Because of the heat issues associated with my Macbook Pro, my lap is a puddle of melted flesh in which my genitalia floats something like a the bulbous yolk in a sunny side up egg. But I still love Apple. I’m a sadomasochist consumer: I dig self-maiming, especially when the instrument is so pretty.
iPod sweatshops, on the other hand? I don’t dig, no matter how pretty my new iPod 60gb is. So I hope the self-righteous denials of Foxconn — Apple’s manufacturing partners — are for real.
What they are denying most vociferously are ‘slave conditions’ in the iPod cities. They argue they are paying a legal Chinese wage (no one was claiming they weren’t) and that the iPod cities have laundry service, libraries and even swimming pools.
Hey, sounds pretty posh. But these claims of sweatshop opulence have people like Wired pointing out that “doesn’t change the fact that a lot of iPods are made in China by low-paid workers who apparently live in factory dormitories.”
At further glance, though, this is just standard knee-jerking — they go on not to express any concern over the well-being of workers making pennies per hour under a Communist regime not particularly sparkling with its human rights record. Instead, they are concerned about supporting the erosion of American manufacturing. A concern we don’t share. Concern over the well being of workers, that’s something. But introducing industry into impoverished countries, bringing up their salaries, educations and standards of living… while keeping prices low for the American consumer? Seems like a perk all around.