Tag Archives: Foxconn


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?

How much can we trust Apple?

While watching Bucknell Forum version of Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, I was skeptical about the claims made by Steve Jobs of improving working conditions. He said that they have sent auditors to do checks on companies like Foxconn and pushed to improve the conditions there. But for some reason every time Mike Daisey’s claims were disproved, I still placed my trust with him compared to evidence shown negating his accusations. Continue reading How much can we trust Apple?

How do you make people care?

After listening to the TAL podcast that retracted “Mr. Daisey and Apple” the one line that stuck with me was when Mike Daisey said, “I wanted to make a monologue that would make people care.” Well, Mike Daisey certainly made people care. He made people care about the ethicality and truthfulness behind a story. So, how did he do this? Continue reading How do you make people care?

Search for Truth

After listening to the retraction of Mike Daisey’s story on This American Life about Apple and Foxconn, I didn’t really know what to think. It made me question every little part of his story, and assume nothing he said was credible, but at the same time, I still have a lingering doubt in my mind that some of what he said could have been true. In this regard, I think Mike Daisey accomplished what he set out to do. His goal in performing his monologue was to cause people to question what Apple and other American companies manufacturing goods in China are really doing, and whether or not their actions were ethical. Though most of what he said was eventually discovered to be false, some people may not have heard the retraction, and those who did will still be thinking about workers in China making iPhones, and whether or not what they are doing is truly legal. Mike Daisey lost all journalistic credibility when the retraction came out, but I don’t think he really cared about his journalistic integrity or he never would have allowed his work to air in such a public and official capacity. I also don’t agree with his argument that his “play” was completely acceptable for theatrical purposes because he presented it as the truth. Had the retraction never been released, I would have continued believing Apple mistreats Chinese workers, and would have had a negative view. I think he misrepresents what he does in theaters because he doesn’t claim to be making artistic interpretations of a situation, he presents something that never happened as the truth. The two NPR fact checkers say they saw him perform his works and viewed it as an actual representation of what happened on his trip to China, not an exaggeration designed to prove a point. I believe what Mike Daisey did was wrong, but he achieved his goal of bringing attention to Apple and Chinese labor conditions. Continue reading Search for Truth

Knights and Knaves

“Retraction” is an attempt by This American Life to restore their credibility. It succeeds in this respect to an extent, but it does not completely negate their failure to do sufficient fact checking for the original story. Unfortunately for Mike Daisey, all of the credibility This American Life and Ira Glass restore for themselves is at his expense. They paint Mike Daisey as a liar by asking leading questions and eventually outright asking if he lied. Continue reading Knights and Knaves

Making People Care

I knew the This American Life retraction would expose some over-exaggerations Mike Daisy had made, but I was not prepared for the extent to which his story was hyperbolized. He conducted far fewer interviews than he claimed, Foxconn was much more approachable and accommodating to visitors, all meetings were set up in advance, underage workers were not commonplace, and n-hexane was not a concern. In addition, Mike did not experience dorm room conditions and likely did not talk to a man with a mangled hand.

I felt much less sympathy, and almost uncaring, towards the Foxconn workers, writing off their true working conditions as not very dire, especially compared to how their conditions were originally portrayed. So, that being said, I agree with Mike Daisy when he argues his story would have had much less impact if it was not told entirely from the first person and embellished the way it was. Continue reading Making People Care

“I’m Going to Lie to Lots of People”

After listening to the original podcast, I didn’t catch on to when Mike Daisey said to Cathy in their conversation, “Yes, Cathy, I”m going to lie to lots of people”. Daisey seemed to indicate that he would be lying to the factory owners about being a businessman. However, I believe that he was foreshadowing more than just lying to factory workers. He intended to lie to millions of people about Apple’s unethical manufacturing process. And this is exactly what he did. He went on This American Life to portray an eye-opening, fabricated recollection about his experiences in the Chinese factories and his interactions with Chinese factory workers. Continue reading “I’m Going to Lie to Lots of People”

So Whose Fault is it?

Following the release of the excerpt of Mike Daisey’s performance on This American Life in 2012, both TAL and Mike Daisey received tremendous backlash from fans around the country. For this blog post, I want voice my opinion on where I think the blame should be placed, and if the reactions by either Daisey or Ira Glass were warranted in the Retraction piece.  Continue reading So Whose Fault is it?

iTruth- Digging Deeper into the Apple Controversy

What is truth?  Lies?  Who gets to decide?

Montage of Daisey and Jobs from New York Magazine

Now things get complicated.  You heard This American Life’s podcast focusing on Mike Daisey’s monologue-play and the issues it raises about Apple, China, worker rights, us as consumers, and globalization. Continue reading iTruth- Digging Deeper into the Apple Controversy

China Working Conditions Podcast

After listening to the podcast by NPR, I was surprised and somewhat appalled by the conditions Chinese workers manufacture technology products in. Though the speaker, Mike Daisey, certainly had a bias, the working environment and dormitories sound challenging and detrimental to living a happy life. During the speaking portion, where Daisey talks about his findings during his visit to FoxConn, the fact I found most horrific was the installation of suicide nets. Though it seems the suicide rates at Foxconn are about the same as the suicide rate across all of China, it speaks to a serious problem that suicide nets needed to be installed. Continue reading China Working Conditions Podcast