Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: Mike Daisey Goes to China So You Can Change The World:

There have been fingers inside your iPhone; they were wiped away with alcohol before you got it. The iPhone, in other words, was made not by machines but by fingers (fingers are cheaper). The fingers that do the work are located in a humongous factory complex in Shenzhen, China, at a company called Foxconn, which employs 800,000 people, where earlier this year workers were flinging themselves off the buildings to their deaths. The reason for the suicides was the iPhone 4. Conditions that are already very bad become apparently unbearable when the American market is about to receive a new, improved product, so people die. This is not something that anyone is particularly exercised about. But something changes when you find out that your gleaming iPhone once had fingers inside it; in computer terms, this introduces a virus into your system of thinking: Your handheld device never was hands-free. Mike Daisey went to Shenzhen for three weeks, stood outside Foxconn, and shook these hands. And he has just begun planting the virus he picked up there. Last weekend, a tiny but potent dose of it hit Seattle.