Thursday, September 13, 2012

Short Leslie Chang TED reaction: agree vital to humanize Chinese voices, but she's startlingly naive about labor and corporatism.

Many of her arguments are straw men—who thinks Chinese workers just want iPods? We’re talking about human rights. Her response to Chris Anderson on Apple—that the workers will move on to “higher jobs in Apple” is totally ridiculous. She doesn't seem to understand that the current system at ANY electronics manufacturer will never allow that kind of mobility—why she doesn't understand this, I am shocked by, given her background and research.

She changes forced labor, maimings, chemical poisonings + worker deaths into “nothing you or I would want to do, but…” equivalency. And the framing totally omits the question of what multinational corporations owe to workers. There’s just consumers and workers in her view.

Worst part: she says she’s depoliticizing, interested only in humanizing the Chinese workers, which is a great calling. But by doing TED, framing it the way she has, and then broadcasting it on iPhone 5 launch day, she’s tech propaganda. Framed at TED, the message is “these people are fine…keep ignoring them. Enjoy your devices, proles!”

Deeply sad.