The iPad goes on sale in the UK tomorrow, and there will doubtless be countless smug faces like the one above, leaving Apple stores with new devices that will enhance their lives and make everything go so smoothly and swimmingly.
So spare a thought for the exhausted workers who make these devices for us in conditions so bad that there have been a number of suicides at the Foxconn factory producing them.
Talking and music are banned during shifts, which last at least 10 hours. Workers must perform a certain number of repetitive operations per shift, under the eye of allegedly harsh military-style supervisors.
“Foxconn’s management is totally inhuman,” one worker told the Reuters news agency. Another said: “They don’t treat workers as humans.”
As I noted in the previous post, “the more machine-like we make ourselves, the more like machines we will treat one another, and the more of us will end up consigned to skips and rubbish dumps as broken people.”
Apple’s taxonomy has been based on the compounding of ‘i’ with it’s devices: iMac, iPod, iPhone… It’s mission is to fuse the self with its technologies, but appears to have ignored the tragic by-product of that fusion: machines that make the Western self more productive are produced by Eastern selves that are treated as machines, and cheap ones at that. I mean, what machine could you build that would run for 30p per hour?
This is the shadow that haunts every cheap device you buy, the footprint that follows us as we make calls and update our statuses. It is time we paid fair wages to people who make our lives better. In current form, this is slavery by a different name: virtual reality.