It is scary to think that despite the fact technology is essential to my everyday life, I have never thought to think where it all comes from. People are concerned, or at least aware, about where clothes come from, if their coffee beans are free trade, if they are using green products and other aspects of their everyday consumer lives. But when it comes to the fastest growing industry, people rarely consider how their electronic devices were made.
Personally, I never thought about the roots of my electronics till my business class sophomore year when my teacher handed out an article about Foxconn and Apple. To be honest, I never heard of Foxconn even though they create one-third of the electronic we use. I assumed my electronics were made in some factory in China with complex machines I never have even seen. However, it takes an article about Foxconn putting nets on the side of their buildings to stop suicides to have me question the creation of electronics. This whole time people thousands of miles away working 15 hour shifts on minimum wage have created the majority of my electronics. It never occurred to me that they were like any other product: man made.
The circumstances Daisy explained in the factories made me ashamed to think that I never questioned my electronic devices. They closely monitor every move of the workers with cameras and staff looking over their shoulders. They force workers to stand all shift because they are “more efficient.” Factories demand quiet to ensure workers are working. The most horrific aspect of the factories to me was the dorms. Daisy described them as cement curbs that were stacked on top of one another so close that “none of us could actually fit in them.” These workers go through hell to obtain a minimum wage job that forces them to sleep in a crowded room where they can barely fit in their beds. Daisy even describes that when he was there an employee died because he was working a 34 hour shift.
The working conditions at Foxconn would never be accepted in the United States. By expanding labor overseas, we distanced ourselves from the ethical dilemma of fair labor. Especially in the tech industry, companies choose not to investigate and force suppliers to act morally. As Daisy said, companies and consumers “see what they want to see.” However, the way to stop these conditions is through companies demanding oversea suppliers to offer better working conditions. For example, Apple is starting to make a positive impact on Foxconn through demanding forcing them to offer counseling, numerous audits and constantly monitoring working conditions. Overall, people need to think critically about where electronics come from just like other consumer products. By doing this, people force companies like Apple, Dell, HP and other electronic companies to monitor and force suppliers to create better working conditions for employees.