Out of Sight, Out of Mind: A Problem for Us All

For as long as I can remember I have been Mac obsessed.  Yes, I was in fact one of those nerds who woke up at 6:00AM the morning of the new iPhone 4 and waited anxiously in line.  I didn’t even need a new cell phone at the time, but for some reason I was mesmerized by the idea of owning a new Apple product.  I come from a tech-savvy family, except for my parents who still have trouble attaching a document to an email.  My brothers love to take apart computers and put them back together trying to figure out just how they operate.  They have always given me grief about the Apple products I own.  They tell me how incredibly over priced the products are for a slightly above average operating system and preach about how I can get so much more for my money elsewhere.  Even though I put Apple products on a pedestal, my brothers’ voices of reason have always haunted me in the back of my mind.  For some reason I’ve always felt a bit guilty about buying Apple products, but year after year, iPod after iPad, I continue to stay a loyal customer, regardless of all I hear, including “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory”.  It’s hard for me to imagine the line that would have to be crossed for me to actually stop buying Apple products.  Obviously hearing all the stories is upsetting, but without the factory right in front of me, it’s a bit hard for me to conceptualize.

After listening to “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory”, sadly I wasn’t too surprised.  I feel like a horrible human being for saying that, but I can’t even count the number of times I’ve watched documentaries and heard horrid stories of unfair working conditions and wages.  At first I am always in shock and will maybe even shy away from the company at fault, but as time passes so do my negative opinions of the company.  I obviously hate imagining what it might be like working in the factories, but will that be enough to change my buying habits, especially for a company like Apple?  Mr. Daisey didn’t even mention if his brand loyalty changed after visiting Foxcom.  He just addressed that there is clearly an issue at hand, which there obviously is.

Also, I hate to admit it, but I was actually more surprised when I heard the opposing argument, saying that factories have boosted the economy, the standard of living, and are even better than prior working conditions in the rice patties.  Not that I agree with that argument, but it does get my creative juices flowing.  If the introduction of factories with unethical working conditions changed an economy for the better, think about what even just a few good changes in the factories could potentially do for the society and the economy.

Apple always takes pride in their ability to be pioneers in their industry.  What they should do is take this issue and actually do something about it.  We all know that most factories have horrible working conditions, yet many of us feel that there isn’t much we can do as individuals to help with change.  Now we all know about Foxconn, and Apple being a company that loves to please their customers, they should be the first to acknowledge the poor conditions, make a change, and then publicize it for the entire world to see.  Companies love to follow Apple’s lead, and this can be a great way to pay it forward.


2 thoughts on “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: A Problem for Us All

  1. I thought this was a very interesting post! I enjoyed the focus on Jordi’s comment about our relationship with technology/products. The relationship we have with technology has placed popular companies like Apple on a pedastool in our minds. Apple can do no wrong. They are an ingenious company because we rely so heavily on their products, await the newest models, and constantly show customer loyalty through purchases. I also agree that if this issue were to be brought to the public attention that most people wouldn’t be surprised. Although it is disappointing, it isn’t too surprising that these factory exist. The more disappointing aspect is that Apple is supposedly aware of the terrible conditions and hasn’t done much to make a change. Hopefully changes will occur in the near future.

  2. I think one of the biggest takeaways from your post is Apple’s ability to be an innovative pioneer in regards to the working conditions in their supplier factories. Foxconn produces more than 50% of the world’s electronics (clearly not solely comprised of Apple). Therefore, if Apple makes a huge push to eliminate these unfair working conditions and lead the market yet again it will force other major corporations to do the same. Making this kind of shift would clearly result in a profit reduction, but with the amount of cash Apple currently has the positive publicity tradeoff may eventually be worth it.

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