After listening to Mike Daisey’s podcast about the atrocities occurring in Shenzhen, I am concerned that these working conditions will be allowed to continue indefinitely. Daisey talked of 13 year old girls working in factories, 12 hour shifts, nerve damaging chemicals, mass amount of suicides, and general abuse of people in order to create electronics. It baffles me that anyone with the authority to stop this from happening would not act. It does not take laws or regulations to know that what is happening in Shenzhen is horrible. Any person could look at the situation and know that the entire operation should be shut down immediately. So why doesn’t that happen?
One, people are so disconnected from the manufacturing process that it is hard to know what it is really like. I personally am not throwing my iPhone away in response to this podcast, what good would that do? Most people do not understand truly how horrible people are being treated in foreign labor conditions, and no podcast or pictures can ever convey it.
Secondly, it seems like there is no formal, accountable authority to ensure decent working conditions in companies that manufacture in foreign markets. The factories themselves are not accountable to any labor laws in China, and the labor board is a corrupt group of people with the aim to repress any dissent. The government of China does not seem to have to report to anyone. Finally, Apple, who absolutely knows exactly where each and every one of its products is coming from, has taken no responsibility over the situation. The fact that Siri is not allowed to say where “she” was made ends any question about whether Apple is trying to hide its labor practices. It is disgusting and appalling that an American company allows this to happen. I believe it is the responsibility of Apple alone to change its supply chain process. If they wanted to innovate a machine that would replace part of the human labor they could. If they wanted to ensure that zero child labor occurred, they could. Apple’s actions are a pathetic disregard of humanity.