Safety nets, objects that protect you from harm and ensure that if a devastating fall happens to occur you will have a hopefully safe landing at the end of it. We see these at circuses, amazing shows of acrobatic feats and at amusement parts where people scream with joy and wonderment. We also see these at the Foxconn Factory in Shenzhen, China. This is not a center of enjoyment or amazement but rather this is a center that produces and assembles Apple products. And these nets are not there to catch falling factory materials or things of that sort; these nets are there to catch factory workers. Workers who have reach a point where they feel there is nowhere to go but down, down into the concrete that they hope will end their misery. Concrete that may end their 80 hour work weeks in which they never leave the factory and they are forces to sleep on concrete slabs on bedding with 15 other workers who all wish those nets were not there so they could put an end to the pain.
Mike Daisey told the chilling story of what life is like for Chinese workers in Shenzhen and the pain that these individuals endure on a daily basis to provide to the world Apple products. He spoke about the challenges and the troubles these individuals face while the world turns a blind eye. The injustices that these people face are the product of globalization and mass consumerism. The world we live in is so product and want driven that we have lost our sense of humanity and empathy for our fellow human beings. Daisey spoke about how there is an impression of how things are no longer hand made. This comment shows how disconnected the world is from the products we use and purchase. There are factory workers all through out Shenzhen breathing in toxic fumes to clean our iPhone screens, having their arms mangled by a faulty iPad machine and being blacklisted from employment for reporting owed pay checks and unfair hours.
It really is sickening as I sit here on my MacBook Pro and write about these factory workers because I now have a much better understanding of the pain and suffering that went into constructing this technological device. Kathy says at one point, “you hear stories, but you do not think it is going to be so much.” We’ve all heard the stories and have done little to nothing to help but hearing from someone who lives in China herself that she didn’t even know the true extent to which the suffering goes is mind-blowing. I hope that this blog reaches the eyes of someone who does not understand what is going on in places like Shenzhen and Foxconn so that they can take the appropriate steps to making a change happen. As a society we need to stand up to companies like Apple who employ 13 year old girls and force their employees to work at the same station for years at a time, effectively destroying their hands and in turn their opportunity at a future.