Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Nike’s unethical; Apple maybe not so much

February 27, 2012

 

Nike shoes are a bargain at $220 a pair. They must be, else why would hundreds of people have showed up Thursday at a Greenwood, Indiana, mall, according to the police report, “panicking to get to the front of the line” for the limited release of the $220 Foamposite Galaxy. The next day in Orlando it took a hundred deputies in riot gear to subdue a crowd waiting for the new Galaxy.

Similar riots attended Nike’s December release of the latest in the Air Jordan line, the $180 Air Jordan XI Concord.

The Air Jordans cost Nike about $16 to produce, giving Nike a gross profit of $164 a pair, or about 90 per cent, before marketing expenses. Shareholders have done well, as the stock price has increased over one hundred times in the last 25 years—in contrast, the Dow Jones average has gone up a factor of seven in that period.

The workers in Indonesia who make Nike shoes haven’t done nearly as well: they earn $4 a day—not enough to provide food, shelter, transportation, and health care. And they can only dream of someday being able to buy a pair of Nikes for themselves.

Nike could easily afford to pay a living wage—labor costs account for only $2.50 a pair. (more…)

Is it ethical to buy an iPhone or iPad made in a Chinese sweatshop?

February 14, 2012

 

My amazing iPhone 3GS was made in Foxconn’s huge factory in Shenzen, China, where workers toil long hours under unhealthy and downright dangerous conditions, put in forced, unpaid overtime, sleep in crowded dormitories, and—occasionally, commit suicide.

Now I’m ready to upgrade to the newest iPhone 4S, with Siri, the personal assistant with attitude. But can I give Apple more business with a clear conscience?

The outsourcing of millions of jobs to low cost countries has eliminated the American consumer electronics industry. Virtually all desktop and laptop computers are made in Asia, along with nearly all mobile phones, TV sets, and radios. Americans have gone on to other jobs, but many have never found employment as good as they had in manufacturing.

The cost to Americans is arguably far outweighed by the benefits of a dizzying variety of goods that are far, far more affordable than they were years ago. But do our benefits come at the cost of exploiting workers in China, for example?

If we look at the working conditions at Foxconn we’re tempted to say yes. And many people have taken what they consider a principled stand against buying Apple products, or indeed, any products made under sub-standard—by American standards—conditions.

But the Foxconn workers aren’t slaves—they flock to Shenzen (more…)

Listening to American Muslims talk about Ramadan on “Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet”

August 13, 2010

Keeping in shape has gotten easier for me since I got an iPhone and discovered a PBS program, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet. I listen to this on a podcast on my iPhone, and it makes the hour at the gym go by much faster.

This week’s program is called Revealing Ramadan, and Krista describes it this way:

“14 Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam’s holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one’s family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.”

I found this a fascinating window into Islam, American style. It’s a little foreign to a non-observant Jew like me, but what was so striking to me was not its foreignness but its sameness—nothing about the people speaking seemed any different from the family next door—to any one. I wish the people railing about mosques at Ground Zero, in Murfreesboro, or Temecula, could listen to the stories these Americans—and one Brit—tell.

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If you’ve got to lose something, lose it in Turkey, not in Silicon Valley

May 15, 2010

I’ve written here about how I recently left a wallet with all my credit cards and $300 in cash in an Istanbul Starbucks, and how the finder tracked me down and returned it intact. I had a similar experience in Turkey several years before. Good thing I didn’t do that in Silicon Valley, where Apple engineer Gray Powell left a priceless prototype of Apple’s next edition of the iPhone in a Redwood City bar. Brian Hogan, a 21-year-old college student, found the phone and shopped it around, finally selling it to technology blog Gizmodo for $5,000.


Hogan’s roommate, Katherine Martinson, said she and other friends tried to talk Hogan out of selling the phone, arguing it would ruin the career of the Apple engineer who lost it. Hogan responded,


“Sucks for him. He lost his phone. Shouldn’t have lost his phone.”


He sure shouldn’t have lost it where Brian Hogan could find it, steal it, and sell it. He should have lost it in Istanbul where it would have been quickly returned to him.

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