Sunday, August 26, 2012

Julian C. Dunn » Blog Archive » Should we feel bad about working conditions at FoxConn?:

In the intervening years, we in America have decided that such harsh conditions are no longer acceptable. We’ve enacted laws to ensure that such conditions will no longer be inflicted on Americans. That’s why it will take over a quarter century to build the full Second Avenue subway: because we now believe in safety, reasonable working conditions, and, of course, consultative urban planning. But back to the case of Apple products: if we, as an “developed” nation have the power to choose how our products — products that we invented — are manufactured, why would we instead export the harsh working conditions instead of that standard of life?

I think I know the answer, and it’s an uncomfortable one. We’re happy to exploit others when we don’t see them as ourselves. Whether that be Chinese migrant workers, or Lower East Side immigrants slaving away on the subways at the turn of the 20th century, it’s easier to justify turning a blind eye when you can reap the rewards without being the one getting your hands dirty.