Mr. Daisy and the Apple Factory – Stephanie Janson

I split my time listening to “Mr. Daisy and the Apple Factory” between my iPod Touch and my Dell laptop. I was also wearing clothes, the labels of which I felt immediately compelled to check. Made in China, made in Mexico. In fact, I started looking through all of my clothes, and it took me longer than I would have liked to find something made in the USA. I will own to the fact that I rarely give the origin of my possessions a second thought, instead focusing on the benefit that they provide to me. That said, I was unsurprised by the majority of the content of Mr. Daisy’s show. People know what a sweat shop is, and what goes on there. We know that China has them in abundance, and while I would like to say that hearing about the working conditions in Shenzhen horrified me, I found myself listening to Mr. Daisy and thinking, of course they have child workers. This is China.

My reaction to Mr. Daisy’s story lacks the justifiable outrage that I feel the situation warrants. I cannot bring myself to rise to the level of social indignation that would move me to attempt to affect any actual change. Corporations exist to make profits. Those that are concerned for the welfare of their workers seem to be the exception, not the rule. I recognize that this is a pessimistic attitude, but when you pair a capitalist society of customers with a communist society of workers, it isn’t difficult to imagine which will benefit more. The news is full of stories of outsourcing jobs- most recently, the furor over the manufacturing origin of the US Olympic uniforms. The fact is, outsourcing is cheaper, and companies know it. Apple puts on a good show, but ultimately they are out to cut costs and increase profits.

I think that many Americans have a “see no evil” approach to the relationships we have with our products and possessions. As long as our things function as expected, we are content. If something does not work, we are inclined to curse the company and the brand, rather than think about the worker who assembled the product. Also, I do not know if I find the idea of a sweat shop economy as a stepping stone to 1st world status deplorable, or having some merit. I would be interested in reading more research on that particular idea.


4 thoughts on “Mr. Daisy and the Apple Factory – Stephanie Janson

  1. I think you make an interesting point- as long as our products work, we are content. That is one of the reasons that Apple does have such loyal customers, because they always deliver. And because of this, I think it makes is quite difficult to think differently about Apple, even after listening to the podcast. I hate to admit it, but this podcast definitely made me think more about where exactly our products come from and how they are made, but failed to make me betray Apple as a customer- “Once you go Mac, you never go back”.

  2. I like that you incorporated the USA Olympics uniforms controversy. This was an interesting debate which highlights the fact that Americans are basically outsourcing all production and manufacturing of consumer goods. Outsourcing is such a norm nowadays that it would almost be weirder if we did manufacture Apple products or USA uniforms in country.

  3. I really liked your comment here, “Corporations exist to make profits. Those that are concerned for the welfare of their workers seem to be the exception, not the rule.” That truly is how it seems our big time corporations work today. But then again can we blame them? If there was not this competition for profits would our nation/world be where it is today? Most likely not. Also a great comment on the relationship between communist and capitalist nations in manufacturing, Maybe that there lies the problem. It would be great to see a comparison between other manufacturing company relationships when a communist and capitalist economy interact.

  4. I completely agree with the out of sight, out of mind mentality you brought up. I think whats hard to confront is the idea that there aren’t alternatives for company’s like Apple. By increasing operating costs, they would have to charge higher prices for the devices we have grown to love so much. To think about paying $1000 for an iPhone is not something anyone wants to do. As long as we can push their origins out of our heads, we can continue enjoying our Apple products.

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