In the excerpt The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Mike Daisey provides a stimulating examination of the exploitation of Chinese employees of the FOXCONN manufacturing plant. The extensive and vivid podcast of Daisey not only demonstrates the harsh working conditions of the Chinese employees, but also provides a distinct perspective of Apple products. In America, each individual is a participant of our consumerist society. Due to this fact, I believe we fail to recognize certain negative aspects that tend to go unnoticed that are unveiled in this podcast such as: where our products are made and whom they are made by.
The first negative aspect of production that I will discuss is where our products are made. In the podcast, reporter Mike Daisey shares his experience of when he traveled to China to visit the massive manufacturing plant FOXCONN. This Chinese plant employs 430,000 employees varying in many ages. I have been in many football stadiums numerous times with massive capacities of 80,000-90,000 people, but just the thought of picturing 430,000 people working in one place is unimaginable. In addition to the large size of this plant, employees must also take breaks and eat lunch in cafeterias that are only fit to hold about 4,000 people at a time. This is simply unreasonable and not sanitary. Although these employees do voluntarily come to work here and make a living, they are asked to work illogical hours and in rigorous conditions, which we simply never think about because we are distracted by our precious iPhones.
The second issue is, whom our products are made by. I would want to elaborate on why I say our products. In the podcast, Daisey explains how many of the employees have never even see the finished product. Ironically, although hundreds of thousands of employees work on the products, they hardly ever get to hold one afterwards. Additionally, not only do employees work extensive hours on these products, but many of them are also are physically impaired and are young teenagers. Essentially, many of the employees who make our precious Apple products should not be working in this factory.
There are various aspects of the podcast that I liked, but most of all I enjoyed how the podcast made me think of things we Apple consumers do not usually think of. In our consumerist society we tend to ignore where and who makes our products, as long as we have our product. This normative thinking has resulted in unethical working conditions for such employees at FOXCONN, but mostly importantly, ignorance from us consumers to recognize what is actually going on before we receive our finished products.