While this podcast was not the first I have heard of the harsh working conditions in less developed countries, it did paint a much more vivid picture of what happens there. First, I struggled to conceptualize just how big these factories are. The sheer volume of people who enter/exit (and eat!) in that space is truly astonishing. Even though the original 10,000 people in each of 20 cafeterias was later corrected, it still stands to show just how enormous the factories in Shenzhen are.
A second thing that shocked me was the child workers that Mike Daisey described at Foxconn. While I knew such practices used to take place, I guess I assumed new regulations had changed that once and for all. At a company like Apple, one of the most advanced and innovative companies today, I find it hard to believe that they do not know and understand the implications of such behavior. As Mike described, there were cameras everywhere. That said, it is equally as bad if they do not know that they are employing children as young as 11. It is a company’s responsibility to be able to trace their products back through the supply chain and find that they are being manufactured in accordance with all regulations.
After listening to this podcast, I agree that we should not just “see what we want to see” and that we as individuals, groups, and eventually an entire society should begin to hold companies responsible for the methods by which their products are produced. Our enjoyment of Apple products should not excuse them from practicing regulated manufacturing methods. As the world continues to grow more transparent, I believe we should focus on improving the working conditions of these laborers by creating and upholding stricter regulations on companies like Foxconn. This process, however, can not originate from the government or from someone else, it must begin at an individual level.