Obviously Apple was off the list. What about Dell? Alas, they moved their production from the US to Foxconn years ago. Acer? Also Foxconn-made. Vizio? Foxconn once more. How about a wholesome American company such as Gateway? Foxconn again. Sony then? Foxconn. Toshiba? Foxconn.
Evidently almost every computer available today is either wholly made by Foxconn or has significant components made by Foxconn. It doesn’t matter whether you go high-end or low-end, you’re going to be Foxconn’d.
Foxconn operates in Europe, India, Mexico, and Brazil as well as China. They boast of swimming pools, bookstores, and a company hospital. (I’m not sure I’d be calling attention to that last one.) They produce two-fifths of the entire world’s consumer electronics.
Still, those suicides have been going on for a while now. The first was in 2009. Just last month 150 workers threatened a mass suicide if conditions did not improve.
There’s a problem if you have to put enormous netting around the sides of your workplace because too many workers are jumping off your building. At least it’s a problem for me.
One of the most chilling things was when the store salesman told me that even with the tragedies at Foxconn, thousands of other poor Chinese are rushing to apply for the newly vacant positions. This thought turns my stomach with dread.
Given enough people, individuals will accept anything to survive: Any abuse, any condition, any hazard just to live. Or they will at first. People will work for enough food to subsist if you force them. Worse, eventually they will work for less than enough food, and it won’t matter because there will always be someone else to rush in and take their place. It may be poor Chinese today, but it was poor English or Germans or Russians only the day before.
I didn’t buy anything at the computer store that day. I’m still using a five-year-old computer made by American workers who presumably did not kill themselves in its creation. But it is slow and cannot cope with the modern Internet requirements. At some point I’ll need a new one.
When I was a child I was afraid of ghosts. Later I was afraid of nuclear war. Today I am afraid of slavery and imbued with dread that there but for chance go I. Worst of all is a newfound fear—that there is little to nothing I can do about any of it.
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