Apple, Technology, Working Conditions and Social Justice

Jerod Clark

June 14, 2010

Steve Jobs commented that the facilities looked pretty nice to him. The complex is huge and is a virtual city with employee apartments, banks, a post office, a hospital, supermarkets, and a variety of recreational facilities including soccer fields, a swimming pool, TV lounges and Internet cafes. Ten cafeterias are also located throughout the campus and employees have access to 13 different restaurants on campus. Similar to Google. <br><br>13 suicides would be big news if there were only 10,000 workers. But there are 330,000 at Shenzen. World Health Organization suicide figures for China (1999) are 13 males and 14.8 females per 100,000 people. Lets be conservative and say the average, especially because these are younger people, is 10 per 100,000. Just the Shenzhen Foxconn plant alone, with its 330,000 employees, would be expected to have about 33 suicides this year, or 14 so far. The humane environment of Foxcon is actually cutting the number of suicides.<br><br>Patrick Mattimore, a fellow at the Institute for Analytic Journalism comments that The larger problem stems from the fact that most journalists have not been taught to critically examine statistics. They follow the herd which often means that they report numbers without providing readers a context for making sense of those numbers..<br><br>Here's the link to Apples audit if you are interested <a href="http://www.foxconn.com/SER_PubilcRelease_02.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.foxconn.com/SER_Pub...</a>

Modern Reject
June 14, 2010

One thing is certain. Boycotts don't work. And when Christians boycott something, we end up looking like intolerant, hate mongers. <br><br>I would also add to Rickd comment that it is not only the media who lacks the discernment when viewing facts but also the general public. Individuals must make decisions for themselves. If you personally are convicted or just plain concerned, do your own research, pray, and reach a decision with the Lord's instruction. Sounds simple...because it is.

Anthony G
June 14, 2010

I am not sure agree that withholding your dollars and not buying the new iPhone is the right thing to do in this instance. The bottom line is with even less dollars going through the company coffers it is just as likely to prompt the company to cut more corners, and the first corners they cut affect the people at the bottom of the organization the most. Either they will get laid off or asked to do more for the same or less. Instead as paying customers we need to let our voice be heard. We should reward companies like Apple who take steps and run audits on their vendors. Another option would be to offer to tell companies we are willing to pay a little bit more for the assurance that the person that assembled our phone/pc/alarm clock was paid and treated with to a standard consistent with our values. I think you can ease your conscience, buy your iPhone, encourage Apple via email and blogs to continue and do more and take a teeeeeeny amount of comfort that some of our wealth does end up in the hands of those that really need it.

June 15, 2010

Chinese factory conditions may not be the exact cup of tea for a San Francisco graphic designer or a Connecticut non-profit ecologist grant writer … but they’re, by definition, better than all the other alternatives available to the Chinese workers (or the factories would find it impossible to staff up).

June 15, 2010

Whoops, forgot the link. <br><br><a href="http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2010/06/chinese-factories.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyo...</a><br><br> One morning, a rice farmer in southeast Asia might faces a choice. He can continue a life of brutal, back-breaking labor from dawn to dusk for what is essentially subsistence earnings. He can continue to see a large number of his children die young from malnutrition and disease. He can continue a lifestyle so static, so devoid of opportunity for advancement, that it is nearly identical to the life led by his ancestors in the same spot a thousand years ago.<br><br> Or, he can go to the local iPod factory, work long hours (but certainly no longer than he worked in the field) for low pay (but certainly more than he was making subsistence farming) and take a shot at changing his life. And you know what, many men (and women) in his position choose the FoxConn factory.

June 15, 2010

I don't think there is much to be done at this point. You brought up a good point. if not Foxconn, then some other company will do it. The problem lies in government. Their government should have laws that protect their citizens. If the government doesn't penalize companies who provide those types of working conditions, what can we Christians possibly do (other than pray that is)?<br><br>If we stop buying the products they manufacture, they may lay off those employees. How much worst can a person feel when they now have absolutely no income to provide for their families? Is almost like choosing the least of two evils.

June 15, 2010

How to not be a part of the problem but to be a part of the solution... seems to be one of the strangling threads of the human condition. My first response would be to take a godly stand in the easiest way possible. Then increase your stand from there.<br>Debra<br><a href="http://presentufaultless.wordpress.com" rel="nofollow">presentufaultless.wordpress.co...</a>

Ty Woznek
June 16, 2010

This is no doubt a hard question. The same question arose in my mind as I traveled to a beach on St Thomas Island... I get off an incredible cruise ship, everything is is surreal, and then you see the poverty on the way to a beach paradise... I asked one of the attendants what they thought about feels and appears to be an injustice. His response complicated the matter rather than clarify or simplify.<br><br>Quote: "If you stopped buying, things would be worse. Yes, we live in poverty, but poverty is worse without out you."<br><br>Stopping would increase the problem, not help. Using the Apple situation, with that relationship we have an inroad to help. If we were not there, we couldn't help at all. Like anything, this is a non-perfect and messy process.

April 15, 2011

I'm disappointed in your answer. Especially given your awareness of the issue you have more of a responsibility to find the most Jesus-like response. Sure you may have to make a sacrifice and not buy the latest gadget or whatnot. Jesus calls us as Christ-followers to absolutely make self-sacrificing choices, we are to be counter-cultural!<br><br>This issue is similar to the fair-trade chocolate one. I firmly believe that if you choose to buy products where you are fully aware of the social injustices associated then you should be writing letters and using your western powers to lobby these organizations! <br><br><br>If you won't sacrifice buying the lasted technologies for self pleasure then sacrifice a few minutes in your life to write a letter and make great change.

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