Apple Devices: Should Firms Export their Values to Other Countries?

At about the 5th minute of the above clip, Mike Daisy, who is being interview on TechCrunch TV about his observations of a visit to a number of Apple’s China suppliers, says something that I felt was HUGELY profound:

“I think that there is a great responsibility. That when you export your jobs around the world, you should be exporting your values with your jobs. And if you do not.. and if you do not do that simple human thing, you committed a grave injustice.  A very deep sin against humanity itself.”

It was a statement that hits at the heart of a number of issues when it comes to globalization and the role of firms who are employing labor, extracting resources, or dumping waste around the world, and is a statement that I hope opens up more discussion about the role of standards and responsibility of global firms.

“I went [to Shenzhen] because I’ve been an Apple fan my entire life and I love the devices… One day, I was reading a tech news site — gossip about technology — and I read an article about someone who had gotten their iPhone, and their iPhone wasn’t blank when they got it, it still had the firmware from the factory. And it actually had photos on the camera phone from when the phone had been tested, and they put the pictures up online. And I looked at the pictures and i had a very transformative experience looking at these simple pictures. They’re just testing the camera. So they’re not pictures of anything, but I saw these people in the pictures, and I realized…

Even though I’m totally obsessed with my devices to an embarrassing degree, I’d never actually thought ever about where they had come from. The circumstances– I’d never thought in a systematic way, I thought in a vague way. I was like,”China…” I’d never actually thought about it. And that combined with starting to think more, I thought about how, if this phone has four pictures taken by hand, then every iPhone has four pictures on it taken by hand before it is erased. All the tens of millions of them. And that started me down the road of thinking about, how are these things actually made? How does it actually work? And that’s what brought me to Shenzhen.”

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