My experience listening to this podcast was in a way, very similar to that of Mike Daisey as he explored the Foxconn factory: I was very much aware of Apple’s Foxconn scandal, yet Daisey’s journey to Foxconn opened my eyes to the harsh realities and atrocities behind the press coverage. Hearing statistics such as number of employees, alongside the average shift duration, (12-14+ hours), was appalling. What was interesting for me was that as I listened to the podcast on my Macbook Pro, with my iPhone sitting beside; I started to mentally deconstruct each device and imagine them being made in the Foxconn plant. Listening to Mike Daisey describe the labor-intense process that goes into each device made me think much deeper about the pieces of technology I posses: Daisey describes how Foxconn not only has contracts with Apple, but also with major tech-giants like Microsoft, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard to name a few. Taking a different approach to this podcast, I thought mostly about how we as consumers, and citizens of a global community fit into the Foxconn-Apple narrative.
Upon hearing the podcast, I researched the media coverage of the ‘Foxconn Scandal’, when the atrocities at the Foxconn factories were originally brought to light. During the periods of high media coverage in 2010 and 2012, Apple’s stock price only grew. Daisey alludes to the idea of Apple as a religion in the beginning of his excerpt, and it is a fact which I believe is key in the perpetuation of this narrative at Foxconn. Arguably Daisey’s most powerful quote is when he states “Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?” This speaks to the notion that Apple, a company that is resolute in its standards for quality and control over the design of their products, would not be fully aware of the production processes taking place. While Dailey’s words are powerful, they are not necessarily surprising. Apple, and the other tech-companies employing Foxconn, undoubtedly know the atrocities which occur in Foxconn factories. What we as consumers have shown Apple in particular, is that so long as Apple turns a blind eye, we as consumers shall do the same.
In talking about the Apple religion, Daisey states that one of the most dangerous things to any religion is ‘when people think’. Looking at your Macbook Pro, or iPhone and thinking deeply about how the product was made. As consumers in this age of transparency, we are granted the ability to make decisions with access to information. There is a disparity between the reactions to hearing stories at Foxconn, and our reactions to hearing the latest Apple product or ad. Thus the obsession with Apple products is arguably unhealthy, as it contributes in part to a culture in which a company can make brutally unethical decisions, and receive positive feedback from consumers and retain stringent brand loyalty.