Saturday, August 19, 2006

Apple's slave labor

This story in the Daily Mail details the working conditions at the factory of a Red Chinese supplier of parts for the Apple iPod. This follow-up story focused more on Apple's own investigation into the conditions. The Daily Mail allows comments to be posted for its stories, so I decided to read those for the investigation story. Can you guess what kind of comments there were? It really was both amazing and tiresome to see the standard litany of anti-capitalist complaints come blithering out:
  • This sounds more like a Soviet style Gulag than a factory...Hang your heads in shame Apple. We should boycott these products that are produced by nothing more than slave labour.
  • Most Westerners do not realize what the actual "cost" of their cheap consumer goods really is. As this story shows, the desire to produce a cheaper good in bulk quantity comes at the cost of iPod "work camps" filled with people we will never meet or talk to in China, where no one, until now, could see or hear about.
  • Although communist, China still has some nasty capitalist values. For example, it is illegal for people from the countryside without jobs to remain in cities to look for such, they must return to their place of origin as best they can-just like African workers under Apartheid.
  • Once again profits trump humanity. In the name of the almighty dollar (or pound or euro) humans can be treated like cattle. If you have any intelligence at all, any sense of equity, remember how devices such as these are manufactured before supporting the efforts with you [sic] money.
  • Boycott is right- Apple should have known better. I wonder if Bono would still support Apple after learning this.

Oh, gawd! Bono might change his mind about Apple!

I decided to post my own comment. I don't know if its been accepted yet. Here's what I wrote:
I'm sorry, I simply cannot work up any angst over these supposedly horrid conditions. I also wonder about those here that have declared that a boycott would be Apple's just desserts: do any of you own an iPod already? If so, do you now feel tainted because of these startling revelations of "slave labor" at the Apple supplier's plant in Red China? If you do then you'd better get together with your similarly contaminated friends and stage a public iPod trashing or iPod burning or iPod stomping. Then, under the glare of the TV lights, you can purge yourselves of your unconscionable, albeit unconscious, capitalist weakness and show solidarity with those faceless workers in China. O! what a wonderful thing it would be if your iPod's destruction on the public stage would be the first step towards the destruction of an evil American corporation! It is almost too delirious -- I mean delicious -- to contemplate!


Anonymous said...

How is restricting travel a capitalist behavior? Hard to read past that stupid comment.

Steve Erbach said...

» Hard to read past that stupid comment. «

That's why it was so much fun to write my own comment!

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank