Posted on Feb 17, 2012 | 1 comment

Here at Easy Journaling we discuss a variety of devices that have transformed the possibilities to keep a journal or diary. Whether it be the iPhone, iPad, Android device, Blackberry or even laptops and computers, these electronic goodies have changed the way I journal and I hope they have for you as well.

You may have seen in the news recently stories of how the workers who make these devices do so in terrible conditions and never even get to enjoy the benefits they offer. Perhaps you saw the story of the woman who makes iPads every day and then actually saw a fully functioning one for the first time and was blown away. Or maybe you saw how high the suicide rate is at Foxconn (a factory that makes, among other things, iPhones) or how the workers have even staged threats of suicide if the way they are treated isn’t changed.

Photo Credit - Nicolas Raymond

Photo Credit – Nicolas Raymond

In the world we live in- one where we only read the headlines and tweet our reactions immediately without further details- it is easy to get upset about this situation. How can we be blindly using our precious smartphones only at the sacrifice, sweat and tears of others? How can Apple even consider having their products made in such conditions? How dare they!

These reactions are starting to drive me crazy and I hope that you will hear me through to explain why. I think these beliefs are based on ignorance and not understanding the full picture. America is a sheltered place, to the point that we can complain all day about lousy cell phone coverage and not even give a thought to the millions that are going without water today. We give all of our attention, praise and adoration to a celebrity who passes away ‘young’ after a life of glitz, glamor and drugs while a single mother of seven just buried  her baby because it was malnourished.

When I have heard some discuss how evil Apple is for making iPhones in such a way (which is an ignorant first statement as I will soon explain), my first response is “Do they have to work there?” Of course they don’t. The reason they do is because Foxconn is actually one of the better places to work in China! People line up to work at places like this because the pay and working conditions are some of the best available. Put simply, the poor working conditions aren’t an Apple problem, they are a China problem. It is my argument that Apple should be applauded for giving these workers jobs with above average pay!

Oh, and Apple sure is getting an uneven portion of the blame. How is it that Microsoft, Sony, Dell and others escape these headlines when they also have products produced by Foxconn? Believing that any electronic device that you have is made in better conditions than these would at least be ill-informed and at most ignorant. They are produced abroad because low pay for us is good pay for them and because we won’t buy a $2000 iPod, even if it says “Made In America”.

As part of this recent Foxconn uproar, many Apple users decided to stage protests at Apple stores to bring this issue into the limelight and hopefully make a stand that will improve conditions for these workers. Really guys? If they really want to make a stand against it, they should remove every electronic device in their home. At least that would show that they understand the issue.

In summary, I do hope that these issues in the news drive improvement to those who are affected by it. But lets just remember that by purchasing these devices we are more to blame than Apple, Microsoft, HP, Motorola or whoever else has them manufactured. They are practicing good business and responding to supply and demand. These long working hours, high suicide rates and cold or hot working spaces, however, are common in many parts of the world and these companies have only improved them. I hope that China, Indonesia and other countries that manufacture these goods will actively work to improve the way things are done in these countries. Heck, I even hope more Americans will be aware and assist or donate when possible to better such horrid conditions.

I’m sorry if these outraged people just discovered that there are awful places in the world but rather than blaming Apple because the iPhone brought these issues into mainstream media, perhaps they should look in the mirror and stop buying them.

If you don’t believe me on this, please, feel free to click on any of the above links for more information.

Am I wrong on this?

  • magicuddle

      
    I don’t think you’re “wrong,” but I do think it’s naive to say that if the Chinese workers don’t like it, they don’t have to work there. That might be true in a world where you could obtain food and have a place to sleep at night without having to use money, but unfortunately that’s not really an option for most. I guess they don’t “have” to work there, but what’s the alternative? I live here in good old ‘merika, and I work 6 days a week, long hours, and live far below the poverty line (I started my own business, woopdedoo). Sure I don’t “have” to work for this pittance–I suppose I COULD sleep on the street (opening myself up for abuse and diseases), and get one meal a day from the soup kitchen!! What a life that would be, eh? Only thing stopping me is that I kind of care about my health and safety. In all honesty I do feel coerced into making money–it’s not a real choice, it’s pretty much a “have to.”

    I agree that people shouldn’t buy the products, and I don’t. Everything I buy except food is second hand, so that my money goes to an actual person that I’ve met and I’m not directly supporting any of those fucked up industries. Not that I could afford to anyway.

    I think people are especially pissed at Apple because they used to have most of their jobs here in this country, and then moved them, and they are so expensive (I can’t even afford used Apple stuff) and their profit margin is so high and they like to market themselves as so superior and moral. I’m  not *especially* pissed at Apple, but I just see the whole situation as a microcosm of Globalism and how much it hurts people. I think people have a right to be angry about something that is so harmful to so many, even if it may be misplaced in specifically hating Apple.