I was disheartened when listening to Mr. Daiseys commentary on the working conditions in Chinese factories however I was not surprised. I briefly glanced over the news of the suicides at Foxconn several years ago, which put in my head the idea that their working conditions had to be very harsh. One thing that really surprised me in the podcast was the use of the neurotoxin for screen cleaning. That seemed to me the most flagrant violation ethical work standards.
I guess the big question all this brings up, and the question I find myself asking is to what extent does apple really know about this, and to what extent are they trying to change things. In the end of the podcast, they talked about the reports apple issues each year, and the auditors they send to change the conditions. So in response to my question, I think first it’s important to say- THEY MUST KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS. If me, as a consumer can read on BBC, or through a podcast about the working conditions in these factories, then people whose job it is to maintain apples public image definitely know. Furthermore, as Mr. Daisey said explicitly, the factory executives will show potential investors anything they want to see in the factory. With that said, its nearly impossible that the numerous executives that liaised with factories were unaware of their conditions.
With this in mind, the final question that comes up is, “is apple ethical?” To this, I would unfortunately have to say no. This is simply because from what little I’ve heard, it seems apple did not investigate into the working conditions in their outsourced factories until the news of employee suicides reached the mainstream media. The massive campaign that followed then seemed superficial considering there was absolutely no way apple discovered these conditions along with the rest of the world. There are businesses out there that genuinely try to make a social impact along with reaping economic gains. Apple however, seems to me much more concerned with the financial aspect, and only seems to incite social change when faced with harsh criticism from their consumers.