A Picture Worth a Thousand Words


After listening to This American Life episode #454 “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory”, I find myself not only doubting Apple as a company, but also other companies that I remain loyal to in my everyday life that Foxconn also manufactures.  If the largest technology company in the world by revenue and profit can get away with treating its workers so poorly, how much worse can conditions be at factories that are not under the public’s watchful eye? Although I realize that every word in the podcast might not be 100% accurate, I think that Mr. Daisey still gets his point across and gets his listeners to feel the exact same emotions he feels as he was visiting the factory in Shenzhen, China. He gets them to at least question and put that small amount of doubt in their mind that makes them think about all the other products that they are currently brand loyal to.

Beginning the podcast by talking about the pictures taken from inside of the factory gives the listener the same curiosity that Mr. Daisey encountered upon viewing the photos.  Although Mr. Daisey uses a tone that is meant to be sarcastic and humorous, I found myself cringing during certain parts of it.  One of the parts that surprised me the most was when Mr. Daisey was describing the guards and living conditions for the factory workers.  The fact that Foxconn’s solution to preventing more workers from committing suicide was simply to add nets around the dorms is unbelievable.

I think that approaching such a serious moral issue in society using a light, comedic tone was very effective.  Mr. Daisey kept the listener engaged and got them thinking without lecturing them about how people should stop buying Apple’s products because conditions at the factory are so horrible.  Mr. Daisey raises a valid point by making his listeners wonder if people just see what they want to see while shielding a blind eye to any moral issue that is too inconvenient to address.  The sad reality of the situation is that American’s rely so heavily on their Apple products that it is difficult to see them boycotting Apple or pushing for change in working conditions at the factories.  I would definitely like to know how proactive Foxconn is in working to make changes in its treatment of workers.  I would also like to know how such a powerful company like Apple that seems to be so closely watched by the American public can get away with treating its workers so horribly.

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3 responses to “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

  1. This comment is regarding the factory pictures found on the iphone. You say this imagery “gives the listener the same curiosity that Mr. Daisey encountered upon viewing the images”. Now that i am reading your blog, I now remember this part of the Podcast. I guess i wasn’t really curious about this part because i total glossed over it. I don’t think i believe every single camera on the iphone, ipod or ipad was tested by someone. This just doesn’t seen realistic to me. The part when Mr. Daisey tells of a man who was let go because he worked to slow due to his worn out fingers is also not believable. May be he worked too slow but was it really because his fingers were worn out. I guess i don’t like the exaggeration by Mr. Daisey. If he wants to make a point, he should make it with facts.

  2. I agree with the way in which you question Apple and their ability to go unseen by the public. They are such a powerful company and for that, they are more scrutinized by the public. Companies across the board are probably getting away with very similar inhuman treatment. Hopefully, episode’s similar to Mr. Daisey’s can catalyze action or some sort of investigation on the true conditions in Foxconn factories and bring more light to this questionable subject matter.

  3. Since Jordi brought it up in class, it should be noted that Apple hired the Free Labor Association to investigate working conditions, and that there has been improvement in the recent months

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