A Campaign To Stop Stephen Fry, Who Is Otherwise Wonderful, From Being An Idiot

A Campaign To Stop Stephen Fry, Who Is Otherwise Wonderful, From Being An Idiot

This is a guest post by Mike Daisey, who’s latest monologue, The Agony and Ecstacy of Steve Jobs, is at New York’s Public Theater through March 4. We highly recommend you go see it. It made Steve Wozniak cry. The post originally appeared here.

Stephen Fry, brilliant comedian, wonderful actor, and bon vivant just posted this in his Twitter feed:

A Campaign To Stop Stephen Fry, Who Is Otherwise Wonderful, From Being An Idiot

As a fellow raconteur it’s painful to have to confront Mr. Fry with this fact, but he’s being a total idiot.

He’s in good company—most of the Mac universe is in the midst of a massive propaganda campaign, trying to convince itself and the universe that the cognitive dissonance they are feeling at this moment isn’t real.

So you’re going to see some good people, like Mr. Fry, who happen to love their Apple products very much, say some horrible things because they don’t actually understand how to reconcile the beauty and grace of their wonderful Apple products with the unvarnished, verified truth of how they are produced.

Let’s take apart Mr. Fry’s tweet. First is this contention:

Less than 25% of Foxconn make Apple products, the rest is Dell, HP &c.

I see this all the time as a defense. It is actually the preferred defense of Mac fanboys and tech apologists of all stripes, and it’s pathetic.

Yes, Foxconn makes things for many different companies. Yes, conditions are terrible across the entire Special Economic Zone. But it is bizarre tech fannishness in the extreme to somehow think that because others are implicated in a crime that this somehow absolves Apple. It’s like a child being caught with their hand in a cookie jar pointing at other children and saying, “They did it too!”

Stephen is smart enough to recognize this, which is why he puts most of his weight in the Forbes article he links to. Now that popular consciousness is beginning to understand just how poorly Apple has lived up to the image it has always portrayed to the world, it was inevitable that there would be a round of articles claiming anyone in favor of safe workplaces and working standards to be a foolish opponent of global capitalism.

This one is from Tim Worstall, writing for Forbes. Mr. Worstall is a smart fellow, with good credentials, but he isn’t addressing the real issues in this post, because he knows if he engages with them directly, he will lose. Here’s his full article, and now I’ll go through it.

After admitting to the charges in the NYT articles, Mr. Worstall tips his hand by saying:

Well, yes, they’re poor people living in a poor country. That’s what being poor means, having to work extremely hard to make very little. Yes, that is a harsh thing to say but then reality can indeed be harsh.

First—may I say—daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. It is refreshing to see the neoliberal model laid out so glaringly. This must be the Forbes house style.

I do love that he said it, because it makes it so clear to refute: these are not just “poor people living in a poor country”. This is the economic engine in which all of our devices are made—we created that revolution over there, and we exported and created those jobs. We have a direct and clear ethical responsibility to create safe working environments for those people.

What’s disgusting here is the underbelly. The clear implication is that because these are “poor people living in a poor country” they don’t deserve safe working conditions, or working hours that don’t result in people dying on the production line, or factories that don’t have explosions that could be prevented. Because they are Chinese they deserve less working protection that we would afford Americans. It’s a nasty streak of thinly-veiled racism that underlies a lot of the neoliberal arguments: that the people who suffer in other parts of the world are less human than we are in the first world, and this ameliorates our responsibility to give these jobs the basic protections we believe in for American workers.

Then Mr. Worstall goes on to quote Mr. Krugman at great length, who has never shied away from talking about how much he loves sweatshops. He quotes pages and pages of his writing, but none of it actually engages with labor standards. None.

It is instead all about wages, which as I have argued for years do not have to be coupled to safe working conditions—when I challenged Nicholas Kristoff on this he had no effective response, because there is no defense.

So we are hearing from Krugman here because he has a Nobel prize, so it makes Mr. Worstall look as though he’s building an argument, but there’s nothing here.

Mr. Worstall then goes on to say:

But now to the specific complaints that are being made. There are three that are being repeated around the intertubes as being particularly outrageous.

The first issue he addresses are the suicides, by using the same discredited logic of playing with statistics that people used in mid-2010 to make themselves feel better. He writes:

Foxconn employs some 1 million people in total so, if the Foxconn workforce were to have the same suicide rate as the general Chinese population (which, to be accurate, it won’t for suicide is not equally divided over age groups and the workforce is predominantly young) we would expect to see 220 suicides among such a number each year.

We actually have an outcry therefore about a suicide rate which is under one tenth of the general suicide rate in the country under discussion. If people were being rational about this instead of spouting nonsense then this would be something that was praised, not vilified.

Yes, let’s give Foxconn a medal for their humanitarian work.

Trolls have been running this argument for almost two years now, and that doesn’t make it more true. Let me break it down:

1) Those numbers aren’t comprehensive. We have no idea what the actual suicide rate is at Foxconn—we only know a large number of people were throwing themselves off of the roof of the workplace, again and again. We have no idea how many more killed themselves in a more conventional manner. So that invalidates this argument from the top—the suicide rate could be lower or higher than “normal”, we have no idea.

2) Even if we ignore that we have no numbers, it isn’t the number of suicides—it’s the cluster. I talked about this on THIS AMERICAN LIFE — if people kill themselves over and over in the same dramatic way at their workplace, it means something. Dan Lyons took this apart here.

3) The NYT feature makes clear Foxconn’s culpability in failing to respond to attempts to implement measures that could prevent suicides, and obstruction of efforts. This is pertinent to any discussion of these suicides now…but all we get are statistics that have been tarted up to sound convincing. If you don’t address the particulars, you haven’t addressed anything.

Mr. Worstall goes on to his next charge:

The second is that there have been two explosions at separate plants, both involving aluminium dust, which have killed several and injured many more. Dealing with aluminium dust (which, if very fine and dispersed through the air, can be explosive) is indeed something which we’ve known how to deal with for near a century now.

However, knowing how to deal with this or any other industrial danger does not, regrettably, mean that it is always dealt with. To judge whether safety really is ignored at Foxconn we would like to, well, why not, compare it with US workplace safety?

He then uncorks a new set of statistics proving that more people die at American factories, and therefore Foxconn is a humanitarian wonder—perhaps they will be given a second, even bigger medal to go next to their first one.

This is an even stupider argument. The NYT piece talks about a huge number of human rights violations, many of which Apple cops to, and none of which Apple disputes. Mr. Worstall chooses not to address the excessive working hours, the exposure to toxic chemicals, the rampant abuse—instead he simply focuses on one raw statistic of how many people died at the workplace.

That makes a lot of sense. I’m sure that’s how most of us judge our workplaces is by the death rate. I’m sure that when Mr. Worstall took his position at Forbes, he checked to see what their death rate was, and was gratified to find that it was low.

Of course Forbes doesn’t work that way. No workplace functions that way. We assess our workplaces on a variety of factors to judge whether they are humane or not, many of which are detailed at length in the NYT stories Mr. Worstall is linking to. He is failing to address them because he has no answers, and if he ignores the arguments he can create his own fantasy.

Finally, Mr. Worstall says:

The final point is low pay.

Except that this is a straw man. No one who has done serious work in the area believes that low pay is a serious issue in this conversation. I don’t, the NYT features don’t — it’s a fantasy cooked up to discredit this movement for better labor standards.

A much bigger issue I’ve reported on, and covered by the NYT, is that people can’t get paid the money they are owed, and that excessive overtime is mandatory and continuous. Conveniently Mr. Worstall ignores this completely, and goes on for a number of paragraphs about an issue that is not related to the labor complaints people have been making against Foxconn for years.

The infographic reiterates points I have refuted above, though it is well laid out and uses nice fonts.

