Turns out making those palm-sized miracle gadgets is harder than you may think. Massive production lines, long hours, repetitive tasks, and finally, suicide. All in the name of progress. How did we get along as a race without texting? How do these frills become inescapable necessities? Almost makes me want to root for the talking dogs and zombies against this so called human race.
Now all that remains for me regarding Steve Jobs are his positive comments on hallucinogens. So nobody is all bad.
With the passing of Steve Jobs last month, there have been countless tributes to the man who created the company that changed the world. But along side all the amazingly beautiful, functional and revolutionary products Jobs created, there is a slighter darker side to Apple, which rarely makes headlines.[Daily Ticker via Yahoo! News]
Mike Daisey, storyteller extraordinaire and lifelong "Machead", explores both the good and the bad surrounding Apple in his new Off Broadway play appropriately titled, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs."
The professional monologist joined The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task to talk about the show he created and currently performs in at Manhattan's Public Theater. In the accompanying video, Aaron and Daisey discuss the "agony " aspect of Apple, which focuses on the reportedly horrendous labor conditions in the Chinese manufacturing plants where some Apple products are made.
China's Foxconn: Workers Worked to Death
It was back in the spring of 2010 when at least 10 suicides were reported at Foxconn's manufacturing plant in Shenzhen China. Foxconn is the world's largest electronic manufacturer making product for Hewlett-Packard, Nokia and Apple's iPad.
With nearly one million employees throughout China, the suicides raised many questions about the safety and working conditions for the people working in those plants.
As research for his show, Daisey visited Foxconn—a place many journalists and Americans have never visited—and what he found surprised him beyond belief.
"What I was really shocked by was institutionalized dehumanization," he says. "The systems that are put in place are working and the objective of them working is to work people, basically, to death."
He's talking about "massive production lines" where people work "endlessly." Workers are never rotated and end up doing the same task hundreds of thousand of times. "I met many workers whose joints in their hands have disintegrated from doing that work…. [Hands] literally swollen, literally deformed [and] permanently warped," he explains.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Most Americans don't give a second thought to how our toys and gadgets are made or how they make it onto store shelves. Daisey hopes his story will open a few eyes.
But without a question, he believes Steve Jobs, knew what the conditions where on the ground at Foxconn. And the same goes today for Apple's new CEO Tim Cook. "Apple is a company that believes in micromanagement. They pay attention to details," says Daisey. "There is not question in my mind that they know what conditions are like on the ground."