What is the real issue among these lies?

Jasmine-and-Liping-crashThe performance did a good job of depicting Mike Daisey’s performance, pointing out the lies, and also taking it a step further. Although it was confusing at some points in the production when the false statements that Daisey made were repeated, it became clear when the truth was revealed in the next scene.  I liked how different points of views and stories were incorporated however it would have been more powerful if the group made more of a powerful argument. The purpose of the production was a little ambiguous.  It seems like the purpose was to raise awareness of Mike Daisey’s lies as well as incorporate a background story of Apple. The most intriguing part of the production was the ending of the monologue when Bob recommends that Apple should give part of their dividends to their labor workers. I have never considered this, and I think it is a great idea! Apple’s cash levels are so high and the cheap labor in its supply chain would greatly appreciate and benefit from a dividend.

After watching China Blue, a film that shows the exploitation of cheap labor in China at a jean factory, and speaking with my Chinese professor, Professor Pusey, they verify many of the issues that Mike Daisey depicts in his dialogue.  China Blue shows that migrant workers are the “main producers of clothes and other commodities for Western consumers” (China Blue).  In both watching the film and talking with my professor, we discussed and I heard about the issues the manufacturing workers: low wages, poor working conditions, and poor lifestyles.  However, there was never really a concrete solution to these issues…until I heard Bob mention that Apple should devote part of its dividend to these workers in the “Un/real and un/true: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.”  This seems like a very feasible and effective solution. Apple would still continue to make superior profits and these workers as well as Apple’s other stakeholders would be greatly benefit.

Going in another direction…this past week I read “The Working Poor: Invisible in America” by David Shipler for my Human Resource Management class. As the title suggests, these workers go unnoticed or are simply forgotten in America. The book showed me that not only do manufacturing workers in China face poverty and poor working conditions, but there are people in America that face the same problem. The cheap wages they earn and the products they produce are integral to the prosperity of the American economy, just as the goods China produces and exports.  Thus the working poor is a worldwide issue across many industries.  It is not merely an issue with China or Apple.


7 comments on “What is the real issue among these lies?

  1. Thanks for revealing the fact that American workers are facing the same type of problems with working conditions as China. This reminds me of our notion of poverty. Many times I feel like America is concerned about helping poor people in developing countries, while forgetting and ignoring the poor people in our very own country. As discussed in class, 1/6 people in the United States suffer from hunger. Although I believe it is important to help other countries out with their problems, it is crucial for us to focus on our people as well.

  2. Hmmm…

    It is like the same forces of globalization that made it possible to find labor on the cheap in China, labor with no choice but to participate in their own race to the bottom of wages, also push labor wages down in the US. This is the kind of outcome that a Marxist critique would predict. The overall result is cheaper consumer products, often for Americans AND Chinese consumers (I think for the CHinese).

    But if Chinese population growth slows down, (it has), and the wages creep up such that it is also a consuming society, who will be China’s China?

  3. The dividend idea is a great gesture, but isn’t Apple known for using their massive amounts of cash for research and innovation? That pouring of money into new ideas is what brings people back to Apple and creates an obsessive customer for their products.

    • I think they paid out their first dividend ever recently. Which to me signaled that “like, we got no ideas left. Here, have some cash shareholders.”


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