Mike Daisey’s persistence to uncover the truth about where our technology comes from was like watching Morgan Freeman try to befriend the stubborn Miss Daisy in the popular 1989 movie Driving Miss Daisy. In all seriousness, I found the podcast to be eye-opening and thought-provoking. I had a difficult time trying to imagine a single factory with 400,000+ people inside. To put things in perspective, the population of Miami, Florida is a bit smaller than the number of workers contained within a single Foxconn factory.
I think the element of Mike Daisey’s monologue that made him so credible as a source was that he is a true Apple geek. Mike is borderline obsessed with Apple products. In anticipation of Mike’s trip into Shenzhen, as a listener I expected Mike to talk about how great Apple’s factory is and how well the workers are treated. However, I was stunned to hear about the n-Hexane story and the treatment of workers via the labor board.
The one quote from Daisey that stuck out to me the most was “Do you really think Apple doesn’t know? Or are they just doing what we’re all doing? Do they just see what they want to see?” This made sense to me. As one of the most detail-oriented people who have ever lived, there is no way Steve Jobs is blind to the working conditions of Foxconn employees. As we read about in Ethical Chic, Steve Jobs is a man of mystery. Just as he kept hidden the true nature of his health before his death in 2010, Jobs spent much of his final days concealing important information from the public.
Finally, I was interested to learn about Apple’s response to Daisey’s podcast. According to the NPR website, after it was revealed that much of Mike Daisey’s story was falsified, This American Life retracted the podcast from their website. Hence why Professor Comas had to find a “bootlegged” copy I’m guessing. So I don’t think Apple had to do much to quash this story.