As I began searching the Internet to find out what Mike Daisey has been up to these days, I found myself on his Twitter account. On his Twitter profile, I learned that he has been preparing to release a new book, Here at the End of Empire, sometime during the 2015 year. Daisey’s page also revealed that he still receives public criticism about the This American Life/Apple fiasco, on occasion. Regarding the subject of this week’s blog post, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Daisey actually just released an updated version of this transcript this past Wednesday. I never would have found this during my research on Daisey’s recent events if it were not for Twitter!
In the introductory letter of the updated version of Daisey’s monologue, he states: “if there’s one features that stands out in this 2.0 release…it’s that it is made ethically.” He proceeds to discuss the ethical issues within and relating to the first version of his monologue, as well as the continued unethical actions taken by Apple within the two years since Daisey’s script was released. Mike discusses the fact that conditions in China have not changed in the past two years, and “inhumane work conditions coupled with excessive overtime” are still widespread. Daisey’s discussion of the Chinese labor movement in the introductory letter has caused me to reconsider my previous conclusion that Daisey’s ultimate reason for fabricating his story was to benefit his own career at the expense of exploited workers.
I decided to look further into what Daisey mentioned in the introduction of his revised monologue regarding Apple being caught using forced labor during the launch of the iPhone 5, after promising massive reforms and increased wages. While Daisey may have fabricated or exaggerated facts about Apple manufacturing in the past, he certainly was not making this one up. Upon further research, I learned that Foxconn had forced vocational students to help manufacture iPhone 5s upon their unveiling in the fall of 2012. While Foxconn has previously acknowledged the use of student “interns” on the manufacturing lines, worker advocacy groups reported that these students were forced to assemble the phones to help ease worker shortages. When contacted, Apple’s spokesman declined to comment on the events. I wonder why? Could this have any connection to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, joining with Foxconn, earlier in 2012, to reduce working hours, to eliminate labor violations and illegal overtime, and to reduce safety conditions of the Chinese workers who manufacture worshiped Apple products?