Who Made Your iPod? Silicon Sweatshops

From the Global Post comes a five-part series called “Silicon Sweatshops” examining the supply chains behind gadgets like iPods, Nokia phones, Dell computers, and more:

Whether it’s your cherished iPhone, Nokia cell phone or Dell keyboard, it was likely made and assembled in Asia by workers who have few rights, and often toil under sweatshop-like conditions, activists say.

By the time a gadget reaches Apple’s flagship store in NYC, it may have passed through the hands of a heavily indebted Filipina migrant worker on the graveyard shift in Taiwan and a young Chinese worker clocking 80-hour weeks on an assembly line, at less than a dollar an hour.

Recent years have seen a drumbeat of reports on such abuses: Hourly wages below a dollar. Firings with no notice. Indifferent bosses. Labor brokers that leech away months of a worker’s hard-earned wages. A corporate shell game that leaves no one responsible.

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  • tonyviner

    I am keeping my iPods.

    The picture would be more convincing if the workers were not in front of sewing equipment.

    • trelektaus

      I agree, all I look at is pictures too. I don't know if you noticed. It's obvious that they poured some kind of pink paint on the picture too.

      • tonyviner

        See? I told your mom that you were not as inept as she said. A little faith can go a long way, huh?

  • http://brazilbrat.blogspot.com/ J. Smith

    What articles like this fail to mention is that, in those places, these are often the best opportunities available and people compete for these jobs.

    What about Americans working for $1.90 an hour? Does that sound horrible? Yes, as recently as 1965, that was a common starting wage and many people were happy t get it.

    And what about workers being paid even less and expected to make up the difference by being paid for how many pieces per week they finished? Yes, “Piece work” was very well paid for the day and people worked hard to be permitted to have a job that paid that way.

    what seems terrible to Americans in the current market was considered wonderful in their time. The same in developing nations today. Conditions that seem unacceptable are actually the best that can be had for them. And, like the rest of the world, it will change.

    • trelektaus

      I agree with your reasoning. Using how much the past sucked to make myself comfortable about doing nothing works every time. I guess I've just found the need to go further back in time.

      What about people working for -$1.90 an hour? I mean, as recently as 1864, in America it was common for people with darker skin to be owned by people with lighter skin and the people with lighter skin were happy to get it.

      And what about people being more or less expected to have their throats slit and bled on an altar until they finish? Yes, “Death work” was very well paid for the day and, if it hadn't been a one time job, people would have worked hard to be permitted to have a job that paid that way.

      What seems terrible to Americans in the current market was definitely wonderful in their time, so developing nations need to buck up and deal with it. And, like the rest of the developing world, provide America with high profits for top-of-the-line weaponry so they can sell it to the dictators of their countries.

    • Jonny Q.

      Whatever gets you through the night. Don't forget to take off your Nike's before you go to bed…..

      • James_Smith

        FYI, I do not and never have owned any Nike's or any other “Brand Name” shoes. Research has shown the less expensive brands do as well or better than expensive ones. Yes, I can furnish a citation for that. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7038884.stm ) I do not own an iPod, either.

        What I was trying to do is insert a note of “truthiness” into an otherwise heavily biased article. Apparently, that point was too subtle for some.

  • Anonymous

    FYI, I do not and never have owned any Nike’s or any other “Brand Name” shoes. Research has shown the less expensive brands do as well or better than expensive ones. Yes, I can furnish a citation for that. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7038884.stm ) I do not own an iPod, either.

    What I was trying to do is insert a note of “truthiness” into an otherwise heavily biased article. Apparently, that point was too subtle for some.

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