Why Steve Jobs Needs a Punch in the Head

steve-jobs copyRecent stories about the factory worker who committed suicide because he lost one of the new iPhones have got me in a tizz. At first I was my usual oblivious self but then I started to think about it.  For me, and probably you, to play around with that sexy little gadget in my pocket, many people have to suffer terribly.

Contrary to most media, I’m not all that fussed about Apple et al requiring so much secrecy.  That’s their right.  The guy didn’t kill himself because he lost a phone.  If he had, well, his brain isn’t quite adjusted to the real world.  Can’t blame anyone else for that.  But if he killed himself because he lost a phone, he knew the reprisals from his employer were going to be extreme and the impact on his family would be significant, well that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish now isn’t it?

This factory has a history of treating it’s staff like animals – if I may be so sensational.  In August last year, an organisation called China Labor Watch released an exhaustive report on the company in question, Foxconn, who build iPods and iPhones for Apple (amongst other things).  The norm is insults, physical abuse, compulsory overtime, unsafe conditions and not being properly paid eg work starts at 8am but they are required to be there at 7.30am (unpaid).


It would be great if someone could actually come up with an idea, a way of shaming them into action.


The usual response amongst my left-leaning peers is to say “don’t buy the product”.  I hear what you are saying but I don’t think that is a real solution.  Most people don’t care or don’t know what’s going on so there isn’t going to be a big dent in revenue really.  But let’s pretend for a moment that there is a significant drop in sales, what happens?  The company, in this case Apple, stops selling the product or goes bust.  The contract is canned so those workers are now out of a job and when they do get another, chances are it’s not all that different to the last one.  No-one wins. Not me the consumer, not Apple, not the factory and certainly not the worker.  The only way to get action on this is for those CEOs and board members to be unwilling to buy from suppliers of this ilk.

Why aren’t the board or CEO of companies like Apple and Sony that use these factories held accountable?  Why aren’t there laws that require a company to immediately cancel a contract if it is shown that a supplier is mistreating its staff?  Is it such an extreme expectation really?

I do wonder though, how can the men on the board of Apple sit idly by?  How do they live with themselves?  They are human beings after all.  And, why aren’t they being shamed by us into making a change?

If you’re old and grumbly write a letter goddammit!

Apple Board of Directors
Bill Campbell
Millard Drexler
Albert Gore Jr. (Former Vice President of the United States)
Steve Jobs(CEO, Apple)
Andrea Jung
Arthur D. Levinson, Ph. D.
Dr. Eric Schmidt

What would be really great though, is if someone could actually come up with an idea, a way of really shaming them into action. Obviously it would need media coverage and lots of it… ideas anyone?

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3 Responses

  1. Can’t say i agree with you “expat in the peens” but happy to listen to all opinions.

  2. They don’t have to be shamed… they hired cheap slave like labor in another country. A wholly independent country that accepts those hiring practices. Should we goto war with them because of ‘humanitarian’ reasons? Should they be given the same rights and employment protections that you enjoy? Really? Then no-one will ever develop mass-consumer tech again because it wont make a dime.

    They’re stupid sheeple that keep breeding, they are NOT equals as humans. Wanna share your plate with them? fine, you do that. Being born poor in the US and making a success of myself is all the silver spoon I need to protect – they keep breeding like rabbits, then we’ll keep exploiting them.

    Hell, it’s getting like that in some US cities like New Orleans and damn near everywhere in Cali.

  3. This just in: Dr. Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) has resigned from the Apple Board. Maybe this post shamed him into action? or is it non-action?

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