Where and Who Really Makes Apple Products

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.


3 thoughts on “Where and Who Really Makes Apple Products”

  1. I thought you did a nice job of illustrating the points of the podcast you found to be interesting and stimulating. When trying to visualize the 430,000 workers at Foxconn, I also immediately thought of professional sports stadiums and quickly realized it was unfathomable for me to wrap my head around that many people working in one place at one time. Another point that you made mention of that I also found to be extremely shocking was that most of the workers have never seen some of the finished Apple products that they work day in and day out to produce. The fact that someone could expend so much of their energy and well-being on making a product that they never even get to see, let alone use, is truly shocking.


  2. Ignorance seems to be a theme that carries on throughout the entire podcast. I believe this is definitely true on the consumer side of the spectrum as well. Us Americans are too mesmerized by the new technologies and the appeal of having the latest gadgets. Little does anyone think of just where these objects were manufactured. You also do a great job of highlighted the unfair working practices. By comparing the insane amount of workers actually working at FoxConn to the size of a stadium, a new perspective is truly gained. Its even more disturbing to think that this is a consequence of our habits as consumers. The workers never see the end product, yet they slave away day by day for minimum wage. While we type, surf the web, and press play on our devices, a Foxconn worker slowly uses the ability to maintain function in his/her hands. What really should the cost of an iPad be?


  3. I am pretty sure it is the same or worse for all other handheld electronics. So, Apple is not necessarily much worse then anything else on the market.

    If we have eco-apples on the market, why not ethical electronics?


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