Daisey stood outside the gates of the Foxconn Technology plant, which employs 430,000 people, and asked workers to tell him stories about the conditions inside. He heard stories of a hand crippled by a decade on the assembly line, workers threatened with life in prison for joining a union and 13-year-old girls doing 13-hour shifts. The factory was briefly in the news last year, when it installed nets under the top floor windows, following a rash of suicides, but otherwise it may as well operate in a black hole. Chances are your phone was made there, but most people know nothing about the place. It came as a revelation to me that most electronic devices are assembled by hand, rather than by robots.
Friday, 21 October 2011
I have often asked myself what difference Steve Jobs has made to the human condition. None, as far as I can tell. Making toys is all very well, but at the end of they day, they are still toys. My iPod is less clunky than the Dansette record player of my youth, but it hasn't changed my life at all. Here is an excerpt from today's Guardian about Steve Jobs' disregard for the human rights of the Chinese workers building his machines: