Since this show on This American Life aired, Apple has actually made its suppliers public. Which is a very good thing. And really big stuff. And as Mike Daisey points out, Foxconn makes lots of stuff for lots of people. But Daisey, I believe, is still right: As a visionary and brand advocate and, let’s admit it, cult figure, Steve Jobs was in a unique position to lead the rest of the technology industry to insist on better working conditions at Foxconn. And he didn’t do it.
But maybe Apple is bigger than that…NOW. Maybe we don’t need visionaries to do the right thing. Maybe they get in the way.
Apple has agreed to let outside monitors into factories of partners, such as Foxconn Technology Group, and listed suppliers for the first time to counter criticism about conditions of workers making its gadgets.
The iPhone maker becomes the first technology company to join the Fair Labour Association. The Washington-based FLA was set up in 1999 to monitor workplace environments globally in an initiative by former United States President Bill Clinton, and its participants include Nike and Nestle.