Mr. Daisey’s segment on an Apple Factory and it’s apparent worker abuse is very interesting and powerful, but not too shocking. For as long as I can remember, I have always been aware of the issue regarding worker abuse in several Asian countries. Not only are underage workers hired, but the majority of the workforce is underpaid and overworked. Like Mr. Daisey noted, it is hard to believe that a company that is so highly regarded in the US could fall into the same habits as other massive electronic manufacturers. Apple products are known to be high quality, but that does not mean that the workers assembling them are paid any more or treated any better. It does not seem right for such a well-known and large company who prides themselves on being a great place to work would provide such poor conditions to their assembly line workers.
The discussion about long work hours and associated suicides especially caught my attention. When I was traveling abroad last spring, I had a chance to spend some time in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. All three of these cities shared a common characteristic: a very structured and almost depressing way of life. Even though these cities are not home to as many large manufacturing plants as the cities discussed in the podcast, they are home to strong economies with large workforces. Rush hour in China is earlier in the morning and later in the evening than in the US. On one occasion, some friends and I had the chance to speak with a 23 year old Chinese man from Hong Kong who was taking the train home to a suburb at 11pm. He told us that this was his typical workday. Although he was probably paid much more than manufacturing plant workers, he still shared the burden of having long hours with little free time. The whole country lacks creativity and expression in daily life, as everything and everyone seem to have an agenda at all times.
Hearing Mr. Daisey’s account of his visit to the Foxcon assembly plant and the following reaction reminded me of the differences in working conditions and lifestyles in general between the US and many other countries. In order to further my understanding of this issue, I think it would be beneficial for Mr. Daisey to visit another assembly plant in the surrounding area and provide a comparison between the two plants.