Should we feel weird?

I will be the first to admit that I am an avid Apple user.  I can honestly only pinpoint a few times during a given day when I am not actively using my MacBook, iPad, or iPhone.  Like Mr. Daisey, I had never stopped to think about how the products I rely so heavily upon were being produced.  Yes, I knew they were being manufactured in China, but I too preferred the image of shiny robots assembling my gadgets.  By establishing himself as a relatable narrator, Daisey immediately gleans the attention of his audience, presenting a rather grim story in such a way that audience members even let out a quick laugh.

The label “Made in China” has become so prevalent in our lives, that I now accept it as commonplace and am unmoved by its presence on products.  Despite knowing the terrible working conditions associated with this ubiquitous label, I never stop to think about what is truly behind the products I am constantly using.  I would be hard-pressed to say that I was unaware of the working conditions and factory life that Mr. Daisey exposes his listeners to.  Despite my prior knowledge of the lackluster conditions found in these factories, Mr. Daisey caught my attention by presenting the factory in such a militaristic fashion.  Guards equipped with guns flank the entranceway, the factory floors are completely silent, and dormitory rooms are packed so tight that entering a bed is compared to slipping into a coffin.  When listening to this I could not help but draw a connection to a work camp, something I certainly do not want to associate with my iPhone. 

At the conclusion of the podcast, the question “should we feel weird?” is posed.  We are told we should not.  Reporters cite all the good factory life has done for the region, creating jobs that would have been otherwise unavailable, which in turn led to the hinting of a middle class.  I am unsure as to if I agree with the statement that these factories can be considered good; I certainly will need to learn more before taking a side.  However, as I sit here typing on my MacBook it is safe to say that this issue is truly out of sight out of mind for me.  The closing song choice was truly an appropriate one.


4 responses to “Should we feel weird?

  1. Your comment about the widespread use of the “Made in China” sticker struck a chord with me. On average, Americans don’t realize or appreciate how much work goes into each product. They yearn for the days when everything was handmade; little do they know that their wish has come true. What if the stickers were changed to say “Handmade in China”? It wouldn’t be false advertisement and might get American consumers to think about the work that actually went into the product. Ideally this would spurn people to consider, if only briefly, the non-monetary cost of their product.

  2. I think that we definitely should feel weird, even though we are told that we should not. The podcast did mention all of the “good” that the factories have done for the area, but it also mentioned that before the factories came along, what leaders cared about was the country developing, rather than its people. Clearly the conditions are so brutal that they are forcing employees to jump off of roof. And their solution to this problem was to build nets, rather than improving workers lives. It was later justified that only a small percentage of the workers were committing suicide, essentially blowing off the situation.

  3. I think you made some very good observations and points regarding the podcast. I especially agree with this statement that you made,”Mr. Daisey caught my attention by presenting the factory in such a militaristic fashion.”

    When the descriptions of the working environments were described I not only pictured it as militaristic, but had echoes of concentration camps from WWII. In making this statement, I do realize that it is very extreme. I am only saying though the images that popped into my head when the descriptions were made: very small sleeping quarters, armed guards always present and how the silent floors almost had an eerie feel to them.

    Even though these factories may be creating more jobs and opportunities for their working class, I still can’t help but feel weird with the conditions in which they are working.

    I think it is acceptable to be in favor of the factories from an economic and employment standpoint, but also feel weird towards their inner workings.

  4. I also found that your comment about “made in China” really stood out to me. It seems that there has been a rising trend in brands touting their “made in America” status yet we still flock to Chinese-produced goods. Is the cost-benefit to us what’s driving the continued dependence on foreign goods? Do Americans feel they are above the factory jobs that are being sent over seas? These are all questions that popped into my mind when you mentioned how little we seem to notice or care where our goods are produced.

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