I would ask that people reading this message, if they feel it has merit, please forward to Mr. Fry via Twitter and his website. If you are feeling so inclined you can also contact Mr. Worstall and make him aware of this response, as I would love to see if he has anything to say.

My hope is that Mr. Fry, being the upstanding gentleman that he is, will see the inherent humanity in what I have presented here. It is hard to hear terrible news about a company that we all have a lot invested in—I have been a huge Apple fan my entire life—but I feel certain Mr. Fry has the kind of spirit and will to speak the truth when he is confronted with uncomfortable, but undeniable, fact.

Best regards, Mike Daisey.

Related
  • Jason Bartlett

    Puhleeze! Everything’s made in China these days. What are we supposed to do? Never buy ANYTHING ever again? I can’t save the world. I need to buy things. I don’t have the time to go around investigating every purchase I make to see if it’s socially responsible, be it my new bathmat, the chicken I ate for supper, or my Macbook. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it. 

  • Mike Dougan

    I’m in total agreement with Jason.

    I think you are being the idiot for posting this.

    You live comfortably in a western first world country, you understand noting about living in a third world country and you understand nothing about poverty, real, abject poverty. I regularly visit people who have no electricity, water comes from a hand pump. 40kms from the nearest road and even further to the nearest doctor or hospital. Not that, that matters as they could not afford the most basic of medicine. If that was you and you had an opportunity of a job in a Foxconn like factory, no matter the hardship’s of that job, you would take it over your existing hardships.

    I live in the Philippines and people would fight to get job’s in a factory like Foxconn’s. The poor Chinese also feel the same way, did you see the post the other day about the massive que of people applying for job’s at Foxconn?

  • davester13

    You’re just being a hit-whore.  The only reason why you even mention Apple in this article is because it gets you pageviews.  Replace Apple with any other name, and you get zero hits.

    The entire article seems to operate under the assumptions that 1) Apple has done nothing to improve workers working conditions, safety and wages in China, but rather is the sole cause of it and 2) everybody else doesn’t use these same factories or does much more than Apple to protect their workers.

    Apple is doing more to actually improve conditions for the people that make their products than 99.9% of all companies doing business in Asia.  In particular, they are doing more for those people than you are.

  • site7000

    I have to agree this is a stupid article. Neoliberal? What does that make you when you assume that people who are being treated poorly (by your standards) in a foreign country can be rescued by the all-powerful Americans? How’s that working out in the middle East? The US buys their oil and has endless resources, so why can’t we just whip them all into shape? And since Apple makes such a nice target for outrage-based journalism, why don’t we shame Apple into remaking the Chinese manufacturing system by themselves, without any help from their competitors who do the same thing or the US government or the US consumer and while you’re at it Apple, be sure not to charge us any Apple-tax for that because you have, wait for it, endless resources. Sheesh, juvenile much? Ah, well, outrage is a profitable profession nowadays, much more so than actual journalism, so I’m probably just feeding the beast here.

  • TheMacAdvocate

    The number of other manufacturers that use Foxconn is not some “pathetic” justification; it’s a statement of fact. Apple’s problem is the industry’s problem. Apple, however, has supply chain audit and training programs that are the most comprehensive in consumer electronics, and they report on what they find. Companies like Microsoft think belching policy statements and offering whistleblower hotlines is all they need to do. Companies not based in the U.S. are even more egregious in their inaction. 

    The statistics relating to the Foxconn suicides are relevant because it’s one of the media’s darling children. Citing the rate relative to the country’s average is a response. 

    Your cherry-picking criticism is predictably short on answers and your obnoxious moral high ground rhetoric is as grating to read as I imagine it would be to witness in person, something I don’t plan on doing. 

  • Fred Lewis

    Mike Daisy is no anonymous blogger – he is the guy behind the monologue “The Agony and Ecstacy of Steve Jobs”… 

    This is, of course, no excuse for the fact that Mr. Daisy is just another attention whore of drastic proportions who is trying to profit from all things Apple and generate more asses in the seats for his diatribe before it closes in March…

    Typical modern-day hypocrite who only seeks to increase the thickness of his own wallet by crying about the injustices of the 3rd world – or in this case the manufacturing bases of Asia…

  • Mike_Daisey

    Well, you sound like an idiot, but I will give you points for being straightforward about it.

  • Mike_Daisey

    The fact that were I in different circumstances that I might want to work at Foxconn in no way changes the fact that they should be following basic labor standards.

    And if you are in total agreement with Jason, then you are also an idiot.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Google me. I’m quite aware of precisely what Apple has done in the past, and I’ve dedicated the last couple of years to talking about it. I address point 2) in the actual piece itself, so I’m feeling a little doubtful of your reading comprehension. 

    But you do have your excellently sourced figure for Apple being superior to 99.9% of the other companies in Asia. Maybe I should reconsider everything?

    Unless…that is just a random number you have pulled out of your ass?

  • Mike_Daisey

    My name is MIKE DAISEY. It is at the beginning of the post, and at the end, where I sign it. I’d address the rest, but it’s such shit that it’s even worse than the other posts I have wasted time replying to so far.

  • NORCALTOO

    …and the “CULT OF MAC” becomes the voice of the “CULT OF MICE”

  • aardman

    Hear, hear.  I lean left myself but I’m tired of these limousine liberal scolds who are totally ignorant about conditions for the poor masses in the third world but feel they can speak authoritatively about how to help them.

  • Ryu

    Sometimes I wish some westerners, especially Americans, can stop being the idiots they are and STOP JUDGING ASIANS WITH YOUR SO-CALLED STANDARDS. The world isn’t just about America and its sometimes-silly citizens. This issue always pisses me (and other Asians) off. Why do you think Asians are always up in arms when America tries to build another base in Asia? 

    We are not the same people, WE DO NOT WANT YOUR SO-CALLED STANDARDS. 

    And to say that the Cult of Mac site is deteriorating with nonsensical posts in recent years is an understatement.

  • NORCALTOO

    It seems as if everyone here is an idiot since no one is taking your position.
    A clue…? perhaps… 

  • Mike Dougan

    Fuck you Mike Daisy, as many other have stated here your an attention whore.

  • Nathan Myers

    Nice try. But in the end its up to Foxconn and the Chinese government to do something about it. Apple can merely say they are doing something about it and not much else. In the end 80% of the Foxconn workers would be happy as hell with their wages. I think the ‘western world’ thinks that they should be paid like them for what they do when in reality what they earn now is probably far above average.

    Shut up, move on and go back to your stageplays.

  • Mike_Daisey

    They aren’t my standards—they’re actually the labor standards in CHINA that aren’t being adhered to. You may want to read some of the articles you are commenting on, like the NYT story.

  • Mike_Daisey

    They aren’t my standards—they’re actually the labor standards in CHINA that aren’t being adhered to. You may want to read some of the articles you are commenting on, like the NYT story.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Perhaps it says something about Apple apologists. 

  • Mike_Daisey

    Well, my name is spelled wrong and you are using the wrong “you’re”, so I’ll take your insult for what it’s worth, honey.

  • aardman

    Every time you buy something that was built in a third world country, you are not denigrating their workforce, you are providing jobs for people who would otherwise be living at subsistence levels, some literally scratching at the earth for food to eat.

  • Mike_Daisey

    If only the person posting this crap had gone to China and investigated these situations and interviewed hundreds of workers! 

  • aardman

    Foxconn may not be the perfect employer, but they have provided middle-class jobs for 1 million people who would otherwise be living in poverty, and I mean real undernourished, poorly sheltered, short life span, third world poverty.  In doing so, Foxconn has done far more to help alleviate poverty then Mike Daisey and his stupid white guilt play could ever do.

    I’m not saying Foxconn and Apple can’t do better but making them out to be Satan’s spawns is just over-the-top inaccurate and unfair.

  • Mike_Daisey

    “The number of other manufacturers that use Foxconn is not some “pathetic” justification; it’s a statement of fact. Apple’s problem is the industry’s problem.”

    Some sanity! This I agree with. I only think it’s pathetic when it’s used as an excuse for inaction.

    “Apple, however, has supply chain audit and training programs that are the most comprehensive in consumer electronics, and they report on what they find. Companies like Microsoft think belching policy statements and offering whistleblower hotlines is all they need to do. Companies not based in the U.S. are even more egregious in their inaction.”

    I don’t think after the NYT feature we can be so terribly impressed with Apple’s standards in terms of how they are actually implemented on the ground, but you are right about the dismal state of the industry as a whole.

    “The statistics relating to the Foxconn suicides are relevant because it’s one of the media’s darling children. Citing the rate relative to the country’s average is a response.”

    Did you read my letter? The statistics aren’t relevant because they have no connection to anything–we don’t know how many suicides there were at Foxconn, just how many people publicly leaped off buildings and were reported as such. That’s why that number means nothing related to the country’s suicide rate, along with all that I said about clusters.

    “Your cherry-picking criticism is predictably short on answers and your obnoxious moral high ground rhetoric is as grating to read as I imagine it would be to witness in person, something I don’t plan on doing.”

    Jeremiah, I went through that Forbes article and took it apart, piece by piece. If anything I was the opposite of cherry-picking–I was painfully through. The only moral ground I have is standing up for basic labor standards, which is something I think we should all be willing to stand up for. 

  • Mike_Daisey

    What the fuck does this even mean? And why did someone like it?

  • Mike_Daisey

    Hey, Chief Steve Jobs Worshipper–the labor standards that I’d like to see Foxconn follow ARE THE ONES ON THE BOOKS IN CHINA. They are China’s “so called standards”?

    So do you have another objection, or are we done here?

  • Mike_Daisey

    We exported the jobs, and choose to not export the basic labor standards that we’d established for them. Apple agrees that it shares responsibility for that, which is why it does the reporting that it does–but it has been greviously negligent and needs to be held accountable to do more. People who shrug with apathy are part of the problem.

    And I was clear that this wasn’t about pay. Once again, it appears to be another person in this thread who can’t read.

  • Mike_Daisey

    People in that workforce deserve a humane workplace. Apple says it believes that—do you?

  • Ryu

    You obviously have no idea how Asia works. And no, I refuse to feed this any longer. 

    Cult of Mac? More like Cult of Mad Mike for this particular post. And I’m saying this as a follower of the site for years.

  • Mike_Daisey

    You have caught me! I am not an anonymous blogger! How did you know? Was it my FUCKING NAME IN THE POST, CLEARLY STATING WHO I WAS?

    And you’ve obviously figured out my plan to become INSANELY RICH working in the AMERICAN THEATER, performing monologues about SOCIAL JUSTICE. If only you hadn’t outed me! I was about to be rolling, ROLLING in MONEY! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Adam Gillitt

    hey Guest Post MIKE DAISEY- every response you make to people’s comments undermines your bloviating and makes you, who is not otherwise wonderful, appear to be a total idiot.

  • lkahney

    Not true at all. Apple has a huge responsibility here to lead reforms. This is akin to the Victorian era, when children were mangled in cotton gins. Tim Cook needs to step up and transform the way goods are made.

  • Mike_Daisey

    You would be an embarrassment to Steve Jobs with your weak kung fu.

  • lkahney

    It’s a guest post because the way the site is set up — Mike is not an author in the system, which means he doesn’t have a byline. There’s nothing underhand here: the first par clearly identifies who he is.

    Buying Apple’s products does not make you complicit in the way the company treats its offshore workers. But keeping your mouth shut is. This is how we are involved in Apples decisions. As long as we’re silent, we’re complicit. 

    As consumers, we have a duty to put pressure on Apple. Or at least, I feel that way. I don’t feel guilty buying Apple’s products, but I would if I kept my mouth shut. The best thing you can do is speak up. Force Apple to reform the supply chain. Hold your head high.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Yes, Foxconn may not be the perfect employer. And you seem to agree that Foxconn and Apple can do better. So we actually appear to have some agreement–can I get an amen?

    The fact that jobs at Foxconn are better than life in the rural Chinese countryside is not at all unknown to me. But it isn’t an excuse for the rampant abuses that are being reported. You don’t get a pass that way–no one should.

    And I’m not saying anyone is “Satan’s spawn”—I’m just referencing the verified, reported facts. They are unpleasant, but they have to be dealt with.

  • ShoyuWeenie

    Way to go DOUCHE!

  • ShoyuWeenie

    You DOUCHE!

  • Robert Glover

    The only way to make a true difference there is to elevate the whole country (China) to a better level.  To do that means we need to put appropriate diplomatic pressure on them and eliminate the Communist government that is keeping everybody down.  Until that happens, these situations will continue to exist.  And we can’t do that as long as our own government is in cahoots with them, and we continue to double down on our national debt, most of which is held by China.

    The reason the US is (or more accurately was, thanks again to the current administration’s pandering to the have-nots) such a great place is because it allowed freedom of innovation.  Now instead we’re heading in China’s direction with increased regulation and the spreading notion that anybody who has worked hard and made something of themselves is evil and “owes” it to those who have less.  This is utter BS because if you want it bad enough, work your butt off and get it. Dont expect somebody else to give it to you.

    The people of Foxconn are working their butts off the only way they know how.  Conditions will improve when the market conditions change.

  • ShoyuWeenie

    Provide some links with these standards DOUCHE!

  • lkahney

    Mike isn’t making Apple out to be Satan’s spawn. See his stage play. He clearly demonstrates he’s a fan, a huge fan. That’s why it’s so devastating. He loves Apple. He loves the products. But he can’t square this with the way Apple’s products are made. 

    Mike doesn’t deny that Apple is trying to make reforms. It’s just not trying very hard. It’s leading the pack, which says it all. Apple needs to do more; and we need to demand it does more.

  • jamesbarsby

    It’s very easy to point out all the problems in the world, but what exactly do you want Apple to do that they aren’t doing already?

    They are far more committed the improving working conditions than any other tech company I’ve seen… and it’s a valid point that the media is singling them out, when they should be looking at the others, who really don’t care about making things better.

    At the end of the day if Apple just stopped using Foxconn, things would be worse for everyone. The only other option is to try and get Foxconn to improve… and that is what they are doing. If you have some other solution, please share it with the world, Mr holier than thou.

  • Nick Roth

    Mike Daisey, I’m only posting here in the hope that you’ll be slightly less depressed after going through these comments. (I’m amazed that you’re even replying to some of this idiotic vitriol.) Your piece is wonderful. It’s especially useful here, on Cult of Mac, and I’m glad they’ve published it. I admit I am surprised at the stupidity of the responses you’re getting. But only slightly. (You may in future have to preface your articles with some basic lessons in logic.) Good luck to you and keep up the good work.

  • Mike_Daisey

    THEY ARE IN THE ARTICLE. ABOVE. And the NYT series. When you do the research, you’ll understand.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Eh. Maybe. It’s true that when you roll around with pigs, you end up dirty. But you have to understand—I am a huge Apple fan. I read this site, and a ton of the other sites like it. So for me, it’s heartbreaking to watch very smart, savvy mac users be utterly on the wrong side of history. So every once in a great while I feel compelled to get in the trough and try to talk it out. 

    I can tell it isn’t going all that well.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Robert, I do think that China’s authoritarian and fascist government is a huge part of the problem, but to reform labor standards on the ground requires us to get Apple to care enough to take real action with Foxconn and the other subcontractors. It is simply not true that our hands are tied until the Chinese government is utterly changed–and the conditions of the people at Foxconn will not improve when market conditions change, because the problem here is labor standards, not pay.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Like the NYT article says: if Apple had been serious about reform at Foxconn, it would have happened four years ago. I expect Apple to be the industry leader it had always claimed to be, to stand up and make me proud of them again.

    Personally, I think they should take the 5% of their 100 billion dollar war chest that some are calling for a dividend payout from, and put that into a foundation to transform how electronics are made across their entire supply chain. That would be such a serious move that it would have drastic and long-lasting effects for millions of workers, and change the face of these workplaces forever.

    That would be real leadership.

  • Adam Gillitt

    Nope, it’s not going well at all for you.

    Perhaps if you weren’t such a pompous, self-centered ass? News flash: you do not possess the greatest intellect in the known galaxy. Addressing everyone as if you might negates the validity of any point you try to make. If you had written your screed in an objective way, and your responses to people’s comments too, you might get some positive response. But when you call everyone who expresses an opinion that is not exactly yours “apple apologists” you show that you have a far more closed little mind than your intended audience. 
    Your article and your responses to people sound like nothing more than an angry child with half a clue begging for attention..

  • Mike_Daisey

    Adam, I didn’t post this at Cult of Mac–Leander wanted to, so I said to go ahead. It was written for the rest of the world, where the fact that the NYT feature makes it absolutely clear how heinous Apple’s behavior has been. Here in Macverse people like to pretend that didn’t happen, or perhaps that isn’t real–whatever helps people get by. So yeah—if I was sculpting it for this audience, I might have been softer and gentler.

    At the same time, this is supposed to be a community of sharp people who love design, can think on their feet, and theoretically have great taste. So I also think people need to be treated like adults, and that means reading arguments that aren’t always going to make them happy.

    You complain that my letter isn’t “objective”…but I’m just referencing the NYT stories that have landed in the last few weeks. They sit alongside human rights groups reports from the last decade, my reporting fact checked by TAL, and a growing mountain of evidence. 

    So when I get to read some asshat in Forbes dismiss all this as pointless, I am not going to take them apart gently. That time is over. We’re now in the realm of straight-up denialism, and there’s no need to coddle idiots like that Forbes writer.

    And I didn’t call everyone here an Apple apologist—I believe I used that epithet once, in a comment that looks like it has now been flagged or moderated out of existence, about one particular idiot. 

    Finally–it’s sad that you were such a jerk here to me, Adam. You insulted me, and I responded with total honesty and openness. And then you shit on me a second time.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Thank you, Nick. That means a lot tonight–I haven’t posted here in a long time, and as I was saying below, the only reason I would do this is because I do believe that if the tech community were able to see the good it could do for simple, humane labor conditions it would understand that it could be an incredible force for greatness. I guess I am an optimist on some level, because I want to believe that there are tech communities out there who will understand that we can help Apple, and the world, by advocating for the right things.

    Thanks again. I appreciate it.

  • Adam Gillitt

    What’s sad is that you don’t get it. “Written for the rest of the world?” “Here in Macverse people like to pretend that didn’t happen, or perhaps that isn’t real–whatever helps people get by?” “Some asshat in Forbes?”

    Being condescending just makes you look like more of an idiot. You know the old saying “Better to keep your mouth shut when people think you’re an idiot than to open it and prove them right?” Try it on for size.

  • UncaughtException

    Hey Mike Daisy. Nobody will care when iPhone 5 is launched. Not even you. See you in line.

  • Mike_Daisey

    EDIT: A new tactic! You edit your posts after the fact, so that you can include things you didn’t think of the first time around. Adam, if I didn’t know better, I would think you were being disingenuous.

    I’ll address all three things you take issue with:

    “Written for the rest of the world?”–Yes, because most people who do not have a strong vested interest in Apple as fans recognize the seriousness of these labor issues. The landscape is different out there than it is in the tech bubble right now.

    “Here in Macverse people like to pretend that didn’t happen, or perhaps that isn’t real–whatever helps people get by?”

    Yes, Adam. You can see that happening, in spades, in this thread. I’m not apologizing for telling the truth.

    “Some asshat in Forbes?”

    The guy is an asshat. It’s clearly descriptive. I have no idea why you can’t abide any language with teeth–after all, you keep insulting me freely, so that can’t be the problem.

    “You know the old saying “Better to keep your mouth shut when people think you’re an idiot than to open it and prove them right?”

    That sounds like the kind of thinking that resulted in tech journalists not doing their jobs year after year, so that it took the NYT to dig in an expose the issues at Foxconn.

    ***Here’s what I wrote before Adam’s re-edit***

    Well, you managed to respond to nothing I wrote and you insulted me again.

    It’s kind of crazy. You seem like a nice guy from your twitter and website. Do you really talk to people like this in the real world? You even have a picture for your avatar, which doesn’t look like the face of an asshole.

    You do understand that I haven’t said a single negative thing to you? And that you’ve refused to engage with or answer any of my questions–like this idea that I needed to be more “objective”, which I took the time to really answer for you.

  • tedgoranson

    Really. I’m with Fry. The conditions in Shenzhen and Shanghai aren’t what we would like. 

    And there is some worker exploitation going on regarding safety. But you are imposing your notions of comfort where you should not. Go there. Talk to people and get a feel for why they flock to the factories. 

  • Mike_Daisey

    <comment restored!=”"></comment>

  • Mike_Daisey

    <post restored=”"></post>

  • Mike_Daisey

    (My post has been restored below)

  • Mike_Daisey

    Well, that’s hateful. And untrue. And misspelled. Three strikes!

  • Mike_Daisey

    I DID GO THERE. You can listen to my journey on THIS AMERICAN LIFE.

    And the standards I would like them to aspire to ARE THE ONES ON THEIR OWN BOOKS ALREADY. IN CHINA.

  • Daibidh

    I really do believe Apple has done more than most in improving the lives of those in their supply chain but more could be done… a lot more.  

    We should be requiring the same minimum labor standards imposed on NAFTA partners in the production of every imported product.  If producers don’t comply, do what China does on all American products and tariff the CRAP out of them.This will drive up the cost of imported products considerably and will require a complete rethink of our current “disposable consumerism” attitudes.  It really is the right thing to do… not only for the Chinese but for ourselves as well.  Global trade requires equitable terms.  We placed our lust for cheap imports before our own ability to compete fairly.

    The next Apple revolution should be in globalized manufacturing.  If anyone can do it, they can.

  • atimoshenko

    Generally excellent article, but I have one thing to note.

    To the best of our current economic data and understanding, economic development – the (eventual) lifting of millions of people out poverty – only happens if its pace is appropriately set. If the pace is set too slow, obviously little happens, but if the pace is set to fast the system also breaks down. Income growth, in other words, must be smooth and cannot have big discontinuities. Furthermore, economic development is important. Poorer countries are not just like rich countries, but with smaller houses and fewer cars – many, many social problems have their roots directly in stress and abuse caused by low income levels. Think back to life in the US and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, for instance.

    Is this all to excuse Apple, to suggest that things will work themselves out, or to encourage forgetting the problem? No it is not. The situation is atrocious, and it was Apple’s choice to become involved in this atrociousness. Moreover, given its prominence and profits, the company is particularly well-positioned to influence things for the better. However, for the sake of those people suffering, it also behooves us to avoid magical thinking when considering how we can best contribute to the improvement of conditions. There is no clean and fast-acting solution to the poor conditions that Chinese workers face, particularly if the goal is to have improved living conditions in the entire country (and, indeed, in the rest of the developing world), as opposed to simply having some electronic widgets we do not have to feel too guilty about. For instance, Foxconn is already talking about introducing “an army of robots”. What happens if it decides to accelerate its introduction in response to increased Western pressure, and ends up cutting employment in the industrial sector before a large middle class can develop in China? Would we be happy with a robotically produced iPhone and a billion people sent back to subsistence farming? Ideals are worthless if they end up causing more suffering than they cure. Our response to this must be resolute but cautious.

  • davester13

    Ah yes, the always popular “spend somebody else’s money to fix something you are concerned about”.  I’m sorry Apple doesn’t have enough magic pixie dust to fix all the problems you’ve found in the world.

    Would you have penned this story about Apple if it didn’t happen to be the pick of the litter right now?  Why haven’t you penned articles about all the companies that haven’t even bothered to try to improve working conditions?  Or is it Apple’s responsibility to give them a couple more billion so they can also improve their worker-bees?

    Magic pixie dust for everybody!

  • Mike_Daisey

    Now this is the kind of post that actually makes me glad I took the time to engage with the Mac community.

  • Adam Gillitt

    What might make for a thrilling in-person performance does not translate at all to a persuasive article. Clearly you’re used to being the center of attention, and not hearing dissenting opinions or criticism when you speak. I’m sure you ignore bad reviews, too. But when you are on a soapbox to point out what might very well be a valid point, you might want to trim the snark, the snide comments, and the belittling of opposing views. Otherwise you end up obfuscating any point you try to make behind your insults, self-righteousness and thinly-veiled contempt.

    On a more positive note, thanks for stalking me, glad you like my face so much :) 

    WARNING! APPLE APOLOGY FOLLOWS:

    Sorry that’s not the body part on offer for you to kiss.

  • Dante Fiero

    I completely agree with most of what was said here, but I also understand why people are getting defensive and resorting to the “They did it too” mentality. This has been turned into an Apple issue, when in reality it is an issue with the world of technological manufacturing. If you buy a smart phone, computer, tablet, e-reader, or game console, guess what? Foxconn probably made it. If people genuinely care about this issue, why are they still stringing Apple up on the cross and not even bothering to mention the dozen or so other American companies that hire Foxconn to build their products? The original NY Times article does make reference to a few of them, but they all lie within one short sentence hidden in the middle of a rather long article. Do people think that condemning Apple alone is going to transform the way the entire industry runs?

    And let’s not kid ourselves into believing this is a new issue. It’s common knowledge that the clothing/fashion industry often uses cheap labor in the form of sweatshops, and plenty of other industries are guilty of the same thing. Which brings me to the same question: are people really seeking justice, or do they just want to hate on Apple?

    Don’t get me wrong. It’s pretty clear that Apple is culpable here. But so are plenty of other companies that so far are not getting any share of the blame.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Actually, it’s “spend the responsible parties money on the abusive situation they willfully ignored, which if it had happened in America would result in jail time for everyone involved”. 

    “Would you have penned this story about Apple if it didn’t happen to be the pick of the litter right now?”

    I’ve been working on this for over three years.

    “Why haven’t you penned articles about all the companies that haven’t even bothered to try to improve working conditions?”

    I don’t “pen” articles, but I’ve been clear in my work about how all electronics is implicated in the SEZ…and I focus on Apple because I’ve been a huge Apple fan my entire life. I mean, let’s be honest–why the fuck would I even know where this site is if I was not?

    “Or is it Apple’s responsibility to give them a couple more billion so they can also improve their worker-bees?”

    Apple has done such a criminal job of its own responsibilities that I don’t think we have to worry about them doing “too much” for quite some time.

    And they aren’t “worker bees”. They are human beings, and they deserve safe workplaces. 

  • Daibidh

    It’s OK.  Those with a shred of intelligence won’t be fooled into thinking it’s just Apple.  I do hope the negative press puts more of a fire under Cook to start thinking outside the box on this issue and really take the lead in finding a viable solution.

  • Mike_Daisey

    I replied to this earlier, but it has been removed. I guess this is a little like China…or like Apple’s own discussion boards.

  • Mike_Daisey

    <post hallelujah!=”" restored.=”"></post>

  • Mike_Daisey

    I replied to this earlier, but it has been removed. I guess this is a little like China…or like Apple’s own discussion boards.

  • Mike_Daisey

    I was just surprised from you were so vicious here, and I was wondering what kind of person did that. It’s really quite sad.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Absolutely–I talk to people nightly, and everyone knows it is not just Apple.

  • CamilloMiller

    You completely got me until you mentioned Dan Lyons. That’s the worst thing you could do – show that some have-pen-will-write shadow of a journalist is confirming your thesis. Anyway, you’re mostly right, and we need people like you, Mr Daisey. What I don’t like is that Apple is too often pinpointed as the ONLY evil and greedy company out there. Your expedient of using its exposure to gain attention on the subject is ok, I guess. The problem is that it’s also a weapon on the hands of competitors (that do the same, or maybe even worst), fandroids and other subjects that would like to see Apple crumble down just out of envy and ignorance.

  • tedgoranson

    Yes, I heard you on NPR. It was effective theater, even though in that piece you did not mention the worst: the endemic sexual abuse.

    Things are not as good as they could be and Apple should enforce its own policies. But Apple DOES have them. Likely you will help in that, and make some things better for some people.My two points:

    — If you had stayed and studied the people, I think you will find that conditions overall are such that factory life is a desirable alternative. Apple’s suppliers exist in a stew of oppression and understanding that stew would have been responsible journalism.

    Also, in these parts of the world, rumors and conspiracy theories have force that it takes a long time to appreciate. I am sure most of what you report is fact, but confident that some is not (based on what I heard you report on NPR vice my own experience) .

    — Singling out Apple makes for a good show, and it is likely they will actually do something. But they are a drop in the ocean. I bet that in your house you have scores of items ‘assembled’ in China and other developing economies. And that you have thousands of products with materials mined in much more revolting conditions.

    If you want to make a difference, target HomeDepot and Walmart. Start at Long Beach and follow the ships back. I believe you’ll find much, much worse conditions and deniable contractual relationships.

  • Forest Walker

    OH NO! Overtime and poor working conditions! Because life without a job and outside a factory is so damned pleasant in these countries?

    More overtime, I want my iPhone 5 asap.

  • Al

    The workers at Foxconn live under a communist dictatorship. It is difficult to protest or speak out or fight for your rights. It is not 19th century Britain where unions can change the country for the working man.

    If people in the west do not pressure Foxconn and the Communist government, then NO ONE will.

  • nolavabo

    Back to the original point of the article. You are parsing Mr Fry’s tweet in a given way. I interpret it in a different way. To me, it seems that the purpose of *his* text is to point out that Foxconn assembles for many companies other than Apple. This is a valid point to make, as the media tends to frequently refer to it as the “iPhone maker” or similar, without pointing it that is a provider of contract assembly. For example, the recent threat of mass suicide was covered in some pieces without mentioning that they worked in the Xbox assembly plant, but still naming Apple. This tweet is important in countering that point.

    However, which brings us to the most important point, and one that I have not seen anybody address, yourself included Mr Daisey. How many of the suicides were at plants that built Apple products vs plants that produced others. This, I believe, is more salient. If your point is that Apple should lead by example, then this most obvious of data points must first be established.

    The iPad polishing plant explosions, however, are simply indefensible.

  • Mike Dougan

    Leander,

    The fact that you are supporting the author of this article is the final straw for me with Cult of Mac. The standards of articles here has declined considerably in the past six months to link bait like this… I hope many of your other readers take the same decision.

  • PlatformAgnostic

    I wouldn’t worry Mike. I can’t understand why Adam is being such a twat either. I didn’t see anything in your article to warrant how he has responded to you, or why he’s personalized it to the degree he has.

