I just viewed a news segment on the record setting sales success of Apple Inc. The numbers are truly astounding. But the segment was more about the circumstances surrounding overseas manufacturer's attempts to keep up with demand. There are growing concerns over working conditions at consumer electronics factories in China specifically. Foxconn corporation has one facility in Shenzhen that employs more than 400,000 people. The employees are housed in large dormitory complexes that look like prison barracks by some accounts. Interviews during shift change at the facility gates revealed workers as young as 12 and 13 years old. They have actually installed catch nets on the perimeter of the dormitory's walls in an attempt to thwart further "jump to death" suicide attempts. The suicides seem to be a direct result of the incredible scrutiny and demands placed upon the workers producing the I phones. The strain reaches a breaking point for many of the young workers evidently.
I do not wish to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Apple Inc. but I feel that the company should carry a certain amount of responsibility for what is happening to these human beings who are being pushed to their limits. Similar situations have been recognized in Bangladesh, India where Nike was reaping the rewards of child labor abuses.
My question is this: do we as consumers of these very products have any responsibility to raise our collective voices in opposition to the working conditions these people are being subjected to? Should unethical, and potentially inhumane treatment, be allowed to continue without protest? As a civil compassionate society should we not feel motivated to denounce such practices with both our pen and wallet? I think so. So the next time you purchase that latest marvel of technology consider what price was paid beyond your wallet.
P.S. While unions receive much criticism in our country their origins were rooted in the very same working conditions being faced by these Asian workers. Having no representation or recourse ensures continued abuse.
I wish people would realize that Apple, the manufacturer of "computers so easy a caveman can use them," manufactures crap that is quality controlled no better—and often considerably worse—than the PC competition's wares.
Also, the Apple customer service experience leaves a lot to be desired. Their techs are generally just kids who have learned a lot about how computers work, but they are often not nearly as up-to-speed as the guys in the storefront computer repair shop which often handles Wiindows and Unix machines, but not Apple machines. And if you have an iTunes issue, good luck.
People also need to know that if you buy your computer online, as many people do, you CAN NOT take it to the Apple shop in the mall. Computers bought online and computers bought in stores are in totally different systems. Buy it online, and be prepared to send it back to Apple and wait to fix it. If my Windows machine has a problem I can get it taken care of fairly locally, especially if I'm prepared to ignore the warranty and have the local independent computer repair shop deal with it.
Buy a PC and prevent a suicide in China may be an exaggeration.
But maybe it's not.