where everything was made and that was fine and dandy.  This podcast immediately proved me and society wrong.

The conditions that Mike Daisey described in his monologue were atrocious.  I had never realized how bad things really were over there because more often than not we do not want to know.  These people start working at the ages of 12, 13 and 14 and work eight hour days if they are very lucky.  As Mike put it, that is really just a dream for them.  In reality they work 12 or more hour shifts regularly.  He even described a worker collapsing and dying after a 34 hour shift.  And if that was not enough, he goes on to say that people much more often than not commit suicide in order to escape.  In addition, if they try to join a union or go to the labor board that could mean their immediate termination as well as their name going on the dreaded “black list.”  It is with this in mind that I say, is it really worth it?  Before hearing this I always leaned towards shareholder managing and doing whatever necessary to produce large profits, but now I find it very hard to think the same way.  Can Apple, as well as many of the largest corporation, continue to do this without a second thought?

6 thoughts on “Ignorance is Bliss

  1. Ignorance is bliss… what a great way to describe what Mike Daisy talked about. I agree that I fall into this category way too often. I question whether Apple really does this without a second thought. I find it hard to believe that no one is thinking about the potential harm that a big story on the Foxconn plant could do to Apple. Do they have plans for how to respond if something really bad(if it can get any worse than employees committing suicide) happened? I feel like this is imminent, and Apple must know so also. It will be interesting to see, when it does happen, if Apple works to fix it, or to cover it up.

  2. In your blog entry you question “is it really worth it?”. I agree that while we are sitting here in a country like the ones we are living in it is very easy to question why people would want to work for a company like Foxconn. The fact that they have such a large turnover rate shows that for some people they don’t think that it’s worth it, however the positions continue to be filled. It would require a large number of people to protest to the working conditions that exist in order for a change. This however would be an extremely risky and unlikely thing for the workers to do, the Government strongly opposes the gathering of large numbers of people.

  3. In order to play devil’s advocate, do you think that Apple would have been able to make the technological advances without the amount of labor it has used? Not to say that the labor practices are acceptable, but what alternatives would you suggest that could create the same amount of output? Is there a machinery that can match the output of human labor? If so, what is the cost difference? It could be the responsibility of American companies to uphold their supply chain to American labor standards.

    • In all honesty, I am not really sure how they would go about making such technological leaps as they did without using these labor practices. Clearly I am not advocating what is happening, but in a business mind set why wouldn’t they take full advantage of this labor force. With the American labor standards where they are, it really would never make sense to bring business back here, or at least that is my opinion.

  4. Pingback: iTruth: Truth. Lies, and Podcasts (Blog Prompt 3) | Read this and hack!

  5. A general anti-labor sentiment is also very common in the US. Look at Wal-Mart. It closed down all of its butcher stores rather than have them become unionized. It is always interesting to me how the concerns of workers in “other places” can seem more legitimate but then Americans will often buy into the idea that worker rights is some sort of socialist plot here.

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