  • Daniel Hertlein

    Well done, sir. The point of these criticism shouldn’t be to vilify Apple exclusively for working conditions that are for all practical purposes industry standards, but to improve those standards across the board. These attempts by fanboys to whitewash workplace abuses just because they take place in Apple factories or because Apple is often unfairly singled out are misguided. 
    Apple gets called out first because of it’s incredible success in the world market. You pay the cost to be the boss. 
    I’m probably not going to stop buying Apple products because I spent most of my life interacting with computers and I have too much invested in the Apple platform to switch easily. And it’s not like it’s any better in the PC world. That doesn’t mean I don’t have an obligation to hold Apple accountable. Especially since they have the highest profit margins in the industry and are in the best position to lead the charge toward safer working conditions for all people. 

  • Kolin O’ Brien

     How would you know either way? Clown!

  • Aj Tk427

    Agreed, why is it bad for Mr. Fry to point out that it’s not only Apple that has products manufactured by Foxxcon, but almost every major Tech company, but then Yay to the New York post for pointing out the poor working conditions to build your iPhone and iPad.

    I think it’s complete BS, look ate very product that you have wether it’s tech, a toy or clothes, and if it was made overseas then chances are the working conditions were sub standard.

  • Aj Tk427

    Then why not out the NYT for their article? Yes draw off the fact that Apple is a major player, but the article should have been a generalization of the shit working conditions that are involved to get us our gadgets, whether it’s Dell, HP, Samsung whoever, not just Apple.

  • Charlie Steinmetz

    Well, I’d like to make a couple of points. First, NYT did focus almost exclusively on Apple. Instead, if they hadn’t named all the Apple products in a row, but instead added an HP laptop, Azus notebook, Dell “whatever it is they sell”. Then it would be clearer that this is an INDUSTRY problem not an Apple problem, and guess what, people might actually be able to put this issue into better focus.

    Let’s get to the core reason that the governments locally don’t protect the citizens they are created to protect like the US Government does for citizens of the USA. Why on earth doesn’t the NYT even begin to question why the Chinese government doesn’t protect Chinese citizens. My gosh, they have a huge standing army, just pushed out their first aircraft carrier. I’m assuming these military establishments are there to “protect” the Chinese citizens, right???

    Why on earth do Americans have to do what the Chinese government will not????????

    And the real reason, because China wants these jobs. Just look at what they are doing in the field of alternative energy. Wiping out solar energy firms around the world by predatory pricing policies. China wants these jobs and wants to dominate these future industries.

    If the USA wanted to fix this, then raising tariffs on goods produced in China is the way to go. Figure out the cost differential if China had laws to protect workers, had laws to protect the environment, had laws to prevent child labor from being exploited. No one has the will to do this, and expecting Apple to single handily to do this is like expecting Poland to defeat Germany at the beginning of WWII. Tariffs might make it economically feasible to move the manufacturing to a place where workers rights are protected. Look at the plants that Foxconn is building in Brazil. Why expand in Brazil, because there are extremely high tariffs on imported products. There is no other infrastructure there or logistical reason to move into Brazil.

  • Knows It All

    Now who ever said you – Mike Daisey – ever were removed from the pig trough?  It appears you are (correctly!) totally involved in residing there, having earned that dwelling place!

  • Tiby Csapo

    Hear hear! What is it about Americans always trying to force their views and opinions on others, without giving other countries the respect they deserve to run themselves, their way? The claim that the West “created” this situation is the highest conceit! This denies Asia the capacity and ability to think for themselves and decide what they will do.

    Every Asian person I have known has been a hard-working, dedicated individual, and it appears those in Asia itself are for the most part the same. The Western attitude of entitlement and superiority at the cost of responsibility is not necessarily shared by those in other cultures.

    Yes, human rights need to be maintained and protected, which is very important, but not at the expense of the sovereignty of other countries and their citizens.

    As for Cult of Mac, ever since you started “Cult of Android”, I’ve found this site slipping and losing all credibility. “Cult of Mac” was a playful pun based on one of the myths of Apple fans, but “Cult of Android”, on an Apple site? That is just desperate. 

  • Tiby Csapo

    Hear hear! What is it about Americans always trying to force their views and opinions on others, without giving other countries the respect they deserve to run themselves, their way? The claim that the West “created” this situation is the highest conceit! This denies Asia the capacity and ability to think for themselves and decide what they will do.

    Every Asian person I have known has been a hard-working, dedicated individual, and it appears those in Asia itself are for the most part the same. The Western attitude of entitlement and superiority at the cost of responsibility is not necessarily shared by those in other cultures.

    Yes, human rights need to be maintained and protected, which is very important, but not at the expense of the sovereignty of other countries and their citizens.

    As for Cult of Mac, ever since you started “Cult of Android”, I’ve found this site slipping and losing all credibility. “Cult of Mac” was a playful pun based on one of the myths of Apple fans, but “Cult of Android”, on an Apple site? That is just desperate. 

  • Killer_Kadoogan

    http://www.globallabourrights….
    http://asia.cnet.com/blogs/mic

    Must have missed the widespread outrage and the monologues over these stories.

    I would agree that Apple probably could and should do more, but all of the companies that use this type of labour (some of whom use factories in which conditions are far worse) for their goods need to step up. Before anyone comes up with that tired and pathetic response, no that is clearly not trying to justify Apple’s use of Foxconn. I agree things should be better, but taking the lazy option like Mike has to just pick on the one company that will get him most publicity only enables the same old anti-Apple crowd to act like hypocritical f**kwits and accuse iPhone owners of enabling child labour, when they happily own and use a load of other products that have been made in worse conditions.

    This must be opened up to include all companies, whatever industry they are in, who use these factories. That is how you might actually get some serious progress on this issue. As long as journalists etc only write about Apple and turn a blind eye to all the others, I can only conclude they care more about their own self-publicity and sales figures than the chinese they claim to care about.

  • Tombo

    What’s the deal with all the “Flagged for Reviews?” It’s kind of annoying.

    Anyway, Mike, good work volleying with all the vitriol. I love Apple products to. I came over during the Intel switch. I write apps and the whole bit.

    Bottom line for me: a wrong is being committed against humanity. One can either acknowledge it or try to justify it under the rug. I acknowledge it and I would like to see Apple do something about it. Why Apple instead of the other tech companies? I believe Apple is a step above all the tech companies that came after it. In my eyes, they aren’t cold calculating bottom liners uncaring of the collateral damage their conquest creates. I hope I’m not wrong.

    Also, what’s a neoliberal? I haven’t read that term before.

  • koopapoopas

    Just more fake blogger outrage for hits.  

    A bunch of dicks like Gizmodo, Dan Lyons, and other entertainers who make money out of Apple-outrage, care about Chinese kids all of a sudden?  Yeah right!  Apple may be a shark, but these dudes are remoras.

    Yes.  Apple is not innocent.  And I’m not innocent since I knew about this kind of labor for years.  I try to avoid lead painted toys and sweatshop clothing from China.  It gets tougher all the time when you don’t know if something made in USA has metal ore and child labor from a developing country for it’s parts.

    Even if I only wear bespoke suits and buy British stereo equipment, there’ll still be some Chinese manufacturing somewhere in there.

    Instead of White Guilt that goes nowhere, we should get educated about what’s going on and campaign to do something real instead of campaigning to pick on Stephen Fry.

  • Labradoor

    Isn’t this latest bit of Apple-bashing more suited to the Cult of Android site than Cult of Mac? Is there any difference anymore? They both seem to be united in their pro-android slant these days.

