Human Rights or Technology? Essay
Paper type: Essay
Words: 1309, Paragraphs: 15, Pages: 6
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In today’s highly technological world everyone wants the latest and greatest gizmo on the market. Companies like Apple, want to make as much money as possible. With both Apple and society being held responsible for the outrageous working conditions in the factories in China workers can be treated more like people.
In the article “In China, Human Costs are Built into an iPad,” Charles Duhigg and David Barboza argue that Apple and society are responsible for the repugnant conditions in China.
In this article, the authors use facts, personal experience and a story about a worker from one of Apple’s factories, making the article more interesting and personal to the reader. Giving personal background brings you into the story. The article not only discusses the working conditions, but also discusses the living conditions. Without giving specific examples, Apple and society need to take a closer look and be held responsible for the horrendous conditions in China.
In an essay written by Namit Arora, he discusses his own experience about his socioeconomic status.
Arora writes that maybe it was not due to his hard work, but that he was in the right place at the right time. Arora describes different types of economic justice and makes the reader think about what we deserve. Do you deserve to have everything handed to you because you come from a rich family or should your hard and diligent work give you that reward; this is the very topic of Arora’s essay.
The connection between the article written by Duhigg and Barboza with that of Arora is that of basic rights as a human being. If the rich are made richer in turn makes the poor become poorer. No matter what we do there really will never be a truly fair or just way to distribute an economy. There will always be those that fell their not being treated fairly even if everything is spoon fed to them, there just needs to be more balance to our current systems. Arora’s essay talks about those that are born with natural abilities from a moral standpoint is the same as those that have silver spoons in their mouths. Arora also discusses the “Difference Principle” which deals with this natural lottery.
First off, Duhigg and Barboza discuss what we as consumers want. “Customers want amazing new electronics delivered every year.” (Duhigg and Barboza) This means the customers don’t care about how the products are made or who is hurt during the manufacturing process. During the course of the interviews Duhigg and Barboza conducted, a former worker told them that Apple did not care about anything except making more products and lowering costs to make those items. People who buy these products are blinded by the technology bug. If consumers did not want the latest and greatest phones or other electronic devices, there would not be as high of a need to for Apple to find the cheapest suppliers.
Working conditions are not the only issues for the workers in these factories. The living conditions in China are horrific-there are more people living in their apartments then is safe by any standard. There were numerous people committing suicide due to the conditions at the factories. Apple is one of the most sought after brands. So if Apple were to make some changes it could make significant strides at reducing the working and living issues in China. If society were to inquire about how the workers are being treated this could also lead to changes being made in favor of the employees. Apple would be more likely to actually take action correct these substandard conditions, since no company wants their dirty laundry to be aired outside the company.
Second, as discussed by Duhigg and Barboza, Apple is trying to make things better, but people would still be disgusted with what was seen. Duhigg and Barboza write that these devices are produced in substandard labor conditions, which is according to workers, worker advocates and reports published by companies themselves. There are underage workers and in many cases earn little to no money at all. In today’s society we need to take a round turn and prevent these children and other workers not get used and abused. Although Apple says it is trying to make things better there has been former workers say “finding new suppliers is time-consuming and costly,” Duhigg and Barboza report.
Since Apple is an American based company the standards of the United States should be imposed on not just Apple, but any company that try to exploit these lower standards of other countries. As with society, we need to stop thinking of the things we want, but how and who is affected by making these products. If a company knows about issues but does nothing to correct those issues before someone were to get hurt they are just as responsible if not more responsible because something could have been done to prevent those injuries. “Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plan.” (Duhigg and Barboza)
This shows that Apple is aware of conditions at their supplier but are taking no actions because as long as Apple gets its products the injuries of workers are none of their concern. Apple workers need to not only have better working conditions but also have better living conditions. This is not due to the fact that Apple has the money to pay their workers more; it’s actually due to the fact that the workers are human beings and should be compensated better. As well as having living conditions that are safer and healthier.
The opportunity costs in China are significantly lower in China. The workers in China are willing to earn pennies on the dollar. From Apple’s standpoint it just makes sense to have their factory in China, instead of the United States. Apple has become one of the largest companies in their field due to these countries with lower standards. Even though Apple may make it seem like these conditions are not approved of, they would not be the electronic power house they are today. Arora discusses people may lack opportunity due to their lower or social economic status.
In China the lack of opportunity does not play as much as it does in the U.S., since a company in China hires workers of almost any age. The downfall for those workers is getting treated as less than a human being as more like part of a machine. This is just morally wrong, for Apple to just turn a blind eye to these conditions. If Apple really cared these conditions could be better.
The conditions may not be up to the standards of the U.S. but these people could actually be treated like a person. Due to the lower economy of China and the low opportunity cost, these two go hand-in-hand. Apple is taking all the risk and should be compensated for their risks. Even if we try to uphold higher standards there really is not much which can be done. No matter how much we try there will always be a country that has lower standards and cheaper workers; companies will just go to those places which makes profits the highest.
To conclude, society as a whole needs to change our mind set from not caring how we get our products towards caring about how the products we buy are produced. As far as Apple goes, Apple needs to be held responsible not only for how the products are produced, but also how the workers making their products are being treated.
Arora, Namit “What Do We Deserve?” Emerging Contemporary Readings for Writers Composition Subjects Ed. Barclay Barrios. Bedford/St. Martins, 2010, 87-91. Book. Duhigg, Charles, and Barboza, David “In China, Human Costs are Built Into an iPad” The New York Times, 25 Jan. 2012. Editorial.