My father has bought almost every single Apple product since 1982, when he bought the Apple II Series. My very first interactions with technology was all Apple based. I played dozens and dozens of educational games designed for the Apple machines at home. When I had to start writing essays in the 6th grade, I would always end up with an essay full of weird programer language because when I tried to print on Windows Machines at school, they weren’t compatible with the Word I had at home. So indeed, my family has long been part of the Apple cult before Apple was even popular.
So for many years, I didn’t really understand or acknowledge any of the problems associated with Apple and their manufacturing plants. The worst I had heard was in the environmental studies class about how the raw materials in iPhone were very unsustainable. It was until I listened to this podcast did I really become aware of the problems associated with my beautifully sleek, white and gold iPhone that I carry religiously everywhere I go. And even bigger than that, my iPod, my iPad, and my Macbook Pro. It seems that all these electronics I use everyday are tainted with these issues.
Foxconn treats its workers not as people, as means of production. They over work them with long shifts that can reach up to 34 hours. Foxconn also has cafeterias and dormitories. These workers are force to live and breathe Apple (well and other companies). Mike Daisey reported that many workers suffer from major problem brought on by chemical exposure. Some of the workers are very young. In addition, the facility has had an “epidemic” of suicides. That is how miserable the working conditions are. They are physically and mentally taxing. And all of these problems are associated to my laptop, my phone, my tablet, and even the computer I’m writing this on.
Daisey acknowledges that Apple does put some effort into their human rights issues in these plants. They pressure Foxconn to follow a set of ideals and audits them to make sure they are in compliance, which they are always. However it doesn’t seem that ending their relationship with Foxconn is a option. So as a consumer how can I make a difference? Giving up electronics made by Foxconn would also include HP, Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Dell, Nokia, and Panasonic products. So how can I make a difference without giving electronics entirely?