    While i do not speak for him, I’m pretty sure Stephen Fry’s defense of Apple is animated by similar sentiments to my own. Which I will try to relate…

    Whether it’s CoM or the NY Times, here is a little lesson in journalism for you. If you learn that a bunch of kids trashed their classroom while the teacher was out but you chose to report that “Johnny did it” because Johnny is the tallest and/or smartest and/or most popular kid in the class you are simply not doing your job. “Johnny did it” is not the truth, it is not even the partial truth. It is a plain old lie whether told out of malice or just plain laziness.

    Yes, the situation at Foxconn and similar companies is a problem, yes it should be addressed and yes we should care. But, to report on the situation in a way that suggests “Apple did it” is wrong. “Apple did it” is not the truth, and don’t let yourselves off the hook with the bullshit defense that it is the “partial truth.” It is a straight-up fuckin lie. 

    And, Mike, I don’t know you so I’m not going attack you personally. But, I think that once you used the Apple and Steve Jobs names to draw attention to the broader issues you seem to genuinley care about, you owed it to your public to give a much more balanced and full accounting of the problems at hand. I understand needing a “hook” to grab people’s attention in a busy world. But I also feel that you have a responsibility to your audience.

    Regards,
    Scott

  • KennyTeohKY

    Wow. I understand the weight of the matter discussed. But really, let’s not get personal here and start calling names. If some readers do not share the same opinion as you after reading your article, that doesn’t make them idiots. 

    Just respect that some people get it, while others don’t. Some people may understand the content of your article and don’t agree with it… doesn’t make them any less of a reader or a human. 

    There’s no reason to go to derogatory name calling and flaming comments. 

    Be Mike Daisey, the man who stood up for humane working conditions. Not Mike Daisey, the man who posts flaming comments to unfavorable reaction to his article.

    Fundamentally, we are just pledging our voice for basic respect. Respect for the rights of the abused and marginalized Chinese workers. So let’s start by showing some respect to each other in this comment space. 

  • Mike Rathjen

    The working conditions are valid complaints. I just don’t understand why all the criticism is leveled the one company that is already doing the most about it.

    Why are the other 75% off the hook? Dell and HP both make more computers
    than Apple, have done less about these problems, and for some bizarre
    reason enjoy immunity from the negative press targeted at Apple.

    The recent petition to improve factory conditions is targeted solely at Apple. Why not Apple, Dell, HP, etc.?

    Apple sticks its neck out with additional transparency, something nobody else is doing, and they are getting punished for it.

  • Kovah

    Must be really sweet on that high horse of yours, Mike.

  • EndreVestvik

    I could start by pointing out all the missing logic of this piece. Like first dismissing the suicide rate argument because we don’t have the correct number, and then continuing to use the suicide rate in your own argument. 

    Or the use of words like “unvarnished, verified truth” and “undeniable fact” to describe your view on this issue, while claiming other arguments to be pathetic, or stupid because they use statistics.

    But the worst, and most disgusting thing about this piece is calling your opponents “idiots” and “neoliberals”, while claiming your own piece is representing “inherent humanity”.

    You say Mr. Fry is an upstanding gentleman. He sure is. You, Mr. Daisey, are not.

  • Peter

    You can’t just put together Faux News talking points on China (communist bad) and the administration (regulation bad) and hope to make a salient argument. The problem with China is LACK OF REGULATION, and no compliance or enforcement of the regulations they do have. If you’d listened to Daisey’s original NPR piece you’d have heard him say something like “If you want to know what it would be like if there were no regulations and corporations could just do what they like, you don’t have to imagine some sort of “Blade Runner” future, you just have to go to China today”…

  • James M.

    And true

  • Mike_Daisey

    I didn’t “use” the suicide rate—I simply talked about how the cluster of suicides means something, just as it would if it happened in the West. I’ve never “used” the rate of the suicides in my work in that way.

    I don’t know what you want me to call the NYT reporting, my reporting fact checked by TAL, SACOM’s reports for years and years, China Labor Watch—if it’s just the adjectives, I suggest that you’re too easily offended. And I reject other “views” the same way I reject creationists—they need to address what has already been credibly uncovered. It isn’t an opinion.

    Look, Fry was being an idiot. He’ll live. And the guy I called a neoliberal economist *is* a neoliberal economist, and proud of it. If words like this disgust you, you really need to get out more.

     

  • Mike_Daisey

    I like your post, Kenny, and what you say has merit–maybe I could have been more measured last night. At the same time, this is actually, literally, about denialism. And that needs to be called out when it asserts itself, and when I was writing it was ALL OVER this thread. 

    Unfavorable reactions? I couldn’t care. But I do care about people taking facts that have been reported in multiple sources and simply shitting on them. You can’t let that pass unchallenged, because that’s how things spread.

    So yes–in a better world, when I’ve had my coffee, maybe I could be nicer. But every person I called an idiot here was acting, in fact, like an idiot. 

    Next time I dive in here, I will try to make it a little more politic, though.

    Thanks,

    md

  • Millard Fillmore

    You began the piece by calling Fry a “total idiot.”  And you expect him, or any of us, to listen?

  • Mike_Daisey

    Well, I’ve been working on this for 3 years. And my “campaign” with Stephen Fry is already over–it only took a couple of hours to reach him, and I’ve had words with the economist too. So rest assured there are much larger things being worked on, and just because one posts about Mr. Fry doesn’t mean many other things aren’t being worked on, too.

  • Jason Bartlett

    Well now I’m going to go out and buy more Apple stuff and I just hope that lots of pain and bloodshed went into making it. Out of spite!

  • Mike_Daisey

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N

    I think someone was flagging everything I said and trying to censor me, but that appears to have stopped for now.

    Apple is definitely not all cold and calculating–a lot of great people work in Cupertino, and its their hearts and minds that need to be reached the most.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Thank you for your words, and thanks for posting.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Dan may not be your favorite person, but he was the first one to refute those statistics in a comprehensive way, so I feel like giving credit where it is due.

    This issue that somehow Apple is the only one charged with crimes, while everyone else is free, isn’t reflected in my work, and it isn’t reflected in the interviews I give. I’d suggest that these working conditions for all technology workers are more important than partisan bickering.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Because they make clear in the series how many different companies work with Foxconn. The fact that many are doing a terrible job doesn’t get Apple off the hook for what they’ve done–and they have a bad track record of saying they’ve fixed things and then having it be horrifically clear they did not.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Sexual abuse is a huge problem, but I only report on what I observed, and that didn’t become a big part of my findings. 

    I was in country for a long time, spoke with hundreds, and I’m very clear in all my work that the factory is a preferred world to the rural life they came from. I talk about that complexity all the time.

    Please tell me–what do you doubt from my story? From the NYT stories?

    I talk about Apple because I am an enormous Apple fan my whole life, and because I believe we have a transformational relationship with these devices. That’s why the monologue isn’t about HomeDepot–I don’t have a charged relationship with them, and neither does my audience.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Still rocking the devices I had before I went to Shenzhen.

  • koopapoopas

    I hope the other things you are working on is not giving a free ride to companies you don’t do plays about.

    You know like the XBOX factory workers who were recently in the news.

  • Mike_Daisey

    That’s possible. If Mr. Fry was engaging on this issue, he could talk about it. Though every story I heard about the workers at Foxconn threatening suicide made clear it was an Xbox factory…so I think this persecution complex is largely invented.

    There aren’t “plants” that make Apple products–they are in chains within buildings next to other devices. So it can’t be broken out that way.

  • Jason Bartlett

    And you’re a fat pig. 

  • Mike_Daisey

    This monologue indicts the entire electronics industry–so no, I’m not particularly partisan in that way.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Charming.

  • Mike_Daisey

    Millard, be through. I said that Mr. Fry, who is otherwise wonderful, in this case, is being an idiot.

