Ever since the NPR show “This American Life” excerpted Mike Daisey’s performance piece on the Chinese factory that makes Apple gear, using an iPhone or iPad has been a little less comfortable.
In “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory,” Daisey talks about how he first started wondering about the people who make the electronics he loves — a curiosity that sent him to the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China.
Some of Daisey’s best material on labor practices came from an idea that other journalists thought absurd: He stood outside of the factory in Shenzhen with a translator and started asking questions. The answers he got are startling, involving numbing work, long hours and underage workers. One young worker he met has never seen a finished iPad.
Here is an excerpt describing the response as he stood outside the gates and his translator began asking workers during a shift change to tell their stories:
First there’s one worker waiting, then there’s two, then there’s three. Before long the guards are like, er? Er? And we move further and further away from the plant, but the line just gets longer and longer. Everyone wants to talk. We start taking them three or four at a time. We still can’t keep up. Everyone wants to talk. It’s like they were coming to work every day thinking, you know what would be great? It would be so great if somebody who uses all this crap we make every day all day long, it would be so great if one of those people came and asked us what was going on. Because we would have stories for them.
Mission Loc@l will continue to follow the conversation in the Mission.