Mike Daisy’s story is very persuasive and as he said himself, “I am a storyteller.” I am not saying that I disagree with what he has said, but since he is not a journalist, I question the validity of his entire story. When I want my news, my first choice isn’t a “large, American, wearing a goddamn Hawaiian shirt.” Even at the end of the podcast, they bring in experts to validate or debunk Daisy’s claims. But specific details aside, I would like to discuss the overarching message throughout Daisy’s speech.
As a consumer I have a cognitive dissonance when I chose my items. I do not morally support child labor or oppressive working conditions, but I may financially support them since I do not research production conditions of every item I buy. Since I am typing this on a keyboard made in china and reading it on a monitor made there as well, apparently I do support them. I am in complete agreement with Mike in his unfounded assumption of automated production lines for most electronic products. It scares me that, as Mike put it, Foxcom makes 1/3 of everything and I have never heard of them. This is not by chance or luck either, I haven’t heard of them for the same reason that the Reuters journalist was beaten by the Foxcom guards, they don’t want us to hear about them. It is all about the image.
Public image is more of a priority than the health and working conditions of workers, at the companies that Daisy visited. This is exemplified by the large guarded gates and grass lawn leading up to the factories, followed by the ostentatiously large lobby occupied only by a single desk. While directly behind that lobby, there is a single workspace filled with 30,000 workers standing shoulder to shoulder in silence. This mistreatment of workers makes you wonder why no one has done anything. But what can I do? Other than researching where companies get their products from and how they are made, how can I make a difference? We won’t likely hear if conditions improve from those in the factories, due to the government approved blacklist. And the inspectors will see what the companies want them to see on their regularly scheduled visits. Fully automated production will surely lower in cost in the near future and I will be able to purchase these products guilt free. But while I can enjoy these products knowing that they were produced humanely, what jobs will there be for these workers then? Will they truly be better off?