  • facebook-1633876282

    I sent Mr. Daisey an email explaining what caused the suicides at Foxconn and France Telecom. He ignored it and continues to spout the lie that working conditions are responsible. With 35 hour work weeks and union negotiated wages there have been 60 suicide attempts with a reported 30 deaths at France Telecom.

    In both countries the employers engaged employees to perform jobs requiring full mental investment without providing Cubicle Level Protection, a peripheral vision blocking scheme to prevent Subliminal Distraction exposure. The proof is in pictures and video taken by TV news crews and posted on Youtube.

    What will it take to have Daisey get the story straight? 

    VisionAndPsychosis.Net

  • TheMacAdvocate

    A company more successful than Apple that he can attach himself to and profit from.

  • FakeGibbyHaynes

    Uh, Mike? Might be time to up your meds. You’re decompensating, and posts such as this are not doing you any favors.

  • EndreVestvik

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, Mr Daisey.

    I still have a problem with you claiming Mr Fry was being an idiot – even though you both are comedians, and must sure be used to far worse. Exactly why was he being an idiot? Because he tweeted something that did not support your view on this issue? Is everyone having another view than you being an idiot, or only Mr. Fry?

    Not everyone agrees the NYT reported the unvarnished, verified truth. BSR, who are working on these issues together with their member companies (Apple are one of them), says the report was inaccurate and misleading.
    https://www.bsr.org/en/our-ins

    I’m not disgusted by the word neoliberalist. Not at all. But some people put that label on their opponents, trying to imply that because they are neoliberalist, they are idiots and we should not listen to them. That is what disgusts me, and I have to admit, I suspect you to use this kind of “argument”. Why else would it be important for you to tell us he is a neoliberalist? If viewpoint on economy or the world is important, why not come clear with yours? What are you?

    One thing is true, though: I really do need to get out more. 

    But I do not have an issue with your view on creationists. :-)

  • facebook-1633876282

    Apple is not innocent in this. I pointed out to them in two letters that every piece of software and every computer sold should have a Subliminal Distraction warning on it. If they acknowledge the problem at Foxconn there would be massive suits from everyone who had a college student with an Apple computer who committed suicide. Visit the Joe “Morse-Georgia Tech” or “Letters” page at VisionAndPsychosis.Net.

    Morse vanished the last day of school in 2003. His roommate sent diagrams of their dorm room computer set up to show he had Subliminal Distraction exposure for the entire 2002/03 school year before he flew to Miami, broke into a construction site, climbed a crane, and jumped. He remained an unidentified suicide for four years.

    Colleges and Computer manufacturers are not telling students that knowledge work in a location with repeating detectable movement in peripheral vision has been known to cause a mental break since 1964.

    When this happened to my wife she heard voices and had crying episodes about impossible situations she hallucinated. That’s what caused these Foxconn and France Telecom suicides. At the point of the mental break they are hallucinating an unbearable, unsolvable outcome for a real or imagined situation.

    Where true sweatshop conditions have existed, such as the garment industry in New York, there have never been suicides. But employee abuse makes a much better story than the truth. The activists in Hong Kong, Foxconn, and Apple got the same information from me. I have been working on the problem for nine years.

    There have been several incidents with Subliminal Distraction exposure recently. The latest is the Tourette’s like symptoms of LeRoy, New York high school students. The pictures from Foxconn and France Telecom at at the top of my Home page.

  • Eduardo Maia

    Mike Daisey  and the rest of you guys have to stop kissing Steve Jobs’ deceased ass… seriously.

  • Tim Worstall

    I’m a neoliberal, yes, but I’m not an economist. Good Lord, how insulting are you trying to be here Mike?

  • Artoo

    Solving the situation would require the answer to questions, such as:

    -China’s own labor standards are being violated at Focxonn, so why doesn’t the Chinese government force them to comply?

    -Wouldn’t the additional cost of assuring compliance result on other countries being able to compete for those jobs?

    -And if other countries can compete, and bid those jobs away, wouldn’t the Chinese end up far worse off than they are now?

  • EndreVestvik

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, Mr Daisey.

    I still have a problem with you claiming Mr Fry was being an idiot – even though you both are comedians, and must sure be used to far worse. Exactly why was he being an idiot? Because he tweeted something that did not support your view on this issue? Is everyone having another view than you being an idiot, or only Mr. Fry?

    Not everyone agrees the NYT reported the unvarnished, verified truth. BSR, who are working on these issues together with their member companies (Apple are one of them), says the report was inaccurate and misleading.
    https://www.bsr.org/en/our-ins

    I’m not disgusted by the word neoliberalist. Not at all. But some people put that label on their opponents, trying to imply that because they are neoliberalist, they are idiots and we should not listen to them. That is what disgusts me, and I have to admit, I suspect you to use this kind of “argument”. Why else would it be important for you to tell us he is a neoliberalist? If viewpoint on economy or the world is important, why not come clear with yours? What are you?

    One thing is true, though: I really do need to get out more. 

    But I do not have an issue with your view on creationists. :-)

  • site7000

    Are you seriously saying Apple would be off the hook if China didn’t state lofty goals? Or are you saying Apple has to shape up the Chinese government’s enforcement of their labor policies? You’re just evading my point, which is that neither the US nor Apple is in a position to magically fix things in foreign countries. Until you can show what Apple can reasonably do, you haven’t shown Apple’s responsibility, particularly at Foxconn that is already among the most responsible of Chinese employers and where Apple is doing better auditing then any other tech company (according to China-based China Labor Watch). It’s that failure to link  “China has poor labor conditions” to “Apple has the ability to fix this problem and is choosing not to” that breaks the “Apple is responsible” argument. That’s what makes the constant reference in the media to “Apple’s plants” and “Apple’s Chinese workers” so irresponsible. They AREN’T Apple’s plants or workers; Apple’s powers are very limited.

    It’s  easy to criticize when you don’t offer  alternatives that can themselves be criticized. Here’s a solution offered by David Gewirtz at ZDNet: “I’d rather we use American robots (and some nicely paid Americans to maintain and program them) than put money into China’s economy and their workers.” It that the solution you’re looking for (even if it were possible, which it’s not)? I hope not: it’s magical thinking and leaves Chinese labors with no jobs. Mark’s Shields petition for Apple to create a “worker protection strategy” is lazy. What next: Apple is responsible for cleaning up China’s environment? Oh, wait….

    I’ve attended your show and you were vague about what actions Apple can take. Surely, being as involved and informed as you are, you can do better.

  • tedgoranson

    “Please tell me–what do you doubt from my story?”
    As I said, because you missed the most extreme, alarming (by western standards) and prevalent offense, it makes me question everything. The way you seem to have cast your story is not as journalism but more in the Rush L mode.

    The one thing in the NPR story that was questionable was “the list.” Rural Chinese love conspiracy theories, and much of what you will hear as truth (my Mother saw it) is urban legend. In fact, workers are hired by the shovel-load and dealt with as if they were vegetables. 

    It is not the practice to identify workers as individuals. They wish that was so. When you report that some girl had a friend in ‘the office’ and that there was a list that was captured and HER NAME was at the top of the list. This could be true, but it seems not so to me.

    Overall, it is hard to understand what you are doing. It seems more like performance art, more like Fox or Limbaugh, and less like real investigative journalism. 

    And that you posted so provocatively on an Apple site, knowing what sort of reaction you could expect… And with such an indirect approach (Stop Fry from being an Idiot)?? Really, it is hard to suss out where you are coming from.

    If you really cared about the people, if you were a crusader, then Apple is the wrong target. If you are a journalist, it seems to me that you did not do well.

    But that NPR piece was great radio.

  • Kovah

    Mike, you’re an ugly, fat, lying piece of shit. Those are actual facts and not fabrications that exit that turd spewing hole that you call a mouth.

About the author

Guest Post

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in Mac, News | Tagged: , , , , , , , |