Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where Apples come from (is not a pretty place)

An excellent, thought provoking and very different podcast piece: Mike Daisey, an American stand up storyteller and Apple fan goes to Shenzhen in China to understand where those beautiful machines are made. It’s simply a guy telling a story of what the city looks like, what the workers told him, what the factory floors and cramped dormitories and endless hours are like, how workers are crippled by repetitive motions and toxic chemicals… Very bleak, very stirring to hear about – and remarkably, even entertaining to listen to.

I can certainly recognize his description of Shenzhen and the particular harsh and repressive side of Chinese culture that you see such places.

Mike Daisey may be a bit colorful, and certainly his mission is not to try to give a balanced view. It’s emotional, but the producers of the radio show, which aired his report – This American Life – have tried to fact check everything he told. In the second half of the program they talk to experts and rattle off regular journalistic data that largely supports the first story.

It takes an hour to listen - it's very well spent.

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