Friday, June 01, 2012

The TPM Interview: Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz | TPM Idea Lab:

Q: Has Daisey’s monologue had any positive impact on understanding Apple’s manufacturing practices?

A: I think his monologue has raised awareness about factory conditions in China, but it hasn’t improved the understanding of the issue. There’s a big difference. Now that more people seem to be aware of the issue, I think the next natural step if they remain interested in this, is to inform themselves as much as they can. I recommend that they read some of the great nonfiction books out there about this topic. Leslie T. Chang’s ‘Factory Girls’ is one of them. Leslie, a former Wall Street Journal Beijing Bureau Chief, spent a couple of years with factory workers both at their factories and in their home villages. ‘Country Driving’ by New Yorker writer Peter Hessler is also a great book. The third part of that book is set in a family-owned factory in Zhejiang. Peter also spent years reporting this. It’s some of my favorite writing on China, period.