Mr. Daisey- Revolutionary or Catalyst?

Well Mr. Daisey, you have succeeded.  You’ve filled the role of catalyst that has resulted in a morning spent sitting here at my desk, typing away on my macbook, listening to my iPhone and contemplating the atrociousness that is mankind. But do not get confused; you have prompted me neither to write a strongly worded letter to Jobs’ grave, nor to turn my back on Apple products.  Rather, you have simply opened my eyes to the horrid working conditions and lifestyles of overseas factory workers.  I must admit that prior to listening to this podcast, I was guilty of hearing of these conditions and choosing not to consider the ethics tied to them, and to every other terrible thing that goes into creating the first world’s leisure products, toys, what have you.

When Daisey noted that a massive variety of electronics were manufactured at the Foxconn plant in the very beginning of the podcast, I realized that he could just as easily have replaced the word “Apple” with “Dell”, “Samsung”, or “Sony”.  I think he may have realized that had he done this, his message would not be as strong as it was.  He was smart to target the cult that is “mac” because members of this tech-savvy following tend to view Apple with a halo hovering above it.  “Steve Jobs was a genius”, “Apple is the best quality PC on the market”, and of course the inevitable “cool” factor of owning Apple products seem to embedded in every loyal follower’s mind.  When he exposed that Apple follows the same manufacturing process as other, “inferior” electronics, Daisey internally wounded those who want to believe in the goodness that is Apple.

As much as this hurts to ask, are we really surprised with Apple’s manufacturing techniques?  Let’s face it, if they had reputable manufacturing processes we would know.  In today’s marketing environment, any smart company would milk the marketing potential of their fair policies and work environments in hopes of appealing to a larger market.  Additionally, their already high prices would undoubtedly skyrocket if Apple products were manufactured in the US where minimum wage is significantly higher than it is in China.  As first world consumers, are we willing to make that sacrifice for peace of mind?  The truth of the matter is that Apple has to manufacture in locations like China in order to remain competitive in the market.  Contrary to Daisey’s rant against Apple, I believe that we should instead question the morality of overseas manufacturing as a whole.  We can call the point that all developing economies must go through a manufacturing stage into question, but that is another debate.  For now, the most important thing is to keep Daisey’s report in perspective.


5 thoughts on “Mr. Daisey- Revolutionary or Catalyst?

  1. I definitely agree with you when you say that Mr. Daisey’s argument would have been different if he were to use one of the other technology companies instead of Apple. I think this is an interesting point because it really does target the relationship that we have with our products- Apple especially. For some reason, one that I am guilty of, customers are extremely loyal to Apple, and I believe that even Mr. Daisey’s story isn’t compelling enough to betray that loyalty. If this story were to happen to a different technology company, I think it would be even more detrimental, only because they don’t have a loyal customer base. As for Apple, it definitely gets people thinking, but I don’t think it is quite enough to make a difference, at least not yet.

  2. I really like how you put the first paragraph because it is exactly how I felt and could not put into words. The podcast made me mad and upset but also not lose any of my love for the great products Apple gives us. Whether that is right or wrong I don’t know. Great comment about how Mr. Daisey centralized his argument around Apple. I did not pick up on that but now looking back I totally see why he would do that. It makes for a much stronger and meaningful argument when it is a company we all know far too well. And finally your last point is also a different view than I initially had on the podcast. It is very true that international manufacturing is the way for successful companies to cut down cost so maybe the entire manufacturing community needs to question the morality of production techniques.

  3. I completely agree with your statement that we must keep Daisey’s report in perspective. After hearing the podcast, it is very easy to be furious at Apple instead of questioning the working regulations in China. There are so many other companies, besides Apple, that have their products manufactured overseas, so why not focus on working conditions as a whole instead of on a single company? In my opinion, Daisey took the approach of criminalizing Apple when he should have been questioning the “morality of overseas manufacturing as a whole.” By continually mentioning Apple, Daisey directs the listeners away from the root of the problem.

  4. You make a good point that using Apple as an example makes for a more compelling story. We really do hold Apple to a higher standard and want the best from them. If he had used any other technology company, it would have been an easy story to believe, but because it’s Apple we would rather ignore it or put it in the back of our minds. I agree with you, too, that it does at the very least bring about questions regarding overseas manufacturing in general.

  5. I don’t think the message would have a similar impact if the story was about Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony, but not only because of Apple’s “cult-like” following. I think what makes this story so sinister is the opinion we now have of Apple. Apple was once the underdog, fighting for market space against the giant Microsoft. It was led to success by Steve Jobs, a personable quirky man who had the ability to connect with buyers. Now that Steve Jobs has passed away, I think the company has lost some if its creative and quirky reputation. As the stock continues to rise to “Microsoft-esque” status as the evil corporation. What makes people more angry at Apple is the billions of dollars in cash that they essentially have sitting in a vault somewhere. They obviously are successful, and are now being punished for choosing Retained Earnings over ethical treatment of employees.

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