Mike Daisey and his monologues are taking aim at Apple’s business practices. He does not like the fact that they use cheap labor to create their many successful devices.
This all came to him when he saw the labor conditions at a Foxconn plant in China. He didn’t like the way the employees were treated, and decided to start doing the monologues to show just how rough they can be.
Daisey once posed as a businessman and traveled to China. He found that working conditions at plants like Foxconn are terrible. He wrote his latest monologue The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.
Brutal Working Conditions
Make no mistake. The conditions do sound horrible. Still, I have to ask “More horrible than what? Not having a job?” That’s not meant to sound harsh or insensitive, but there is truth to that. While we definitely think a giant like Foxconn can afford to adequately staff, and reduce some of the insane work hours, we know it’s difficult to do so without any real consequences. Things often get more complicated than “change the way Foxconn, Apple, or any other consumer electronics maker (because many of them do go to Foxconn, even console makers) does business.”
While I’m not trying to devaluate the human lives in China or the worth of the people putting in long hours, we also have to think. So, what if they start building components in the US? Okay, sounds cool. Creates more jobs. That’s very awesome. However, people will have to be paid minimum wage, at least, and many will want raises. They will need just as many employees to put these things together. That’s a ton of money. In the end, the cost gets handed down to us in the form of the next Xbox or the next iPhone we buy. Companies like Apple can’t be as profitable. Guess who gets cut out when they don’t make money? The regular folks like us. CEOs and other executives aren’t going to take a pay cut, they love their mansions and their $200k cars.
All we are saying is that there has to be thought put into anything like this. We’re sure there is a counterpoint to everything mentioned here. We’re sure they are all very good points. Still, in the end, it just goes to show that it takes more thought than a simple, “cut the outsourcing.”
Sure, maybe there is a solution that can work for everyone, but it would likely take some careful thought.